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Upgrade a mid 2011 Mac Mini?

 
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WCWalker
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:32 pm    Post subject: Upgrade a mid 2011 Mac Mini? Reply with quote

I've got a mid 2011 Mini. 8 GB of Ram. i5 2.5 GHZ processing speed.
AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB Graphics. Lion 10.7.5 OS X

Are there any upgrades I can make to this computer to lengthen the life of it? Previous Mini's were fairly easy to upgrade things like the processor and RAM. But the newer models seem nearly impossible to improve.

Any ideas? Or would I be better off buying a new model at the next update?
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zedtvl
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can boost the ram to 16gb (very easy) and put a SSD drive and you will have a pretty decent model.
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Mac Mini i7, 2.3 GHZ, 16GB Ram.
Macbook late 2011 2.2GHZ, 240GB SSD, 2.66GHz, 8GB Ram
Dead PowerBook 180, M4440 33 MHz, 8 MB ram.
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WCWalker
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will updating the OS make an improvement to the overall performance? I know that it would allow me to use more current software.
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saul
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your mini is faster than the base mini currently being sold. It has a lot of life left. I have the same 2.5 that I use as a media server with El Capitain and it runs just fine. I haven't noticed a difference in performance of recent OS upgrades. What I notice is that Internet browsers and their plugins affect performance more than anything else.

Adding an SSD is the way to go. The difference in performance usually amazes people.
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WCWalker
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Saul. Yes, I suspected the latest entry level Mini would not be as fast as my older model.

I can't run some of the latest software upgrades to existing software without a newer OS. Just wondering if the newer OS is as stable as Lion. Lion is not at all buggy like when I added Snow Leopard. Promptly removed it on a previous Mini and went back to Leopard.
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saul
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that stability has gone up but lots of bugs were not fixed are now considered features. e.g. an app's window can not span two monitors.

I haven't really noticed but others have said that Mavericks (10.9) performance was better than the latest releases.

Ideally you would have enough disk space to test in a separate partition.
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WCWalker
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saul. Is it possible to add an external SSD and then load the latest OS onto it along with the rest of my software? Or must I install a replacement internal SSD for the existing SATA 5400 rpm model?
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saul
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can take an SSD and put it in a USB adapter and then boot from DVD or recovery mode. Load any OS X on the SSD. Then run migration assistant. You won't get the performance boost but it will work.

Also can use Firewire adapter but not common.
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WCWalker
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had another idea. If I back up my existing data to a portable drive (including the 10.7.5 OS X) and then do a clean install to a new SSD internal drive, will I still be able to run the existing software off the portable drive until I update the existing software to run on El Capitan? Many of my programs are years old and likely won't work well and update to El Capitan.
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saul
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that would work. But not a simple backup, you would need to clone the entire drive. And then boot from that drive (10.7.5) when you want to run the old programs.

Usually what happens is that you install the SSD and mount the hard drive in an external enclosure. Install OSX, and run migration assistant. OWC has instructions and videos. http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/mac_mini2011/

If you want both the SSD and hard drive inside then you need the 2nd drive SATA connector and mounting hardware.
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