Best way to configure Mac Mini Server as regular workstation

docprego

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2007
1,201
61
Henderson, NV
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.
 

docprego

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2007
1,201
61
Henderson, NV
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!
 

odinsride

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2007
1,145
0
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

----------

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!
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.
 

MacTCE

macrumors 6502
Dec 20, 2013
476
15
Upstate NY
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.
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.
 

docprego

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 12, 2007
1,201
61
Henderson, NV
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.
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.
Thank you both. Is a 128GB SSD enough? I have one lying around.
 

MotionxxUSxx

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2007
405
5
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.
 
Last edited:

xbpr

macrumors member
Dec 8, 2008
63
2
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.
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.
 

MacTCE

macrumors 6502
Dec 20, 2013
476
15
Upstate NY
Thank you both. Is a 128GB SSD enough? I have one lying around.
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.
 

MotionxxUSxx

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2007
405
5
does it matter which mechanical drive I replace with the SSD. Do we know which drive the os is actually booting from?
 

loud0g40oz

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2012
44
0
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.
 

CausticPuppy

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2012
1,483
18
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.
 

henryonapple

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2012
405
0
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.
$499??? how????
 

loud0g40oz

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2012
44
0
AFAIK Fry's had a temporary pricing mistake. Should have been $899. Some stores honored it, some did not. It has since been corrected.

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.
 

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68020
Feb 13, 2005
2,029
1,343
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.
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?
 

henryonapple

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2012
405
0
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.
when did you purchase it? wasn't this a recent price mistake?
 
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