2018 with 128gb - Mistake? Solutions?

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
First off, let me introduce myself by saying “Hello” it’s been some years since I’ve bought an Apple computer.

Just recently purchased my 2018 Mac Mini with the following specs:
i7 cpu, 32gb ram, 128gb SSD

I discovered the biggest disappointment after purchasing is that I cannot upgrade the SSD because it is soldered into the unit. I opted for 32GB of ram at the time of purchase (assuming I would upgrade storage later) because I wanted the speed right away and I have several external drives for photo and video editing

I quickly found the 128gb is nearly consumed with only ~40gb left after installing final cut, Adobe, office, etc etc....

Did I make a mistake with only 128? I feel like I have... Solutions I already initiated was storing libraries for Photos and iTunes to the external drives to free up space.

Has anyone else dealt with this dilemma? This is going to haunt me for years if I don’t find a good solution or sell the unit and buy another one with larger internal SSD.

Thank you for your inputs.
 

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
Just connect an external USB or Thunderbolt SSD. You'll be fine.
Currently using a 4TB and a 1TB external. My dilemma is the more I use the computer the more that free space seems to go away no matter how much I seem to focus saving on the externals...
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
6,086
3,308
Then I wouldn't worry about it. There is no real need to be concerned about free space if it's the OS using it. Keep your own data on the external drives and the OS will intelligently manage its own data structures and caches. Also, 40GB of free space is more than enough for any reasonable use.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
6,086
3,308
Samsung also has external Thunderbolt 3 SSDs--the X5 series. For comparison, a 500GB T5 costs about $110, while the X5 costs $250. Larger capacities cost more, naturally.
 

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
Then I wouldn't worry about it. There is no real need to be concerned about free space if it's the OS using it. Keep your own data on the external drives and the OS will intelligently manage its own data structures and caches. Also, 40GB of free space is more than enough for any reasonable use.
Valid point, at this rate I’ve only been using the machine for a few days and 70% of the internal storage is used that’s what concerned me of future proofing this setup...

Buy an external SSD and use it as a boot volume. Sure it won't be as fast as the internal drive, but if you're that worried, I think it would be the only logical way to go. I picked up a 500GB Samsung T5 external SSD from BestBuy for $119.
I think that may have to be the next step for faster read/write speeds than the hard disks. I guess I could always add the users home directories to an external SSD so everything would be more easily managed on external and maintain all the applications on the internal...?
 

pacmania1982

macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2006
991
186
Birmingham, UK
Valid point, at this rate I’ve only been using the machine for a few days and 70% of the internal storage is used that’s what concerned me of future proofing this setup...



I think that may have to be the next step for faster read/write speeds than the hard disks. I guess I could always add the users home directories to an external SSD so everything would be more easily managed on external and maintain all the applications on the internal...?
Yes having a home folder on an external drive is a thing. I've done it before. Also, just interested - why are you worried up on the slower external SSD speeds of say the T5 (X5 wouldn't be an issue)? Opening apps would only be slower until it's loaded into RAM, and skimming through videos in iMovie is fine. Thats how I edit my videos.

Amazon have a 500GB X5 on sale at the moment for $247.00 which is Thunderbolt 3, and the internal NVME SSD could be replaced in the future if 500GB isn't enough.
 

MSastre

macrumors 6502a
Aug 18, 2014
535
216
Make sure you also keep all your video libraries and media on external drives.
 

Trusteft

macrumors 6502a
Nov 5, 2014
597
516
First off, let me introduce myself by saying “Hello” it’s been some years since I’ve bought an Apple computer.

Just recently purchased my 2018 Mac Mini with the following specs:
i7 cpu, 32gb ram, 128gb SSD

I discovered the biggest disappointment after purchasing is that I cannot upgrade the SSD because it is soldered into the unit. I opted for 32GB of ram at the time of purchase (assuming I would upgrade storage later) because I wanted the speed right away and I have several external drives for photo and video editing

I quickly found the 128gb is nearly consumed with only ~40gb left after installing final cut, Adobe, office, etc etc....

Did I make a mistake with only 128? I feel like I have... Solutions I already initiated was storing libraries for Photos and iTunes to the external drives to free up space.

