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2014 MacMini (entry level) - one step for a drastic improvement


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Recently I bought an entry level late 2014 Mac Mini (basic processor, 4GB of RAM, 5400 speed HDD) as a replacement for my old iMac.

I expected that even an entry level Mac Mini would perform as well a the older 2007 entry level iMac.

 

I was very much mistaken. Running Yosemite the Mac Mini was awful. It was borderline unusable.

I was on the verge of despair when I realised that the limiting factor was not so much the processor and RAM but the slow HDD.

 

So, I already had my iTunes running from an SSD connected via USB 3, so I bought another SSD and enclosure and migrated the OS Yosemite to this and am using it as a boot disc. My home folder is still on the internal HDD.

 

The difference was amazing. I am astonished. The spinning beach ball is gone, I can now play 1080p .MKV video files and blu-ray direct from disc. Apps start quickly (on bounce on the dock as opposed to 5 or 6 as it was previously).

 

Since iTunes and the OS are both running from off board SSD's the internal disc is hardly used (unless I open a document or library contained on it).

 

If anyone has a similar issue or is considering a Mac mini, consider this as an option.

 

I can run iTunes and play 24 bit 96khz files with no problem (while doing so the processor is 93% unoccupied!).

This turns a virtually unfit for purpose machine in to reasonable proposition.

 

The cost of the 2 SSD's approx. £90.00 including the enclosure.

 

It may be my imagination, but somehow the music (ALAC files) actually sounds better! not sure if I am mistaken about this or if there is a valid reason for it.

 

This post is intended as a tip for anyone facing similar issues with their 2014 Mac Mini.

Digital system:  NAS (216 play), CAT. 6 cable to Marantz NA6005 network music player. Optical connection to Cambridge Audio DacMagic. Graham Slee Novo headphone amp with Grado Sr80i headphones, and Cambridge Audio 540 amp. Monitor Audio Bronze B2 speakers.

 

Analogue: Rega RP1, Cambridge Audio Phono stage, amp and speakers as above.

 

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I replaced the HDD om my 2009 Mac Mini with a SSD and noticed a significant improvement in sound. Someone here suggested the difference had to do with data transfer times from the drives the SSD being much quicker.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm using a 3tb thunderbolt drive, about 1gb for OS plus a 2gb partition for media, really fast and non of the memory issues that I had with the internal drive, it's been running for months since I first tried it and I,ve never gone back.....

Setup:

Lumin D2> Roksan Blak> Focal 806

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I'm using a 3tb thunderbolt drive, about 1gb for OS plus a 2gb partition for media, really fast and non of the memory issues that I had with the internal drive, it's been running for months since I first tried it and I,ve never gone back.....

 

 

Yes, it a huge difference. I really do not think Apple should be selling the Mac Mini with the slow 5400 rpm HDD. As far as I am concerned a unmodified 2014 model Mac Mini is unfit for purpose. Shame on you Apple.

As soon as you step up to flash storage or even a fusion drive it is a different proposition.

Digital system:  NAS (216 play), CAT. 6 cable to Marantz NA6005 network music player. Optical connection to Cambridge Audio DacMagic. Graham Slee Novo headphone amp with Grado Sr80i headphones, and Cambridge Audio 540 amp. Monitor Audio Bronze B2 speakers.

 

Analogue: Rega RP1, Cambridge Audio Phono stage, amp and speakers as above.

 

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