ANIMAIONIC turns your Mac Mini into a Workstation

Would you buy this for your Mac mini 8,1?


  • Total voters
    48

Stephen.R

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That sounds lovely, and I would be happy to when SSDs can reasonably replace HDDs for bulk storage.
I actually agree that mechanical drives have a place for usage still.

But as I said above, it's not in a high end case like that which already has limited air flow and potentially a lot of hot things, with zero easy access.

I have 14TB of spinning rust in one enclosure, (and a ridiculously old 500GB RAID0 Lacie portable with dual 2.5" spinners that I bought over a decade ago) connected to my Mac mini on a shelf under the desk.

Any meaningful space for that sort of drive in a thousand dollar case, needs to be hot swapped, and realistically if your needs are "10TB" but you don't want to use M2's, a USB3 10TB unit will set you back maybe $200.

The only use-case I see for mechanical drives, that has any kind of cross-over with people who are willing to pay $1K for a case like this are:

- backups, because the speed is (mostly) kind of irrelevant after the first one and the cost/$ ratio buys you a longer safety net with incremental backups.

- ridiculously mass storage.

The first case doesn't make a lot of sense with an internal drive.

The second doesn't make a lot of sense with anything less than 4 drives.
 
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Michael Scrip

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I built my PC tower in a giant case that could hold up to eight 3.5" HDDs internally. And I used to have almost that many installed.

But now I've switched to a few SSDs internally... and the only spinning rust drives are in my Synology NAS.

Sure I can see why you'd want 1 or 2 HHDs inside a computer... but you shouldn't need more than that, in my opinion.

You're better off investing in a NAS that can also perform other duties.
 

archer75

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lol, I have 52tb of hard drives in one drobo. Another 24tb in another. 10tb worth of drives in my PC in a storage space(not counting the 3 SSD's in it for OS and programs/games). And I have stacks of hard drives sitting on shelves i'm not using.
Yeah, I still have a use for mechanical hard drives as SSD drives simply aren't large enough. And the speeds of mechanical hard drives are great for what I need them for.
 

Ploki

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Jan 21, 2008
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lol, I have 52tb of hard drives in one drobo. Another 24tb in another. 10tb worth of drives in my PC in a storage space(not counting the 3 SSD's in it for OS and programs/games). And I have stacks of hard drives sitting on shelves i'm not using.
Yeah, I still have a use for mechanical hard drives as SSD drives simply aren't large enough. And the speeds of mechanical hard drives are great for what I need them for.
Yeah but the ones sitting on a shelf probably don't need to be in a compact enclosure that needs to be efficiently cooled.

not to mention they're loud.
They need to be in a separate enclosure far away
 

ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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I did not expect this much controversy suggesting a simple mass storage drive bay. I would think that the combination of having boot+apps on an SSD, and having mass storage on a hard drive would be an extremely common use case, but everyone is looking at me like I'm a two-headed alien.

I guess this isn't your use case, but is this use case so hard to imagine?
 

archer75

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Yeah but the ones sitting on a shelf probably don't need to be in a compact enclosure that needs to be efficiently cooled.

not to mention they're loud.
They need to be in a separate enclosure far away
The ones on the shelf don't need to be in anything, I use a HDD dock when needed for those. All my other ones do. I did have a server case I used for a time that held 22 hard drives. And I have another case that holds a dozen. But I moved to using drobos mostly. Aside from the 7 or so HDD's in my PC. But I need them all local and close by. Especially as most NAS don't fit my needs and I use DAS.
I also don't care about speed. It's cheap capacity that I need. Eyeing a couple of 14tb drives in the future.
- - Post merged: - -

I did not expect this much controversy suggesting a simple mass storage drive bay. I would think that the combination of having boot+apps on an SSD, and having mass storage on a hard drive would be an extremely common use case, but everyone is looking at me like I'm a two-headed alien.

I guess this isn't your use case, but is this use case so hard to imagine?
hey i'm right there with you. I think it's a great idea.
 
