boynigel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2009
231
1
mid-2012 mini running 10.11.6 w/8 gb of ram. system drive is less than half full. disk utility finds no problems yet everything is delayed- when i type, there's lag-time before my keystrokes show up on the screen. double-clicking to open a folder takes upwards of 20 seconds before the folder opens. same thing if i'm trying to mark check-boxes. the simplest of tasks take forever. i'm getting the pinwheel quite a bit too while online. my only guess is bad ram but i don't want to jump the gun and buy something i don't need to. looking to see if anyone has other ideas/suggestions.
 

Superspeed500

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2013
193
44
Have you checked the activity monitor? Anything unusual there? Bad performance can be caused by an application bug causing for example a memory leak. It could also be a background process taking up your system resources. Also have you tried to run the Apple hardware test?
 
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treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
407
Honolulu HI
If you have bad RAM, you're more likely to get a system crash than a slowdown. Besides the suggestion in the previous post (and make sure to take a look in the Activity Monitor at the Memory tab and see what your memory pressure is) - your disk may be slowing down. Do you have a HDD or SSD? If it's an HDD, a slowdown COULD indicate that the drive is on it's way to failure. If you have an HDD and it's original to the Mini, that's pretty old for a HDD system disk if you use the Mini regularly.
 

boynigel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2009
231
1
If you have bad RAM, you're more likely to get a system crash than a slowdown. Besides the suggestion in the previous post (and make sure to take a look in the Activity Monitor at the Memory tab and see what your memory pressure is) - your disk may be slowing down. Do you have a HDD or SSD? If it's an HDD, a slowdown COULD indicate that the drive is on it's way to failure. If you have an HDD and it's original to the Mini, that's pretty old for a HDD system disk if you use the Mini regularly.

Yes, it's the original HDD. When i run the activity monitor, regarding memory pressure, my physical memory is 8 GB but my memory used is in the low 7's and that's just with firefox running. nothing else in the background. as soon as i close firefox my memory used value goes down into the lower 2's. i don't know if a reading in the 7's is normal or not so i figured i'd mention it.

worth noting though is that since i did the apple hardware check (which came back fine) as the other poster suggested, restarted, and ran disk utility things seem better...at least for now. now when i run activity monitor with firefox open, my memory used now comes in at 3.45. much lower than before. i don't shut this computer down a lot, just put it to sleep. maybe that was it?
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
407
Honolulu HI
It wouldn't be unusual for Firefox to use 5GB - depending on the websites you're on. Doing a hard restart every so often could help. You may also want to download Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and run it several times spread out during the day when you're not doing anything else. Typically, the HDD should be about 80MB/sec. max - if you get a number much lower, the drive may be an issue.
 

boynigel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2009
231
1
It wouldn't be unusual for Firefox to use 5GB - depending on the websites you're on. Doing a hard restart every so often could help. You may also want to download Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and run it several times spread out during the day when you're not doing anything else. Typically, the HDD should be about 80MB/sec. max - if you get a number much lower, the drive may be an issue.

sounds good, i'll give all that a try. thanks!
fwiw, all that was running on Firefox was my yahoo home page. lots of ads and banner on it. maybe they're what's slowing it down
 

Pockett

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2015
37
12
Well if you don't mind spending a bit of money, you could replace the HDD with a Samsung 850 EVO SSD (Best SATA SSD in my opinion). I've seen Mac computers as old as 2007 brought back to life with an installation of an SSD. Really does make a difference.
 
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Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
A clean out of dust may be all you need to do.

The Mac Mini I have had for nearly nine years now has slowed down a couple of times over the years. The first time, after 3 and a bit years, an upgrade to Mountain Lion and an additional 4 GB of RAM.... along with a general blow out of accumulated dust..... and it was back to its original glory.

Move on another 3 years or so, and it started to heat up and slowed down again. Just a clean out and it was running well again.

My base model early 2009 Mac Mini still has the original HDD, and I recently upgraded it to El Capitan. That has again improved its day to day speed and usability. I guess another service will be in order in a year.... and the HDD will not carry on working forever..... then replacement may be the favourite.

