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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Mini: Is the 4200 RPM hard drive a problem?


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djmitch
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I've read that the 1.42 GHz Mini's hard drive is 4,200 RPM. Has this been a problem to anyone in terms of speed?

Maybe I should tell you what I'm using right now: A Hewlett-Packard with Windows 98SE, 850 MHz Athlon processor, and 256 MB of RAM (please, don't laugh!). I added another internal 7,200 RPM drive a couple of years ago and saw a noticeable difference between that and the original 4,200 (or 5,200 RPM?) drive.

Actually, my only real beef with the slower drive has been folder navigation: it sometimes takes 10-20 seconds for it to move from one folder to the next. Has anyone experienced this with their Mini? Also, is this a Windows problem, processor problem, RAM problem, OR a hard drive problem? I'm not sure.

I realize that the above Mini with 1 GB of RAM will probably blow my PC out of the water speed-wise because it's all I've been used to, but I need to know if the slower hard drive is really an issue or if I'm just nit-picking because of the switching jitters. Until I get some feedback of actual Mini user experiences, I will not be completely sold on the Mini. Please, somebody put my concerns to rest!
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crazycanadian
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i had a pc previously with a 40 Gb 7200 RPM hard drive with a 550 Athlon, and when i moved to mac mini, i really couldnt tell the difference. With my uses; surfing the internet, itunes, and instant messaging, the hard drive speed really does not bother me. I was the same way before i purchased my mini, but once i got it, all my concerns dissolved.
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mynameis

 
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I plan on buying a faster one. I really think it is the weakest link for the mac mini.
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mcsenerd

 
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I don't know if it's the weakest link. The HD is at least upgradeable...I personally feel the weakest link would be FSB speed and the sad, underpowered, undermemoried, sickly old tech video chipset.

But I'm still enjoying mine!
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djmitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsenerd
The HD is at least upgradeable...
So, how would you upgrade the HD on the Mini? I assume by adding an external one. But how then would you get the external HD to run the Mini: can you install the OS on an external drive and run the computer from there, essentially making the built-in drive just an extra one?

I know these may be elementary questions to some of you, but I'd really like to know. I've requested an answer to them on other threads but nobody has stepped up to the plate yet...
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Mr Bobbins

 
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You can do both but I would suggest replacing the internal harddrive with a 7200rpm drive for the biggest speed performance. This may also interest you:

http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/prod...ini/index.html
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mcsenerd

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
So, how would you upgrade the HD on the Mini?...
Well...you could use an external firewire drive as your boot drive and "upgrade" it that way. I, myself, have replaced the internal drive with a hitachi 7200 RPM 60 GB model. This is not something I'd suggest for the faint of heart however. If you are not comfortable opening, modifying, or generally messing around with other hardware and electronics...you will not feel comfortable doing this either, and I would suggest you just buy a nice external firewire drive. If you should choose to continue...here's some info:
You can find a video of how to dissasemble the Mini here. You can find a description and list of the various Mini parts inside here.
You can find some benchmark comparisons here.

To upgrade the internal Hard Drive...you'll need to open the Mini (of course), remove the drive cage which holds both the optical drive and the hard drive (You'll also have to remove some tape and the airport and bluetooth antennas if yours comes so equipped), and then you'll have to remove the optical drive from the cage, and then the old hard drive...replace with new one...wash, rinse, and reverse. If you've got some experience working on small electronics...and have the tools to do so (I think that you'll need a long #0 phillips screwdriver for part of the job)...it can be completely done in under 10 minutes start to finish. You'll then need to reinstall Mac OS X on the new drive of course.

In short...if you feel like it's something you'd like to do...do some searching. I'm sure you'll find all the information you ever wanted on how to get it done.
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djmitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsenerd
Well...you could use an external firewire drive as your boot drive and "upgrade" it that way. I, myself, have replaced the internal drive with a hitachi 7200 RPM 60 GB model. This is not something I'd suggest for the faint of heart however. ... In short...if you feel like it's something you'd like to do...do some searching. I'm sure you'll find all the information you ever wanted on how to get it done.
Some awesome tips, but wow - what a headache! I mean, sure it would only take 10 minutes to replace, but too bad Apple didn't just include the faster drive in the first place. In addition, people without an extra internal or external drive already would have to shell out even more after $pending a lot to upgrade the Mini's RAM and so forth. The Mini almost succeeded in "wooing" this particular Windows user - until I found out about its limitations.

