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Old Nov 11, 2012, 12:54 PM   #1
That-Guy
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[UPGRADE] Base 2012 Mac Mini SSD and Memory Upgrade

Well I have successfully upgraded my brand new 2012 Mac Mini with an SSD and 16gb Memory so thought I would post some feedback for others who are thinking of doing the same.

Objective

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  • Install Data Doubler Kit from OWC to allow installation of Second Hard Drive.
  • Install OCZ 120gb Vertex Plus SATAII SSD to use as main Boot Drive.
  • Erase existing 500gb Hard Drive to use as Data/Storage Drive.
  • Install Crucial 16gb (2 x 8gb) DDR3 PC3-12800 Memory upgrade.



OWC Data Doubler Kit

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The OWC Data Doubler Kit which allows you to install the second hard drive was far better than expected. Great quality tools, everything you could possibly need to take your expensive Mac Mini apart safely.

The Instruction Manual is very clear with colour photos and step-by-step instructions but I found it easier to follow this video on an iPad while actually doing the work on the Mini:





The Solid State Drive

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The SSD I am adding to the system is an OCZ 120gb Vertex Plus SATAII SSD. The only reason I am using this drive is the fact I already had it, it was in my Hackintosh so thought I would keep it and use it in the Mini.

Its not the fastest SSD around and its also only SATAII but a huge improvement on the standard hard drive included in the mac mini base model. Its also worth noting that only 9mm thick SSDs can fit in the Mini 12.5mm versions will not fit so worth checking the thickness of the SSD before purchasing.

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16gb Memory

So the Data Doubler and SSD is now installed, so the only thing left to add when putting it all back together is the Memory Upgrade. This is a user upgradable part so does not void your warranty. But this is probably a little late to worry about this if you have just installed an SSD, as changing anything other than the memory will void the warranty.

As far as I know the 2012 Mac Mini will take a maximum of 16gb (2 x 8gb Sticks) which should be more than enough for the average user.



Internet Restore

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Now that the Mac Mini is back together I need to Install Mountain Lion on to the new SSD, which is easy enough to do by switching the Mac Mini on and press [CMD] + [R] at boot to load the Internet Recovery System.

I have found that it easier to just have the essentials plugged in while installing Mountain Lion, for example don't plug in Printers, Webcams etc until after your system is up and running.

Once Internet Recovery has loaded I went into Disk Utility and Erased and Partitioned the original 500gb Hard Drive as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" and called it Data. I then Erased and Partitioned the new SSD as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" and called it Mountain Lion.

Once the Drives were Erased/Partitioned I exited Disk Utility and continued to install Mountain Lion to the SSD. The Install took less than an hour, which also included the download on necessary files during installation.



Trim Enabler

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So as most of you know Trim is not supported for 3rd Party SSDs that you install into your Mac but it is an easy fix with Trim Enabler.

Download Here: http://www.groths.org/?page_id=322

You just need to install Trim Enabler, slide the Toggle to "ON" then restart the machine. You could delete Trim Enabler after but you have to re-enable Trim after any Major Mountain Lion update.



Moving Home Folder to Data Drive

So as space is at a premium on my SSD I decided to move my "Home" folder to my Data Drive this includes everything like the Downloads, Documents, Pictures and Music Folders.

I found it easy enough to do following THIS GUIDE but did find it reset some the the preferences I had setup like Sleep Time, Time Machine Settings and Dock Items so its advisable to do this straight after installing Mountain Lion if this is something you want to do.



End Result

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Boot Time

Here is a quick video I put together showing how quick the system boots with the SSD installed. I have also install all apps and setup the system exactly how I want it. The boot is under 20 secs which I think is pretty good for a middle of the road SSD.


Thats it! not sure if this will help others or not but thought I would post my experiences
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Last edited by That-Guy; Nov 26, 2012 at 02:01 PM.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:16 PM   #2
limesmoothie
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Thanks for that. Am planning on upgrading my Mini but incrementally - 16GB first then SSD drive in a couple of months. Good to hear about your experience.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:19 PM   #3
domhoenig
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great post! I plan on doing this...

QUESTION!

if I move the home folders...I still want my apps etc on the SSD will they still install on there yes?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:24 PM   #4
That-Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domhoenig View Post
great post! I plan on doing this...

