Would more memory really help?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Akula971, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Perfidious Albion
    #1
    I recently bought a 2010 MacMini (2GB). Its used for email, surfing, a telephone answering machine, and doing my spreadsheets and letters for my home based business. In the past I've always maxed out memory in the firm belief that it improves performance. Recently though I've run activity monitor from startup and displayed the memory usage as a dynamic pie chart, as a dock icon. I've noticed that the green part of the pie chart (Free memory). never drops below a quarter of the pie chart. There are page ins of about 5.6MB where the swap file is used and a total VM size of 140 GB.

    Would expanding the memory to 5-8GB improve its performance?
     
  2. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Joined:
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    California
    #2
    If you are feeling any slowdown, it is likely due to a storage bottleneck since you have free memory. In your case, I would upgrade the hard drive first to a hybrid hard drive (Momentus XT) or an SSD (Intel or Sandforce controller) before upgrading the RAM.

    I don't know how comfortable you are doing your own hard drive upgrade since you have a Mac mini. I would also get an Apple-authorized person to swap it out since you are under warranty. Make sure to make backups beforehand.
     
  3. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #3
    It sounds like you have enough ram for now. Like the above poster said, if your computer feels slow try upgrading your HD.
     
  4. Chase R macrumors 65816

    Chase R

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    #4
    I personally think that 2GB is insufficient for Snow Leopard. You will notice an increase in performance with more RAM.
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #5
    I would put in a 500gb scorpio black hdd by western digital and bump ram to 5 or 8 gb. the hdd in the 2010 mini is really slow and hard to change. shoot an email to owc and ask them how much to do both upgrades. I upgraded more then 100 MM's from 2006 to 2009. I won't do the 2010 hdd upgrades I don't like the hdd connectors. If you pay owc they will warranty the upgrade.
     
  6. Akula971 thread starter macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Aug 25, 2006
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    Perfidious Albion
    #6
    Thank you all

    I've read all your posts, and done some more research. The machine is going to be upgraded to 8GB RAM, and I've ordered an 80GB Intel X25M SSD, which as well as being cheap and fast, takes less power than the 5400rpm Hitachi drive. 80 GB might seem small, but the machine will not be used to store video, music or pictures.
     
  7. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #7
    If your page outs are not above 10% of your page ins, then it's not memory that's the problem. As was posted before, it's the slow hard drive dragging. I maxed my memory the day I bought mine. Next is replacing the HD for a SSD. You should see a big improvement when yours is upgraded. If you can, do some kind of benchmark before and after. Curious how big a change this does.
     
  8. QuantumLo0p, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
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    #8
    I upgraded my ram because there are typically 3-4 users using my Mini and 2 of us game. Keep in mind, once you start an app it will stay in ram until it gets pushed aside or you reboot. A 4GB stick of ram is a cheap upgrade and it sounds to me like you don't need the 8GB max. Later you can another 4GB if you do want the max. Try the ram upgrade first. If you can live with slow initial start ups of apps, they will always start up fast the next time around; you probably knew that. If you want better hdd performance I recommend the ram upgrade first, try it out for a while then consider upgrading the hdd. My upgrades transformed the Mini into what it should be.

    The standard Mini should be called the "Sub-standard-Mini" because that's exactly what it is. 2GB of ram and possibly one of the slowest drives on the market are a recipe for mediocrity. Sorry, but please don't shoot the messenger. Faster and funner times are ahead for you!
    :)
     
  9. frankencat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2010
    #9
    I don't think you can install one stick of RAM in the Mini.
     
  10. Akula971 thread starter macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Aug 25, 2006
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    #10
    I'm actually quite excited about this. I started off with a PPC Mac Mini (still runs) and kept a windows machine for CAD work and games. Eventually got a Mac Pro and ditched the windows machine, ran the CAD in Parallels, and games in bootcamp. When I get the SSD and RAM installed, I'm going to try and run the CAD system in Parallels. Which means the Mac Pro would rarely be used, as I don't play games as much as I used to. I'm also looking forward to the power savings as the Mac Pro in idle took 155W+ and the mini only about 10W. It might not sound a lot, but the Pro used to be on for 16 hours a day, and I did see my bills increase alot.

    I've used Geekbench to benchmark it, and as standard it is 3359,

    I'll post more when the SSD and RAM appear.
     
  11. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    Apr 28, 2006
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    #11
    Sorry for not clarifying. I meant to say swap a 1 GB SODIMM with a 4GB SODIMM for 5 total.
     

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