Will I see any REAL performance boost?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Nikato, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Nikato, Feb 9, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011

    Nikato macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    #1
    So I got my mac mini finally today for 500 dollars. Came with mouse and keyboard. It is the 2010 model with the 2g ram and what not. I want to use this as my photography hobby computer since I will be buying a camera soon.

    I am going to be upgrading the ram to 8gigs here shortly, just gotta wait for ram to arrive in the mail, but my question is about the hard drive. I will be using ap 3, PS elements, maybe lightroom and maybe photoshop. So lets just say I'll be basically using this computer for photo stuff. I may play Itunes on it and surf the web but no games or anything like that. he drive that comes with it is the 320G 520RPM hard drive. Will putting in this WD black scorp 7200rpm hard drive boost my mac mini's performance any when it comes to using the photo editing software?

    If so, can you tell me what exactly and is it worth the money and time (looks like it may take me an hour or so to change hard drives) to bother? Will it just make the apps open a little bit quicker and thats it? I really don't know if its worth it and if not then i'd like to use the money towards getting a better monitor for photo editing.

    Thanks for the replies!

    edited to add: I will also have external hard drives and probably put this one in an external casing if I do switch it out. Space doesn't really concern me so much as performance when using the above stated programs.
     
  2. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816

    Dalton63841

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    Nov 27, 2010
    Location:
    SEMO, USA
    #2
    I put a Scorpio Black 7200RPM hard drive in my MBP and it was a very noticeable boost. By far worth it if you ask me. Obviously not as much of a boost as an SSD, but for a platter drive, impressive. Apps open quicker, the entire system is overall more responsive. It may appear to be alot to make the swap, but it won't really take long.
     
  3. Nikato thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2011
    #3
    Yeah I know an SSD drive would be best but those are expensive as all get out haha.

    How loud is your scorpio? I have my mac mini updating right now and its off to my right and i can barely hear anything.

    Also real quick....you say that apps open quicker. That is good. I know ram will affect the actual performance of said app, but will the upgraded hard drive help as well?
     
  4. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #4
    An upgraded hard drive will help with any task that requires reading/writing to the hard disk. Not everything is stored in RAM.

    Of course with 8GB RAM, hard disk performance is less of an issue than it would be otherwise as you can store more in RAM.

    When a slow hard disk really slows things down is if you have insufficient RAM.
     
  5. Nikato thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2011
    #5
    Hmm okay.

    I've been playing around with my mac a little bit. Mind you I don't have the ram yet, but application speeds (opening) don't bother me too much, though it would be nice if it was a little faster.

    I guess it wouldn't hurt to just upgrade it anyways.
     
  6. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #6
    Opening applications isn't the only time the hard disk is accessed. When you read data from the hard disk, the disk is accessed. Background tasks etc. can also access the hard disk.

    However upgrading the hard disk in the 2010 Mini is harder than in the 09 Mini. If I had a 2010 Mini, I'd probably want to put a SSD in it if I was to go to all the trouble of replacing the hard disk.
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #7
    okay if you are changing out the hdd don't be "stupid cheap" or "pennywise pound foolish" I have owned a 250gb scorpio black a 320gb scorpio black and a 500gb scorpio black. Used them in mac minis all are good but the 250gb is 50 bucks at superbiiz and the 500gb is 65 bucks at superbiiz


    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php...-SATA2-16MB-Notebook-Hard-Drive-2-5-inch-Bulk

    use the code VDAYLOVE and get 5 dollars off.

    double the storage for 10 dollars extra
     
  8. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

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    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #8
    I popped a 320GB 7200RPM Seagate Momentus in my (early 2009) mini sometime last year and definitely noticed a jump in snappiness. Plus, this new drive is ever so slightly quieter than the original, which I call a definite win :)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148446 is the drive in my mini.
     
  9. klm123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    Georgia
    #9
    If you are going to take the trouble of tearing down your mini to replace the hard drive, I would go SSD with an external hard drive for storage. 7200 rpm hard drive=better/ ssd=best. This is what I am going to do. Keep us posted.
     