QUESTION!

if I move the home folders...I still want my apps etc on the SSD will they still install on there yes?
Yes apps still install on the SSD
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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Great contribution, thank you for sharing
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 02:33 PM   #6
That-Guy
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Just added a quick video to the bottom of the post show how quick the system boots with the SSD Drive
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 03:36 PM   #7
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That's a great guide you have put together
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by stellan0r View Post
That's a great guide you have put together
Thank You

Will add/change bits if people think of anything to add or edit. Was thinking about adding a small part about screen calibration.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 05:02 PM   #9
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Question: the cost of the disk doubler and the SSD is not that much cheaper than just getting the Fusion drive from apple BTO. Why not do that instead?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Squeak825 View Post
Question: the cost of the disk doubler and the SSD is not that much cheaper than just getting the Fusion drive from apple BTO. Why not do that instead?
Well personally I already had an SSD to put in it.

But a couple of reasons:

1) If you buy the Base Model there is no option on the website to choose Fusion Drive.

2) You may want to upgrade the Hard Drive in a years time when SSDs will be even cheaper.

3) You may want to use the Data Doubler to add two 1tb Standard Drives.

In my opinion the Data Doubler Kit offers more flexibility
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 05:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That-Guy View Post
Well personally I already had an SSD to put in it.

But a couple of reasons:

1) If you buy the Base Model there is no option on the website to choose Fusion Drive.

2) You may want to upgrade the Hard Drive in a years time when SSDs will be even cheaper.

3) You may want to use the Data Doubler to add two 1tb Standard Drives.

In my opinion the Data Doubler Kit offers more flexibility
I get the base model argument, but with the Fusion drive, don't you end up in the same place as with the Data Doubler: two drive in the machine, one HDD and one SSD?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 08:00 PM   #12
Jeff Charles
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Originally Posted by That-Guy View Post
Internet Restore
Rather than use Internet Restore, I'd clone the HD to the SSD and then change the boot drive to the SSD. Is there any reason that would not work?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 08:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Squeak825 View Post
I get the base model argument, but with the Fusion drive, don't you end up in the same place as with the Data Doubler: two drive in the machine, one HDD and one SSD?
Yeah I guess, it made sense for me as I already had an SSD.

But for me to upgrade to the i7 Mac Mini with a Fusion Drive it would cost me an extra 380 from the Apple Site. I can get a fairly decent SSD + Data Doubler for less than 150.

I must admit though, if I had the cash I would probably just get the fusion drive. Don't think the girlfriend would want me spending anymore money on Apple products for a while

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Charles View Post
Rather than use Internet Restore, I'd clone the HD to the SSD and then change the boot drive to the SSD. Is there any reason that would not work?
Yeah as far as I know that will work but I like to do a fresh install onto a new hard drive, it may just be me being fussy
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 08:34 PM   #14
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Rather than use Internet Restore, I'd clone the HD to the SSD and then change the boot drive to the SSD. Is there any reason that would not work?
No issue and works fine. Same outcome just faster.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:56 PM   #15
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Did this on an older mac mini

Upgraded the RAM and HD in a 1.83 GHz Mac Mini recently, using crucial's RAM and HD kit, and it worked just fine. I was lucky that I already had the necessary tools, and man it was a pain to get past the casing and the internal stuff, but it all worked out!
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Charles View Post
Rather than use Internet Restore, I'd clone the HD to the SSD and then change the boot drive to the SSD. Is there any reason that would not work?
I did this, took a total of eight minutes to clone. I hadn't installed anything on my mini before installing my SSD but either way, it didn't make sense to me to do a fresh install when you can just clone bit for bit an install that was just done.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:02 AM   #17
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No issue and works fine. Same outcome just faster.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottaboshia View Post
I did this, took a total of eight minutes to clone. I hadn't installed anything on my mini before installing my SSD but either way, it didn't make sense to me to do a fresh install when you can just clone bit for bit an install that was just done.
What cloning tools did you guys use?

Could add links above for people who want to clone the drive instead
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:37 AM   #18
Jeff Charles
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What cloning tools did you guys use?

Could add links above for people who want to clone the drive instead
I use Carbon Copy Cloner and it works well. It's no longer free, but people who donated when it was free, as I did, do not have to pay.

Many people also recommend SuperDuper.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 03:25 PM   #19
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So here is my question for those of you, such as the OP, that have installed an OS x to a drive.

