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Can I install Snow Leopard on the new Mac Mini

161546 Views 657 Replies Latest reply: Apr 13, 2014 12:43 AM by Mea Culpa RSS
  • Steve Jolly Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 8:24 AM (in response to Hardax)

    Agreed, Hardax. It seems like a pattern is showing up: people installing SL on the non-server versions of the 2011 Mini seem to be having (mostly!) good results (and it's possible that the ones with poorer results are having a technical issue related to the disks or machines that they used as intermediate steps to help produce the install). However, it sound like most of the server-version SL installs go well at first, but produce a sluggish machine that isn't using all of its ports or sofware/chip resources, and they get benchmark results that support this.

     

    So, John Fair: have you had a chance to benchmark your Mini with SL installation and compare it to similar machines running Lion (and perhaps also to the latest generation of previous Minis), and if so, what's the result? I hope that we turn up with some good benchmark numbers from properly-installed SL on the non-server models, particularly with owners who opted for the better graphics chip and added more RAM.

  • John Fair Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
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    Aug 8, 2011 8:31 AM (in response to Steve Jolly)

    Hey Steve,

     

    I don't have a bootable copy of Lion to do any comparisons against unfortunately.  My Mini + SL Geekbenched at 1808 w/ 2.5ghz i5 and 4gb of RAM.  I thought that was low, which it is, but my 15" MBP with 2.6ghz i7 and 8gb of RAM clocked in around 5400.  I don't own a copy of Geekbench though so these are just the 32bit results.

     

    What's weird is that I haven't noticed the sluggishness or beach-ball-of-doom like many others have.  I had never used Geekbench before yesterday and honestly rarely put much stock in benchmarking software since there are so many different factors that play into the performance of a machine. 

     

    As always w/ OS X (and software in general) YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)...

  • Hardax Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 9:09 AM (in response to John Fair)

    Wow John, that Geekbench number seems REALLY low. I dont put a lot of weight behind these kind of benchmarks either but I would assume that the scores should be pretty close to one another assuming similar setups?

     

    According to the Geekbench website, the new i5 mini's should be getting in the 5000-6000 range.

     

    Have you had a chance to play a movie using PLEX yet? I have mine up and running as a sever but havent played any movies on the downgraded machine directly yet. I've only been using it as a file server so far (the whole reason for downgrading - needed Snow Leopards "working" SMB file sharing).

     

    I will try and run a Geekbench tonight to see what number I get.

  • Steve Jolly Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 10:03 AM (in response to Hardax)

    Uh-oh. I expected John to check in with a cheery "I got a Geekbench of ten thousand, and I'm running two copies of FCP and a movie at the same time I'm running the Geekbench." Oopsies? Lions and Tigers and Snow Leopards, oh my!   ;-)

     

    Seriously, as Cathy Fasano said a couple of days ago, ..."We are...experimenting with different hardwares, figuring out just which things will still work right on an i5/i7 mac mini running snow leopard, and which things are broken..."  In her post, Cathy hit a typo and said "hardwars," which may actually be closer to the truth for right now. So, we're still in the first few steps, and after we figure out what breaks, we can hack out some workarounds and get this thing humming.

     

    I can't help but wonder if some Apple hardware engineers have been watching this thread, smiling wisely and saying to themselves something like, "They think they've figured this one out already!  But, heh, just wait..."

     

    Are we having fun yet?

  • Hardax Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 11:51 AM (in response to John Fair)

    I just connected to my downgraded SL mini (not sure if VNC affects the outcome?) but I got an aweful Geekbench score of 1754.

     

    Wonder how that translates to real world performance?

     

    I have a friend who just picked up a 2.3 mini this weekend. I will get in touch with him and have him run the same Geebench test under Lion.

     

    Very disapointing. The computer geek in me isnt very confident that I will be able to live with a score like that! May have to go back to Lion and find workarounds for my networking and PLEX issues.

  • Steve Jolly Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 12:12 PM (in response to Hardax)

    Re If VNC is running, does it affect your Geekbench score:

     

    Yes, anything that ties up some of your Mini's processor(s) time and cycles will affect the Geekbench score. But not nearly enough to explain the difference between 1754 and, say, 5500.

     

    "Hardwars" -- and we are NOT having fun yet.

     

    So, which are the easier discoveries:

    1) workarounds for networking and PLEX under Lion, or

    2) discovering if Apple intended to hard-code the 2011 Minis to not run Snow Leopard (not likely, or we wouldn't have gotten this far),

    3) if that's not the case, figuring out how to transfer / hack / tweak existing drivers for SL so that the Mini can make the most of the i5/i7, Thunderbolt and graphics chips that are waiting to be unleashed. Not easy, but possible.

     

    We need to find some Code Whisperers.

  • oxmox11 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Aug 8, 2011 6:30 PM (in response to mikethebook)

    I just hope Apple comes up with a way to easy install Snow Leopard on  new mac minis. since upgrading to the new mini with a lion I have only problems and would love to go back to Snow Leopard.  it's a shame that Apple ships a unit with so many problems and does not allow to downgrade to Snow Leopard.  I just wish I keept my old Mac mini  and save me the thousand dollar upgrade for nonworking system.