  10. Nikato thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2011
    #10
    I am not liking this superbiiz website. They are saying that the credit card I used to order (i always use is) does not have a matching shipping address and they can't ship me my hard drive even though they have already accepted payment. I sent an angry email back. If they don't fix this I am going to cancel the order and possibly look into an SSD.

    The only issue is that the SSD's are so expensive. How much space should I expect to be taking with the OS and apps on the mac? I was planning on (with this hard drive) just having the OS and what ever programs on it, then creating a "current projects" folder for the pictures I am working on. When finished I would move them to my external harddrive(s) and delete them.

    Would a small (and thus cheaper) SSD work for this?
     
  11. klm123 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    Georgia
    #11
    Hate to hear about your shipping dilemma. I have posted a thread concerning minimum GB ssd needed for boot/apps drive only. Few responses, but I have come to the conclusion through reading about this in other forums that, 120GB is going to be the way I go. Would 60GB or 80GB be enough? Most likely, but I'd rather have the peace of mind that I don't have to manage it as much as if I would have to if it was filled up sooner. I have also read that for maximum performance, suggestions have been made to keep the storage under 1/2 of the maximum limit. So, I would keep everything on the ssd under 60GB, in my case. You need to go to your finder and click on the folders that you would be keeping on the ssd. Once you click on a folder of interest, right click on 'file' in the upper left corner of the screen, and click on 'info'. A popup window will calculate and tell you what size the folder is. That being said, the tricky part IMO is that, for instance, I play games on Steam, and I have an app that launches Steam. However, when I got the size info on this app, it shows only a small file size. That is the app size. My actual folder that contains the games themselves was located in a totally different location(library) that I had to navigate through many subfolders. Once I finally got there, I found that I had 23GB of games already. I am constantly downloading addon campaigns for this game, and this folder will grow. So, just make sure you are looking in the right place, instead of just an app icon.
     
  12. Rapscallion macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    #12
    I agree with Klm123 if you are going to take it apart to swap out the drive you may as well go for an SSD its just too much work to put something in that you may want to upgrade again later on.
     
  13. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #13
    I think you're putting the cart way before the horse. You might not even stick with photography. And even if you do, the stock mini is more than a novice photographer needs.
     
  14. Nikato thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2011
    #14
    Thanks for the info / help everyone. I emailed them back asking them to re-verify since I talked to my bank and made sure that all of my cards pointed to the same address.

    As far as putting the cart before the horse, I understand the concern but Photography has been something i've been interested in a long time. I just never was in a position before hand to put the money into actually starting it up (I have a pretty well paying job now so I was able to save up / use some of my tax return).

    I know the mac mini is pretty basic, but everyone i've talked to has told me to, if nothing else, upgrade the ram since PS, AP, and LR all take ram to use especially with as many images as I will be using. I figured that putting in a faster HD would help as well.

    Hopefully i'll see how things go and get back to everyone. :)
     
  15. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #15
    Photoshop is a RAM intensive program, but a beginner doesn't need a lot of RAM, because a beginner doesn't know how to manipulate anything. Lots of images requires hard drive space, not RAM. Unless you're planning on opening a lot of images at the same time (not something a beginner typically needs), doing large panoramas (a beginner might do this, but most don't) or performing extensive photo manipulations (a beginner doesn't know how to do this), you've got your cart way before the horse. Chances are, by the time you actually need all of the stuff you're talking about, it will be time to replace the computer with another one. Photoshop and Lightroom are great programs, but a beginner isn't going to use more than 5% of their capability. You don't need a faster HD to run Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom. Seriously, there are professionals currently working with less HP than a new Mini. You should ask yourself what the rush is. You can always buy what you need, when you need it. There's no need to buy stuff before you need it or before you know what it is.
     
