Difficulty of Hard Drive Upgrade on Mac Mini Late 2014

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MacDude205100, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. MacDude205100 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Can some people that have done this upgrade (stock 5400rpm to SSD) comment on how difficult it was and how long it took them? I've looked at the ifixit guide and it seems a little daunting. That being said, this 5400rpm drive is driving (hah) me nuts. Is it hard to get everything back in afterwards? I feel like reassembling would be harder than taking it apart.

    Also, how would a SSD compare to a 7200rpm drive in both speed and lifespan?

    Thanks!
     
  2. hkoster1 macrumors regular

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    #2
    It's not that difficult following the iFixit guide, but there's always the possibility of breaking one of those small connectors... By far the simplest upgrade is to use a smallish SSD in an external USB-3.0 UASP enclosure as the OS X boot volume, leaving the internal HD for bulk storage (5400RPM is fast enough for playing video material).
     
  3. MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    How fragile are they? It looks so inelegant using an external boot drive...
     
  4. hkoster1 macrumors regular

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    #4
    They're fragile... As to inelegant external drives, you're going to need an external drive anyway for bulk storage, unless you're planning to install a 1TB internal SSD. In the latter case, you could consider selling the present Mac Mini and buying a Fusion drive model: elegance and PCIe blade speed guaranteed.
     
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    #5
    I recently swapped out drives on an older unibody Mac Mini and it wasn't that difficult. The iFixit guide helped but I had to refer to instructions on two different models as the component layout wasn't entirely accurate.

    You've gotta have the right tools.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #6
    My suggestion will be different:

    DON'T replace the internal SATA drive with a SATA SSD.
    Instead, get the PCIe cable and bracket, and pick up a used PCIe "blade SSD" and install that.

    The process is MUCH easier (doesn't require much disassembly), and when done you will have an SSD that is about 50% faster than any SATA SDD you can put in there.

    I believe the required drive bracket is already "in place" on your Mini -- all you'll need to do is remove the cable from the bracket you buy and "put it in place" on the existing bracket.

    See this posting:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=20562190&postcount=61
    and this one also:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=20562239&postcount=62

    Part number:
    http://applecomponents.com/items/ca...-storage/0000006001?pn=1&cmp=0231&per_page=30

    Torx T-6 "security" driver:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K82OHBI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8

    When done, you'll have the choice to either create a "fusion" drive, or leave the two drives as "standalones"...
     
  7. MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I'm assuming I'm incorrect, but I thought only the fusion drive or SSD models Apple sells come with the PCIe slot?
     
  8. hkoster1 macrumors regular

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    #8
    That PCIe connector is indeed present in the HD-only version of the 2014 Mac Mini. You may wish to price Fishrrman's suggestion and then decide whether it's worth throwing that much money at an aging Mac Mini.
     
  9. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    So, hanging off a 128 or 256GB SSD only for OSX and apps is OK for performance? Faster than having them run off a 5400 internal?
     
  10. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #10
    Yes but...

    Fishrrman was right. Although the external SSD would be much faster than a 5400 rpm internal HDD, the PCIe blade will be faster still. :cool:
     
  11. MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    So is replacing the internal stupid then? How much are these blade SSDs? I can't find prices. I find the 1TB SSD more appealing because it's likely cheaper than a blade, and in the future if the mini breaks it can easily be converted to an external.
     
  12. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    You need to go to someplace like eBay to find the PCIe SSD's (used). The last I heard (may be way out of date), 1TB was $1000. MCE sells them but I think they're on the expensive side relative to eBay. People have said the MCE products are also used (taken out of other Apple products) but it doesn't say that and I don't know.
    http://store.mcetech.com/mm/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=mtos&Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=PCIEFLASH

    Performance wise, since the Mini only has 2 PCIe lanes for the SSD (vs. 4 on the 2015 Macbook Pro), you may get 40%-50% better performance, at best, from the PCIe SSD vs. a good SATA3 SSD. And yes, the SATA3 SSD can be moved to other computers with a SATA connector or standard docking stations/enclosures. You can only move the PCIe SSD to other Apple products with the same PCIe connector or use something like the OWC Envoy Pro enclosure ($110, according to OWC, it works with the PCIe SSD's in the "Current Mac Models").

    For me, from a price-performance perspective, at the current prices, putting in a PCIe SSD into the 2014 Mini isn't worth the price. It's better if you do a BTO Mini with it inside. But even then, it's $200 for a 250GB from Apple vs. $85 for an Evo 850 (and you get to re-purpose the 1TB drive). For me, I was successful in putting a SSD in my 2012 Mac but I didn't look forward to doing something similar again so I just bought an external for my 2014 Mini. Maybe once the machine is out of warranty and new models are out (so the value of the current model drops), I'll do it.
     