Has anyone else dealt with this dilemma? This is going to haunt me for years if I don’t find a good solution or sell the unit and buy another one with larger internal SSD.

Thank you for your inputs.
How did you spend all that money on a computer you obviously did not do enough research on?
I am shocked.
Yes you made a mistake going with 128GB.
If I were you I would sell it now and get one with larger capacity or wait till the new models are announced in 2019 and sell it then.
It's not that there aren't ways dealing with the limited drive capacity, but the longer you wait the more it's going to hurt.
Smaller capacity SSDs mean not only potentially slower speeds, but also shorter life span for the drive, its capacity to write on it.
Considering you are going to use this machine for more than simple tasks, I would recommend selling it ASAP. Unless you never planned on keeping it for a long time, in which case...
External drives will obviously solve the capacity issue, at least as long as you don't have to use the laptop on the go very often.
Good luck whatever you decide to do.
 

NorCalLights

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2006
592
75
Download DaisyDisk and see what's taking up storage on your boot drive. You might be surprised to find something obvious. If you can't move anything else around, then you have two options:

1) Don't worry about it until it's really a problem.
2) Buy a USB SSD drive and boot from that so you don't have to worry about it anymore.

With most of your files on external drives, I think you should be fine with 128GB.
 

pl1984

Suspended
Oct 31, 2017
2,249
2,603
Valid point, at this rate I’ve only been using the machine for a few days and 70% of the internal storage is used that’s what concerned me of future proofing this setup...
If you purchased it directly from Apple then you might be able to return it for a full refund if "a few days" is less than 14.

It's ridiculous that Apple forces users to make such a decision at purchase time. It's even more ridiculous at the number of people who try and excuse Apple for this issue. There's no technical reason why Apple couldn't offer a replaceable SSD. If the following has a user replaceable drive why can't the Mini:


Maybe this would be a better fit for you.
 
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FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
Yes having a home folder on an external drive is a thing. I've done it before. Also, just interested - why are you worried up on the slower external SSD speeds of say the T5 (X5 wouldn't be an issue)? Opening apps would only be slower until it's loaded into RAM, and skimming through videos in iMovie is fine. Thats how I edit my videos.

Amazon have a 500GB X5 on sale at the moment for $247.00 which is Thunderbolt 3, and the internal NVME SSD could be replaced in the future if 500GB isn't enough.
I feel the machine would run applications best off the internal SSD wouldn’t it?

I guess the other item that worries me would be stability of running the OS on external and connectivity? It’s not a practice I’m used to doing so pardon my comfort level. Would I leave the internal OS intact, but just make a copy on the external SSD and basically select that as my boot disk?
 

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
Make sure you also keep all your video libraries and media on external drives.
Of course, this is how I currently try to manage everything to save space! Thanks!

How did you spend all that money on a computer you obviously did not do enough research on?
I am shocked.
Yes you made a mistake going with 128GB.
If I were you I would sell it now and get one with larger capacity or wait till the new models are announced in 2019 and sell it then.
It's not that there aren't ways dealing with the limited drive capacity, but the longer you wait the more it's going to hurt.
Smaller capacity SSDs mean not only potentially slower speeds, but also shorter life span for the drive, its capacity to write on it.
Considering you are going to use this machine for more than simple tasks, I would recommend selling it ASAP. Unless you never planned on keeping it for a long time, in which case...
External drives will obviously solve the capacity issue, at least as long as you don't have to use the laptop on the go very often.
Good luck whatever you decide to do.
Thank you for you feedback, I was wondering if someone was going to tell me this, I’ve been seriously debating this... I should have opted for only 16GB and 256 or 512 SSD option instead, would have been the wiser choice since I can upgrade RAM but not storage (which is absurd)

Download DaisyDisk and see what's taking up storage on your boot drive. You might be surprised to find something obvious. If you can't move anything else around, then you have two options:

1) Don't worry about it until it's really a problem.
2) Buy a USB SSD drive and boot from that so you don't have to worry about it anymore.

With most of your files on external drives, I think you should be fine with 128GB.
My luck I probably won’t find much of anything since the machine is new and I’ve used it only a few days.

Starting to lean towards selling or booting from external SSD.
If you purchased it directly from Apple then you might be able to return it for a full refund if "a few days" is less than 14.

