2012 Mac Mini Internal SSD vs External SSD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ZipZilla, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. ZipZilla macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003
    I have a 2012 Mini and the 5400 drive is dog slow. Should I go through the effort to install an SSD internally, or just go with the USB 3.0 external? Is the effort to install it internally worth it?

  2. oneMadRssn, Aug 7, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015

    oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Those are pretty personal questions. It's worth it for me, but it's not worth it for someone else.

    I like knowing that I have a direct unadulterated line between my SSD and the motherboard. I also like not having more wires, with the hard drive internal. I also liked the opportunity to clean out the computer, upgrade the thermal paste, and poke around. I also enjoy tinkering with stuff. I also wouldn't be too angry in the unlikely event that I broke something, because I can afford it and because I don't rely on that computer for my income. I had the tools, I have experience with small electronics and large computers. It was a no-brainer for me.

    Others here will tell you the task is too daunting and not worth the risks, and USB3.0 is almost good enough, so why bother. It's all about your personal perspective.
  3. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    Check in 'Disk Utility' to see if your existing HDD is in the "Lower" position.
    If it is, then the change out on your 2012 mini takes about 10 minutes and is quite easy following any of the many 'How to's' available on the web and Youtube.
    A big bonus to mounting the SSD internally is you will avoid the hassle of USB drives being 'ejected' when your computer sleeps.
    Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 8.38.19 AM.png
  4. ZipZilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003
    Thanks all for the responses. I gather from my research here that the Crucial MX200 is a good candidate for an internal SSD?
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009

    Crucial -is- a good brand of SSD.

    My suggestion:
    Why don't you try creating an "external booter" FIRST?

    If you aren't satisfied with the performance increase (see below), you can then "go further" and do Mini surgery if you are brave enough.

    But I think you're going to be very happy with the speed boost you achieve from an USB3 external booter. Be aware that the perceived speed differences (booting from USB vs. booting from the internal SATA bus) will be nearly imperceptible once up-and-running. Even the boot times will be close enough.

    MAKE SURE you get an external enclosure or a USB3/SATA docking station that supports "UASP" and MAKE SURE that support is mentioned on the product page you buy from.
    UASP is "USB attached SCSI protocol", and it's necessary to achieve the fullest speed that a USB3 enclosure or dock is capable of...
  6. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Heck, even if the existing drive is the "upper" position for some reason, the OP could always score an install kit and add the SSD as a 2nd drive, leave the spinner in for things like music, video, archives, etc. :)
  7. riviera74 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2015
    Fort Myers FL
    Either way, make the SSD your boot drive. You will never go back to spinning platters once you do.

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