External SSD Drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by vandrv, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    #1
    I am ready to purchase a new Mac Mini and thought I would like to replace the stock hard drive with an SSD. I consider myself a fairly handy guy, but after reading some of the horror stories here, of broken cables, etc, I am reconsidering this. Wondering if it would be feasible to put my OS and applications on an external SSD in a thunderbolt case. What would be the pros and cons of this? Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    For the price of the TB enclosure you could pay a tech to put it in for you.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for that. I hadn't gotten that far along to be pricing Thunderbolt or USB3 cases.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #4
    USB 3 cases are quite competitive in pricing. They're obviously not TB speeds but USB 3 is fast.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    #5
    I see that USB3 cases are quite a bit less than Thunderbolt cases. That would probably work as well. I have an authorized Mac repair facility not far from me so, I will also check out how much they would charge to install an SSD. I know I can send it to OWC, but I already have a spare SSD, and I'm not sure whether they will install anything other than ones they sell you.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #6
    I ran my ssd externally in a usb3 case before finally installing internally. To be totally honest I haven't noticed much difference, just a tidier desktop.
     
  7. macrumors 603

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
  8. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    #8
    Thank you for that link. I think, after hearing some of the horror stories about trying to replace the hard drive, this is the way to go.

    ----------

    One more quick question, if I decide to go this route, should I leave to OS on the internal drive, move it to the external SSD, or just move my applications to the external drive. I'm looking to speed up applications, such as Lightroom, and photoshop, and am not really concerned about boot up speed.
     
  9. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    #9
    @vandrv, don't let the horror stories throw you off: those are full DUAL-DRIVE installations which require the removal of the logic board and everything else. For a standard, in-place direct replacement of the HDD with an SSD, it's a much simpler operation that doesn't require any of that.

    Trust me, I was in your exact same shoes. I heard about broken IR sensors, snipped cables, you name it. But I did the research and went through with an SSD replacement for my brand-new 2012 Mac Mini a few weeks ago and couldn't be happier. I'm not a hardcore Mac tech like some of the veteran forum users are here and I found the whole thing to be super-smooth.

    I made a very thorough installation guide for people just like you, check it out here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1529054

    I'm sure you'll be a lot more comfortable after looking at it. Don't go pay a Mac tech to do this for you. It's too simple.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for this. I've watched the OWC video several times and truthfully it looks pretty simple. I have done a fair amount of tinkering inside computers, so originally I figured I wouldn't have any problem doing this. But after reading the stories here about how easy it is to break cables or connectors I have had second thoughts. I will check out your guide and maybe I will just go ahead and do it myself. What's the worst that could possibly happen?:rolleyes: I will end up with an $800.00 paper weight.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Location:
    ladner cdn
    #11
    Vandrv:

    not a mini...i run my 2006 Imac (2.0GHz,2 g mem,lion) off a external ssd...it runs circles around using the internal drive... for what i do (Internet,utube 1080p,itunes,lite photo edit ect) it flys! startup,opening programs ect is unreal fast...the bonus part, i unmount my internal drive when not needing,and i get almost zero noise!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    #12
    That is an interesting idea. I have been planning to get the Mini to replace a core 2 duo Imac that struggles with Lightroom, but is up to everything else I do with it. So maybe running it off an external SSD would allow me to hold on to it a bit longer. Is your SSD in a Firewire or USB case?
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    whbunn

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    #13
    Not in line with your question, but have you considered the fusion drive option for the internal HD?

    I have mac mini with fusion and a MBP with OWC SSD. The Fusion is nearly as fast as the MBP. MBP boots if 15 sec, mini in 17 sec. Fusion is nearly as snappy in other functions.

    Bill
     
  14. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    "One more quick question, if I decide to go this route, should I leave to OS on the internal drive, move it to the external SSD, or just move my applications to the external drive. I'm looking to speed up applications, such as Lightroom, and photoshop, and am not really concerned about boot up speed."

    My suggestion:

    If you have two drives (one HDD, one SSD), you ought to have TWO bootable systems. What this means is that if you ever have a problem booting from your main drive, you can instantly switch to the other drive, boot from it, and go to work to resolve whatever problems you have.

    EXAMPLE:

    Lets say you get a 128gb SSD, a common size these days.

    In this case, I would create (at least) two partitions on the factory-installed HDD. The first partition would be 128gb or so -- this will become your "SSD backup". You can then use whatever is left for "general storage space", such as video, mp3 files, photo archives, etc. These are less-often-accessed files that you probably would not normally keep on the SSD because of space considerations.

    Your SSD should contain the system, your apps, and of course your account (user folder). HOWEVER, in order to preserve space on the SSD, you may need to relocate some files you would normally keep in your user folder to the general storage area of the HDD. Again, this is to preserve space on the SSD.

    Once you have your system, apps, and user account set up, use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the contents of the SSD to the backup partition on the HDD. Now you have a bootable and instantly accessible backup of your stuff (not including the files on the "general" partition). You can use CCC to periodically (and incrementally) backup your SSD to the backup partition. Do this, and you are "protected" -- at least more than most folks.

    You might also want to consider a -third- drive, to serve as a backup to the "general" partition on the HDD. Remember, if it's something you value, you need AT LEAST TWO COPIES of it on different drives.

    Insofar as opening the Mini is concerned, that is up to you. I left mine alone. Too many stories right here on MR from folks who "thought they could do it", and ended up breaking something. I may get into it someday, but until the warranty's up, I'll leave it alone and use an "external boot solution" as I pointed you to earlier. You will lose next-to-nothing insofar as speed is concerned. It works for me.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #15
    And running in Fusion would mean that you could easily create a bootable clone of ALL your content, and not just what you decided to leave on the SSD. I was running a self-managed SSD/HDD arrangement and would routinely clone each disk independently. With the FD array, I now just clone one combined volume and have all my stuff in one place. So what I actually did was take the two HDDs I was using to clone both my SSD and HDD, and now rotate them when cloning the FD. I've doubled my security without having to spend more $$. I like that...
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #16
    Trim

    Another aspect to consider... TRIM Enabler does not work on drives attached via USB. But if you go that route, there are drives that claim not to need TRIM, like the ones sold by OWC.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Location:
    ladner cdn
    #17
    usb case

    Mediasonic
     

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