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FYI: Early 09 Mac mini's (macmini3,1) 5th anniversary 3/3/14

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Do you still use your Early 2009 Mac mini (macmini3,1)?
Yes, it's still my primary desktop
 50%  [ 2 ]
Yes, but as a HTPC. I use a newer Mac for everyday use (games, work, school)
 0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, but as a home server, tucked away in a closet or out of sight of my newer machines
 0%  [ 0 ]
No, but I have it packed away...somewhere in the house
 0%  [ 0 ]
Not anymore, I sold it to pay for a newer machine
 50%  [ 2 ]
Not anymore, it died before it's time
 0%  [ 0 ]
Never heard of it...
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 4

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Joined: 29 Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Springfield, OH

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:30 pm    Post subject: FYI: Early 09 Mac mini's (macmini3,1) 5th anniversary 3/3/14 Reply with quote

The design of the more notable models of the Mac mini line will become five years old on Monday, March 3rd. I feel that this anniversary is significant for the following reasons:

*It was the first Mac mini to move away from Intel's not-so-great GMA 950 integrated GPUs and include Nvidia chips (the GeForce 9400M).

*Though the maximum supported RAM was initially 4GBs, an EFI firmware update allowed doubled the maximum to 8GBs.

*With the Early 2009 version, the low-end model came with a SuperDrive, instead of including the ComboDrive and forcing would-be buyers to purchase the high-end model for DVD burning capabilities.

*The first (and one of the few) Mac minis to offer five USB ports.

*It was one of the first to offer support for two displays via different channels (one via MiniDisplay, the other via Mini-DVI).

*It was the first mini to offer 802.11 draft-n wireless internet support.

My story:

Since 2003, I had been a Windows user for almost six years, replacing my hardware every 2-3 years when able. My experiences with tweaking (actually fixing) Vista were becoming worse and worse, until the unthinkable happened - a mandatory Windows Vista update that crippled my motherboard. I was taking Paralegal-related courses as well as hosting a weekly podcast at the time and I HAD to have a working computer. Remembering that I enjoyed the numerous iPods that I purchased since 2006 I decided (as an act of desperation) to give Apple's cheapest Mac offering a try.

The first six months were full of nightmares, buyer's remorse and near-regrets, but after finding alternatives for MS Office, installing defragging and fan control software, recording podcasts through Audacity, gameplay videos through iMovie and enjoying Steam through OS X instead of Windows I've been converted into a willing Mac "slider" (Windows at uni/work, Macs only at home).

Five years and several under-the-hood hardware upgrades and compressed-air cleanings later the machine is still running almost everything I throw at it - though problems are beginning to show since installing OS X Mavericks. Unfortunately I've reached the glass ceiling as far as games (and possibly the OS) is concerned regarding the machine itself, so it's finally time for a new model. Several people have asked me to give it to them as a gift when I finally replace it (most likely September 2014 with a stipend) but it's more likely getting demoted down to a personal media server/DVD player on a medium sized-television while the 2014 mini takes over as the gaming/uni/media creation machine.

I'm sure a lot of 123macmini posters still have the Early 2009 model, and after wondering what people do with aging minis I decided to come here and post the above. What do you do with your aging Mac minis once you replace them, or are you still using them because they can (adequately) run Mavericks?
Early 2009 Mac mini (macmini3,1), 2.0GHz C2D, Nvidia 9400M 256MB, 500GB Hitachi TravelStar, 8GBs 1067MHz Crucial DDR3 SODIMMs, 500GB WD MyBook

iPad mini "R" (Retina Display), 32GB wi-fi only model
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Joined: 09 Nov 2008
Posts: 3282
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the HDD hadn't died in the G4, I'd still be using it for my desktop, with a 2006 mini sitting around, with the 2011 for the HTPC.

Grumpy old man of computing.

[Desktop] Intel mini - Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD / 120GB SSD 10.10

4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

Make sure it has pins!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mines a Late 2009 2.53Ghz mini. It was bought as a refurb from Apple just as the new style mini launched. I think its a fine computer but compared to my 2007 2.0Ghz iMac it just feels a little sluggish even though it has a faster CPU and the same memory. I think the slow HDD lets it down.

I originally bought it as a HTPC but its recently been promoted to my main desktop as the iMac keeps freezing. Compared to the iMac it just doesn't seem as snappy, there is always a slight delay before it responds unlike the iMac.

I loved the iMac it was my first Mac and is still a wonderful computing experience but this video freezing issue has now been unsupported by Apple for over 3-4 years now and that lack of support has seriously put me off ever buying another. Which means if a new mini does appear this year I may consider it.

My Mac's are a 2007 2.0GHz iMac, a 2008 2.4GHz MBP and the 2009 2.53Ghz Mini, so it would be nice to have my main machine more up to date and seeing the true performance of the Mac OS. Although I'm also thinking of just throwing an SSD in the Mini just to see how much difference that makes Wink I have put an SSD in a Macbook but it had a fault HDD prior to the upgrade so I could compare how much difference it actually made.

If I do get a new mini, I think the current Mini will become a server tucked away in a closet Smile I now have a Roku 3 and an Apple TV doing the HTPC side of things.

BTW I'd missed the point that this mini can now support 8GB of RAM. I assumed it was maxed out at 4GB, so maybe a memory bump and SSD will keep me going for a few years more Smile

Mac Mini 2.53GHz - iMac 2.0Ghz - Macbook Pro 2.4GHz - iPad 1 32GB 3G - iPad Air 2 64GB
8TB Netgear Ready NAS NV+ - 11TB Drobo S
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