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View Full Version : Upgrading Mac Mini HTPC to a SSD - worthwhile?




VirtualRain
Sep 21, 2009, 12:50 PM
I'm planning out my Mac Mini HTPC... for running Plex.

While I'm upgrading the RAM, I'm wondering if it's a worthwhile exercise to upgrade the drive to an SSD. I'm thinking of storing all my media on a 2TB WD Green in a FW800 enclosure. So I'm thinking a 30GB SSD might be a good update... will it help make Plex snappier?

It's done wonders for my Mac Pro, but I have no idea if a special purpose machine like this mini HTPC would see any benefits.

Thanks!



Cave Man
Sep 21, 2009, 01:17 PM
I wouldn't do that. Media playback doesn't require much bandwidth. I'd spend the money on more storage or a FW enclosure if you ever plan to get an Eye TV device.

Bye Bye Baby
Sep 21, 2009, 02:40 PM
I was thinking of doing the exaxt same thing. I should think it was worth it. I am with you with the size- 40 GB is absolutely enough, or even a bit less if the price is right.

HE15MAN
Sep 21, 2009, 02:53 PM
What are the pros and con's of SSD drives?

johnkountz
Sep 21, 2009, 04:21 PM
What are the pros and con's of SSD drives?

Pros

Reliability
Random R/W speed
Noise reduction


Cons

Cost
Capacity


For me, noise reduction is the high-order-bit for my daily computer.

However, for media server applications, I would agree with previous poster -- spend the money elsewhere.

hitekalex
Sep 21, 2009, 04:42 PM
I'm planning out my Mac Mini HTPC... for running Plex.

While I'm upgrading the RAM, I'm wondering if it's a worthwhile exercise to upgrade the drive to an SSD.

I wouldn't bother with SSD in HTPC Mini. Most of the advantages of SSD (fast boot times, fast application opens) are lost on an always-on / special-purpose system like HTPC. You certainly won't see any difference at all while playing back movie, etc.

VirtualRain
Sep 21, 2009, 06:24 PM
I wouldn't bother with SSD in HTPC Mini. Most of the advantages of SSD (fast boot times, fast application opens) are lost on an always-on / special-purpose system like HTPC. You certainly won't see any difference at all while playing back movie, etc.

I tend to agree. BTW, you are running two-for-two with good advice in threads I started today! :) :p

Doug183
Oct 1, 2009, 01:32 PM
Ok, I have a C2D GMA 950 mac mini which I made into a Home Theater. To help it along awhile ago, I did the mod to remove the 5400 rpm 2.5" drive and put an external/internal 7200 Rpm drive that was much larger - Seagate 750 gig. I also had 2 other extra FW drives that I employed on this system that had another 1TB of data and 500 gigs of free space. For TV, I used EyeTV and HDHomerun and an Over the Air Antennae, and for everything else, Hulu.com and other websites. I thought this set-up was pretty good, but kind of ugly as I didn't mod the case of either the mini or the HD and just left the covers off.

The real problem hit me one day when the the 7200 RPM drive began to fail after 8 months. I could live with having to reinstall system software, but the thought of having to rip 150 of my favorite DVDs again scared me. I realized I had gone completely digital with the mini and all (EyeTV as well) and I hadn't really 'gone all the way' with my set up. I never backed any of it up because I didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense of backing up 2TB.

I knew the best answer but didn't want to spend the money before. With the failing hard drive and facing another 40 hours of ripping, the answer was obvious: I bought a Crucial 64 gig SSD drive and a drobo with 4 TB from www.macsales.com.

All I can say is that for the first time, this was one heck of an upgrade and I really do love it. That SSD drive is the single best upgrade you can do for any machine. The speed difference to the user is astounding. I mean to the user, its much faster than a Mac Pro - and by a lot - like 15x faster. Everything on the mini starts up in a second or so as opposed to a Mac Pro. Ok, clearly in rendering, the Pro will trounce the mini, but as a Home Theater device, sleep, wake, email, web browser machine... nothing, I mean nothing comes close. My fiancee who works in web development but swears she is not a geek, immediately asked if she could put a SSD drive in here notebook. I am going to put one in my White C2D imac.

I would not be surprised in the future if we see a two tiered system with the system software on an internal SSD drive and a large external drive (or 2nd internal) for everything else. This would benefit everybody. The computer companies could make computers obsolete a little faster (sell more computers), users would be able to upgrade easier (just pull the data drive), and hard drive manufactures could sell 2 items instead of 1. Hey in the distant future (7 years from now :) ) HD might well be gone replaced with some kind of 3D hologram Terabyte drives.

Again, I can not say it enough, I am shocked at the speed difference the SSD drive makes to the user. I even get slightly better playback of video from hulu and eyetv. This is going to sound outrageous, its like going from my MacPlus to lets say my first PPC with OS 7.6. (lets leave out the speed loss of OS9 to OSX out of the equation.) Sounds nutty, but its true.

Doug

I am a power user (film editor) as well as a casual user. I care little for benchmark scores. I have spent thousands of hours over the course of my life rendering video and copying gigabytes worth of data. When new computers or technologies come out, I skip the the benchmark scores and see what real world tests effect my life (like how much faster in minutes and seconds encoding will take.) The SSD drive is going in all my machines.

MovieCutter
Oct 1, 2009, 11:31 PM
I just got done installing a P128 Corsair into my Mac Mini. It's a secondary use computer. I use it to pull torrents and convert media. ANd it's noticeably snappier just like I expected. Have an Intel 160GB SSD in my MBP and the same thing. If you're using a Mac mini for more than video playback it's nice. I got that 128GB SSD for $150 on Craigslist though, so it depends on what you you pay for the SSD.

Bye Bye Baby
Oct 2, 2009, 01:28 AM
I think I'll go ahead and do it.

Get a real cheap SSD and bang it in. Away we go.

rgarjr
Oct 2, 2009, 01:45 AM
I think I'll go ahead and do it.

Get a real cheap SSD and bang it in. Away we go.

Do it. I have an SSD on my HTPC mini. Love the idea of having no moving parts inside that little box.

LinMac
Oct 2, 2009, 06:18 AM
Do it. I have an SSD on my HTPC mini. Love the idea of having no moving parts inside that little box.

The cooling fan moves. :D

rgarjr
Oct 2, 2009, 03:00 PM
The cooling fan moves. :D

Yeah u have a point there. :o

Tilpots
Feb 1, 2010, 11:06 AM
So a few months have passed, and just wanted to see how you folks with the SSD Mini htpc's were doing. Still loving it? Any regrets? The prices on 30GB SSDs are only about $80. I'm thinking it might actually now be worth forgoing a 500GB storage drive for the performance of a SSD...