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fuchsdh

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Jun 19, 2014
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For cheaper, you can get the same expansion and storage, and for pretty much the same amount of room. It’s an interesting idea but in practice it doesn’t seem like it fits a niche except for people who absolutely want dual GPUs and that much storage and will pay for fewer cables.
 
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Stephen.R

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I did not expect this much controversy suggesting a simple mass storage drive bay. I would think that the combination of having boot+apps on an SSD, and having mass storage on a hard drive would be an extremely common use case, but everyone is looking at me like I'm a two-headed alien.

I guess this isn't your use case, but is this use case so hard to imagine?
It’s not a common use case in 2019 for people who are likely to spend $1000 on a case like this.
 
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Ploki

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I did not expect this much controversy suggesting a simple mass storage drive bay. I would think that the combination of having boot+apps on an SSD, and having mass storage on a hard drive would be an extremely common use case, but everyone is looking at me like I'm a two-headed alien.

I guess this isn't your use case, but is this use case so hard to imagine?
Depends on what you do i guess.
I can't imagine having a HDD as part of my regular workflow, and anything not part of my regular (daily/weekly) workflow can be detached

I simply haven't used them regularly for a while now - so new products with 3.5" bays seems... old
 

ActionableMango

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It’s not a common use case in 2019 for people who are likely to spend $1000 on a case like this.
From 1998 through 2013, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people spent ~$2500 to have a Mac with PCI slots and storage bays. We were left without a solution for many years, and this comes so close to mimicking a desktop Mac with slots and bays, at a similar price.

If this were the Mac Pro forum, the demand for this use case would not be hard for anyone to imagine.

Apple made the extremely rare move of holding a press event admitting their mistake, and brought slots and bays back. But at $6000... I'm not there.
 
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Ploki

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From 1998 through 2013, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people spent ~$2500 to have a Mac with PCI slots and storage bays. We were left without a solution for many years, and this comes so close to mimicking a desktop Mac with slots and bays, at a similar price.

If this were the Mac Pro forum, the demand for this use case would not be hard for anyone to imagine.

Apple made the extremely rare move of holding a press event admitting their mistake, and brought slots and bays back. But at $6000... I'm not there.
they didn't tho, bays are only aftermarket.
 
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Stephen.R

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From 1998 until 2013 people also used slower networking, slower memory, fewer and slower cpu cores, optical drives, FireWire ports.

Mechanical drives are now a niche product. They work quite well for some tasks.

I will simply reiterate that I believe putting two of them inside a hot case that they can’t be easily removed/swapped from is not a good use of them.
 
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Ploki

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Apple put the MPX bay there with data, power, mounting, and space for internal drives, which addresses the use case. That is what is important. I don't care who makes the sleds.
they put in universal connector (MPX) that can be used for high-speed GPU throughput, or an HDD (through some engineering, not even directly)

It's the same as TB3 connector, but internal. It's like saying they admitted their poor GPU chip selection by adding a TB3 connector which can host an eGPU.
It's actually easier to connect an eGPU to a TB3 connector than it is to connect a 3.5" drive to the Mac Pro internally.

Sorry, but that is quite a stretch from "Apple made the extremely rare move of holding a press event admitting their mistake, and brought slots and bays back."
 

konqerror

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Dec 31, 2013
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From 1998 through 2013, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people spent ~$2500 to have a Mac with PCI slots and storage bays. We were left without a solution for many years, and this comes so close to mimicking a desktop Mac with slots and bays, at a similar price.
In 2010, USB 3.0 was released. That also killed off a predecessor technology, eSATA.

The thing is that if you're talking about 1-3 mechanical drives, USB 3 external drives are perfectly adequate today. There is a definite need for large arrays, say 4-12 mechanical drives, but that's not what we're talking about here.

Having 2 mechanical drive slots is in a no man's land. Not enough for bulk storage arrays, requires 5/12 V power and cooling, takes up space, costs more than external, and doesn't buy you much in performance.
 
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Ploki

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In 2010, USB 3.0 was released. That also killed off a predecessor technology, eSATA.

