Mac mini mid, with SSD upgrade.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by the read, May 1, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    For anyone who is considering or interested in upgrading to SSD:

    I just upgraded my mini with SSD drive. The performance improvement is huge.
    The machine runs much cooler.

    It's really easy to do. Admittedly Apple could have made it easyier, but with the right equipment (star shaped screwdrivers) its very easy. Only glitch was on first boot up the mini would chime 3 times and not boot. The problem was my RAM not synced in the slots properly. It took 3 attempts but eventually worked fine. (had to really push hard and click the RAM into place)

    After booting pressed Cammand R and loaded the OS via Internet. Took about 30 minutes. No CD no serial numbers, really simple. Have to say I'm impressed.

    If anyone is thinking about it, I would suggest the Vertex 4 - 2.5" - 256GB.

    I've kept the Ram at 4GB.

    The machine is used as a media server/player attached to my TV.

    The computer feels much more responsive. Feels like money well spent and much cheaper than buying the computer with Apple SSD drive. Win!
  2. macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    I just did the same thing this weekend with an OCZ Agility 3 240GB as I found a good deal on it at a local store. The thing I noticed is that many people show to remove the board when doing this. I don't know about you, but I didn't have to do this. It was easier than I thought it would be.

    The result:

    This was my 1st mac, and with 2GB of ram I was disappointed. Upgraded to 8GB. Things were better but still paled when compared to what should be my slower Windows PCs. Upgraded to this Agility 3 and now all is right with the world. It is fast like it should be. It does only have async NAND, but for me that is fine...especially for the price I paid. Even passed the Wife test.
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    Yes I also did not remove the board to do the installation. :)
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2012
    You can put in a SSD without removing the logic board? Could you please link a guide or at least a picture of that? I can't imagine how that is possible... Do you just have to switch it out a little bit? If so, I imagine it's just about as easy to take it out completely as you have to disassemble everything anyways.
  5. macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    Yes sir, especially if you are just replacing the one drive. Main advantage is to avoid disconnecting the IR connector which people have broken, some on this forum.

    The trick is, once you have the SSD in there free, to turn the Mini upsidedown, (or in this case downsidedown) some adjusting and gravity will help the SSD fall so the screws are aligned with holes.

    Mine is in there solid, mounted up correctly on my base model.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2012
    iFixIt's guide seems to do it similarly, but the removed antenna connector looks broken in their pictures. How do you put this one back? Just press it in place?
  7. macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2008
    I can't wait for my SSD and extra RAM to show up. I've started playing about with my new Mini which showed up an hour ago...and it's OK but there is clear room for improvement. The dual core i5 processor is better then I expected it to be, but with only 2GB RAM and a slow 5400 RPM HDD it doesn't feel like a modern machine.

    My '07 Macbook Pro actually boots quicker :eek:

    edit: and it's about the same loading applications, web pages etc. I'm not sure if I should be impressed with my Macbook Pro or disappointed with the Mini :p
  8. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    I just got done reinstalling Lion on my new Crucial M4. I haven't had time to actually mount it inside, so it's hooked up via USB right now. Sucks that my new SSD is crippled by USB but at least it'll be ready to go the minute I install it.

    Question: in a Mini server, which HDD is the boot drive? Since I'm replacing the boot drive I don't want to swap out the wrong one. I saw just one other thread where somebody mentioned it was the drive closest to the bottom of the case (i.e. the one that's easiest to get to) but I could use some confirmation.
  9. macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    Wirelessly posted

    I'd recommend placing the SSD in the bottom slot (when in operating position) to allow for quick replacement.
  10. macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2011
    Nottingham, UK
    What are you guys doing for bigger storage? external via USB?
    Rgds, sSteve
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2012
    Yeah, I've got a 2TB USB 3.0 WD My Book for iTunes/Aperture-library, my FCP X projects and much more, which works perfectly, and a 1TB Time Capsule for backups of my MacBook Pro and my future Mini, which should be sufficient.

    But honestly, hard drive prices are sh... right now. I paid 90€ last summer for this drive, and they now charge 140€ ... That doesn't seem fair, does it?
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    From what I've read here and there, it does seem like SSD makes a huge difference. I'm typing this on my first Mac - a MacBook Air w/256GB SSD. My co-workers were a bit skeptical about my decision to go with the Air over a MacBook Pro (or stick with a Windows laptop) but this thing is plenty fast. As I understand it, when it runs out of RAM and needs to swap to disk, the SSD makes all the difference in the world.