  • macmedia Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 7:03 PM (in response to Steve Jolly)

    Well just to add myself to the unhappy list.  I also got the server model just to save on power and find a suitable replacement for my 2008 Mac Pro 8 core.  I saw that the geekbench scores rated the new i7 mini server just a bit ahead of my power hungry Pro machine so out I went to get it.  I absolutely have to have SL as my Epson 1640xl Tabloid scanner and Macromedia Freehand must use Rosetta in order to work.  I'm stuck with old technology and getting a new Tabloid scanner would cost me more than a top of the line imac...

     

    I put the Mini under target using my 2011 MBP and installed a retail version SL 10.6.7 (my genuine retail 10.6 had a kernel panic and I found one on the net that worked fine).  The issues started when the install migration assistant had problems moving over my data off of my tower machine.  It actually crashed my raid partition on my tower.  Then I reinstalled and skipped the migration and just started fresh but had what others saw - the quirky cursor.  I immediately noticed a painful delay in mouse movements as I upgraded to 10.6.8.  The machine is running but it is generally running slow as molasses.  I was going to install the 512gb ssd but I don't think it will solve the problem.  Sadly I'm about ready to call it quits now and use the 15 day return period to snag me an imac instead.  I'm not really looking forward to spending more than twice the money on one.  I'd certainly miss the easy internal access for the mini to the super tough SSD install into an imac.

  • Hardax Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2011 7:19 PM (in response to Hardax)

    As expected the same configuration running Lion scored almost triple the SL score in Geekbench. I have to assume this will translate to real world speeds. I didn't spend $800 to get a third the speed so back to Lion I go I guess.

  • Jordan Darcy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2011 12:45 AM (in response to mikethebook)

    Wow, it seems that I've spoilt the fun by running those Geekbench tests. Sorry everyone! It's a shame, because for me the Mini Server has been brilliant running Lion - I just would have liked SL so I can run Pro Tools until Avid updates it for Lion (they're working feverishly on it right now, but no one knows when it'll be released, could be tomorrow or a couple of months).

     

    Ah well.

  • Steven Richason Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 9, 2011 11:55 AM (in response to mikethebook)

    How about a Time Machine backup from a 2006 MacBook Pro running SL (since that's the highest it can run)?

  • anglotexian Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2011 1:23 PM (in response to Steve Jolly)

    I just received my new Mini i7 / 2.7GHz / 4GB, partitioned the HDD, and installed 10.6.3  on the second partition per John Fair's method. As John predicted, I did not have to swap disks since the host was an "old" early-2008 iMac. Then upgraded to 10.6.8 and Geekbenched before loading any additional apps. Ran the test three times in each OS and took the averages :

     

    Snow Leopard: 1807

    Lion: 6453

     

    While the SL result is disappointing, it's better than Tiger running on the old G5 this Mini is replacing! So I guess it will get me by for a while until I can upgrade my old apps. Speaking of which, I've yet to try running those, but am not experiencing any mouse issues or spinning beach balls while playing with the regular apps. Internet browsing dynamics are similar to what I'm used to with the G5, while the Lion experience is much brisker and seems to reflect the Geekbench results.

     

    I'm still hoping that someone much smarter than I can figure out a patch for whatever is missing here, but will try to embrace Lion for the future. I think that Apple has badly underestimated the need to maintain Rosetta for a while longer, especially in these cramped economic times. They are certainly stretching hard won customer loyalty from the early days (since 1994 in my case).

  • Randy Knowles Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2011 4:46 PM (in response to mikethebook)

    Hello all and thanks for all your hard work.  I am running a mid 2007 mini and my Apple Protection Plan runs out in November.  I'm contemplating a new mini, non-server, 2.7MHz i7.  If I understand correctly, the reason to run SL on a new mini is becasue SL still has Rosetta, in order to run older PPC software?

     

    (1)  How do I go about checking the software I now have to see if any requires Rosetta?

     

    (2)  I have the retail 10.6.3 SL disc MC573Z/A and used my existing mini to format an external HD and upgrade it to 10.6.8.  However I do no have any iMac or other newer Mac to use for target disc install onto a new mini (other than my old mini).  If I understand the messages in this thread this means I cannot do a fresh install of SL in target disc mode to get all the new and latest drivers (such as Thunderbolt or MDP) onto a new mini.  Am I correct in this understanding?

     

    Thanks for your help and elucidation.

  • MathGeekRob Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2011 12:07 AM (in response to mikethebook)

    I have two Minis; one is my media center running 10.6.8.  The second is the new Mini 10.7.0 with lion.  I plan on partitioning the second one's drive and then using the Time Machine from the first Mini for the second partition, using Target Disk Mode to install.  Anyone see any potential problems?

  • MathGeekRob Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 11, 2011 1:46 PM (in response to MathGeekRob)

    I used the store bought SL on my partitioned drive and it worked.  I was able to use the system migration to move  my files from the Lion partition over.  The only problem is that System Preferences keeps crashing whenever I try to change the desktop picture.  I am going to run the benchmark numbers, if I can figure out how.

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