Are We Making A Big Deal About The Mini SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Heat_Fan89, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Heat_Fan89 macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2016
    I'm asking a legit question regarding the reliability and longevity of the new Mini's (soldered/non removable) SSD's? Do we have any data or proof these things give up the ghost 2/3/4/5/6 yrs after we start using them?

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic as i've only ever used spindle drives because of my belief possibly unwarranted that SSD's wear out from reads and writes. I have 10 year old USB flash/thumb drives I still use to copy and transfer small files. They still work to this day.

    Hasn't Apple been using non-removable SSD's in their MB's/MBP's/MA's? If so have their been widespread reports these SSD's quit working after a few years?

    A good friend of mine back in 2010 had purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad and installed back when the technology was still expensive a 250GB SSD in his laptop running Windows 7 then Windows 8/8.1 and he's in the Air Conditioning and Heating business and he would design layouts and use programs that i'm sure do quite a bit of reads and writes. He never said the SSD gave him a lick of problems. In fact he tried to sell me on the benefits of the SSD.

    I'm sure the SSD Tech has advanced both in speed, reliability and longevity. Am I wrong to presume this?

    I really like the new Mini's and the base model for me would be more than adequate especially coming from a base 2012 Mini but i'm apprehensive after reading about the non-removable SSD's.
  2. StellarVixen macrumors 68000


    Mar 1, 2018
    I do not see many people with 2013 MacBook Pros complaining that their SSDs are dead.

    And these are newer SSDs, which are probably even better. So, I wouldn't worry.
  3. Covfefe macrumors newbie


    Jun 5, 2017
    In the pipeline.
    On long enough timeline all mass storage devices will eventually break down or wear out, so the question is not so much "is there any proof these break down in x years" than it is "how do we know these will last at least x years".
    It's not so much the aging, but the mileage (amount of data written) that wears out NAND cells. Of course, age does probably increase the risk of overall failure of an SSD. The most important thing to remember with SSDs is that when they fail, it usually means there is no way to recover data, at least not in the way it was possible with mechanical drives.
    I think the first actual non-removable SSDs came with the 2016 MBPs, earlier ones were always removable although proprietary. There were some issues some years ago, IIRC it was with MB Air using SSDs with two different OEM manufacturers and it turned out that one of them was not only slower but somewhat more prone to dying. It might have have been between Toshiba and Samsung, but I can't remember which was which. I'm sure it has been discussed on these forums as well.
    You're mostly right, but you also have to factor in the advancements in cost cutting and profit margins. Quality has a lot to do with the manufacturer and the price point the device was designed for. When it comes to engineering, manufacturing and quality control, generally you get what you pay for. High retail price might indicate high level of quality although sometimes it's just high product margins.
  4. simonb76 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    I'm sure the Macbook Pro's SSD's are replaceable and not soldered on.
  5. phoenix-mac-user macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2016
    I have a serious question. Does anyone have any proof the SSD is "soldiered on"? Was it mentioned somewhere? The Mac Mini has always used a 2.5" drive, even the 2014 model with the memory soldiered on (which they reversed with the new model). Just because you don't see a physical drive in the picture of the open bottom doesn't mean there isn't a SSD under the motherboard, the same as the 2012 and 2014 models.

    Maybe I missed something that was said in the presentation but as far as I can tell, this is just apple snark and there is no proof of this one way or the other until someone gets one next week and takes it apart.
  6. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
    No one knows yet.
  7. simonb76 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Indeed, we're all waiting for iFixit. :)
  8. Heat_Fan89 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2016
    Thanks for taking the time to explain !
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2018 ---
    Yup as others have mentioned, we won't know until iFixit performs a teardown. Does anyone know how long do we usually wait for iFixit to tear down a Mac after it's been released? I'm guessing maybe a week or two after Nov 7th when they start getting delivered.
  9. PowerGala macrumors regular


    Aug 26, 2016
    I love my SSDs, and I'd never buy another computer with a spinner. The boot-up speed is so much faster (like I press the power button, and it's on) and the updates are just ridiculously fast. I could spend hours on a PC with an HDD trying to get it to update and it takes less than an hour with one with an SSD.

    However, you're right. In theory, SSDs have a limited number of reads and writes. I don't know anyone who has actually hit that wall. In theory, with moving parts HDDs have a greater chance for failure, but they're so good and rock solid that I don't think it's much of an issue.

    If you're worried about data loss, having backups is important regardless of if you have a computer with an SSD or one with an HDD. I have everything automatically backed up in the cloud.

    I personally think that the benefits of using an SSD far exceed the potential for issues inherent with any storage devices.
  10. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    I wouldn't worry at all about that, really. What people mainly complain about is that you can't purchase an off-the-shelf storage device without paying Apple's markup and connect it to the machine instead of the original storage device.

    When it comes to longevity: Since 2010 when we started adopting them I have seen a few SSDs fail, but never to the degree I've seen with mechanical drives.
    I do buy the argument that it isn't feasible to repair an out-of-warranty Mac with a failed storage device anymore, and that's a shame, really. That is not a common occurrence, however.

