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What upgrade would suit?
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PhillT
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject: What upgrade would suit? Reply with quote

I have recently upgraded my '07 mini with a 120GB SSD, and it has made it a pleasure to use once again.
Despite the 3GB RAM limit. (4 installed) it does everything that I want super quick.

On the other hand, my wife has an '07 mini (3GB RAM also) with a 80GB HDD
(30GB free space) but because she has a tendency to have bigger apps, like Finale running while M$ word is open, Transmission is running in the background, Thunderbird open, and then there are the security apps like Macscan, TCPBlock and AppTrap, plus Flip4mac, and probably a couple more I have forgotten to mention, she gets the spinning beach ball more than occasionally.

Not being any sort of expert, I am wondering if this is a RAM issue, a processor issue, or a drive issue.
If it is a drive issue only, I would install an SSD for certain, given my experience with one in mine.
If it is a RAM or Processor issue, I would have to consider and ebay sale of her mini, and find either a good used '09 mini, or a new '10 mini.

Looking at the '09 & '10, it appears that because I can get 8GB in it for say $100, and a 12GB SSD for under $250 the used '09 at about $500 seems to be the preferred option, being about $150 more than a bare-bones '10 mini, which without similar upgrades would not necessarily fix the issue.

Am I seeing this right, or have I overlooked or misunderstood anything?

Appreciate some advice / input / alternatives... (limited budget of course Smile
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Colstan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:14 am    Post subject: Re: What upgrade would suit? Reply with quote

Hi Phill!

It sounds like it's probably a RAM issue, considering how many programs are running at any given time. There's a good chance that main memory is being swapped to the considerably slower hard drive. Here's something that might help you diagnose the issue. Have your wife use the mini for a typical amount of time, with a typical workload, while having the usual programs running. At the end of the day (or whatever cycle she usually follows), open up Activity Monitor. At the bottom, select "System Memory". Take a look at the following: "Pages In", "Pages Out" and "Swap Used". If Pages Out is is anywhere near the value of Pages In, then it's a sign of low memory. If Swap Used is a considerable size, then the mini is swapping to the hard drive to make up for the lack of RAM.

If these readings are not as such, then it could be a different issue. The 80GB hard drive in the mini is considerably slower than an SSD. An SSD will help with heavy reads/writes.

It's not likely to be a processor issue, but that is something to keep in mind. You can also find information about this through Activity Monitor. While the mini is idle, take a look at "% CPU" for each program that is currently running. If any of them have a high percentage, then something in the background is using the processor unnecessarily.

If it is a RAM issue then you have a couple of options. The easiest is to limit the number of background applications used. Try using the mini with some of those disabled, if they are not necessary. The alternative is to add more RAM, which unfortunately, is not an option. An SSD could speed up swap file operations but it isn't going to compare to an actual memory upgrade. It's also possible that the mini is suffering from both a lack of memory and the slow hard drive.

So, see if you can find out anything from Activity Monitor or disabling or quitting some applications. It may simply take some trial and error. Also, run "Repair Disk Permissions" and "Verify Disk" from Disk Utility, just to be sure there aren't some file system issues.

It also could be that the workload on the mini is a bit much for an older mini, at which point you could consider a new Mac. However, it's a good idea to try to pinpoint the issue before going that route.

Colstan
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Fox
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Colstan; most probable cause is limited RAM, but the stock Apple drive in the 2007 mini is very slow and it may be a contributing factor. If your wife was using graphic-intensive apps, I would also blame the GPU, as the GMA 950 on the 2007 mini's is not very powerful.

If you can afford to do so, I would recommend upgrading to the next generation model (not the 2010), which would allow for higher RAM capacity and a better GPU. You can then upgrade the RAM and HD when you have the inclination or money. For HD, the biggest bang for your buck is probably the Seagate hybrid XT. I use a 500 gb model in my 2009 mini and am very happy with it. It won't perform as well as an SSD, but these are pretty expensive if you can't get by with 120 gb of storage.