It's ridiculous that Apple forces users to make such a decision at purchase time. It's even more ridiculous at the number of people who try and excuse Apple for this issue. There's no technical reason why Apple couldn't offer a replaceable SSD. If the following has a user replaceable drive why can't the Mini:


Maybe this would be a better fit for you.
Believe me, I was furious when I realized I can’t upgrade the storage after purchasing... the last Apple computer (other than laptop) I purchased was my power Mac G5 back in 2006. Obviously been a long time for me but that machine still runs and I can easily access everything with a flip of a switch and swap hard drives or ram in seconds. I guess I sort of expected similar but should have done more research.
 
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pl1984

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Oct 31, 2017
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Believe me, I was furious when I realized I can’t upgrade the storage after purchasing... the last Apple computer (other than laptop) I purchased was my power Mac G5 back in 2006. Obviously been a long time for me but that machine still runs and I can easily access everything with a flip of a switch and swap hard drives or ram in seconds. I guess I sort of expected similar but should have done more research.
Did you purchase it directly from Apple and, if so, was it within 14 days? If so you can return it and get something more suitable for your needs.
 

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
Did you purchase it directly from Apple and, if so, was it within 14 days? If so you can return it and get something more suitable for your needs.
Was not directly from Apple.
[doublepost=1551209240][/doublepost]
128GB SSD is so slow due to "Memory Interleaving":(
Wow, that graph is making this whole situation feel even worse lol!!
[doublepost=1551209714][/doublepost]If I sell the unit, the money I lose in doing so, I would better off investing in an external SSD to boot from instead?
 

russell_314

macrumors 6502a
Feb 10, 2019
719
910
USA
There's so much information about the Mac mini out there why would you not research before spending over a thousand dollars on a computer. You were very silly to assume it would be similar to a Mac from almost fifteen years ago. My suggestion is to figure out exactly what you need in a computer and then only once you determine a proper replacement sell your mini while it's still almost new. Waiting even a few months might make the price you can sell it for go down. Of course if the money isn't an issue use the mini as a second computer for minor tasks and get something better for your main system.
 

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
There's so much information about the Mac mini out there why would you not research before spending over a thousand dollars on a computer. You were very silly to assume it would be similar to a Mac from almost fifteen years ago. My suggestion is to figure out exactly what you need in a computer and then only once you determine a proper replacement sell your mini while it's still almost new. Waiting even a few months might make the price you can sell it for go down. Of course if the money isn't an issue use the mini as a second computer for minor tasks and get something better for your main system.
I agree it was a stupid oversight. I didn’t anticipate 128gb being such an issue with external drives for primary data storage. I may look at external boot drive options for now

I’ll look into selling the unit, if it would make sense to do it or not. eBay would devour me in absurd listing fees...
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,431
754
Never quite sure
Just move your home directory onto an external, and use the internal for nothing but OS and Apps. This should be lots of space for most people, and it makes managing things a lot easier than splitting your home directory between the internal and external.

Since you are already using external drives, there is absolutely no reason not to have your home folder on an external too. With TB3 and fast SSDs, you can think of and treat an external drive as it if were a separate internal volume inside a large cased computer.

You DONT need to make the external the boot drive. (But you can if you really want!)
 

FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
Just move your home directory onto an external, and use the internal for nothing but OS and Apps. This should be lots of space for most people, and it makes managing things a lot easier than splitting your home directory between the internal and external.

Since you are already using external drives, there is absolutely no reason not to have your home folder on an external too. With TB3 and fast SSDs, you can think of and treat an external drive as it if were a separate internal volume inside a large cased computer.

You DONT need to make the external the boot drive. (But you can if you really want!)
Now your talking! I like the way your thinking! Just saw how to remap it and seems it would be pretty easy!
 

pl1984

Suspended
Oct 31, 2017
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Was not directly from Apple.
Perhaps the seller you purchased it from would give you full credit if you were to exchange it for one more suited to your needs?
[doublepost=1551218969][/doublepost]
I agree it was a stupid oversight. I didn’t anticipate 128gb being such an issue with external drives for primary data storage. I may look at external boot drive options for now

I’ll look into selling the unit, if it would make sense to do it or not. eBay would devour me in absurd listing fees...
It's not a stupid oversight. There appears to be several people blaming you for a failing of Apple.
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
1,457
999
NYC & Newfoundland
I quickly found the 128gb is nearly consumed with only ~40gb left after installing final cut, Adobe, office, etc etc....
There sure are a lot of people getting themselves into a lather in this thread.

