Dell Mini 9 OS X Discussion Discussion for installing and setting up Mac OS X on the Dell Mini and Vostro A90

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rustyosaurus rustyosaurus is offline
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Default Thinking about a Dell Mini 9 - 05-22-2011, 05:02 PM

Hi there. I'm thinking about purchasing a used Dell Mini 9. I have an iMac, and a MacBook Pro, but I need something light and small (and cheap) to travel with when I don't want to take my MacBook Pro. So I am thinking about installing Snow Leopard on the Mini 9.

I've read all the guides and the process seems very straight forward. I would be going from an iMac with SL to a Mini 9 installing SL. Here are my questions:

- Provided that everything with the installation goes well, does everything seem to work or do people sometimes just have problems anyway?
- after everything is working perfectly, do things sometimes just break for seemingly no reason?
- If I have the automatic updated turned off, would it be reasonable to assume my hackintosh would continue to work well?
- how long does 4 cell (in good shape) battery on the Mini 9 typically last?
- i read somewhere recently that in one of the most recent version of SL that apple removed support for atom processors. Can anyone confirm this?

i like the idea of the size of the Mini 9 but I don't want a lot of headaches. I'm also thinking about getting a MacBook Air 11 (1.4 ghz /2 gb RAM / 64 gb) once they are refreshed in June. Currently they are going for about $750 used on eBay and I'm thinking after June they might go for $600 or less.

And I've thought about the iPad 2 as well but not sure it's for me. So I'm deciding between the iPad 2, MacBook Air 11 and Dell Mini 9 for a light, small traveling computer.


Last edited by rustyosaurus; 05-22-2011 at 05:08 PM.
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Oscar Oscar is offline
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Default 05-22-2011, 05:41 PM

Originally Posted by rustyosaurus

1st off, I'd scratch the mini 9 from the list and consider the 10v instead. Very similar architecture but with better keyboard and bigger harddrive (160 gig). As far ad SL on the mini 9 and the 10v, it runs remarkably stable, though many users experience some intermittent issues primarily with sound, sometimes with wifi.

If you're willing to spend the money for the MacBook air; the minis are great little machines, and it's brilliant to see OS X run on them. But Macs they are not. An air will easily far outshine them. So if your use case justifies the cost of the air, that will give you the best experience. Though if you're traveling with it, the case has been made that the potential loss of the mini would be much less compared to losing a MacBook air (or an iPad for that matter).

As for the iPad, I just got mine. And loving it. But... It all goes to use case. I haven't yet figured out how to feel comfortable typing anything up on it for one thing. So it may not be your best choice if you need to do a lot of that. There may also be software you are used to that won't be available for it, though you'd likely find a substitution for it. As a "media consumption device" it is awesome. It handles all my video podcasts great, I've got netflix on it (great), kindle (rediscovering reading) also great. And Flipboard is amazing for web content (though it has it's limitations). And of course you have all the casual gaming .. Angry birds, words with friends.. And countless apps to do this or that... etc. I'm a fan, obviously. But again, it's all about how you'll be using the device.

One thing to note about the minis: I think we're nearing the end of OS X capability in those machines. It doesn't look like there'll be a way to get lion on them when it comes out. SL runs great though, all the way up to 10.6.7


10v, N80, 1 Gig ram, 160 Gig HD, A06 /Windows XP / SL 10.6.6 NBI 0.8.4 Special/ Linux Mint |
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rustyosaurus rustyosaurus is offline
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Default 05-22-2011, 06:15 PM

thanks for your response.

the hard drive size isn't really important to me. if i got the dell mini 9 it would be with either a 32 or 64 gb SSD. this seems faster and more responsive than a normal hard drive that would be on the 10 inch. this would strictly be a traveling laptop and i would probably store almost nothing on it (use dropbox, ect) so i'm not worried about space.

i think i could love the dell mini 9 (even with the crappy keyboard) but i'm worried about battery life and things breaking (like the wifi). that would be a real issue.

i guess i'm leaning towards the macbook air 11 right now if the prices come down another hundred or two. that's another reason why i wouldn't consider the 10 inch. if i were going up in size i'd rather just get the air.
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underwhelmed underwhelmed is offline
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Default 05-22-2011, 07:27 PM

I have both and regret buying my 10v. It has sound issues 3 out of 4 times you boot it and intermittent wi-fi issues.

My mini 9 is rock solid, boots faster, everything works on it except for being able to Hibernate.

I love my mini 9 and it fits in a glove box, under a seat, or in a hotel safe easily.

Mini 9 | OS X 10.6.7 | NBI 20100616212351| BIOS 05 | 32 GB Runcore | 2 GIGS RAM
10V | OS X 10.6.7 | NBI 20100616212351 |BIOS 06|160 GB|1 GIG RAM| 6 Cell Dell Battery
Functioning Hibernation

Back up Mini 9| OS X 10.6.7| NBI 20100616212351| BIOS 05 | 32 GB SuperTalent | 2 GIGS RAM
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Leeward Leeward is offline
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Default 05-22-2011, 08:46 PM

My experiences based on my needs:

We have both 10v (hard drive) and Mini 9 (Runcore 64G SSD) running 10.6.7
Both have VirtualBox with XP installed, so we can run the few apps not available on OSX.
Both have 2GB ram

I use the Mini 9. My wife uses the 10v
I use the mini 9 for travel use. Especially when sailing (sailboat.. not cruise ship)
Size, shockproof and battery life are important for my needs.

Haven't had any problems with wifi or audio on the 10v.
I prefer the keyboard on the 10v
I prefer the SSD on my mini 9. SSDs are shockproof… hard drives are not.
Aftermarket 8 cell battery on the mini 9 lasts longer than the 10v 6 cell battery
Both have worked great, with the 10v getting the "edge" because hibernation works.
10v physical size is about the same as the mini 9
Both fit in my glovebox, in a hotel safe, etc..

