Buying Mac Mini (Late 2012) - FD or SSD from Apple or add own SSD voiding warranty?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Solos79, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Solos79 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2013

    I'll be buying Mac Mini (Late 2012) in a few days. It'll be my first Mac ever. I'm planning to use it about 5 years, that's why I'm going to go with the strongest version - i7 2.6GHz. I'll upgrade RAM to 16GB myself - this is easy and does not void warranty.

    Mac will be used at home for regular home usage - internet, movies, photos, streaming to TV etc. Currently I have PC with SSD, so I don't want to have pure HDD in Mac. It's not possible after having SSD if You know what I mean

    I'm struggling between three options regarding storage:
    1. Fusion Drive
    2. 256 GB SSD Drive from Apple
    3. Basic configuration from Apple regarding HDD (1TB 5400RPM) and adding SSD drive myself as a second drive (voids warranty unfortunately).

    Ad.1. First option is the easiest and safest one. However I've read different opinions on forums from users using it. Moreover 128GB SSD doesn't seem to be enough. Currently I have 128GB SSD in my PC and I've got only 12GB free space (no unnecessary data on this drive).

    Ad.2. Second option is ok for daily used data and seems to be big enough for the nearest future. However I lack big internal storage for data like photos, movies etc. I know I can take external USB 3.0 drive and have it there, but I wouldn't feel safe having all my photos just on one drive. In case of HDD fail, I loose all "memories". So I'd have to connect two external drives to have essential data on two disks. If I had internal HDD, the data would be there and I'd need to connect just one external HDD for backup.

    Ad.3. Third option is the most preferable one except one thing - it voids warranty. I'd have to spend just a little more money than in option 2 (256GB SSD from Apple) and I could have twice as big SSD drive and 1TB Apple internal HDD. That's great value for money, but great disadvantage would be buying new computer and practically putting warranty to trash.

    Moreover, I've read on this forum that:
    Please advice what You'd choose? I waited long time for this moment (buying a Mac) and since I'll probably won't change it in 5 years I'd like to go with the best option.

    P.S. I wrote the same message in Fusion Drive thread, but it's more like general question regarding storage type, so I decided to create new thread. Sorry for double posting.

    Best regards,
  2. hamkor04 macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2011
    I understand you concern.
    i was same, in your position 2 moth ago.
    i got i7 2.3 with standard HDD. it is VERY slow after SSD but, also don't wont to pay way more than it's price (i mean Apple SSD 2x 3x overpriced )
    Unfortunately, I steel need a laptop iPad not being useful for me.
    Apple, does not recommend to users open their products. To be honest, if you are really careful when opening, make sure you not make any noticeable mark inside your mini, you will be alright. use your mini 1-2 weeks without changing anything (RAM and SSD) if any defects you will notice in short period. get some good SSD Samsung or Crucial (no OCZ it is rubbish) and swipe it over with SSD or Data double kit can be useful for you.
    remember to keep original HDD incase of faults during your warranty. you simply swap it back
  3. jamin100 macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2008
    I got my 2012 17 2.3 model last month. I came from a 2009 imac where I had changed the HD for an SSD.

    I thought like you that Im used to the SSD so would need to rip the TB HD out of the mac mini and replace it with an SSD straight away.

    Well, that was the plan. But after using the machine for a month im going to stick with the 1TB drive for a while. I have 3 years warranty and i figure after 3 years i'll be pretty bored with the machine and want it to go as fast as the then current models. This is when I plan on putting an SSD in. This should then give the mini a new lease of life for another 2 years + for me, as it will feel like a new machine.

    I keep ALL my data (photos, videos, itunes library, VM's) on an 2TB USB3 external drive. I actually have 2 of them and they get mirrored every 2 days using CCC.

    I find that the HD is slower than the SSD but for my usage I can live with it and i think that the extra processing power and RAM i have in the mini goes some way to helping the slower HD. Feels like that anyway.

    My advice would be option 3 but use the mini with the standard HD for a little while and see if really need the SSD. As a new SSD may help breathe some life into your machine 3 possibly 4 years down the line.
  4. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012

    I would go for the 1TB model and add your own SSD. Definitely the best option imho.

    Yes, it will invalidate the warranty, but provided your Mini works on arrival and stays working for a few days, it will likely not break for many years anyway. The only thing you might have a problem with is either the fan (which is dead simple to replace) or the hard drive - again easy to replace and dirt cheap anyway.

