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my new mac mini system

Discussion in 'Mac' started by Jakeman, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I got the new base model, unibody 2.4GHz. I put 8GB of RAM in it and replaced the hard drive with a 160GB Intel SSD. And I got the low power LCD from Dell, the G2410H.

    The system is very low power. The LCD consumes about 11 watts at the brightness I use. The mini consumes 9 watts idle, 35 watts gaming, and around 30 watts under heavy CPU load. Typical web browsing and productivity is more like 20 watts.

    It plays WoW very well. And of course load times are instant with the SSD and the excess of RAM.

    It plays 1080p perfectly.

    Installing the SSD drive was a pita. Everything is so small inside the mini. Lots of super tiny connectors and stuff. I had to transplant some temperature sensors from the old hard drive.

    Apple has a real winner here in terms of power consumption. That's the reason I bought the new mini. It's running Snow Leopard which isn't my first choice, but I have to say that it is much improved from the piece of crap 10.0 that originally drove me away from the Mac platform. I would still prefer a more utilitarian GUI. I will likely switch to Linux once TRIM support matures in the kernal.
     
  2. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    Have you tried Starcraft II on it yet?
     
  3. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Nope. I don't plan to get SC2. I was never much of a SC fan.

    But D3? Yes plz. :D
     
  4. Elbereth

    Elbereth MSC Commander and Donator

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    This is kinda funny. I haven't even taken apart one of the new ones yet. I'll have to go look at the take apart guide now.

    Glad you like the new mini though, I've been thinking about what computer to get next.
     
  5. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    I just wanted to know how a new game ran on it.
     
  6. harleyb

    harleyb Peasant

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    You can see the expected performance here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-320M.28701.0.html

    It looks like a sweet little computer. I'll probably get my parents to replace their original Core Solo Mini with this new one.
     
  7. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Northrend in WoW is basically a new game. It is much more graphically intensive than old WoW areas, especially Dalaran. It runs Dalaran much smoother than my Linux PC. If I skimp on some of the graphical goodies I get 30-40fps @ 1920x1080 which is very decent. Older areas like Ironforge are more like 100fps.
     
  8. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    The system is having heat problems when WoW is running for too long. It overheats and starts getting graphical artifacts. I did some searching and found that most macbooks and mac minis have overheating issues when pushed to the limit. So I installed a fan controller that many people use:

    http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/23049/smcfancontrol

    It allows you to increase the base fan speed. This has fixed the overheating problem.
     
  9. Elbereth

    Elbereth MSC Commander and Donator

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    Just please don't run your fans at max all the time. I have had to replace so many fans (out of warranty) that were burned out from SMCFancontrol used by people who think that if a little faster is good, a lot must be better!
     
  10. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I gradually increased the RPMs until the graphical artifacts stopped happening in WoW. 4000RPMs is what I found is necessary for playing WoW. Hopefully the necessary amount of cooling doesn't burn out the fan. When not playing WoW I run at 1800RPMs.
     
  11. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    pro tip

    Use this command in WoW to limit your fps which directly affects power consumption of the system and heat.

    /console maxfps 45

    Use any number you want. 0 uncaps it.
     
  12. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I think I found a better solution. I removed the bottom plate of the mini and mounted the computer on a circular stovetop burner grill. The open bottom provides superior cooling without having to increase the fan speed.
     
  13. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    The internal speaker also sounds 10x better like this.
     
  14. OsIriS

    OsIriS Peasant

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    Perhaps Apple can learn from your modification in the next iteration?
     
  15. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Apple seems to be OK with the heat problem. From what I have read the macbooks and minis have had heat issues under load for several generations.

    I think it's just a problem of me exceeding the typical use case for the mini. They aren't meant for power users like me who keep the system maxed out all day every day. The SSD I installed also enables me to better max out the entire system because I am no longer limited by the hard drive. No matter, my cooling solution seems to work fine for my usage.

    Incidentally... I suspect my specific problem is that the RAM was overheating. Graphical artifacts are usually the result of overheated video memory which is where the frame buffer is stored. The mini doesn't have dedicated video memory. It shares main memory with the video card. Therefore I think it's a heat problem with the RAM.
     
  16. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    nevermind, the video problem still exists. Time to deal with tech support.
     
  17. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I haven't used Apple service in a long time. Are they going to give me crap about replacing the hard drive? Should I reinstall the original hard drive before taking it in?
     
  18. harleyb

    harleyb Peasant

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    While I can't speak for iPod/iPhone support, Mac support is as good as ever. They'd probably take more exception with SMCFanControl than you swapping HDs. If they mention it, say it was installed by a friend who's Apple-certified.
     
  19. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    technically I am Apple-certified (10 years ago) :laugh:
     
  20. Elbereth

    Elbereth MSC Commander and Donator

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    Not that I would know anything here - but I would bet that most Geniuses would be ok with the 3rd party SSD in this case as it is not the problem. (Unless something else was broken during the install...) Let them know during any appointment about what is in there though.
     

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