Base Mac Mini + 8GB RAM + Samsung 830 256GB ... Decent Setup?

Adamantoise

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Original poster
Aug 1, 2011
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Base Mac Mini (2011) - $570
Samsung Low Voltage 8GB RAM - $60
Samsung 830 256GB - $400

I'm not looking for it to scream, I just need a low power secondary desktop. I don't know too much about Mac Minis and forgive me for not searching, but are they SATA III compliant?

Also, is there significant amount of tinkering required to replace the stock HDD?
 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
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That would be a very nice low power, cool running solution. The Samsung 830s are very fast, not as fast as Sandforce 2200 series drives. However, the real world difference is negligible.

Both SATA ports on the 2011 Mac mini are SATA III 6Gbps.

The top drive is very easy to swap. You only need to remove the WiFi plate, and fan cowling. Of course, swap the hardware off the original drive.
 
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Adamantoise

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Original poster
Aug 1, 2011
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How hard is it to get to the second hard drive bay?

It's either ...

1) 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD
2) 256GB SSD

Obviously option 1 would be ideal, but if it's too much of a hassle, I'll be fine with option 2.
 
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dlim

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2012
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Don't mean to hijack this thread, but I'm in the exact same boat. I just received my base mac mini yesterday (amazon student prime! :]). I upgraded it to 8 gb 1333 corsair ram and I'm loving it too.

Only thing is that I've gotten used to the SSD on my air so I've been spoiled, and am now considering swapping out the 500gb 5400rpm for an SSD.

Anyone recommend any 256gb SATA III SSDs? I'm gonna wait for one of those sales when it's ~$1/gb but I'd like to know what to keep an eye out for.

You'll love your mini!

----------

How hard is it to get to the second hard drive bay?

It's either ...

1) 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD
2) 256GB SSD

Obviously option 1 would be ideal, but if it's too much of a hassle, I'll be fine with option 2.
From what I saw on iFixit, getting to the second bay is much more of a hassle b/c you have to actual remove the logic board. The first bay you don't have to remove the logic board, just slide it out a little. You also have to buy an adapter which (if my memory serves me well) runs for ~$60.

I'm just planning on doing a 256GB SSD + using my 2tb external. I'd personally rather put the extra money for the adapter into a larger SSD.
 
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kas23

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Oct 28, 2007
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How hard is it to get to the second hard drive bay?

It's either ...

1) 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD
2) 256GB SSD

Obviously option 1 would be ideal, but if it's too much of a hassle, I'll be fine with option 2.
Not a hassle (and I'm sure we all have our own definition of what a hassle is), but requires following steps and patience. No special skills are needed, you just have to be able watch one of the many videos and follow the steps.
 
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Dhelsdon

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Feb 5, 2010
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for 2 hard drives you'll need to buy an additional adapter, I found them on eBay for 40$ but iFixit has a kit with screws and grommets, screwdrivers and the adapter for 69$ they are both Sata III 6Gbps

Here's links to both:

eBay

iFixit
 
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Adamantoise

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Aug 1, 2011
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Well I'm not fond of spending more money than I have to, but I'll see how it goes.
 
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Adamantoise

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So looks like it's going to run me about $1,000 ... Sort of an extravagant expense considering I already have a Dell Desktop that is in excellent condition.

But I really want a separate computer to act as a Server (I'll be obtaining the $50 Lion Server download) and host personal files.
 
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philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
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I think this is more cost efficient, either way, I intend to pick up an SSD.

I don't think I'm going to benefit much from a quad core machine.
if you are usa based the server is


http://www.amazon.com/Apple-MC936LL...CO64/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326941729&sr=8-1


955 at amazon

this 128gb ssd
samsung is 200

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-830-M...2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1326941784&sr=1-2


cost is 1155. far less labor no part from ifixit the kit is pushing 60 bucks. just the cable is hard to get under 35 bucks. so you are out 1155 you have a 2 drive machine with a smoking good cpu. and you have a spare 500 gb hdd 7200 rpm that will sell for about 85 on ebay. or keep it. the server will resell for a lot more then the base mini with 2 drives. just saying.

putting the second drive in takes time and effort.
 
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kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
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Here is a video on how to swap out and put in two drives without moving the logic board. Caution on the fan connector, maybe use some tape on the connector to relieve the stress on the cables.

http://youtu.be/HTvUGLF8NPs
I've seen this video. He makes it look very easy, but it seems like the drives are just sitting in there instead of screwed down. Now, it's such a tight fit in there it's like worrying about a 500 lb dead man turning over in his coffin. Assuming you not going to mount you Mini on your bike, I don't know if it matters.

Can anyone with more experience comment on this video?
 
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Adamantoise

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Original poster
Aug 1, 2011
892
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if you are usa based the server is


http://www.amazon.com/Apple-MC936LL...CO64/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326941729&sr=8-1


955 at amazon

this 128gb ssd
samsung is 200

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-830-M...2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1326941784&sr=1-2


cost is 1155. far less labor no part from ifixit the kit is pushing 60 bucks. just the cable is hard to get under 35 bucks. so you are out 1155 you have a 2 drive machine with a smoking good cpu. and you have a spare 500 gb hdd 7200 rpm that will sell for about 85 on ebay. or keep it. the server will resell for a lot more then the base mini with 2 drives. just saying.

putting the second drive in takes time and effort.
Wow, I feel stupid for not thinking this through now. Thanks!

