Mac Mini + OS on external USB 3.0/Thuderbolt SSD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Planner Dude, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #1
    I was wondering if this would be the safest (and cheapest) way to get good performance:

    1. Buy a standard 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 model
    2. Buy either an external SSD or internal SSD with enclosure.
    3. Use USB 3.0 or thuderbolt cables on the SSD.
    4. Load Mac OS X & apps on the SSD.

    My rational is that:

    - I wouldn't have to pay for the expensive apple SSD ($300) and could keep the 1 tb hdd.

    - I wouldn't have to worry as much about the potential drive failures of a fusion drive and I would have control over where my files were stored. Plus, I am not paying $250 for the fusion drive.

    - I wouldn't have to perform major surgery on the mini, potentially running it and/or voiding my warranty (installing a SSD myself)

    -I would have faster performance with the external SSD over the stock HDD.


    I thought I might use a ministack or ministack max from newertech:

    http://www.newertech.com/storage/

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #2
    This is exactly what I will be doing. I have the Mini and SSD. I am going to buy an external enclosure today. I don't know about those "ministacks" but I'm probably going to get this:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=741690&Q=&is=REG&A=details
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #3
  4. MrXiro, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012

    macrumors 68030

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    You lose a little speed going the USB 3.0 route I think. I had the TB sled that Seagate makes on my iMac. To be honest... if you get a Mac Mini the surgery is dreadfully easy. Just don't rush and you'll be fine. It's nowhere near as scary as taking apart an iMac (I will not go there).

    After doing it once I can take apart 2 Mac Minis swap their hard drives and RAM and put them back together again in under an hour.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #5
    Thanks. I know I'll take a little bit of a performance hit, but my question is how much and will I really notice it?

    Besides doing the surgery, I am afraid of voiding applecare. What if I need to take the computer in for repair?
     
  6. MrXiro, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012

    macrumors 68030

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    open it up and take out your drive first... I've taken in a MBP to get looked at with the superdrive ripped out and a 2nd drive installed. The Genius told me to go home take it out and bring it back in and did all my repairs for me with no issues. There isn't a "seal" like in the old days that tells them you opened it up and did stuff to it like in the old days.

    But if you're really that worried go with the Seagate Thunderbolt adapter... I have one I'm trying to sell if you're interested. Paid 100 for it and 50 for a thunderbolt cable... PM me if you're interested as we're not allowed to sell stuff on the forum.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Location:
    Barcelona
    #7
    Wouldn't be even cheaper getting that SSD you plan on getting and installing inside the Mini? (You'd save from the external case. Good ones are about $40)
     
  8. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "Thanks. I know I'll take a little bit of a performance hit, but my question is how much and will I really notice it?
    Besides doing the surgery, I am afraid of voiding applecare. What if I need to take the computer in for repair?"

    You WILL lose a little speed, not much.

    You probably WILL NOT even notice it. Bootup from an SSD/USB3 connection will be "theoretically slower", but still far, FAR faster than booting from an internal hard drive (non-SSD).

    Someone previously posted a thread about an SSD/USB3 combo here:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1483374

    However, as fast as the Samsung 840 series is, the 830 series is better due to the design of the memory. The design of the 840 series (as distinguished from the "840 pro" series) may have a shorter overall lifespan than the older 830 series. The 830 will be a little slower, but again, probably not that much to really be "noticeable" in day-to-day operation.

    I don't believe AppleCare would figure into this at all. There is no restriction from Apple regarding booting from external sources.

    BTW, I would keep a fully-bootable copy of the OS on your internal drive as well, even though you normally boot "from the outside". You ALWAYS want to have at least TWO bootable copies of the OS available.

    I keep bootable OS copies on EVERY drive I have, usually on a dedicated partition.
    In fact, I even keep copies of OLDER versions of the OS on separate partitions.
    No problems doing this at all.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #9
    I have this drive, which I bought a year or two ago, and it works fine:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226236

    Frankly I just bought it because it was cheap, had a SandForce controller, and was 120GB instead of 128GB (and therefore probably overprovisioned, so I don't have to worry about TRIM). I think people burn way too many calories trying to figure out which SSD to buy when they are basically all good these days.

    I ordered this external enclosure yesterday:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817576016

    I was thinking about another enclosure but some reviews said it didn't work as a boot drive with OS X, so apparently this isn't an exact science yet. I will let you know how this enclosure works.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #10
    Why should you have multiple bootable copies? Do you keep them all up-to-date (as far as the verison goes..ie. 10.5x;10.6x)? Or do you jsut let them stay at the version they were at installation?
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #11
    I keep an updated ML install on my external 1TB drive. I have 40Gs dedicated to that and the rest for storage, file transfers, and combo updates. I only installed CCC and updates. I use it to create bootable clones before I do any work on a system. Just incase something happens, I have a backup of the files/OS.
     

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