    When it comes to the ability to restore data:
    In many professional settings, full disk encryption using the likes of FileVault on the Mac or BitLocker in Windows has been mandatory for a long time. On the Mac it's been the recommended configuration for a couple of generations of macOS. This effectively means that you should have been keeping backup copies of your data anyway, because if your disk dies in a bad way, you're not getting any of it back off that device.
    With the T2 security/disk controller chip, there's no longer any way around having your data encrypted at rest, and so not maintaining a backup strategy has become an even worse choice than it used to be.

    Yes, Mac storage is expensive per unit of storage capacity, but not extremely so if you take performance into account.
    No, you won't likely be able to salvage current Macs from the trash heap, easily replace a couple of components and get them running again like some of us used to do back when we had more time than money.
    If you don't already, you should really consider spending some time and/or money on a good backup plan that's appropriate to the value of your data.
    ..But if the new Mac mini does what you need it to better than your other options, don't let the non-removable storage scare you away from what's likely a very nice machine.
  11. StellarVixen macrumors 68000


    Mar 1, 2018
    Still, rarely anyone is complaining that their original SSD has died.
  12. Oculus Mentis macrumors member

    Oculus Mentis

    Sep 26, 2018
    I'm also eagerly waiting for a proper Mac Mini teardown. On the other hand the devil could be in the detail or, in this case, the wording on the Apple Store:

    Apple Store note on MacBook Air storage:
    "Storage is built into the computer. If you think you may need more storage capacity in the future, consider upgrading at the time of purchase".

    Apple Store note on Mac Mini storage:
    "Mac mini storage is not user accessible. If you think you may need more storage capacity in the future, consider upgrading at the time of purchase".

    It is very possible that the Mac Mini SSD is a standard PCIe nvme with an M.2 connector. Simply not easily accessible but replaceable if having the proper tools and instructions (even if an upgrade will void the warranty)!
  13. tedson macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    I would expect iFixIt will get one first thing Wed. Nov. 7 and have preliminary results up later that day.
  14. alfonsog macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2002
    Cape Coral, FL
    My 2014 top spec mini with a 256 SSD had its SSD die just before the year warranty was up. Apple fixed it no problem, but I bought AppleCare just in case to extend for 2 more years but never had to use it again. I use an external TB SSD; I'm looking at the 2018 with i7 upgrade.
  15. thisismyusername, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    I work for a company that makes storage appliances and the only times myself, or anyone I work with, has worn out an SSD was either (i) when they were defective drives (and this was quite rare) or (ii) we had bugs in our logging code that caused massive amounts of writes in a short amount of time. For the latter, the number of writes we were doing was orders of magnitude higher than what anybody would normally do. I don't remember the exact stats but it wasn't anywhere close to whatever even a pro user would encounter.

    Home users have nothing to worry about.
  16. StellarVixen macrumors 68000


    Mar 1, 2018
    This does restore my hope.
  17. scottcampbell macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2017
    I had an SSD for my MacBook Pro that died after 1 year.

    I believe all hard-drives are ticking time bombs, spinning or solid state.

    Always have a backup or two (I do Time Machine and BackBlaze).
  18. iop macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2011
    512 GB NVMe drives cost a lot less than the $400 Apple wants to charge.
  19. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    Absolutely; if a Samsung 970 Pro NVMe is comparable to what’s used in the Mini (it is, when it comes to rated read speeds, but that needn’t be the whole truth), then the “markup” on a 512 GB drive is approaching 70% over regular consumer prices.
  20. sublunar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    And it only gets worse as NAND prices change over time. Remember Apple prices are best value early on - remember the 2014 (RIP) ;)

    NAND flash lasts longer partly through having no moving parts to wear out but when it fails, unlike a HDD, you usually get little warning and it'll just go. Backups, therefore are useful - so Apple have your back with time machine.

    We'll soon find out with the iFixit teardown in due course but if it is removable then I'd expect nothing less than a proprietary connector that's difficult to reach. It would be stunning if there was a standard M.2 connector at play but would be unheard of for Apple - remember they even adopted this strategy in the 2013 Mac Pro - the storage was removable but was custom fitted for that machine.

    The fact that the Mini now has Thunderbolt 3 ports means that people can get Samsung 970Pro performance using an external module like the X5 series. If people were so inclined to spec their Mac accordingly they could:

    1. Spec the base model with internal 128Gb SSD
    2. Upgrade the i3 CPU to their own i7 if the i3 is socketed - or just pay for the upgrade.
    3. Leave the RAM at 8Gb with a view to adding your own.

    As far as I can see the CPU price differential is not that bad this time around and you have to consider the potential inconvenience of having to work with external storage.
  21. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    I’ve kept computers well beyond typical lifespan by replacing failed drives. This remains a concern for me here.
  22. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Its an interesting example
    In x5 external form, 1Tb is $700 and produces 2500 speeds
    The new Mini 1TB is $800 and produces 3400 speeds?
  23. sean barry macrumors regular

    sean barry

    Oct 3, 2012
    Belding, MI
    SOOOO....If the SSD fails is the mini totally done?
  24. hsadler macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008
    Too bad there isn't some way to have the Mini jump to an external SSD (which has a startup routine) upon failure of the built in SSD.
  25. Hater macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I bought one of my Mac Pro's cheap with a failed SSD, thank god it was socketted and replaceable with an off the shelf drive with a simple $12 adapter.

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