  16. klm123 macrumors newbie

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    Georgia
    #16
    I'm not going to say that these are not good points, but 2GB ram is bare essentials. If he is going to be editing photos in any of those programs with the 2GB ram, it will be pushing the limit of ram by itself. Can he do it? Sure. He could also edit in those programs with less than that, in most cases, but why would you want to? What if he is editing, wants to listen to iTunes, and switch back and forth to surf the web at the same time. If he wanted to do these things without lags, more ram would make it a much more pleasant experience. Truth of the matter is, hardly anyone takes the time to actually close their apps before opening another. E.g., say, I am surfing the web, listening to iTunes, and then switch over to play a steam game. I can play the games on 2GB okay... by itself. But remember, even if I 'x'ed out of safari, and did the same for iTunes, they are truly still open because I didn't 'close' them out. This would cause my game on 2GB to lag tremendously. So I have 8GB ram now, and don't have to worry about remembering to 'close' out of anything everytime. The whole point of upgrading ram and hard drive is not because we absolutely NEED to. It is because I would prefer to have no hangups, lags, swaps, etc. And therefore I have a much more pleasant experience with all of the great things on a mac. (which it should have been like from the box, but just is not.) That is another thread in itself. Anyway, try it how it is now, and upgrade if you feel like it.
     
  17. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    dolphin842

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    Jul 14, 2004
    #17
    Depending on installation options/apps, a boot drive takes up about 30GB. If that's all you're going to put on it, you could get away with a 60GB SSD (in general it's best to keep them only half full). If you foresee installing windows or want to put GBs of image files on the drive, you'll want a bigger drive.

    Also, as others have said, get RAM. It's really cheap now (8GB for $100 or thereabouts) and the latest forecasts have it going up in price later this year.
     
  18. Nikato thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2011
    #18
    Pretty much my whole point. Do I need to upgrade everything right this very second? No. Will I need to fairly soon? Yes. I have the money now and I KNOW that 2gigs will not be enough, and I will be running multiple programs at a time while I am editing. Why should I wait to upgrade the ram or hard drive when I can just do it now and get it over and done with? Never really saw a point in waiting to do something that you know you will need to do later.

    Yeah, as I said in my first post I am upgrading the ram to 8gigs. 2gigs is not going to be enough to handle the 200+ raw images that i'll be putting onto my computer to edit after a photo session lol.

    And an update. I managed to fix the shipping issue and my HD is on the way. Now to get the ram ordered.
     
  19. klm123 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2011
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    Georgia
    #19
    Glad to hear that it worked out. I don't remember you mentioning which SSD you were ordering. Curious, and please post performance details once you install it!
     
  20. cvballa macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2008
    #20
    I just got a 2010 mac mini too and am experiencing some hangups so I do want to upgrade my RAM. My question however is can I just buy one 4 GB module and replace one of the 1 GB modules and run with 5 GB or do i need to go 2X2?
     
  21. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    Mar 29, 2008
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    Seattle
    #21
    4+1 should work fine. You haven't needed to do matching pairs for ages.
     
  22. cvballa macrumors newbie

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    #22
  23. matt3839 macrumors member

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    Jan 10, 2011
    #23
    7200RPM drives are great, but buying a solid state drive will give you the biggest possible boost in performance. They're expensive, but they overcome the bottleneck of a mechanical drive, which is the biggest in just about any computer.

    Also, if you're going to upgrade the RAM, consider whether you really need 8GB or not; 4GB is enough for most computer users unless you're using applications that eat up a ton of memory! RAM only delivers a major boost in performance if your computer has very little to begin with.
     
  24. klm123 macrumors newbie

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    #24
  25. Newfiebill macrumors regular

    Newfiebill

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    Jan 6, 2011
    #25
    Hi, I think the Mac Mini Apple site states that the RAM should be matched (1/1, 2/2, or 4/4). I just installed the Intel MX25 80GB SSD Drive ($150 on eBay) and boy that is where you will see a whopping difference! I run the OS and my Apps (Office 2011 for Mac, etc. total 45GB)on the SSD and have a 2TB External tied to my AirPort Express for iTunes, Photos, Media, etc. If you are going to open the 2010 Mac Mini and replace the drive, go with the SDD and don't look back.
     

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