    It is a fiddly procedure to add a 2nd drive however and it is possible to damage your new machine by pulling wires out of connectors, or worse, headers of the the mainboard. For this reason, I would get someone else (qualified) to do it for you. That's what I did. I bought a 256GB SSD and the sata cable and took it to an Apple service specialist who did the upgrade for me. That way, if they trashed my machine (very unlikely anyway) at least they would have to repair it. I think it cost me £50 to have them do it instead of me. Well worth it.

    So now I have the perfect machine. It has the added benefit that when the hard disk is not in use (which is quite often if I am just surfing etc) it spins down completely and the Mini is effectively completely silent. More quiet than my monitor! I don't think this would happen with a Fusion set up.

    Go for it!
  5. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    Successfully adding another HDD or SDD to your mini does not void the warrantee. However whatever you add to the mini (including memory) isn't covered under the warrantee.

    If you break something while adding memory or an hdd or sdd to your machine... that breakage will not be covered under the warrantee.

    The User Guide for the 2009 MBP even shows you how to replace your HDD and even tells you what tools to use.
  6. jhfenton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I agree. That would be my opinion if you hired me to offer it. But since you haven't hired me to offer it, please insert the standard IANYL* disclaimer here.

    I added a 180GB Intel SSD to my base model Mac mini (Late 2012) and Fusion'd it with the stock 500GB HD. And I would have no hesitation in taking my mini in for service if something failed that I had no part in breaking. The downside would be having to take my aftermarket SSD (and maybe my 16GB of RAM) out, because I couldn't expect Apple to be responsible for it.

    The real risk is, as several have pointed out, is that disassembling and reassembling a Mac mini involves lots of fiddly bits that are fairly easy to break. Breaking those is obviously not covered under the warranty.


    *"I Am Not Your Lawyer." I am not offering you legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice applicable to your situation. ;)
  7. Ice Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

    Jun 16, 2009
    When I bought my mini in 2011 I opted to buy the base model and void my warranty by installing my own SSD. I only did it because Apple's option required you to not only upgrade to the $799 model but pay an addition $600 on top of that for a SATA II SSD when the mini has a SATA III chipset.

    I would just go with the SSD myself if you don't need much space or go with the FD if you need more.
  8. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    If you buy an SSD from OWC you can have them do the installation for around $100. I don't recall if the price includes shipping. I assume that it also voids the Apple warranty but it's an option for someone who doesn't feel comfortable cracking a Mini's case.
  9. Ice Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

    Jun 16, 2009
    They are well trained to do it but I think it will void the warranty if the drive fails and you have to send it back and pay another repair cost.
  10. Adz76 macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Dagobah System

    If you are really worried about the warranty you could achieve your goal and keep either the stock waranty or the Applecare intact by using a authorised repair agent.

    I looked into this when I was considering a 2011 iMac. I was going to buy the SSD of my choosing and then take the device and part to an authorised agent near to me and get them to fit the part, I appreciate you will have to pay but the beauty is that you are totally covered. If they knackered something they will have to forefeit the cost of any damage and return your device in the condition you gave it to them.

    If you are confident you can do it yourself, I'd say do it. If in doubt then dip your hand in your pocket and let someone else take the hassle out of it safe in the knowledge you are covered should you ever need to contact Apple.

    Plus you're saved a fair bit on the cost of Apple's SSD prices. Which ever way you go...Enjoy!!!
  11. alexkoo1812 macrumors newbie


    Jan 29, 2012
    Are you sure Apple service can do upgrade for you with your own SSD...?
    I just broken my Mac Mini's Fan connector on motherboard when installing second SSD...

    And the worse thing is...Plextor 128G M5P cannot be detected by OSX after installed (even in Disk Utility)...And I tried an old Intel 40G, it works...

    Anyone met this before?
  12. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I have performed many upgrades on my 2009 mini (HDD, SSD, RAM), none of which have ever bothered Apple when taking it in for service. As has been mentioned, Apple doesn't really mind you opening up your computer and mucking about inside. Anything that you break while in there, or any new parts that you add or replace in the machine, are all on you and not their problem.
  13. Mojo1, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    From what I have seen a basic drive swap is relatively simple to accomplish and I would feel fine doing it myself. Adding a second drive in Minis and MBPs is more involved so there is more risk that something could be damaged.

    If you are concerned about Apple's response should a user-customized Mac be returned for a warranty repair, just retain the stock drive and install it before shipping the Mac to Apple. Problem solved!

    As far as your "memory" storage dilemma... Until recently there was no way I could store all my images and music on any of my internal drives; they topped-out at 320GB. I also did not want to be accessing music from the internal drive while doing other drive-intensive work.

