Can I swap the HD in a brand new Mac Mini for a 1/1.5/2TB model?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Diamond Dave, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Diamond Dave macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
    #1
    I'm need to upgrade my existing Mac, and although if I was wealthy I'd go for a used mac pro, or if I was extremely wealthy, a new one, it occurred to me that the new Mac Mini might be an option.

    Presumably its 2GHz Core 2 Duo would be significantly faster than my existing Dual 1.25GHz G4 processors, I could spec it either to come with 2 or 4 GB of RAM, and according to this page it can support my existing 23" Cinema Display (1920x1200) with an adaptor, and even a 30" Cinema Display at some point in the future (2560x1600).

    The only remaining problem would be hard drive space. The maximum BTO option is 320 GB, and I'd need at least 1TB. Do 1TB+ 5400rpm hard drives exist, and if so, would the following be possible (or advisable)?

    1. I BTO a mini with the smallest possible internal drive (120GB).

    2. I buy a 1/1.5/2TB 5400 rpm SATA drive, and connect it internally (via an adapter that I already have & use successfully with a 7200rpm Western Digital 250GB SATA drive) to my G4.

    3. I connect the Mini & the G4 via a FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 cable (the G4 doesn't have FireWire 800) in target disk mode. (Do FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 cables exist?)

    4. I use Carbon Copy Cloner or similar to clone the existing internal drive in the Mini to the 1/1.5/2TB drive in the G4.

    5. I replace the internal drive in the mini with the 1/1.5/2TB drive, and then start to use the mini as normal, with it being none the wiser that I've swapped its Apple-supplied drive for a huge new one.

    Please try to refrain from adding replies to this post along the lines of "you'd be better off with a 24" iMac", or "why don't you buy a second hand Mac Pro", or "why don't you buy a Mini, keep the existing internal drive, and add a second, external FireWire 800/USB 2.0 drive to give you the storage you need", or anything similar.

    I'm acutely aware of all these options, and more. I have very specific needs, which I've listed in great detail, scattered across various posts on this website and Apple's Discussion Forums. I simply can't be bothered to regurgitate them all here.

    Suffice to say I'd appreciate comments from anyone who has real, genuine technical insight into what I'm proposing (drive firmware compatibility problems for example?) as opposed to hearsay & conjecture. Saying things like "I'm not sure it would work", or "it's up to you if you want to risk it" aren't at all helpful. I'm aware that it might not work, which is why I'm asking the question on this forum!

    I'd rather there was only one, technically detailed, knowledgeable, insightful & genuinely useful reply to my question - one which was able to help me make a decision, rather than 10 or 20 trite, useless, vapid ones that add nothing to my existing knowledge.

    If all of this sound like a pompous rant then I apologise, but I spend a lot of time reading posts on this website, and the general standard of literacy, intelligence & detailed technical knowledge often seems to be woeful. If you can't contribute anything genuinely insightful, then it's best not to contribute at all, wouldn't you agree?

    Many thanks for your help.
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    It won't fit, thus it won't work.

    Yes, I read your part about the "unhelpful" answers. This is my answer. It just won't fit.
     
  3. Jpoon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Culver City, California
    #3
    If there's some method of converting a 3.5" Drive to the SATA connection of a 2.5" drive, I'd say yes. However, it probably won't fit unless you take the Super Drive out of it. You also have to account for modifying the power connection as well to be a regular 4 pin molex instead of the 2.5" power connector.
     
  4. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #4
    Yes, it certainly does sound like that.

    It's really quite simple, and doesn't require anyone with an advanced degree or whatever you're requiring to get an answer: the Mini uses a laptop-sized (2.5") hard drive, which simply don't come in the sizes you're asking about. Even if you removed the optical drive as a previous poster suggested, based on my own perusing of the Mini's interior you would not be able to fit a 3.5" desktop drive in there along with all of the adapters necessary to make it work with the laptop-style interface the Mini has.

    So, you may not like it, but if you're going to buy a Mini and need more space, the best solution is an external 1TB+ Firewire 800 drive. This would be extremely fast, and you could even boot from it, essentially putting everything on one drive (which I presume is one of your concerns, but since you spent so much time explaining why you wouldn't be explaining your needs rather than just explaining them, I have no idea), and making it just like a single internal drive except it would be on the outside.
     
  5. Diamond Dave thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
    #5
    Many thanks to Tallest Skil and to Jpoon for their replies.

    It simply didn't occur to me that the Mini uses drives that are physically different in size, connector type, etc to standard desktop drives.

    As I understand it the iMac uses laptop components, at least in part, so the Mini, given that it's an even lowlier machine, also has to almost by definition.

    I've never owned a laptop and I often forget that laptops use different types of components to desktop machines.

    I guess my clever idea is a non-starter then, and I should consider Plan B, which is to think about a second hand Mac Pro, once I have the available funds.
     
  6. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #6
    The Mini is basically a MacBook in a box, minus the screen. You can get a 500GB 2.5" drive for it... heck, you can get TWO 500GB 2.5" drives for it, provided you take out the optical drive.

    But only the iMac and Mac Pro use 3.5" drives.
     
  7. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #7
    And the TimeCapsule :p
     
  8. Jpoon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Culver City, California
    #8
    Yeap, the iMac is a better value in my opinion anyways.
     
  9. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #9
    depends on what you already own and what you need it for
     

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