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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Upgrading a Mac Mini (and partitioning hard drives!)


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mknightretke

 
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Member Since: Sep 28, 2011
Location: Oregon
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Mac Specs: 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GiB RAM, 80 GiB hard drive, Intel GMA 950, SuperDrive

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As I mentioned in my last post, I just bought a mid-2007 Mac mini (for extremely cheap!) after years of using iDevices and drooling over their desktop counterparts. The model I have has a Core 2 Duo and 1 GiB of memory. It's currently running Snow Leopard, but I think I want to upgrade to Lion, mainly for iCloud and the new improved iOS syncing.

Technically, at least, it looks like my Mac meets the upgrade requirements. Do any of you have experience running Lion on such a (comparatively) old computer? Should I bite the bullet?

My other question is about installing new memory. I know there are various tutorials around the Internet about how to do it. I have been working on PCs since I was about 8 years old, so I rather know my way around in there, but having to use a knife to get into the computer is...something of a new experience. Is there any real risk of damage to the Mac? And can I install 2 GiB in each slot, or is that unsupported?

Finally, and on a completely unrelated note, I have a 1 TiB external hard drive which basically contains my life. It's formatted in NTFS, which I understand is not super Mac-compatible. As I go through this ponderous process of juggling files, it occurred to me that I don't know how I should reformat the drive. EXT? FAT? HFS+? Which filesystem is best?

1.83 GHz Mac Mini (80 GiB) | iPad 2 Wi-Fi (16 GiB)
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chas_m

 
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Member Since: Jan 22, 2010
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Mac Specs: 2009 MBP, Black speakers, Black Benq second monitor, black(ish) iPhone 5s, Black 2012 iPad, etc.

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First, yes -- I'm writing this on a 2007 BlackBook and it runs Lion great (prior to installing Lion I did upgrade the RAM to 3GB and put in a larger hard drive). You really need (as in NEED) more RAM, but yes it works fine, even with one of the crappiest graphics chipsets Apple ever used in a modern Mac (though of course some graphically intense programs run poorly on this old thing).

Installing RAM on that particular model Mac mini is a PITA for sure. Not ONLY do you need to use a putty knife to get it open, you have to pretty much disassemble the thing (RAM's on the bottom). Some sadist was working in Apple engineering in those days ...

Follow iFixit (or likewise) instructions *CAREFULLY* and it's not a big deal at all. Be VERY careful of the temperature sensor cable -- break that and its game over. You can install a 2GB stick in those slots, but the machine will only "see" up to 3GB, so I'd suggest one 1GB and one 2GB stick.

As for the drive: if you're going to use it on the Mac, format it for the Mac -- Mac OS X Extended (journaled) if it will be a bootable drive, or just Extended if it's just a storage drive.
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mknightretke

 
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Member Since: Sep 28, 2011
Location: Oregon
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Mac Specs: 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GiB RAM, 80 GiB hard drive, Intel GMA 950, SuperDrive

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Heh, speaking of awful graphics, this Mini has an Intel GMA 950. I'm coming from a PC with a Radeon 5650, so this will be a bit of a dip for me. Fortunately, I don't do anything too graphically intensive, so maybe it won't prove too crippling. Fingers crossed!

I downloaded MacDrive to format my external and it said it needed be initialised first. I read the bit about permanently erasing all files and folders on the drive and I'm fairly certain my heart skipped several beats. Is there any way around initialising? I have 200 GiB on this thing, and the computer I'm running MacDrive on only has an 80 GiB hard drive. Same for my Mini (once it arrives). I can't afford to lose all this data!

1.83 GHz Mac Mini (80 GiB) | iPad 2 Wi-Fi (16 GiB)
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chas_m

 
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Mac Specs: 2009 MBP, Black speakers, Black Benq second monitor, black(ish) iPhone 5s, Black 2012 iPad, etc.

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Who said anything about losing the data? Of course you have to copy it over to another drive BEFORE you format it ... that's true of any computer or hard drive. Hard drives are crazy stupid cheap these days, and 80GB is nothing much these days. Why not just make a disk image of the 80GB onto your 200GB free space first, then reformat the drive, then put the 80GB back?
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mknightretke

 
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Member Since: Sep 28, 2011
Location: Oregon
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Mac Specs: 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GiB RAM, 80 GiB hard drive, Intel GMA 950, SuperDrive

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Never mind, I managed to get it all worked out. Thanks to MacDrive, my external is now a single Mac OS X (Journaled) partition, with all my data intact.

I'll wait on downloading Lion until I upgrade my RAM, as per your suggestion. Thanks for all your help.

1.83 GHz Mac Mini (80 GiB) | iPad 2 Wi-Fi (16 GiB)
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