The first question is, are you really running 70GB-80GB of applications? For the kind of thing that you're talking about, that has to be some kind of record. Also, one good chunk of that is "System", which you can ignore.

It's really hard to understand why you'd have more than 20GB-25GB of apps, and that's on the high side. I'm running a whole suite of photography, video and music applications, including stuff like Photoshop, Lightroom, Final Cut and Logic, plus various business applications, and I'm not even at 20GB in apps.

I've run a computer with a 128GB solid state drive. There is no question that it is adequate for photo editing, including of RAW files.

With video, it depends on what format and resolution you're shooting, whether you're using proxies and how long the footage is that you have to have on the internal drive at once.

Depending on what kind of video you're shooting, you may also well be able to edit on a USB-C Gen. 2 external drive. There are lots of these on the market and prices are coming down: Samsung T5, WD My Passport SSD, etc, etc.

If you're shooting 4K, NVMe drives are nice but not strictly necessary.

There's a whole current thread on external drive options here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/samsung-t5-x5-equivalents.2167739/

If it's easy to trade in this machine for one with a larger internal drive, it will probably make life easier, but this is not exactly a crisis unless you really do have, and need, 70GB-80GB in apps, and are trying to edit RAW 4K footage directly, because you're too lazy to use proxies, on a 128GB workspace.

As best I can tell, there are a lot of people editing photos and videos on a 128GB machine, and who made the decision quite consciously. Indeed, some of those people got advice on this forum before they made their decision.
 
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FazzMac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2019
25
5
There sure are a lot of people getting themselves into a lather in this thread.

The first question is, are you really running 70GB-80GB of applications? For the kind of thing that you're talking about, that has to be some kind of record. Also, one good chunk of that is "System", which you can ignore.

It's really hard to understand why you'd have more than 20GB-25GB of apps, and that's on the high side. I'm running a whole suite of photography, video and music applications, including stuff like Photoshop, Lightroom, Final Cut and Logic, plus various business applications, and I'm not even at 20GB in apps.

I've run a computer with a 128GB solid state drive. There is no question that it is adequate for photo editing, including of RAW files.

With video, it depends on what format and resolution you're shooting, whether you're using proxies and how long the footage is that you have to have on the internal drive at once.

Depending on what kind of video you're shooting, you may also well be able to edit on a USB-C Gen. 2 external drive. There are lots of these on the market and prices are coming down: Samsung T5, WD My Passport SSD, etc, etc.

If you're shooting 4K, NVMe drives are nice but not strictly necessary.

There's a whole current thread on external drive options here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/samsung-t5-x5-equivalents.2167739/

If it's easy to trade in this machine for one with a larger internal drive, it will probably make life easier, but this is not exactly a crisis unless you really do have, and need, 70GB-80GB in apps, and are trying to edit RAW 4K footage directly, because you're too lazy to use proxies, on a 128GB workspace.

As best I can tell, there are a lot of people editing photos and videos on a 128GB machine, and who made the decision quite consciously. Indeed, some of those people got advice on this forum before they made their decision.
I greatly appreciate this input you’ve provided! I believe I am in the ballpark of 25gb+ in apps, but yes the majority is taken up by system.

Appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences and tips, this provides much encouragement for this current setup. I think my external solution will need some updating to USB-C/TB3 I’m near future with SSD instead of current hard disks.

On a positive note, I think I may have found a couple reasons for the sudden capacity constraint (down to 14GB free), one of which was my iOS backups, didn’t notice until I backed up my iPhone which is a 256gb capacity. So I relocated and remapped iOS backups to the external.

Also my outlook downloaded my gmail emails, ~100,000 emails. I still need to figure out how to manage this so doesn’t save all of them on my Mac and where I can go to delete these files - I think I’ll remove this account from the application and access via browser instead.

I really do appreciate everyone’s input, great community of people here! I have really missed the Mac world!
[doublepost=1551235519][/doublepost]BTW, I do have multiple user accounts on the Mac, any idea how much additional storage this consumes per user account added?