  13. MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Thanks for the info. Those prices are ridiculous. I only paid $699 for this computer... no way I'm spending more than $300 or so upgrading it. I'm planning on buying a Mac Pro in a few years once this starts to get slow. I think the SATA3 SSD is the best value. That being said, it's going to be unpleasant installing it. To be honest, the speeds SATA3 SSDs are getting are like 10-20x better than a 5400rpm if I recall correctly. 40-50% more than that will have diminishing returns and isn't really necessary or worth it for my uses of this computer.

    The real question is, when should I do it? I was thinking of this summer, but I bought Apple Care for this (only paid $60) and don't want to void my warranty. Are SSD prices expected to continue to fall over the next 2 or so years? They have been pretty steady lately.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    OP:

    The fastest, easiest, cheapest way to get SSD speeds on the Mini you now have is to buy a pre-packaged USB3 SSD and plug it in.
    Something like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20

    Or, pick up a USB3 external enclosure such as this:
    http://www.amazon.com/MiniPro-Exter...8-1&keywords=oyen+digital+2.5"+usb3+enclosure

    ... and put a bare SSD of your choice into it.

    Either of the above routes will give you an "external booter" that delivers about 80% of the speed you would have by installing the SSD internally, and you don't risk voiding AppleCare by opening the case.

    IMPORTANT:
    DO NOT buy any enclosure UNLESS is it SPECIFICALLY STATED to support "UASP".
    That's "USB Attached SCSI Protocol", and without it, you can't get the full speeds that USB3 can deliver...
     
  15. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #15
    I just ordered a 2014 Mac Mini refurb 3.0 i7 with 512GB SSD. Is that the PCIe Blade or an older SSD speed?
     
  16. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    If the refurb is from Apple, it would be PCIe as they don't sell SATA SSD's with the 2014 Mini and I pretty sure that's been the case since it was introduced. Also, if it's from Apple, you can also price out what the machine would cost new - it looks like refurbs are about 15% off. If your price is something substantially different, you may want to check the specs.
     
  17. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #17
    The refurb is from Apple. The 3.0 i7 512 sells for $1,499 and I bought it for $1,269. 15% off. However, I also know that Apple doesn't always designate RAM changes on refurbs. They may get a few of that model, some with 8GB and others with 16GB and sell them under one price listing. So you could get more RAM without expecting it. This has been quite common. I'm hoping that this was a CTO with 16GB as I don't know that I want go from a 24GB RAM iMac to a 8GB RAM Mini. But I had to jump on i7 with 512 at that price.
     
  18. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Since the upgrade to 3.0 and the 512GB SSD are separate custom upgrades, if it had 16GB RAM, I would have expected it to be listed as well. But you can always hope ...
     
  19. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #19
    Do it, I did this upgrade twice, 2 different 2014s.

    Hardest part was getting a QUALITY T6 security bit. First one disintegrated when used.

    iFixit doesn't explain the release tools very well
     
  20. pdafan macrumors member

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    Aug 2, 2011
    #20
    Do you mean the flex cable when you talk about PCIe connector?
    If so, the flex cable is NOT present in HDD-only version.
    You have to purchase separately which is quite costly in my opinion.
     
  21. MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Are you saying you upgraded the internal hard drive? How much experience would you say you have upgrading computers?
     
  22. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #22
    Nope, by "connector" hkoster1 meant the connector on the logic board. You are correct though, the flex cable is not supplied with the HDD-only version of the mini. The cost of the cable kit is another reason that folks recommend the SSD or Fusion drive models over the slower HDD 2014 mini.
     
  23. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #23
    i did a number on mine. and I've been installing drives for years, i opened up my 2006 and 2010 model with no real difficulty.

    the fan power connector broke. i had to replace the fan
    the sata power connector to the logic board came off the logic board entirely. i had to send it to news york to get it reattached

    one of the wifi connectors wouldnt go back on and the repair company couldnt do it either

    the real problem with the mac mini 2014 model is the screws. they aren't meant to be unscrewed and screwed back on more then a few times. i had like 3 break on me, they are really soft. i think apple made them that way.

    the mac mini came back from new york , and its power light won't come on, but it does boot.

    the mac seems to work now.

    i never did replace the drive.

    i don't think the average person should touch this model. and you should refer all hard drive upgrades to a
    apple authorized service center. that way, if they break the screws, they will replace them

    i lost like 3 screws. you can see half the screws inside the holes, just the ones i put in on the outside of the case, trying to figure out which ones hold the plastic cover in place broke after a couple insertions
     
  24. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

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    #24
    Here be Dragons! :eek:
     
  25. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #25
    I think I am going to cancel or return my i7 Mini with 512 and get a 2.6 i5 with 16GB. I have seen posts about updating the internal drive.

    1. Can I get a 256GB SSD which I assume is a PCIe Bladd and add a 2nd internal SSD via SATA? Is the connector there or do have to buy one?

    2. Or would I need to get a Fusion which I hope would come with the 120 or 128 and not 24 GB SSD and then replace the 1TB drive with a SATA SSD?

    3. Or do I just order the 256GB SSD and add an external USB 3.0 SSD drive?

    Thanks.
     

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