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Old May 29, 2005, 09:51 AM   #1
Gary King
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How do I add more hard drive space to a Mac Mini?

How do I add more hard drive space to a Mac Mini? What is the best way? I'm going to buy one; the cheaper one is only 40 GB, the more expensive one is 80 GB.

Is 40 GB enough? If not, how do I add more?

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Old May 29, 2005, 09:58 AM   #2
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The simplest solution is an external hard drive.
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Old May 29, 2005, 10:03 AM   #3
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As for the "is 40GB enough?" question, it really depends on your usage. If you really use iLife, then hd space will go fairly quickly.... I have a 40GB hd on my iBook, and I have about 10GB left. You shouldn't really go below 15% or so free space, or else you run into instability and speed compromises, because of the journaling, the virtual memory, and the spotlight index (which take up a variable amount of space). So in practice, I only have about 4GB of "useable" space left.

How is my space taken up? A big part of it is iLife -- 15 gigs of music, 1.5 gigs of photos. Add 1.5 gigs of e-mail, 2-3 gigs of MS Office and other documents, and it adds up quickly. But obviously if I didn't have 15 GB of music, I would have a much emptier HD!

In terms of what you can do about adding space, you have a few major options:

- you can get an external FW or USB2 drive. FW is better because it has some built-in features like "target disc mode" and you might not be able to boot off USB if you ever want to (you also might not be able to boot off FW, but most of the bootable drives I've seen are FW). The big advantage of this course is that it's the cheapest. An enclosure / FW adapter can be $30 or less, and then it's just the cost of a 3.5" HD, which is not expensive in nearly the same way as a 2.5" drive like the one in the mini. There are enclosures specifically designed to match the Mini in appearance too.

Here is an example of a style-matching enclosure: http://www.micronet.com/General/minimate.asp

- you can get a network attached storage device (NAS) -- these are basically just like the above, and even often include FW ports, but in addition, they can attach to a router in your system, if you have one, and then make themselves available to all computers in your household from the router. But there's a significant ($100-150) price hit to get this feature.

- you can upgrade the Mini's drive. It'll be internal, but it'll be more expensive than the other options, because 2.5" drives are more expensive than 3.5" drives, and you can only get up to 100GB at present. Also it isn't the easiest computer to install a new drive on (although it's probably easier than an iBook).
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