Question though, I would like to have the Operating System and Applications on the SSD, while having Data files on the HDD ... Does the Server run in RAID by default? Do I have to disable this prior to installing my SSD?
 
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philipma1957

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Apr 13, 2010
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no.

there are a few ways to set it all up.

it really helps to have a usb apple keyboard for setup.


I like to boot the machine first to see if it works before I do any mods. Once I see it works I power it off and boot with my finger on the keyboard option key. this brings up the screen with 2 boot choices. I pick recovery as my choice while hooked upped to the net. I then load the lion via the net to the empty hdd. at this point I have 2 oem hdds with complete lion osx.

I boot test both. I put the ram in I boot test both hdds again.

then I pull the easy hdd out and put the ssd in.

I format the ssd I boot again with my finger on the option key and I do a net recovery to the ssd. I check to see if the ssd has fully updated. I boot it. I now have two internal drives with lion and the pulled drive with lion. I go back to utilities . I change the partition size on the 500 gb hdd that has lion to 50gb and I add a second partition to that drive.

when done my server quad has a 500 gb hdd with a 50gb backup booter with lion and 450 empty space. and my ssd for programs is 1 partition of 128gb. this is one of many ways to set it up.

I don't know your skill set with mac osx utilities clone programs etc. what is nice about this is you always know the gear is working before you do a mod.

I mod and sell on ebay so I do this way because I have found 1 in 20 machine maybe 1 in 30 are defective right at the start> I always know it was broken before the mod. since I return 3 to 5 machines a year I don't feel I fff'd it up with the mod.
 
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Dhelsdon

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Feb 5, 2010
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Canadian Eh!
I like your method Philip, when I bought my MBP I upgraded the RAM without even booting it once. I can see how easily a person would think they screwed up the install of memory if the machine didn't boot. It would be DOA and I'd be non the wiser!
 
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shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
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I have been using the recovery partition to image the original OEM disk to SSDs. Basically, hold option, select recovery, then go to disk utilities and restore to the SSD. This copies the recovery partition as well. The drive size does not need to be equal, just enough free space on the destination drive to accommodate the used space on the source. The only restriction is RAID does not work.

I also recommend testing one hardware installation at a time. A full over haul is risky. Always check to make sure the base configuration works before opening the system to modify since you will/may void your warranty.
 
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ACiB

macrumors member
Dec 15, 2010
32
0
To the OP, I have the exact same setup, except my Sammy 830 is only 64GB, I use it for Plex, and the thing scream, it really is a monster. I do some light Pixelmator, Handbrake and 1080p video and the thing is as fast as it gets in real world terms.
 
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beatlesmith

macrumors newbie
Jan 19, 2012
9
0
I have been using the recovery partition to image the original OEM disk to SSDs. Basically, hold option, select recovery, then go to disk utilities and restore to the SSD. This copies the recovery partition as well. The drive size does not need to be equal, just enough free space on the destination drive to accommodate the used space on the source. The only restriction is RAID does not work.

I also recommend testing one hardware installation at a time. A full over haul is risky. Always check to make sure the base configuration works before opening the system to modify since you will/may void your warranty.
This might be a stupid question but if I intend to replace one of the 500GB drives in the Mini Server, which of the drives has the boot data on it? Would it be the top (most accessible) one or the bottom?
Ideally I would just replace the top drive with an SSD and as you said, image the original disk across, but I'm not sure if that will work.
Also, what do you mean when you say that RAID would not work?
 
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Dhelsdon

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2010
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2
Canadian Eh!
This might be a stupid question but if I intend to replace one of the 500GB drives in the Mini Server, which of the drives has the boot data on it? Would it be the top (most accessible) one or the bottom?
Ideally I would just replace the top drive with an SSD and as you said, image the original disk across, but I'm not sure if that will work.
Also, what do you mean when you say that RAID would not work?
I think Apple ships the Mini server as a 1TB Raid (500gb X 2) but don't quote me on this.
 
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eutexian

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2012
118
8
Mapperley, Nottingham UK
That's quite suprising IMO..
I've read on "Mac support communities" - how to set it ip as raid1. its not straightforward. but can be done. You need a second FW equipped Mac.

fwiw.. here's the 'how to' (shamelessly stolen)

Step 1: Start the Mini in Target Mode. Press the T during start. In a few seconds the firewire logo will appear on your screen.
Step 2: Go to your second Mac. Connect the firewire cable between second Mac and Mini.
Step 3: On the second Mac start the disc utility. The two identical drives on your mini will show. Create a new Raid set (mirrored = Raid 1). Include both drives. Confirm the warning that all data on the mini will be lost.
Step 4: Make sure your second Mac has CD/ DVD sharing option installed. This is tou use the superdrive to install OS X Server on the mini.
Step 5: Shutdown both Macs
Step 6: Start your second Mac in target mode. Make sure the firewire cable is still connected.
Step 7: Start the Mini with the option key pressed.
Step 8: Insert the OS X Server install disc in your second Mac.
Step 9: wait till the drive logo apears om the Mini. Continue the install. Will take about an hour.
 
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