Higgey
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11/18/14 08:02 AM (8 years ago)

My Mac Mini Is Starting to struggle

Hi everyone, I invested in a nice new Mac Mini earlier this year. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice about this. Now, my little Mac Mini is working OK but it really does get a little slow at times. I have the original 4GB memory and I understand it's a breeze to replace it with increased RAM. I've been looking at the price of memory (I'm in the UK) and 16 GB is going to be over 100, even if I buy it off ebay. Being rather broke at the moment, I'm wondering whether it is worth upgrading to 8GB or 16GB. I'm using the machine just for buzztouch development and associated tasks. Not gaming or anything demanding to do with graphics or video. What have you found to be the case? Was there a noticeable difference going from 4GB to 8GB or have you found that you needed to go all the way to 16GB for a real improvement? I'd be grateful for your experience and feedback. Kind regards from a cold and miserable UK. John
 
GoNorthWest
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11/18/14 08:39 AM (8 years ago)
Hi John, I made the jump from 4Gb to 8Gb on my Mac Mini, and it did improve things for sure. And it's super easy to replace it...you can go to iFixit.com for complete instructions. For what you're doing, 8Gb will be plenty. Unless you have cash to burn, that is! Stay warm! Mark
 
Higgey
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11/18/14 09:24 AM (8 years ago)
Hi Mark, Many thanks for your expert advice! I am yet again indebted to you. Just switched the central heating on... John
 
Ed Goodall
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11/18/14 11:25 AM (8 years ago)
@Higgey, I'm an Apple Authorised Reseller (and Microsoft etc.)... if you can give me the model number I could possibly look into some genuine RAM? I'm in UK too, registered Private Limited Company. Thanks Ed Fusion I.T.
 
AlanMac
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11/18/14 11:32 AM (8 years ago)
Hi Higgey, I have an old mac mini that I bought with 2GB and upgraded it to 4GB and it is fine. Like you I only use it for Buzztouch development. Have you tried any other steps to make your mac run a bit more efficiently? Check this out http://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/five-tips-for-cleaning-and-speeding-up-your-mac/ Alan
 
Higgey
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11/18/14 12:36 PM (8 years ago)
Ed, I'll PM you the details, if that's OK. Alan, Thank you! I will work through that article. Thanks everyone! John
 
tb
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11/19/14 05:18 PM (8 years ago)
Higgey, RAM helps, and I think that an upgrade from 4GB to 8GB won't do you any harm. I hardly ever reach the capacity on my MacBook, simply because general work on Xcode and Photoshop won't really strain the system too much with 8GB. However an upgrade to SSD is a by far better upgrade than a few RAM sticks. An SSD would replace the current hard drive. It's an easy enough installation. The advantages are that the Mac will run around 5x quicker, silent and more power efficient. They are very expensive, but for about 100 you'll find a 1TB SSD drive online. Adding more RAM into a Mac mini will do nothing if you're not reaching the limits of 4GB. You're essentially upgrading the top speed, but if you're not reaching the limit, why upgrade? I can almost gaurantee that the SSD will transform your computer.
 
Higgey
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11/20/14 01:14 AM (8 years ago)
Thank you, Thomas. I will investigate this further and try and understand which is the best route to go.
 
tb
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11/20/14 05:25 AM (8 years ago)
I 100% recommend going down the SSD route for now. People say RAM speeds up computers, but the truth is that they only speed up computers marginally. SSD is a breakthrough technology. It's less strain on the Mac Mini and it runs 5-7x faster. All new MacBook Airs and Pros have it, and that's why they are so much faster than the equivilant Mac Minis and iMacs.
 
AlanMac
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11/20/14 12:21 PM (8 years ago)
To be fair, comparing adding RAM to adding an SSD is not a direct comparison, both have their place. RAM is used to run applications and feed information directly in and out of the processor. If you don't have enough RAM for all the programs you are running, the operating system swaps information to the local hard disk, which makes the the computer runs more slowly. If If you load a lot of programs at the same time, extra RAM will help as it prevents disk swapping. Solid State Drives (SSD) offer performance benefits over the internal hard disk; they improving boot times and application load times. If you load big files, lots data, and SSD would help. The following link might give you an idea of how an SSD could help. http://www.computerworld.com/article/2492024/solid-state-drives/hard-disk-drives-vs-solid-state-drives-are-ssds-finally-worth-the-money.html I believe you would need more ram before you realise the benefits of an SSD and for sure, and SSD will never make your machine 5-7x faster. Alan
 
Higgey
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11/20/14 12:32 PM (8 years ago)
Thank you, Alan. It's all rather above and beyond me so I appreciate everyone taking the time to help me to understand. John
 
tb
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11/20/14 06:05 PM (8 years ago)
@Alan... You can compare SSD and RAM. Needs like ourselves can pester on about how one is not related to the other, but any same person would just say that both these things increase a computer's general and overall performance and speed. And if you evaluate it like that, the question is which one (RAM or SSD) do a better job at it when considering costs. RAM is of course crucial, and everybody likes to upgrade RAM, but truth be told, 4GB is fine for most people, and 8GB will fit the bill for 95% of computer users out there. Of course there will always be an elite set who say nothing but 64GB is adequate for them, but you always get nutters in any specialised community. But the big myth is that RAM speeds up computers. It doesn't. It increases it's top speed. It basically prevents it from slowing. It's true that if a computer runs out of RAM, applications are then transferred to the hard drive... but surely a good place to start is upgrading the hard drive. SSDs, as explained above are beneficial. Aside from costs, there is little to fault them on. And yes, they really do increase speeds 5-7x. That is a figure coming from me, and not some advertising jargon. I upgraded my older and relatively fast hard drive (7200rpm) to SSD, and the boot time is 12 seconds. Photoshop loads in around 3 seconds and Xcode around the same. Tell me to the face that isn't 5 or 6 times quicker. Of course upgrading both is ideal, but it can become a very expensive option - you could almost buy another Mac mini if one got expensive chips and drives. Now I want to return to the original question of the topic which was 'My Mac mini is starting to struggle'. This is surely an overall question of performance, so we should evaluate the the viable options that are related to computer performance. RAM is an easy option, but will only help if you are using it all up. SSD will loads things immensely quickly, but when reaching RAM capacity, SSD will only marginally help. I think that the best thing to do is try out a RAM monitor. They are freely available on the Mac App Store. It shows how much free RAM there is. If you're finding that you're hitting low numbers regularly (roughly 10% of original capacity - so in your case it would be roughly 400MB) an upgrade of RAM is probably more suitable. If you're just fed up that things aren't loading quickly or your hard drive is running a bit more slowly, SSD is the route to go down. More RAM = higher top speed Upgrade to SSD = more acceleration It's not exactly like that, but it's the easiest way to think of it.
 
Higgey
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11/21/14 01:45 AM (8 years ago)
Thanks, Thomas. I continue to learn! John
 
Arubaman
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11/21/14 10:45 AM (8 years ago)
I would have to add also if you had Mavericks installed and updated to Yosemite over it, then it does seem to slow things down a bit- lots of threads around on this.
 

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