If a new/reburb mini is out of your budget, I would recommend an HD upgrade to the Seagate XT on your current mini. Even a decent non-hybrid 7200 rpm drive will improve the performance of the 2007 model; my Seagate momentus 7200.3 made a huge difference on the same model.
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Mini 2 (2009): 2.26 ghz Core 2 duo, 8 gb RAM, 500 gb Seagate used as HTPC
Also a Cube, 13" MacBook Air, 20" 2.66 ghz iMac & 11.6" Acer 1810TZ running Ubuntu & Crunchbang
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

put the 1.83 up for sale. buy a refurb



this would solve all issues


http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC239LL/A?mco=MTU5MTc1NjM


you would not need to boost the ram you could put this hdd in

it

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136692&cm_re=scorpio_black-_-22-136-692-_-Product


if selling and buying is too much work buy the scorpio black and put it in.
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Colstan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: What upgrade would suit? Reply with quote

Well, before we advise Phill (the original poster) to buy a bunch of new stuff, I think it might be prudent to try and diagnose the issues with the current system, as requested. Sure, it may be necessary for Phill (the original poster) to get a new Mac, but he stated that he has a limited budget.

If he does decide to get a new system, then Phil (the poster above me) is correct about looking for that refurb, keeping in mind that Phill (the original poster) is in Australia. I'm also going to concur about getting a Scorpio Black. I've been using the 750GB version in my mini for about a week now. I think that it's the best mechanical drive available.

(BTW, too many "Phils" to keep track of.)

Colstan
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good point if he is in Australia buying the scorpio black should be his first step. if he drops it in his 1.83 and it works it should be under 100 AUD AT THIS POINT he is done. cost for drive at ebay au.



scorpio black ebay

if it turns out that he or his wife is at a beachball issue after this drive he needs a more powerful machine.
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2012Mm base 2.5 with 16gb ram diy fusion drive
2012Mm quad with 8gb ram oem 1tb hdd

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PhillT
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colstan,
Thanks for the excellent advice, and I will take a look at the Activity Monitor results over the next 2 or 3 days to get an average (more accurate) result.
It makes good sense to nail the issue down before spending, although I would be happy to buy a SSD (120GB) to try in it, simply because I would be putting one in an '09 s/hand unit as an upgrade anyway.

Fox & PhilA,
I know you guys are big fans of the 7200rpm HDDs, and they are good value for sure, however I am so impressed with the SSD in my Mini (aside from the wake from sleep issue that I have not been able to resolve as yet), that I would have to go that route again. Size is not an issue as she has a 1TB external HDD which has all her data etc. on. THe 80GB is only half full, so 120GB will be heaps. Another issue with the HDD v's SSD is that we will be moving later this year to and "off grid" situation, relying on solar for power, so every watt will be important. The SSD is a mile in front of the HDD on power consumption. Her Mini will be on all night (off peak d/loading) and she can transfer the d/loads to the HDD from the SSD during the day when the panels are making power.

The refurb '09s have been "out of stock" for a long time, so I doubt will become available again. I have googled for them several times, and can't find them even in the USA, which is where I get most of our stuff from.
'09s are appearing on ebay though, and are going for a little less than the Apple Refurb price, although no warranty of course.

I'll post again when I have the results of the Activity Monitor.
Fingers crossed it is not a RAM issue.
Thanks to all of you for the great input.

PhillT
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M1. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Shintaro Dock.
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhillT;

I had the 1.83ghz and it was the boderline mac for me. Anything less did not cut it and the 1.83ghz with 4gb ram and a scorpio black 320gb did most everything i wanted.. It could be a little slow at times. Good luck at getting what works.


One thing for sure I had an 80gb intel that a member on this board asked to test and never returned to me. It worked well in my mini and was very good with power. If you go ssd I have had very good success with intel ssd's.