The only disappointment with the OS X upgrade has been Photos 1.5, that replaced iPhoto with the upgrade to OS X 10.11. Photos 3.0 (which comes with High Sierra, and I have played with in a shop) looks to be a useful improvement over iPhoto, but the El Capitan iteration is all but unusable, from my point of view.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,205
8,252
OP:

There's one way, and ONLY ONE WAY, that you're going to "get the speed back".

That is -- add an SSD as the boot drive.

The quickest, fastest, easiest way to do this is to buy an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD, plug it in, and set it up to be an "external booter". Far less risky than opening up the Mini and running the risk of breaking something inside.

This is trivially easy to do. ANYONE can do it.
All the help and advice, you'll find right here.

I'd suggest a 250gb SSD, or a 500gb if you want to spend a little more.
That's ALL YOU NEED.

A Samsung t5 would be a good purchase. They're USB3.1 -- compatible with what you have now, but with an eye on the future.

Switch to an external SSD boot drive, and you will be AMAZED at how much of a speed increase you'll see.

But again, this is THE ONLY WAY you're going to see it.
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,722
2,715
New Jersey Pine Barrens
OP:

There's one way, and ONLY ONE WAY, that you're going to "get the speed back".

That is -- add an SSD as the boot drive.

I'm a big fan of external SSD's, I have one Mini booting from a 500gb Samsung T3 and another with a 1TB T3. But the OP says "when i type, there's lag-time before my keystrokes show up on the screen. double-clicking to open a folder takes upwards of 20 seconds before the folder opens."

Something is seriously wrong there, this isn't just a hard disk vs. ssd issue. :)
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,205
8,252
Boyd wrote:
"Something is seriously wrong there, this isn't just a hard disk vs. ssd issue."

Failing internal HDD?
An external booter will certainly fix that.
If need be, a failed internal HDD could be left "failed in place"...
 

belvdr

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2005
5,657
1,024
No longer logging into MR
If, in the past, you have installed / uninstalled many applications, you may consider doing a possible clean install. Also, does the keyboard still lag if nothing else is running, but a text editor or Terminal window?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,722
2,715
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Failing internal HDD?

That's certainly possible and disk utility might not detect that. The base Mini that I setup for my daughter's family with the 500gb T3 seems to have an issue with the original internal HD. I initially set it up as a time machine backup, but it started crashing whenever time machine runs so we no longer use the internal drive.

However I have never seen the symptoms the OP described. Would be nice to figure out what's wrong before investing in peripherals in case it's some kind of hardware problem that won't be practical to fix.
 

Partron22

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
2,655
799
Yes
a general blow out of accumulated dust.....
Display and Bluetooth went flaky on my 2007 Mini. Picked it up, and sure enough it was running hot. That 500GB HD I swapped in (2013) for the original 80GB no doubt was not helpful heatwise.
Opened the thing up, gutted the long defunct "superdrive" for airspace. Blew and brushed thoroughly, put it back together and set it down on a nice 5X6X1/2" block of aluminum to cool the HD.
It's running fast and fine again.
 
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SoCalReviews

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2012
582
210
mid-2012 mini running 10.11.6 w/8 gb of ram...

I know what you mean. I was getting frequent pinwheels with Sierra on my 2012 Minis and my 2012 Macbook Pro but now they are all running quite snappy after updating to MacOS 10.13.1 and Firefox 57.0 Quantum. Note also that they all have 16GB RAM.

You will have to decide if you want to take the leap to High Sierra. I'm not sure what programs you are running or if they require an older MacOS/OS X version for compatibility but as usual back everything up before any updating just in case. It took about a patience filled hour to do the entire update on each one of my machines and I've read it's not easy reverting back after updating to HS. Try updating Firefox first if you can since pre-57 versions had sluggishness issues.
 
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ziggy29

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2014
445
260
Oregon North Coast
I know what you mean. I was getting frequent pinwheels with Sierra on my 2012 Minis and my 2012 Macbook Pro but now they are all running quite snappy after updating to MacOS 10.13.1 and Firefox 57.0 Quantum. Note also that they all have 16GB RAM.
I occasionally got this beachballing when booting with a spinner under Sierra. It seems too slow, even for a spinner, though I can run disk tests such as AmorphousDiskMark and get over 100 MB/s, so its speed seems OK (for a 5400 RPM spinner).