    So I settled on using relatively two fast external drives to store my memories: one has the files used by the apps on the internal drive and the second is a backup. I partition the drives so I can do things like clone my MBP so it can be backed-up via CrashPlan without having to pay for a multi-computer subscription. (The MBP uses a separate smaller external drive for TM and a SuperDuper! cloned volume.) I also have a Time Machine partition on one of the drives.

    When I upgraded to a 2012 Mini with a 1TB drive I considered moving my music to it and having only one external backup. But I decided to stick with what has worked for me for years; an added benefit is when I upgrade a Mac all I have to do is point iTunes and Aperture to the necessary files on the external drive and I am up-and-running in a few minutes.
  14. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Fusion Drives move data at the sub-file BLOCK level. They can split data between the hard drive and the SSD whilst still keeping the file hierarchy intact. There's no way you were using every 4k block of that SSD with equal frequency.

    Say you use GarageBand, but you only work with a few of the samples. CoreStorage can move all the unused samples out to the HDD, while still keeping all the samples at the file path where Garageband expect to find them.

    Your iPhoto Library will remain one large package, but the original JPEGs that have since been edited might get moved to the HDD -- while the data is all still in ~/Pictures.

    The people who say "I want control of my files" don't seem to understand how it works. You can still maintain the file hierarchies you want, and you don't have to spend time moving stuff about and making sym links. They will never be as efficient as CoreStorage, because it works at the sub-file level and doesn't change filepaths.

    I've got a Fusion drive and it's lightning fast. It's exactly as advertised: storage of an HDD; speed of an SSD.

    I'm sure there are special cases where Fusion isn't quite what you want, but for the vast majority of people, it's brilliant.
  15. chiefsilverback macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011
    I upgraded my base i5 late 2012 mini with a 240GB OWC SSD and 16GB OWC RAM on Saturday. It took all of about 30 mins to do and now it really flies. I'm also using a NewerTech USB 3.0 to eSATA 'dongle' to connect my 2TB RAID 0 OWC Mercury Pro enclosure and it's doubled the speed of the drive for $25.

    I upgraded from a 2007 2.4 C2D iMac (with 2011 SSD upgrade) and the mini is a significant step up now. Before I put the SSD in the iMac was actually faster to launch apps etc...

    I love the look of the new iMacs but a. I can't afford one at the moment and b. a mini + Apple Thunderbolt display (some time in the future) makes for a much nicer upgrade path than a new iMac every few years... If you don't need the iMac's extra graphics power then it's definitely worth considering.

    One point to note, doing the SSD upgrade yourself means you get to keep the stock drive. I plan to get a matching 500GB 5400RPM drive and slap both of them in an OWC Mercury Pro Mini enclosure and run it in RAID 0 via another of the NewerTech USB 3.0 converters and get an extra 1TB of storage.
  16. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I had a 3rd party SSD installed in my 2011 imac, and when my screen acted up last month, Apple fixed my imac for me without any issues.:)
  17. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I wouldn't do option #3 because AppleCare really is amazing and worth it. Also, Apple only supports TRIM on their SSDs, so for all non-Apple SSDs, you either have to edit a .kext file every time you do a point release (e.g. 10.8.3 from 10.8.2) update, or run the TRIM enabler that will do that task for you. It's not a big deal, but it's mildly annoying at least.

    I wouldn't do option #2 because that's not a lot of space; it also costs more than option #1 and provides very minimal benefit, if any at all.

    Option #1, gives you the best in terms of capacity and performance and at a decent price. Set up an external USB 3 drive for your Time Machine back-ups and that'll be all you'll ever need. No external drives containing your libraries, no nothing. Just your back-up drive and your internal storage (which will be plenty fast). The fact that the SSD that you are given in a Fusion set-up is half the size of the one you'd get if you were going SSD-only really doesn't matter given that the SSD will, over time, act like a giant cache drive literally giving you SSD speed with HDD capacities. I wouldn't get wrapped up in the size disparity of the SSD drive itself; you won't notice it at all.

    The hard drive is user-replaceable on the 2009 MBP (as well as the Late 2008, Mid 2010, Early 2011, Late 2011, and Mid 2012 non-retina MBPs). It is not on any Mac mini that has ever been released to date. It is not on any iMac that has ever been released to date (with the exception of the first gen and the ambient light-sensor gen of iMac G5). It is not on any 15" MacBook Pro prior to Late 2008 and any 17" MacBook Pro prior to Early 2009. The fact that the Mid 2009 MBP has a guide on how to do it and that doing so doesn't void the warranty on that machine, means literally nothing about any other Mac.