Regards

Phil A
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2010 Mm 2.4 C2D oem 320gb hdd 8gb ram
2012Mm base 2.5 with 16gb ram diy fusion drive
2012Mm quad with 8gb ram oem 1tb hdd

promise pegasus r6 3x 3tb + 3x 4tb =21tb hdds
lacie little big disk 2x 512gb ssds
synology 2tb disk station
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Colstan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhillT, if you are able to purchase from the USA store, then this site will allow you to monitor the refurb units:

http://www.refurb.me/us/

The refurb Mac mini which is most likely to be recommended here, namely the late-2009 2.53Ghz model, was available 8 days ago, as of this post. So, you may not have to wait too long. (Although the unit I went for, the 2.66Ghz model, seems to be reaching a month now.) They often come in big batches, probably depending upon Apple's refurb validation cycle.

Whether you decide to keep your current Mac mini, or purchase a newer model, I wish you the best of luck.

Colstan
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PhillT
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil A & Colstan,
Thanks for the tip on the refurb site, and the Intel SSDs.
I went for the Mercury Extreme Pro mainly because of two things, I like dealing with OWC, and the M/Extreme is Sandforce, which in my understanding was the best choice, Mac not having TRIM support as yet.
I will look into the Intel option.

Colstan, I opened Activity Monitor, and found that CPU was running permanently at over 100% !!!
It seems that there is a problem between quicktime and the finder and certain avi files.
Re-launching the Finder fixes the CPU usage.
Investigation has revealed that avi files from our Penatax digital camera are the culprit. Although they are OK in as much as they can be opened in an application, and they play just fine, quickiew is unable to deal with them and immediately it tries, the cpu goes nuts, and remains that way until a Finder Relaunch.
I have installed MenuMeters so she can keep an eye on CPU and RAM while she is using the Mini, so we will see what happens.
Meanwhile I will have to try to find out what the hell quicklook thinks is wrong with the avi's from the camera. Weird....
I am hoping that this has been the problem all along, and we are on top of it. If so, the SSD upgrade would suffice, but I am a bit reluctant given the 'wake from sleep issues' I am having with mine, despite it being set to never sleep Sad (wondering if the SSD has it's own sleep function???)
Thanks for all the help.
PhillT
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M1. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Shintaro Dock.
M2. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Voyager Q Dock.
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Colstan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, it's always a good thing to check background processes. Some really bizarre things can show up. You might want to give Perian a try, just to see if the avi files will use an alternative decoder:

http://www.perian.org/

If you're not familiar with it, it adds a lot of codecs that Apple doesn't support and allows you to view them through Quick Look. You could also try an alternative player, such as VLC. Although, it could simply be some oddball incompatibility. I recommend giving Perian a try, since it's simple and transparent.

BTW, this has happened to me with Quick Look before, where the CPU gets pegged at 100%, but it's not common because I don't have a device that I use to produce avi files that display this issue.

As per the sleep issue with your SSD, have you upgraded to the latest firmware from OCZ? Have you contacted OCZ customer support about this issue? They're very helpful, so perhaps they could be of some help. You weren't very specific about this problem. If you're having problems waking from sleep, then try it using a bare minimum number of USB peripherals, such as just a mouse and keyboard. Sleep issues are very common with USB devices. I have a USB hub in my Dell monitor that causes an older Mac mini to fail to wake from sleep. My old HP printer doesn't allow me to put my mini to sleep. So, these are some things you might want to look at, just in case it isn't the SSD.

Anyway, I'm glad you are able to find the culprit of some of these issues that you have to deal with. Keep us updated on your progress.

Colstan
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PhillT
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colstan,

There is more to this than you know. I have posted on another forum (rather than wear my welcome out here Smile so the easiest way to bring you up to speed is to insert the post verbatim, which will follow.

In answer to your questions, she has the latest Perian, She has VLC .

I bought my SSD from OWC, not sure who OCZ are (??).

Regarding my SSD / sleep problem, I have not added any USB devices since installing the SSD.
I am going to try "Computer Sleep = Never, tonight to see if that helps.
I have tried the following so far:-
Reset PRAM (several times)
Reset SMC
Hibernate mode set to "0" in terminal
Energy Saving set to "not put hdd to sleep when possible"

Back to my wife's problem (Mac "B") this is the post:-
Quote
I have two identical '07mac minis, both running 10.6.6, both have the same versions of Flip4Mac, QuickTime7, Quicktime Pro and Perian.