After adding in two drives like this, did you then try to recover from an older Time Machine back up?

I currently have a 2010 iMac running 10.6.8. Thinking of a new mini with either Fusion drive or doing what OP did.

Would then like to recover my TM backup from the older iMac. Can it be done?
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 03:29 PM   #20
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So here is my question for those of you, such as the OP, that have installed an OS x to a drive.

After adding in two drives like this, did you then try to recover from an older Time Machine back up?

I currently have a 2010 iMac running 10.6.8. Thinking of a new mini with either Fusion drive or doing what OP did.

Would then like to recover my TM backup from the older iMac. Can it be done?
I personally haven't recovered a Time Machine backup yet. So not sure if it would work or not.

Maybe someone else would be able to say if it will work or not?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:38 AM   #21
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Secondary HDD through USB

Very nice guide. Just what I need. I am a newbie to these mac stuff.

I am think of buying a Mac Mini, install a SSD, and use the stock HDD as secondary disk through USB.

If I move the user folder to secondary drive, what would happen if I unplug the usb of the HDD while OSX is still running. What would happen? Will it screw up the whole OSX? Will OSX restore after I re-plugin the HDD?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:06 AM   #22
domhoenig
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just set up my new mac mini...

8gb vengeance ram


256gb Samsung SSD

ran into a few surprises...the thing that guards the powersupply the foam kept coming off!

it was a lot harder to put the logic board in then i thought it would be! also i couldn't fit ONE of the screws back into the wifi board...but that's not a biggie...it's secure and i wont go back in there now!

what should i do now to make sure all is running OK with my SSD and RAM and making sure the internal fan is working okay...

a checklist so to speak of what is "normal" now with my mac.
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Last edited by domhoenig; Nov 13, 2012 at 07:20 AM.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:07 AM   #23
domhoenig
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also...


ZERO issues with using the HDMI port....granted with an apple 23" cinema display but it's fine! perfect quality.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:05 AM   #24
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Just done stage 1 of my upgrade by putting the 16GB. Brilliant results, the little Mac is flying, at just over 50 this is a bargain upgrade, IMO.

SSD will come after Xmas, probably...
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 05:30 AM   #25
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Thought I'd ive my two cents of experience too

I've finally received my iFixit dual drive kit (it got stuck at customs) and installed it yesterday. I find the spudger hard to use, but the screwdriver set with all the bits is really high-quality and extensive. It had all the tools needed and much more.

Anyway, it took me about an hour to finish installing. I've followed the video on this thread because I think it's the most detailed guide (ifixit did not include a guide in the set, you have to go their website to read it). However, I was in doubt when installing the grommets. That part is better explained at ifixit.

Also, this was invaluable http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...08&postcount=3

There were 2 surprises though.
1) the airport connector is covered with a plasticsheet, I had to fold that one up to reach the connector. It was also much harder to attach the antenna again afterwards with that plastic sheet. I'm pretty sure apple can see someone tempered with the system by that plastic sheet...

2) there is a rubber protector around the power supply connector which is not shown any movies. Had to remove that to slide the power supply out.


This was my plan (and it worked out beautifully)

preperations
1) Buy a USB3-enclosure and put the new SSD in there
2) Use Carbon Copy Cleaner to install a recovery partition on the SSD AND clone the current working mountain lion.
3) Test the cloning process by booting into the USB3-SSD first.
4) If everything's correct, boot into the internal drive again and remove the SSD from the USB3-enclosure and put another 2.5"HDD in it, make a Time Machine backup to that 2.5" HDD.

installing
5) install the dual drive kit
6) boot into the now internal SSD
7) do some benchmarking
8) go into recovery mode and then create a fusion drive
9) restore from Time Machine (from that 2.5" USB3-HDD)
10) Enjoy my powerful Mac Mini



My Mac Mini is a 2012 Quad Core 2.3Ghz i7
I've upgraded the ram with a 16GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 kit.
And now it also host the power saving 1TB Apple (Toshiba) 5400 HDD fused with the Crucial M4 256GB SSD.

(I've chosen a Crucial because I couldn't get a recovery partition on the Samsung 830.)


Oh, one more thing. I couldn't get into recovery mode with my wireless logitech keyboard. Had to attach a USB-keyboard and hold CMD+R while booting to get into recovery mode.

Last edited by spammerhamster; Nov 17, 2012 at 05:40 AM.
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