The Apple Mac mini (2010), and why you shouldn’t buy it

Posted: June 17, 2010 in Rants & Raves, Technical

I’ve been bashing my head for 10 days now, trying to get answers from apple about an issue with a new Mac mini I purchased. Now, I’m a techie. I come from the PC world. I’m not an idiot, and I’ve been doing this a really long time. I know my technologies, especially when it comes to something as simple as a SATA controller and its speed. As well as how to do the math to convert from bytes to bits and vice versa.

Within the Apple store, when configuring a mac mini, within the “learn more” link in the hard drive section, you come across this quote “All Mac mini models include standard Serial ATA hard drives with data transfers up to 300 megabytes per second” Now, if you’re a geek like me, you know that equals out to be about 2.4 gigabits per second. This is the theoretical limit of SATA II. If you were to look at the maximum of a SATA I controller, you’d see that it’s about 1.5 gigabit per second, or 131 megabytes per second.

Now that we have that out of the way, on to the problem.

I exchanged my 8 days old Mac mini for a brand new Mac mini 2010. In the system profiler, if you look at the SATA controller, in the window below you will see Link Speed, and Negotiated Link Speed. On my mac mini it is 3.0 gigabit link speed, and 1.5 gigabit negotiated link speed. Why? Because the hard drive in the Mac mini is a SATA I hard drive. I even called Hitachi to confirm this, AND Apple engineering has confirmed this. How can they get away with advertising it as something, then giving you something in the range of ‘half’? I’m waiting on a response from Apple about that.

Don’t buy a Mac mini. You’re not getting out of it what you should. And check any Mac you are about to buy, for any discrepancies between the Link Speed and Negotiated Link Speed, except optical CD/DVD drives. Most aren’t capable of those speeds anyway. Likely, I’m going to return this mac. I just know Apple isn’t going to fix it and make it right (replace the hard drive with a SATA II version), but I’m sure they’ll take the computer back and give me my money.Holy hell, and I was trying to give Apple a chance. I didn’t realize they hated me so much.

UPDATE: Apple’s response was “Sorry… you can return it if you’d like, but we can’t replace the hard drive”.

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Comments
  1. Rob says:

    Just install a new hard drive on your own and the link will be 3.0

    • Ricky says:

      I thought about doing exactly that. I even asked Apple about it. Only way to upgrade are to take it to an authorized Apple repair center and have them upgrade it, or void the warranty and do it myself. The real question is, when I crack it open far enough to get to the hard drive, have I tampered with anything that would cause someone to know? I’d hate to destroy a perfectly good 1 year warranty. Besides, Apple’s web site says it’s a SATA II drive. That’s the real issue aside from the use of old technology. Really hope Apple can remedy the situation!

      • compucore says:

        For what it is worth I am like you a techie guy on the PC side. IF they can have them replace the drive that is in there with a proper sata II drive like what you had mentioned. It’s silly what they are doing on the Mac Mini Put in a SATA II controller but only use a Sata 1 hard drive on the machine. If I were them. I would just exchange the drive out and make the client happy on something like that. Since you bought it with your hard earned money.

        I recently got myself through one of my distribution contacts for recycling computers an original Mac Mini using IDE 2.5 inch drives. For all practical purposes it’s just going to be for learning and a media centre for what I need it to do.

  2. Rob says:

    no, Apple will never make you whole on this matter but the easiest remedy is for you to either do it yourself or send it in to the authorized mac repair facility called Techrestore.com and they will do it for you for a fee.

    The drives Apple sells are intentionally hobbled and for that reason who knows but any drive aftermarket is an upgrade because as they have not been messed with by Apple. MacOS will see the aftermarket drive as a SATA drive with a 3.0 link speed. Good Luck.

    • Ricky says:

      If Apple won’t replace the drive with one they said it would have, I’m returning it. If I let Apple just do nothing about it, they win. I don’t want to do that, but I will just to make my point.

      Oh, and than’s for that link… might come in handy in the future.

  3. Dino says:

    Bought the mini yesterday and it is amazing! Gorgeous piece of technology! Fast, quiet, easy to set up and a joy to use!

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