Mini-Mac help please?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by StuRdesign, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    A good friend of mine has a Mac-mini, approx 3 years old. Recently it has slowed to a crawl, soon after a Firefox update. It gets used for a lot of photography storage. Currently it has 2GB RAM installed (with a possible capacity for 16GB).

    Could any of our resident Mac guys suggest solutions in lay-mans terms please?

    My suggestion has been a download of AVG for Mac to check it out - and boost the RAM as high as possible.
    Could someone suggest what % of HD storage needs to be unused to maintain the machines "breathing space"?
     
  2. claudel

    claudel Member

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    More RAM.

    2Gb is like running a car with 100 horsepower...

    I got 16GB for my Mini from Amazon for ~$150 or so, easy to install.

    Don't need AVG for OS X...

    Check "S.M.A.R.T." status of the disc drive to be sure it's not dying...

    "Apple" ( in upper left corner ) >"About This Mac" > "System Report"

    Scroll down to "Storage". S.M.A.R.T. status should be "verified"

    He does have viable backups, no?

    My neighbor still hates me because he lost a couple of years worth of photos because I couldn't
    scrounge them back off his disc when it cacked because he couldn't be bothered to do backups...
     
  3. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    He should back up the important stuff and reinstall OS X from scratch. Mine is due soon.

    And duh, he needs to fill it up with RAM ASAP, makes a world of difference!
     
  4. dingdongbell070

    dingdongbell070 Member

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    Maxing out the Ram is super easy, relatively cheap and will make a huge difference.

    Something a bit more complicated, but will also make a huge difference is getting a Solid State Hard drive (SSD) and doing a fresh OS X install on it. This is a more expensive upgrade, and can be moderately difficult to do if you're not familiar with computers. Might be worth hiring someone to do it for you if the computer is still running slow after the ram upgrade.
     
  5. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    Thanks guys. Yeah, he's already investigated the RAM situation at my recommendation so I'm glad you've endorsed that. I'm no expert with computers but it was the first thing I did when I got my Mac (G5) for home use.

    I've heard a lot about SSD drives and it's all good but that would have to be for future reference for him as well as for me.

    V. interesting about the SMART status - I'd never heard of that before.

    Thanks again all y'all!
     
  6. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    You might want to tell him to get a portable USB harddrive (under $100 for 1TB) and make a Time Machine backup if he hasn't already. I'd also move all those photo files to that disk as well (stick them in a folder) and free up some space on the internal drive...
     
  7. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    Thanks. He does have Time Machine but like me I don't think it's been used recently. :nono I could be wrong in his case.

    It sounds like he has a similar back-up idea to me, I have a vast array of USB sticks; mine are coded with miniature pool-ball key-rings. :beer
    I have been eye-balling for myself a Toshiba 1TB ext drive in Costco - I'm overdue a clear-out.
     
  8. 5881

    5881 Supporting Member

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    Does a Mac Mini lend itself to a SSD upgrade? Not sure if they use some proprietary weirdness in there with the hard drive mounting and wiring. Not a lot of room in there.
     
  9. dingdongbell070

    dingdongbell070 Member

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    Depends on the model, but this article is for the late 2012 version and the OP said it was 3 years old right?

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+Mac+Mini+Late+2012+Dual+Hard+Drive+Kit/11713

    I know its not exactly just a SSD replacement, but this at least shows that there is room
     
  10. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    Just been told that there's only 30GB used out of the 500GB HD. But am I right in thinking that it could still be a RAM issue or are there other considerations?
     
  11. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    You mean there's only 30GB left, so he's used 470GB, right? That's his problem right there...he's got to move some of that stuff. All the RAM in the world isn't going to help with a stuffed drive. Of course, adding more RAM (which is a piece of cake) will help once he clears it out.
     
  12. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    No, other way around, 470 GB clear. But RAM boost will still help greatly, right?
     
  13. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    Really? The OS takes up about 6GB, so basically, he's got nothing on it. I think he's got a dying drive OR Firefox screwed it up. Have him check the drive status with S.M.A.R.T first (as noted above) and if it's OK, dump (uninstall) Firefox and see if that clears it up. More RAM will help, but it's not going to slow to a crawl all of the sudden unless something else caused it and the obvious suspects are Firefox or a dying drive.
     
  14. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    Thanks, I've passed your thoughts on. From the sound of things it was very soon after the FF update.
     
  15. claudel

    claudel Member

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    I installed a Samsung SSD in my Mini when I got it a few months ago by using the instructions and adapter/toolkit from ifixit.com

    Presuming it's not the latest not-upgradable one, RAM is easy.

    Adding an internal drive might be a bit much for a novice, but I have no idea of your mechanical abilities...

    Check out the video on ifixit and see.

    External drives are cheap, easy to hook up and nice to have a few of.

    "Super Duper" is a cheap app that makes cloning drives simple.
     
  16. Elmer

    Elmer hell is chrome

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    You've already got tons of great advice here, but to summarize (and this is the same path I took with my Mini and it screams now):

    Max that RAM. 16GB.
    SSD if you can (mine is a 2012 model, a 512GB SSD works like a champ)
    Backup using Time Machine, Super Duper, or Carbon Copy Cloner (the last one is my own personal preference, but they'll all get you there)
    Wipe out and reinstall the OS
    Restore data from the backup
    Enjoy your now fast-as-hell Mini

    :)
     
  17. StuRdesign

    StuRdesign Member

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    I'm liking the numerous recommendations for an SSD drive. I'm in the UK, he's in the States. I'm guessing as always there's a huge difference price-wise for them. As an example, he can get 8GB of Ram in $s for what I paid for 2GB is £s about 3 years ago.
    We're the UK, we get ripped - regularly.

    The tech stuff isn't my call - it's his. But I do truly appreciate the help of all the replies.
     

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