In hindsight, the best option for my needs would be a 10v with an SSD and an extra 6 cell battery in my bag so I can run for over 10 hours without charging

11" macbook air with 128GB SDD would be nice.. but not for $1,100 !!
(I'd spend that money to upgrade my MBP before i'd ever pay 1100 for a 11" laptop)
Especially since it has a built in battery with only a max runtime of 5 hrs… :P
Anything bigger than 11" is not portable enough for my travel needs.

Hope that helps.
All depends on how you plan to use it...
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eugene eugene is offline
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Default 05-22-2011, 11:23 PM

The Mini 9 is a great machine for carrying around. I travel around Asia 6 or 7 months every year with my little Mini. It has 16GB drive with an 8GB SD card, and a tiny little H.P. 16 GB flash drive, as well as an external HDD for back up and movies. I think it's better to have your saved data divided rather than in one place. The keyboard is fine once you are used to it. Keep a spare O/S on a small thumbdrive in case of SSD failure when you travel. I had another Mini with OSX on it upto last week which ran very well until someone decided that they needed it more than I did and took it. Oh well. Love my Mini 9 though!
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Slothtyper Slothtyper is offline
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Default 05-26-2011, 05:44 PM

As you may have guessed, I'm a crappy typist so prefer the Mini 9. Have had good success with both but some card reader issues with the 10 lately. I guess I mostly just like the smaller profile and the speakers also sound better. But the biggest reason is the trackpad, despite all the tweaks I HATE the 10's trackpad which of course is almost always gotten around by using a mouse....but still....

Mini 9 | OS X 10.6.5 Via USB Mac on 64G RunCore | 2G Ram | Bios A05 | NBI 8.4 Special | Bluetooth | Legacy Off | 1.3MP

Mini 10V
| OS X 10.6.5 Via USB Mac on 160G HD | 2G Ram | Bios A06 | NBI 8.4 Special | Bluetooth | Legacy Off | 1.3MP

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rustyosaurus rustyosaurus is offline
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Default 05-26-2011, 05:45 PM

provided there is 2gb of ram and snow leopard, how does netflix and/or hulu run? what about other programs like photoshop or captivate? seems like these should be able to run with 2gb of ram.
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unclemiltie unclemiltie is offline
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Default 05-27-2011, 03:16 AM

I also have both as well, and a 15" MBP, iMac and an iPad..

Both of my Mini's are 10.6.7. I have no issues with either. (had to do some investigative work and some patches that weren't too difficult to get the sound to work on the Mini9) Both have been runing MacOS X since in the 10.5 days when DellEFI and other tools started coming together. Now NBI makes it very easy to get up and going with a Mini running MacOS X.

The Mini9 is great for traveling, starts up lightning quick and runs quite well. I'm pretty happy with it. The machine has the 32GB Dell SSD in it and I also have my music/videos (itunes library) on a 16GB SD card so I don't carry that stuff on the SSD. My only complaint is that the keyboard is too clumsy for me being a pretty good typer.

The Mini10v is also great, I have the extended battery on it and used it regularly for traveling internationally. The SD slot isn't quite as nice as the Min9 (the card sticks out), but the extra hard disk space helps alot. Doesn't start up as fast, but that's due to the disk. This one also dual-boots Windows 7, although I don't think I've run Windows on it for 6 months. The keyboard is much better, closer to full-size so I don't make nearly as many mistakes. One thing to note is that upgrading to 2GB of memory is a major chore. I think the memory was the first thing put in the box and everything else around it has to come out in order to apply the upgrade. It took me about an hour to do it. The Mini9 memory is under a removable door.

The iPad is a "consumption" device in my mind, where the Mini and MBP are "creation" devices. Paired with a small bluetooth mouse, I can work on creating documents, presentations, etc while using the Mini's, but not really the iPad. Don't get me wrong, I travel mostly with my iPad these days. But the Mini's and the MBP have their place.

As someone else said, what I'd really like is the Mini10v with the "small battery" in it and an SSD and an extra "big" battery for traveling. Maybe some day.

Oh, I use WiFi on both, have Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse paired via bluetooth, use the audio, use external displays, and pretty much everything that you would want to do. All backed up to an Airport Disk via TimeMachine. I've had no issues with the machines other than in the early days keeping up with Meklort's tools to install the upgrades. (but the latest versions of NBI even took care of a lot of that) The 10.6.7 upgrades went perfectly.

So, if you're not a fast touch-typer, The 9 is a great box. But if you type a lot I'd recommend the 10v only because it's not that much bigger and the keyboard is MUCH better.

Mini10v: Black, 2GB RAM, 160GHD 10.6.7/Windows 7 Dual-boot, NBI 0.8.4
Mini9: Black, 2GB RAM, 32GSSD, 10.6.7 NBI 0.8.5pre
MacBook Pro:15" Aluminum, 5GB RAM, 640GBHD, 10.6.7
iMac: 20" White 3GB RAM, 750GBHD, 10.6.7
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Karl_Mini_9 Karl_Mini_9 is offline
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Default 06-05-2011, 12:02 AM

this seems to be a good place to ask this question;
I have (family pack) Leopard, and a dell 9 /2gig+32ssd+32sdhc
am I better off to just get a Snow Leopard? or press on with osx10.5.8 ?

aka are there issues with 10.5.8 that there are not with 10.6 ?

a "fancier system" is no value to me at this time, the point of this exercise is to learn enough to be ready to build a desktop hack.

great forum,
lots of very good info,
thanks to all
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