Mac Mini Upgrade question

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Big_Baby_D, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Big_Baby_D macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2005
    I recently bought a Mac mini to use in the office. It seems that Toshiba likes to keep my laptop for a really long time. I have wanted to make the switch for some time now, and finally did. However, I was looking at upgrading my mini. Of course I am going to up the ram to 1gb, but I was looking to put a faster hard drive in. Is it really worth it? And if so, what is the best way of transfering everything to the new hard drive? Do I have to back up my files and then start over new? I figure that is what I have to do, but man do I hate that idea.

    I tell you what, as soon as I save up more pennies, I think I will be making another Mac purchase. Is it me, or are these things like drugs?
  2. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    They both make you happy, they both make you really, really poor, and you get annoyed when either are taken away from you. Yep, just like drugs.

  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    The 5400rpm harddrive in my PowerBook certainly seems to make a difference over the 4200 stock drive. Personally I'm waiting for the 7200rpm 100Gb drives to be available in the UK. Just remember you need laptop drives to upgrade the internal drive in a Mini. You might be better with a FireWire drive?
  4. pna macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    I'd totally agree with Robbieduncan about the Firewire drive. If you *really* want to see an increase in performance with the mini, grab a 3.5" firewire enclosure, stick any modern 7200 rpm 3.5" desktop hard drive inside, and boot off of that instead. If you're concerned about aesthetics, just get a fairly long firewire cable and tuck the external drive out of sight. That's a cheaper solution with better performance than any other laptop drive you could stick in there. Plus, if you set up the partitions right, you can then use the internal laptop drive as a full bootable backup clone of what's in your external drive, so that at any time you could unplug the external drive and just run off of the internal. Lots of benefits to running this way.

    The drawback is having something else plugged into the back of your mini, and perhaps noise if you're a noise freak like me. Desktop drives tend to make more noise than notebook drives (though the samsung and seagate drives are very quiet), and that can take away from one of the main advantages of having the mini in the first place.

    Also, if you're going to upgrade the internal drive, you might as well drop the 20-30 bucks on a FW enclosure for it. These are easy to use, and when you're done installing the new drive, you can throw a base install of panther/tiger on it, and then use the other drive to pull the settings over. I've done this about 4 times last week as I've been moving from mini to laptop to laptop, and it's one of the HUGE superiorities of os x over windows. Migrating my complete machine from a mini to a powerbook took a total of about two clicks of a mouse and plugging in a cable, and it all just works! I've never, never been able to do that with windows, and doing it with linux is a lot more hands on as well. You'll save yourself a lot of time. And then the external drive can, once again, be a backup drive for a bootable clone of your current OS or just a place for extra storage.

    Here's the macally notebook enclosure I've got. It works great. I picked it up from newegg.

    macally notebook FW enclosure

    good luck.
  5. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Go for a faster internal HD (7,200rpm). There should be a nice boost in performance (depends on what you are doing). Or go for a nice external HD- its your call.
  6. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
  7. Big_Baby_D thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2005

    I added an external hard drive and used carbon copy to (I guess) clone my internal drive over. Then in System Preferences I changed the start-up disk to the external. I then restarted it and all I got was a grey screen and a bunch of sounds from the external that sounded like it was trying to find it. Did I do something wrong?
  8. Big_Baby_D thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Update- I am so stupid

    I tried the external drive again today, and still all I get is the grey screen. Do I need to do something different with Carbon Copy? I thought I did it correctly. Or am I setting up the drive to boot from incorrectly? Well, thanks for helping a noob.
  9. javiercr macrumors 6502


    Apr 12, 2005
  10. Big_Baby_D thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Still can't get it to work. I am begining to think it is the case. I need to get another case anyways, so I think I will get the macally one.

    I was wondering if I do that can I still capture video. I know that the case has another firewire port, but I don't know if I can use that to hook up a camera, or if it is just for chaining another case.
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Firewire is a buss, so you can chain whatever you like off that port.

    Of course, there will eventually be a speed penalty if you are trying to do several datastreams simultaneously on the same Firewire buss; however there is no solution to that on the Mini so don't worry about it too much.
  12. kgarner macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2004
    I have my Mini with a hard drive connected via Firewire and another hard drive connected to that drive and then I have connected my camera to the second hard drive and have had no problems capturing (or doing a video conference in iChat) with that set up.
  13. kant macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2004
    Now that sound very interesting. How does one go about doing that?
  14. kant macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2004
    Seriously. How do you do that???
  15. deebster macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2004
    Olde Englande
    You use Disk Utility to partition the external drive so that it has one partition that is the same size as the internal hard drive in your mini. You don't have to do this, but if you try to clone a full 80 GB (or larger) drive over to a 40 GB one... well, you see the point.

    You select the external as your startup disk (in System Preferences) and use it as normal, of course remembering never to disconnect or switch off the external.

    When you want to make the clone you can use CarbonCopyCloner (donationware, but do read the developer's website to understand the workarounds necessary to clone succesfully under 10.4 Tiger. The Spotlight app has made cloning a slightly more time-consuming job, but still very, very worthwhile), or the shareware SuperDuper!

    If you want to then boot from the internal you either select it in System Prefs or hold the option key at bootup and select it there. The latter way is handy because it is only changes the bootup drive once, meaning next time you reboot it will be from the drive you selected in System Prefs.

    That all make sense mate? Ask away if anything is unclear.

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