For reasons like the slower HD - and the limited expandability of the Mini - I've pretty much decided on the Power Mac G5 1.8 GHz single. When I did the math, a maxed-out 1.42 GHz Mini (1 GB RAM, Superdrive) worked out to only a few hundred dollars less than the PMac single, so I'm taking the deeper plunge into switching to Mac so I can get all the speed to begin with instead of fooling around with speeding up the Mini. And if I run out of RAM or HD space, I have up to 4 GB of RAM expandability and space for another internal HD (plus PCI slots, etc.) - options also lacking with the eMac and iMac. So yeah, Apple will benefit from my extra spending for extra speed and expandability, but I guess you get what you pay for.

Anyhow, I hope others can benefit from the great information in this thread. Thanks everyone!
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Kyomii

 
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Quote:
Some awesome tips, but wow - what a headache! I mean, sure it would only take 10 minutes to replace, but too bad Apple didn't just include the faster drive in the first place.
A 7,200 drive generates more heat than 4,200 and maybe one of the reasons why Apple did not ship the mini out with the faster drive, as cooling would be an issue over time.
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mcsenerd

 
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Heat may very well have been a consideration...however I feel pretty strongly that it was simply a matter of economics. Look...many of the 40 Gb drives are actually 5400 RPM drives? Why? Well...they're cheaper to source than 40 Gb 4200 RPM drives...therefore...poof! Congratulations...you get a 5200 RPM 40 Gb drive! I actually imagine that Apple will include a 7200 RPM drive whenever they do a revision of the Mini...but of course...I'm just guessing.
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mynameis

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsenerd
Heat may very well have been a consideration...however I feel pretty strongly that it was simply a matter of economics.
I agree, 7200RPM drives cost considerably more than similar sized slower drives. I would assume most people don't even care about HD speed, they just look at the size.
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Mr Bobbins

 
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The idea behind the mini was to offer a Mac at a cheep price so putting a 7200 drive in it just isn't an option at the moment. Still even for the price you get a quality Mac product with which you can do all the basics, unwise to expect more I feel.
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rs2sensen

 
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The mini is one of the first ever really affordable macs. For those PC users planning on switching, it's a much safer first buy than the other models, which they can upgrade to whenever they feel comfortable w/ the OS, and/or need more power. The mini, currently equipped, is fine for ppl. with basic computing needs, it really wasn't built to be a workhorse, which explains the slower drive.

And the mini has been a great success for mac, I'd say it's worked exactly as they planned, and I would bet will continue to help drive an increase in Apple market share.

We hear ab. all these ppl. switching to mac because of iPods. Now I don't own an iPod, so I can't really say what the benefit of a mac over a pc with them would be... But, if I did own one, and was a pc user who wanted to switch to mac, why not a mini?

To me, HD speed doesn't matter, it's all abt. size (like certain other things :yinyang: ). I can't tell you the speed of the 200GB HD in my HP PC, I can't tell you the speed of the 120GB hard drive in my Compaq PC, and I can't tell you the speed of the 100GB HD in my Apple Powerbook. I do notice that sometimes the PB can be a bit slow scrolling through files, is that the hardware, the OS...? I really don't know. As a laptop, I assume the PB has a slower HD than a PC, but, I still love my PB!
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rs2sensen

 
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Also, as for upgrading the HD... I know on my powerbook, just to upgrade the ram I needed a small screw driver to open the littlest screws I've ever seen in my life. No stores around me sell screw driver's that small, and although they were philips head screws, I had to file my flat head eyeglass screwdriver down to about 1/3 of its original size to unscrew the screws.

Make sure you have a really little screwdriver. For the PB, the manual says size Philips 00. Not sure if the mini would have the same screws or not.

Wow, there are lots of screw and screws in that post!
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