    On the Mac mini (both the 2010-present design, and the 2005-2009 design) the hard drive is not considered a user-replaceable part; meaning that you can not buy your own after-market drive and you cannot install it. You could have someone else install it for you, but Apple discourages Apple Authorized Service Providers from installing after-market drives on in-warranty machines, and Apple themselves won't do it. Plus if Apple or any Apple Authorized Service Provider saw a drive like that, they could deny you in-warranty service.

    Trust me, I work at an Apple Authorized Service Provider as an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician. I know what I'm talking about.

    While an Apple-Authorized Service Provider will be more than willing to do that kind of upgrade (as Apple never would allow that sort of thing at the Genius Bars), either an Apple Store or another Apple-Authorized Service Provider could deny you service if they saw that drive and be well within their rights to. It wouldn't be a nice thing for them to do, but they have that right. All the warranty-void argument is about is that right. But no, your warranty isn't kept intact by doing this as any of these people could deny you warranty service if they wanted to if you decided to add a third party drive in that machine.

    You could certainly keep taking your machine to that Authorized Service Provider, but again, if they go out of business, there's no guarantee at all that any other authorized service provider would look at your drive and not care that an aftermarket part was installed.

    You got lucky. Just because you jay-walk in front of a cop, doesn't mean he's guaranteed to write you a ticket.
  18. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Not really, right now you're looking at a 30% or so markup on a 256gb drive ($300 through Apple vs around $200 for a good 256GB drive through Amazon).

    It is a bit more expensive but it's a lot more reasonable than it used to be.
  19. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Look, go for 16GB, but DONT GET PROCESSOR UPGRADE

    There is no diference at all those ridiculous 0.3ghz. It wont make your computer faster. Just looks diferente on the box.

    You do have to go SSD anyway. I totally recommend Adding a SSD yourself, and making the fusion yourself. Here are some videos:

    I recomend simply getting the 1TB version from any store. Put your data on the Mac and after playing with it for 1 week, make the fusion upgrade. Restore then your data with Time Machine
  20. hamkor04, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013

    hamkor04 macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2011

    $200 + 30% = $260
    $300 = $200+50%

    do your math first genius

    BTW. Amazon : Samsung 840 256GB is $169.50, Crucial M4 256Gb $174.49
    Apple : $300 for 256Gb
  21. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Sorry for the math mistake, was posting quickly from work, but in any case for me it's not a ton of cash and worth the lack of hassle. Not to mention I won't do anything with the extra HD lying around.

    Thanks for the being an ass about it though, that was certainly called for.
  22. stu.h macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    West Midlands, England.
    I bought the base i7 2.6 wih 4GB and 1TB spinner.

    Boot up time was around 35 seconds

    Upgraded with Crucial 16GB memory, and Samsung 830 256GB SSD and now its about 7 seconds.

    Did the upgrades myself following a YouTube video, took about 20 minutes and I had a spare 1TB drive that now lives in my RGH XBOX360.

    Get it bought!

  23. hamkor04 macrumors 6502

    Apr 10, 2011
    I thought you were being an ass with your sarcastic incorrect, irritating posts
  24. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I would be carefull about voiding warranty unless you can afford to brick your Mac mini. There have been a number of reports of people dislodging the connector sockets from the logic board.

    Even if you are confident about replacing the HDD you have to consider that the logic board faults at some stage; I had in the same machine twice the logic board replaced and suspect that the second time the service agent took the hit for the repair (they have to give warranty on the repairs) as they were clearly not happy campers when I picked the machine up.

    Having said this - I bought a few months ago the 2011 base model on close out and will be putting a second disk HDD in it (already had replaced the HDD with a Samsung 830 SSD). But I know darn well that I have to be very carefull - I am not impressed with the build quality of the Mac mini especially when I compare it with something built like a "tank" like the IBM T-series Thinkpads.

    If you are new to replacing parts / repairing computers then I would strongly suggest not to take the risk.

    And if you do take it apart then do yourself a favour and make a few "washers" from an anti-static bag to go between the rubber grommets of the antenna grille and the screws that tighten onto the SSD/HDD below the grille. Those grommets have a habit of sticking to the screws at a later stage and you find that they get destroyed when you have to take it apart again. It has been saving my skin for me.
  25. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    You and I apparently have very differing definitions of sarcasm and irritating.

    I did admit I was incorrect on the math, but the hard drive upgrades are still FAR cheaper than they used to be and for me worth the time savings. You're free to disagree, you just might do it like a grown up next time.

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