The thing is that if you're talking about 1-3 mechanical drives, USB 3 external drives are perfectly adequate today. There is a definite need for large arrays, say 4-12 mechanical drives, but that's not what we're talking about here.
One MPX slot handles about as much as 6 TB3 ports. so, around 240gbps? I think they're x16 + x8.

4x SATA6 drivebay needs 24GBPS. for spinners, you probably need around half that at most.

Sticking such a module inside is... I don't know what. I wouldn't, seems like a waste of pipelines.

It would be better to have an "MPX breakout" so you could stick 40 drives at once on a single port.

edit:
because you have space, you could make a 6xM.2 MPX card and RAID0 it, to crazy fast (RAM fast) 20gb/s storage. Now that would be cool. Seems fit for a 6000$ machine
 

ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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Okay, fine. Wanting a computer with an SSD and HDD internally is some sort of weird, niche use case.

I say this in a thread about a $1000 crowdfunded Mac-Mini-custom-fitted PCIe/M.2 enclosure designed by a London artist.
 
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konqerror

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Okay, fine. Wanting a computer with an SSD and HDD internally is some sort of weird, niche use case.

I say this in a thread about a $1000 crowdfunded Mac-Mini-custom-fitted PCIe/M.2 enclosure designed by a London artist.
Exactly. Because you're trying to configure a $1800 computer package like it was a $500 Wal-Mart PC.
 

Krevnik

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Sep 8, 2003
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I would think that the combination of having boot+apps on an SSD, and having mass storage on a hard drive would be an extremely common use case, but everyone is looking at me like I'm a two-headed alien.
It would be a common use case for me back in 2013, but not today. So perhaps it isn't "extremely common" anymore.

Okay, fine. Wanting a computer with an SSD and HDD internally is some sort of weird, niche use case.

I say this in a thread about a $1000 crowdfunded Mac-Mini-custom-fitted PCIe/M.2 enclosure designed by a London artist.
Honestly, this thing is already including the kitchen sink and trying to provide too much specialization, IMO. Adding HDD bays to this really turns it into something that does a lot of things, but mostly empties your wallet. I'd probably do something completely different:

  • Basic Model
    • 1x double-width slot. 16x Mechanical, 4x electrical.
    • 2x single-width slots. 16x/8x Mechanical. Configured as 1x4 or 2x2 electrical.
    • This is aimed at folks who only need a single GPU + I/O, or two GPUs. They can use the two other slots for I/O however they see fit. SSDs, Ethernet, Fiber, eSATA, etc.
  • Stacking Modules
    • Adds dedicated SSD slots or HDD bays to the Basic Model.
    • Shares the TB bus with the single-width slots via a PCIe-based docking connector on the bottom of the Basic Model.
- - Post merged: - -
 
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Duncan68

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From 1998 until 2013 people also used slower networking, slower memory, fewer and slower cpu cores, optical drives, FireWire ports.

Mechanical drives are now a niche product. They work quite well for some tasks.

I will simply reiterate that I believe putting two of them inside a hot case that they can’t be easily removed/swapped from is not a good use of them.
I have a 2TB FLAC music collection. Mechanical drives are not a niche product for me. ;)
 

ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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you're trying to configure a $1800 computer package like it was a $500 Wal-Mart PC
That's an excellent point, thanks. I will also add the following to it:

Dell workstations: drive bays
HP workstations: drive bays
Lenovo workstations: drive bays

How extraordinarily fortunate for me that the three largest computer makers in the world and the largest retailer in the world, all cater to this weird, niche use case of mine.
 

mmomega

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Dec 30, 2009
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3.5"?

just let them die already
IF SSD's could give even remotely similar pricing then I would agree.
To replicate the storage I have at home and 2 offices would be in the 10's of thousands of dollars.
At one office I have 2 - 30TB enclosures and 2 - 10TB server. Another office with 2 - 20TB enclosures and a 5TB server. And at home a 30TB enclosure.
I love SSD's and have been using them in my personal computers since 2009 when an 80GB drive was $400, which still works today. It just isn't feasible to replace my platter drives with flash.
 
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