Improving my Mac Mini's performance?
January 3, 2015 9:11 AM   Subscribe

What do I need to do to keep the household Mac Mini performing at its top capacity?

I have a mid 2011 Mac Mini running OSX 10.10.1.

Is there something I should be doing to clean up its hard drive/defrag it/improve performance? We've done nothing in particular in this regard since we brought it home. It works fine, but I'd hate to think there was some de-crufting I could be doing that would snap things up a bit.

Thanx in advance,

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How much memory do you have in it? If it's less than 8GB you will probably see a benefit from upgrading it (which you can do yourself on that vintage mini)
posted by mr vino at 9:27 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Changing the hard drive for an ssd will help a bit, too.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:37 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've only got 4GB right now. This page says officially it can take up to 8GB, but that in reality it can take 16GB. BOO-YAA!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:04 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Upgrading to an SSD will probably help more than a bit. Upgrading the RAM would be my first priority (4GB is very low for a modern Mac), but if you can afford it I'd definitely throw in an SSD too. These Crucials are really good for price/performance. I have put them in a few family member's computers and they made a massive difference.
posted by primethyme at 10:37 AM on January 3, 2015

I agree, 4GB is low.

Also, clear your desktop.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:51 PM on January 3, 2015

Just a note if you are running Yosemite and want to upgrade to an SSD -- Yosemite no longer supports TRIM for non-Apple SSDs. Not a big deal if the SSD you choose has good garbage collection abilities, and, from what I understand, also not as big a deal if your disk isn't filled up to 80% or 90% capacity. The guy who makes TRIM Enabler is working on a new product as a solution to the lack of TRIM support in Yosemite.

FWIW, I have a 2012 Mac with 8GB of RAM and it runs very well, although I think the 5200 RPM hard drive is holding it back and it does not run as we snappily as my 2011 Macbook Pro with 8GB RAM and a hybrid SSD/hard drive (which is a good option, IMO).
posted by puritycontrol at 12:58 PM on January 3, 2015

While what puritycontrol writes is true re: TRIM and Yosemite, there are methods of turning off signing and patching the appropriate kernel extensions to enable TRIM on third party SSDs.

Here's a GUI method I just used in a current version of Yosemite.
posted by tomierna at 3:03 PM on January 3, 2015

I've got a 2012 mini and I strongly recommend 16Gb RAM. You'll notice a speed improvement the moment you restart your machine with the upgraded RAM. Opening up a mini to install RAM is a simple process, and RAM is a user-upgradeable part according to Apple.

I got my RAM from (owned by RAM maker Micron Technology), where the 8Gb RAM upgrade with lifetime warranty is currently $82. If your model secretly allows for a 16Gb upgrade (I've heard as much for your model) you might have to do a bit more investigating to make sure you get the right RAM.

Adding a new internal drive or SSD is a more involved affair, not recommended by Apple but doable if you're careful. (Indeed, you can replace or even add a 2nd drive to a mini's internals.) There are free instructional guides for that at and if you are inclined, but first try getting RAM and see if that's enough for you now.
posted by skywhite at 4:23 PM on January 3, 2015

Trim enabler works fine in Yosemite, you just have to be aware of the trade off of disabling kext signing.
I Would definitely add an ssd if you want to.

If it's running fine why break what isn't fixed I guess is my first thought though.

That being said though my 2012 i7 mini screams with 16gb of ram and an ssd in it. I am running Yosemite and using trim enabler.
posted by WillRun4Fun at 3:09 AM on January 4, 2015

16Gb of RAM is a must you can do it yourself. Upgrading to a SSD is not for the faint of heart. You can get a ssd to,connect via thunderbolt and that will get you most of the advantages of an installed SSD (however that is pricey). I went that route figuring the ssd can be used in my next Mac without any hassles.
posted by prk60091 at 1:09 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

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