That said, getting an external SSD and using CCC to copy over the contents to a new boot disk was like buying a new, very fast computer. I can still boot to the spinner as it still has the OS and most of the apps on it, but it feels painful now as I am thoroughly spoiled by booting off of an SSD.
 

SoCalReviews

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2012
582
210
I occasionally got this beachballing when booting with a spinner under Sierra. It seems too slow, even for a spinner...

Yes, I can also confirm that I'm still using the original spinner drives in the Mac Mini and Macbook Pro and I also noticed slow boot times with Sierra and initially with High Sierra. I'm not sure what was going on with Sierra as it seemed to keep getting slower and slower over time on all my Macs. However after running High Sierra for a while I don't seem to noticing the pinwheels/beachballs as often... if much at all anymore. Firefox 57 was a big improvement for web browsing as well.

I would like to upgrade to SSDs but some of the trim related issues steered me away from changing out the internal drives. I like to leave my Minis running most of the time so boot time isn't much of a problem with those. I still might try an SSD on my Macbook Pro with a 512GB Angelbird wrk for Mac brand SSD drive which appears to be a very easy upgrade for the MBP. However it seems to be running so well right now that except for the improved boot time it's harder for me to justify the cost. I might do this upgrade in the future.
 
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Count Blah

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2004
3,134
2,623
US of A
Restart your browser often. Depending on the sites you go to, and number of tabs, and it can easily shoot to 3gigs plus in under a day
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,205
8,252
SoCal wrote:
"I would like to upgrade to SSDs but some of the trim related issues steered me away from changing out the internal drives."

TRIM is a "boogeyman".
An issue that can be used to scare you -- and little more.

If you have a Mini or iMac that has USB3, the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to triple or quadruple the drive read speeds is to add a USB3 SSD.

Don't waste your money on the Angelbird drive.
ANY SSD will do the job, at far lower cost.

Geeesh.
The VERY FIRST THING I did when I got my late-2012 Mini back in January of 2013 was to boot it via an external USB3 SSD, and it's been running that way ever since -- almost FIVE YEARS now.
TRIM has NEVER been an issue, not once, like it "wasn't even there".

Honestly -- why are you chugging along with platter-based HDD's, when for a few bucks and a few minutes of your time, you could be flyin' ....???????
 
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Jambalaya

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2013
693
109
UK
Download and run BlackMagic Speedtest. My wife’s 2012 MBP was showing a dire 35 with old original hdd (on the way out ?)

I too am a fan of Samsung EVO having switched wife’s drive and friends and family too. The wife’s MBP has Sata 3 so Blackmagic shows 500.
 
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SoCalReviews

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2012
582
210
SoCal wrote:
"I would like to upgrade to SSDs but some of the trim related issues steered me away from changing out the internal drives."

TRIM is a "boogeyman".
An issue that can be used to scare you -- and little more.

If you have a Mini or iMac that has USB3, the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to triple or quadruple the drive read speeds is to add a USB3 SSD.

Don't waste your money on the Angelbird drive.
ANY SSD will do the job, at far lower cost.

Geeesh.
The VERY FIRST THING I did when I got my late-2012 Mini back in January of 2013 was to boot it via an external USB3 SSD, and it's been running that way ever since -- almost FIVE YEARS now.
TRIM has NEVER been an issue, not once, like it "wasn't even there".

Honestly -- why are you chugging along with platter-based HDD's, when for a few bucks and a few minutes of your time, you could be flyin' ....???????

I like SSDs but performance isn't everything. For that matter why run Mac Minis if you want performance? You can build superior systems at a much lower cost. Data on HDDs can be recovered and they often warn you with drive errors before they need replacing. SSDs can just fail without warning and data usually aren't recoverable. I guess good backup routines solve those problems.... Well Ok... Good points regarding SSDs but you can call me paranoid about TRIM and compatibility issues with future OS updates... I think I'll just wait for my next new Mini upgrade and go with a stock built in SSD.
 
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