2011 Mini: Swap mechanical for SSD or use dual drive setup?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by pullman, May 3, 2013.

  1. pullman macrumors 6502


    Feb 11, 2008
    Hi everyone

    I wish to speed up my mother's 2011 Mini by installing an SSD. I've read iFixit's guide to adding a second drive. It seems pretty complicated but I think I could do it.

    But - I'm a bit on the fence as to whether I should use a dual drive setup or just swap the mechanical hdd for an SSD (and put the mechanical drive in an external enclosure).

    The reason I am uncertain is that I did such a dual set up in my old late 2008 macbook (alu unibody). The computer was faster but ran much more hot and the fans revved a lot. I would wish to avoid this.

    My questions are:

    - Would the 2011 Mini run hot with two drives?
    - If I decide to swap the mechanical for an SSD, could I simply follow iFixit's guide, remove the mechanical drive and install the ssd?

    Thanks for any insight from those of you who've done this.

  2. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Don't follow the iFixit guide. Way too complicated.
    Take this one:
    I would get out the original drive, put it asside, drop the SSD at the bottom, and put the original drive back on top (so there is no need to remove the cover sheet like in the video, but I upgraded the HD tot a 7200RPM 750Gb as well).
    Heat is not a problem. I used the spacer that came with the SSD (to make it 9 instead of 7mm thick) between the 2 drives. If you do that, put it UNDER the flat cable for the second drive, otherwise it will be to tight.
    Another difference from the video: in the video the guy puts 2 screws in the side of the lower drive. Don't! It can rattle in the plastic frame. Use the 2 gromets that come with the cable in the holes of the plastic, and put the 2 threaded pins from the kit in the side of your SSD. That gives a more flexible connection.
  3. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I have the mini server from 2011, which came with 2 normal drives, I swapped out the top one for a Samsung 830 SSD.

    It runs super, no fans (unless I game occasionally) and in general very happy with the setup.
    It's not hard to swap out (it takes time, but it's not difficult).

    My setup is I have the main drive on the SSD, then I moved my pictures, music and movie folder to the much larger HDD and created symbolic links to them, so that those three folders are slower, the rest of the system is blazing fast, and thats quiet ok.

    I would, if I could start over, had set it up as a Fusion drive, there are several guides out there (to avoid having two seperate drives, then one a tad slower than SSD but none of the limited space, that can be caused by the system (and downloads folder) on ths SSD)
  4. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    It won't run hotter if two drives are installed. At least not any temp change that is perceptible to a human or that you would be concerned with. I tried multiple options once and it made no difference. Even tried SSD and HDD in opposite bays to see if it ran cooler - say with the SSD under the grill where the air is drawn in (theory was SSD runs cooler so maybe cooler air would get to the CPU if it ran across the SSD and not the HDD). Made no difference for me.

    The only thing is that a drive its self may run a bit warmer (not necessarily hot though) if it is bundled together with another drive, as opposed to by its self but that is a minimal temp difference. My SSD runs at around 28-30'c and the HGST 1TB 7200rpm runs around 32-34'c. There is no major change in temps even if I do a major read/write. In other words no heat issues.

    The main thing that heats a Mac mini is CPU usage. The hard drives contribute a little but they do not fluctuate and hit the high 100'c temps like the CPU.

    Sorry if I am telling you stuff you know. I'm rattling on a bit.
  5. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Alternately, maybe a Thunderbolt SSD as a boot drive and use the internal for storage? You can get the seagate thunderbolt adapter for around $80 these days from certain places.

    Having broken the infrared connector while replacing a Mini drive, the cost of that is worth the fully functional Mini and the blood that was shed when I slipped and stabbed myself with the hex screwdriver.

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