When I plug my Pentax digital camera (with an AVI file on it) into Mac "A" the Finder shows the cameras folder with the AVI (with jpg icon view) and a preview is visible and playable. The CPU activity is normal.

When I plug the camera into Mac "B" the Finder shows the camera folder with the AVI icon as a blank page, no preview available...just a spinning wheel, and the CPU goes to near maximum usage level.
The camera has to be force ejected, and the CPU keeps going nuts until I quit Finder, at which time CPU drops to normal.

AVIs from the camera, which have been downloaded to Mac "B" remain as blank page icons and trying to preview them results in the CPU going nuts every time, yet the same AVI can be played by 3rd party software quite ok, AND, get this, the same AVI file when viewed over the network appears with jpg icon, and is previewable no problem from Mac "A".

Despite having the Finder prefs, the Flip4Mac prefs, and the Quicktime 7 prefs set the same on both machines, this problem remains.
end quote

As you can see I have my hands full with this, way out of my depth.
Someone on the other forum asked for a Console report of when I plug the camera into Mac "B". I can post it for you if you wish??

Cheers,
PhillT
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M1. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Shintaro Dock.
M2. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Voyager Q Dock.
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PhillT
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhillT wrote:
Colstan,
Regarding my SSD / sleep problem, I have not added any USB devices since installing the SSD.
I am going to try "Computer Sleep = Never, tonight to see if that helps.
I have tried the following so far:-
Reset PRAM (several times)
Reset SMC
Hibernate mode set to "0" in terminal
Energy Saving set to "not put hdd to sleep when possible"


Colstan,
After reading post 5 in this thread http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=109952&highlight=ssd

my next move if tonight is a failure, might be to set hibernate to "3", although it goes against most opinions I have read so far,

Cheers,
PhillT.
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M1. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Shintaro Dock.
M2. 2009 Mac Mini - 2.26GHz C2D - 8GB OWC RAM - 120GB Mercury Extreme SSD - Voyager Q Dock.
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Colstan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhillT wrote:
I bought my SSD from OWC, not sure who OCZ are (??).


Oops! Sorry about that. I meant OWC. Sometimes I accidentally type OCZ instead of OWC, since I've had to deal with OCZ SSDs. My bad, I meant OWC.

Unfortunately, I'm running out of suggestions that you haven't already tried. It could be that you have a compatibility issue with the SSD and your specific Mac mini. I realize that it is a hassle, but if you could try it in your other mini, then you may be able to find out if the problem is the SSD or one of the Mac minis. I know that may not be an option, but it's certainly a way to narrow down the problem. If it fails to work in two minis, then it is possible that the SSD needs to be replaced. If it works in just one, then it is some issue involving that specific mini. From looking at your specs, both minis are nearly the same, so you might be able to swap the drives without issue. It's at least a way to check for hardware problems. You may need to warranty the SSD, at some point.

As per your issues with your camera, that is completely out of my realm. I rarely work with video files and never deal with a camera. In fact, I do not own a camera of any type and probably won't anytime soon. So I cannot be of assistance here.

I hope you are able to resolve your issues. At least you seem to have a handle on what might be causing the slowdowns on your wife's mini.

Colstan
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

owc ssd's as some other ones like ocz and patriot inferno have had failures in minis. double boot drives windows and osx even 2 partition osx ssds have failures. I upgraded many minis and a lot of ssd's were used intel is 20 up and 20 good. no other ssd i used was failure proof. every one had a brick or two.

this is why I push intel not because it is the fastest one. or the lowest cost. it is the one that works most reliably in mac minis.
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2010 Mm 2.4 C2D oem 320gb hdd 8gb ram
2012Mm base 2.5 with 16gb ram diy fusion drive
2012Mm quad with 8gb ram oem 1tb hdd

promise pegasus r6 3x 3tb + 3x 4tb =21tb hdds
lacie little big disk 2x 512gb ssds
synology 2tb disk station
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