Adding a second SSD to 2012 Mini -- Boot from OEM SSD or 840 Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ombudsman, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. ombudsman, Jan 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013

    ombudsman macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
    I recently purchased a 2.6GHz i7 Mini with the 256GB SSD upgrade, and it's due to arrive shortly! Also on their way are 16GB Crucial RAM, a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro, and the OWC Data Doubler Kit.

    This machine will serve as my home desktop for general use as well as the center of a modest music production rig. I mainly use software synths and sampler instruments, though I do some light recording. I intend to use one drive for the OS and apps, and the other for sample libraries, project folders, recording, etc.

    So, which drive to use for which purpose? I've read that the OEM SSD in the Mini is essentially a Samsung 830 with modified firmware, and I expect the 840 Pro to be quite a bit speedier. That said, I don't know how noticeable the speed difference would be... Whatever relative speed advantage may exist, would that be better put to use by a system drive or an audio data drive? Additional considerations include garbage collection (perhaps not relevant?), and ease of service under warranty should I want to pop out the 840 Pro and bring the Mini in to Apple.

    In hindsight, I realize it might have made sense to order the base HDD and a pair of 840 Pros if I'm willing to crack open a new Mini in the first place, but something was attractive about the native support of an SSD, so I pulled the trigger on that before I even decided on the 840 Pro.

    I realize also that I might be splitting hairs here, and it's going to be fantastic either way.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
  2. cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    Boot from the default Apple SSD. I say that because the Samsung 840 Pro will need to have Trim enabled by a third party app, which works fine, except every OS update can break that and require you to remember to turn Trim Enabler back on. If you just leave it to the Samsung 830 stock Apple, you won't have to do that, and the speeds aren't going to be drastically different.

    I have a Samsung 830 in my 2011 mini and a Samsung 840 (not the pro) in my 2012 mini. The only difference in speed I notice is what BlackMagic says, in actual use I don't notice any difference, and that's a different type of Nand memory than the 830 and 840 Pro are.
  3. ombudsman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
  4. uncleMonty macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2012
    That sounds exactly like the purposes I want to use my new mini for, and I have a similar question. I have two 256GB 840 pros I'm going to install--actually it's the sysadmin at my workplace who's going to do it for me on Tuesday while I watch!

    My question is, if I use one SSD for OS + apps + plugins (+ all my non-music stuff), and the other for sample libraries, audio data, and project folders, it sounds like a lot of the data reading and writing will be happening on the same disk, the second one I listed. Is that optimal? In my naive imagination it would be faster to read samples from one disk and write audio to the other. But I usually hear people's setups the way you described (i.e. the way I described above). What's the theory behind this? And do plugins belong on the disk with the OS and DAW and synths, or the disk with samples and audio?
  5. ombudsman, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013

    ombudsman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
    I'm installing all my plugins and audio programs to the system drive. The basic theory is to separate system and program read/write commands from those associated with your media, so that neither constrains the other. You're right that ideally, one might want to have a system drive, a second drive for samples, and a third drive for audio tracking, all on separate busses. For the needs of a small project studio, however, this is overkill; even two drives is probably overkill for light to moderate audio loads, given modern SSD and bus speeds. But it can't hurt to have two! I would keep samples on the audio drive, but it doesn't matter all that much if you have ample RAM, as sampler instruments should be loading samples from the drive into memory when you instantiate them. Though some heavier sampler instruments will minimize their memory footprint by keeping partial samples in memory and reading the tail from drive when a sample is triggered.

    If you're working with massive multisampled piano and orchestral libraries and simultaneously recording multitrack audio at a high sample rate and bit depth, then maybe think about getting an external disk for your audio tracks. Otherwise, you're doing fine with two 840 Pros!

    Here's a more detailed post on the subject by somebody more knowledgeable than I:
  6. kdochert macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2013
    OEM SSD faster than 840pro

    I have two mac mini's, one the the OEM SSD (SM256) and with with an 840 pro retro fitted. According to Blackmagic test the OEM SSD has noticable faster write speeds (500 vs 340). Both have similar read speeds.

    I can't comment on noticeable speed differences as they have opposite end of the market processors so not fair comparison.

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