Data storage for Mac Mini

7enderbender

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 11, 2012
511
11
North East US
Hello Boys and Girls,

So, I did it. Just bought my first Mac. Pulled the trigger on a Mac Mini i7 with 8GB and 256 SS. That should serve me well for general purpose stuff, Logic Pro X and photo editing.

But I'll certainly will need more storage than that. So now I'm wondering if it's worth cracking the thing open to add a second HD with TB or so. Or just hook up drives via USB3. I suspect that the latter is not really much slower if not even faster.

Any thoughts on that? Thanks a lot.
 

barkmonster

macrumors 68020
Dec 3, 2001
2,124
12
Lancashire
I have a USB 3.0/Firewire 800 enclosure with a 3TB 7200rpm drive for additional storage and I use a few older HDDs in an old G4 for backup.

The case is an Icybox IB-328U3SEb and the drive is a Toshiba DT01ACA300.

I'm planning on rolling my own Fusion drive once I can afford a few software updates I need to move to Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

If I had your setup, I'd wait until the 2Tb Spinpoint M9T comes out and install it in the Mac Mini using a flex-cable kit that's easily available for about £20.
 

EADGBE

macrumors newbie
Nov 5, 2013
17
0
Hello Boys and Girls,

So, I did it. Just bought my first Mac. Pulled the trigger on a Mac Mini i7 with 8GB and 256 SS. That should serve me well for general purpose stuff, Logic Pro X and photo editing.

But I'll certainly will need more storage than that. So now I'm wondering if it's worth cracking the thing open to add a second HD with TB or so. Or just hook up drives via USB3. I suspect that the latter is not really much slower if not even faster.

Any thoughts on that? Thanks a lot.
I was looking at that very same machine on the refurb store - so that was you who bought it :D. I plan to grab a similarly configured mini for use with Logic also, and it'll be my first Mac too. Good luck with your setup.
 

7enderbender

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 11, 2012
511
11
North East US
I was looking at that very same machine on the refurb store - so that was you who bought it :D. I plan to grab a similarly configured mini for use with Logic also, and it'll be my first Mac too. Good luck with your setup.
:) Nope, wasn't me. I bought mine new with educational discount. Just need to find the right storage solution now. Decided against the Fusion option since that doesn't sound like the right thing for my needs. So figured that I can always add a separate HD later and/or use external drives for everything else.
 

CrazyNurse

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2012
149
3
Congrats.

I use 2 external drives from seagate.

I have a 3TB TB drive for my file server (pix, docs, music, etc.)

My backup drive is a USB3 Backup Plus (Time Machine and CCC)
 

EADGBE

macrumors newbie
Nov 5, 2013
17
0
:) Nope, wasn't me. I bought mine new with educational discount. Just need to find the right storage solution now. Decided against the Fusion option since that doesn't sound like the right thing for my needs. So figured that I can always add a separate HD later and/or use external drives for everything else.
Cool. I do think I'll be going with a similar setup, and like you I was also weighing whether I might want to put a second drive in the mini. I like the idea but I'm a little freaked out by ripping one apart, even though I've worked on PC's in the past.

Sounds like we are on a similar path (and I play Fenders too - ha).
 

Jambalaya

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2013
686
98
UK
It's been posted elsewhere on here that a usb3 drive in the appropriate case will faster than something installed internally plus there is a risk you invalidate your warranty.

I'm a big fan of the mini mine is still going strong and I've upgraded ram and HDD which was pretty simple on my 2009 unit.
 

blanka

macrumors 68000
Jul 30, 2012
1,549
3
I don't know how Apple installs a BTO SSD. I usually recommend to add the SSD yourself next to the default 1 TB HD. It is cheaper and so easy!
You can always open the Mini and have a quick peek to see if the slot directly behind the airport grill is empty. If that is the case, add a 1TB drive yourself. If you pick a momentus XT 1TB, it will outperform any USB3 HD device. You can also create a fusion with the SSD if you buy a regular drive. I just really love to be able to have a Mini with maxed out internal storage, so I can throw it in my bag and take most stuff with me. External 3.5 drives are so cumbersome.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,368
6,684
[[ So now I'm wondering if it's worth cracking the thing open to add a second HD with TB or so. Or just hook up drives via USB3. I suspect that the latter is not really much slower if not even faster. ]]

I don't think anything would be "faster" than the internal SATA connection. However, a USB3 drive in the right enclosure (important issue there) would be nearly as fast. By "nearly" I mean that under most circumstances, you would not notice any difference in reading or writing files.

You want a USB3 enclosure that specifically states that it "supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol). Some USB3 enclosures/docks support this, others don't. Seems to have something to do with the controller chip used inside.

One issue to be aware of -- when opening the Mini to install a drive there are several very fragile connectors inside which are easily broken if one is inattentive or clumsy. There appear here in the MR forum postings on a regular basis from folks who opened the case and broke something or other inside. Whether you want to take that risk while the new unit is still under warranty, well, that's up to you.

If you're going to be connecting/disconnecting several drives, you might consider something like a USB3/SATA docking station (or even two of them). Makes swapping drives around easy, and these things typically cost under $25. Go to amazon and enter "usb3 sata dock" into the search box, and you'll get many hits.
 
Last edited:

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,775
1,474
I don't know how Apple installs a BTO SSD. I usually recommend to add the SSD yourself next to the default 1 TB HD. It is cheaper and so easy!
You can always open the Mini and have a quick peek to see if the slot directly behind the airport grill is empty. If that is the case, add a 1TB drive yourself. If you pick a momentus XT 1TB, it will outperform any USB3 HD device. You can also create a fusion with the SSD if you buy a regular drive. I just really love to be able to have a Mini with maxed out internal storage, so I can throw it in my bag and take most stuff with me. External 3.5 drives are so cumbersome.
The Mini was not really designed to throw in your bag and take around with you.
 

blanka

macrumors 68000
Jul 30, 2012
1,549
3
The Mini was not really designed to throw in your bag and take around with you.
Sure it was. It is actually sturdier than any *book I ever travelled with.

With USB 3 cases, make sure it is SATA 3 (6Gbps) internal. There is a lot of cheap crap with Sata I (1.5Gbps) internal interface. Then you're limited to a good internal 2.5" traditional HD speed.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.