    My next computer purchase will likely be a Mac Mini to use as a replacement for my HP Desktop/Tower which has been my Windows Media Center server. That box has an Intel i7 and I want to move it to the office and use it strictly for converting my Blu-ray movies with Handbrake. Right now it's in my bedroom. It's actually pretty quiet, but it's huge, probably uses a good deal of electricity, and like I said, I want to free it up for movie conversion. So I'd like to replace that with a nice, small Mac Mini.

    I'll be tempted to swap out the HD for an SSD, but I don't know if I'll need to for the purpose I have for it. It may come down to whether or not the fan spins up too often and gets too loud. I'll be running it under a Windows partition (so that it can be my Windows Media Center server).
  13. macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2010
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    Not to rain on your parade, but once you start swapping it's already game over.

    You are talking about the difference between high microseconds to a millisecond to versus nanoseconds. 5 or 6 zeros slower. The difference between SSD and a mechanical spindle pales in comparison.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    I'm not sure what position you're arguing for/against.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2010
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    I'm saying that once you've started swapping the difference between memory and SSD or mechanical is so great that it doesn't make much difference.

    I'm not against SSD swapping out the boot drive is my project for this weekend.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2010
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    I did the upgrade while doing packing on some work servers.

    as others have noted, if you are only replacing the top drive you don't need to remove the logic board.

    now I can't wait for the prices on 500 gig ssd to crater so that I can upgrade the second drive to ssd.
  17. macrumors 65816

    Oct 8, 2007
    single SSD is enough.. just put whatever capacity HD you like and you are all set.

    iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes was installed on SSD but all content was installed on regular HD. believe me, it runs faster and you are not clogging your SSD.

    my config: 16GB RAM / 120GB SSD / 500GB HD
    2011 mini amd 6630

    i did not remove any of the logic board. just the fan and the wifi module that was being removed.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    A few questions:

    1) If I bought the bottom-of-the-line of the current-gen model, it comes with a single hard drive. Is that located at the top or the bottom?

    2) If I wanted to have an SSD drive running the OS/apps, and keep the drive it came with for media storage, would I then need to move that drive from the top to the bottom (or from the bottom to the top), or could it stay where it was and still become the secondary drive?

    3) If I wasn't planning on installing many apps, how small of an SSD drive could I get away with using? I suppose I know the answer to this already, since my MacBook Air is currently only using about 56GB of the 256GB SSD.

    4) For anyone who knows the answer to this...What I'd really be looking to do is run Windows 7 w/Windows Media Center off of the SSD, so I'd need to know how much storage I'd need for that (the TV show recordings would, of course, be written to the conventional hard drive, but I'd be storing stuff like the TV guide data on the SSD).
  19. macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2009
    I have the mac mini 2011 2.5 and I added an SSD to just run the operating system. I moved my home folder to the mini stock HD. I used the OWC hardware kit for $49 and used the OWC 60GB SSD 6G for around $92. I am using about 20GB for Lion and my programs. The mini flies and the upgrade was very economical. OWC and iFixit have video's on You Tube to show you how it is done. Good luck
  20. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    I just installed the SSD inside the mini finally last night. The trickiest part was getting the stupid antenna plate reconnected to the logic board. That connector is TINY. I've built many windows desktops in my time but this was microsurgery. :D

    The system flies now. I've got my iTunes library, iPhoto library and Aperture masters on the second HDD with the OS and all the apps on the SSD.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    All you guys that are adding in a SSD with the original HDD - are you all ordering a kit from OWC or somewhere else?

    IS it possible to just go and buy the ribbon cable that is needed?

    ( I am surrounded by like 20 asian computer stores that usually carry every part you can think of)

    Like - do you HAVE to have the rubber grommets etc etc for putting in the SSD?

    I don't wanna pay $50 for a kit if I can just get the ribbon adapter...
  22. macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2012
    I could not find one local, and didn't want to pay $40-$80 for a cable or cable/kit. A 120GB is about $130 or less if on sale. Add that to the $40 for a cable and I am at about $170. So I decided to skip the cable as I found a 240GB SSD at a local store for about $200. I replaced the drive instead of adding a 2nd one.
  23. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    the ribbon is about 30-35 bucks if you can find it.

    I will look for the part number. 922- ???

    best price i know of is the price above. I have two in a parts box i have not got around to using them.
  24. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    The only kit I've seen is the one iFixit sells. I already have their toolkit which is a great addition if you disassemble Macs a lot but I don't see the ribbon sold by itself.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008

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