Best way to configure Mac Mini Server as regular workstation

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by docprego, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. docprego macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Location:
    Henderson, NV
    #1
    So I lucked out and got a Mac Mini server today for an obscenely low price. It has 2 5400 RPM 1TB drives in it and a 2.3 GHz i7. I'm going to upgrade the RAM from the stock 4GB to 16GB.

    What would be the best way to configure this machine as a regular desktop workstation? I don't need any of the server features.

    Do I:

    1. Remove one of the 1TB drives and replace it with an SSD?
    2. Configure the drives in a Raid 0 array (how are they configured out of the box)?
    3. Something else I am not thinking of?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. docprego thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Location:
    Henderson, NV
    #2
    Hoping someone with the previous Mini server has been through this. I want to configure it for maximum performance.

    I'm thinking that means removing one drive and replacing it with an SSD.

    1. Has anyone gone this route with the server?
    2. Does it matter which drive I replace?
    3. Is it simply a matter of using Internet recovery to install Yosemite and set this system up once I install the SSD?
    4. Am I better off leaving both 1TB 5400 RPM drives in place and configuring them as a RAID0 array with a 2TB external drive as back up?

    Thank you!
     
  3. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #3
    I don't personally have the previous mini server but if it were me I'd swap one of the drives for an SSD. You'd get much better performance out of a single SSD than two HDDs in Raid 0

    ----------

    For your other questions:

    2. It shouldn't matter
    3. You can download the Yosemite installer from the app store and create a bootable USB drive with it to do a clean install after putting in an SSD. See this article for instructions.
    4. I would go the SSD route and either get an external for backup or an enclosure for the 1TB you take out.
     
  4. MacTCE macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    #4
    I actually just purchased the same machine this weekend will be be taking the same steps.

    1. Upgrading RAM.
    2. Removing one of the mechanical HDD's and replace with an SSD.
    3. Doing a fresh install of Yosemite.
    4. Installing OSX Server 4.0.
    5. Putting the second 1TB HDD in a USB 3.0 enclosure to use for backups (Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner.)
    6. Enjoying me new machine.
     
  5. docprego thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Thank you both. Is a 128GB SSD enough? I have one lying around.
     
  6. MotionxxUSxx, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    MotionxxUSxx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    #6
    Best way to configure Mac Mini Server as regular workstation

    Just picked up a server edition today as well. Planning to replace one of the drives with a 1 tb Samsung 850 Pro from Amazon.
     
  7. xbpr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #7
    I'm trying to figure out what to do with my recent server acquisition and this sounds like a good plan.

    I've been looking at one of those Newer Technology Mini Stacks and adding a bluray and my second 1TB HDD.

    I will also be updating the ram and getting a new display.

    This system will be replacing my aging 2007 iMac. Hopefully I'll be able to get a few bucks out of selling the iMac to help pay for the upgrades.
     
  8. MacTCE macrumors 6502

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #8
    If you're planning on just running the OS and apps you could probably get away with a 128. You'll just have to ensure you keep most or your documents, pics, movies, etc. on your larger drive.
     
  9. MotionxxUSxx macrumors 6502

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    Jul 1, 2007
    #9
    does it matter which mechanical drive I replace with the SSD. Do we know which drive the os is actually booting from?
     
  10. Darby67 macrumors 6502

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    the corner of Fire and Brimstone
    #10
    No, you can go use either bay.
     
  11. loud0g40oz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    #11
    I have the same 2012 server that you do. I got mine from fry's for 499 as well. Here's what I did:

    Removed both drives and replaced with a 512gb MX100 SSD, placed in the top bay.

    Replaced the ram with Crucial 16gb set

    Did clean install of Mavericks (TRIM doesn't work on Yosemite so I'll be sticking with Mavericks for now). I don't use OSX, so I partitioned it pretty small (60gb I think).

    Clean install of Windows 7 via Bootcamp, then restored from backup

    Results: Runs clean and fast. Loving it so far.

    Still may put the second HDD NTFS formatted back in as a media/backup storage for my Win 7 install. I looked at formats that both systems could write to, but wasn't willing to live with the compromise so I stuck with NTFS.

    Nice part was because it was a server model, I got the second HDD install parts already included.
     
  12. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #12
    It apparently works if you disable the kext signing security setting:

    http://www.cindori.org/trim-enabler-and-yosemite/
     
  13. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #13
    Replace the boot drive with an SSD and use the other one for data. Normally the drive that's easiest to get to is the boot drive. Convenient!

    Some stuff is hard to get on a different drive, like itunes iOS device backups and Steam library. I created some symlinks for those to get them off the SSD.

    Get a modern SSD of decent size (500GB) and don't worry about Trim.
     
  14. henryonapple macrumors 6502

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    Oct 29, 2012
    #14
    $499??? how????
     
  15. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #15
    AFAIK Fry's had a temporary pricing mistake. Should have been $899. Some stores honored it, some did not. It has since been corrected.
     
  16. loud0g40oz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    #16

    Yep. That's what happened. It was mispriced on the web at $499 for in store pickup only. I purchased it online, picked it up after work. Paid about $539 after tax.

    All in I've got a little over $900 in it including the 512gb MX100 SSD and 16gb ram upgrade. Not bad at all.
     
  17. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    #17
    I just purchased my first Mini Server (2012) model off the Apple refurb store and I am considering the same upgrades, but my concern with replacing a 1TB drive with a smaller SSD is how to allocate all of the data except the OS and apps to the 1tb internal drive. Has anyone posted how to do this?

    Also, I thought the position of the SSD determined whether or not OS X Server could use it as a Fusion drive, much like OEM implementations. Wouldn't it be better to set up the Mini as a fusion drive?

    Lastly, I will be hooking up my Mini to an HP LP2475w with several video port options: DVI-I, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The monitor supports 1920x1200 @60Hz for each option, so which would be best?

    I had planned to use TB for external backups but I could use a TB adapter for video if I must and use USB 3 for backups/external storage. Thoughts?
     
  18. henryonapple macrumors 6502

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    Oct 29, 2012
    #18
    when did you purchase it? wasn't this a recent price mistake?
     
  19. loud0g40oz macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2012
    #19
    A week ago. Yes, it was a mistake. It was fixed within a few hours, but I got lucky.
     

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