Does Mac Mini have two SATA? or other alternatives?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by yingying, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. yingying macrumors newbie

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    MN
    #1
    7 months ago, my friend gave me a samsung 250 GB SSD(850 EVO). I did not get a chance to use it because I have no desktop and all the laptops in my house have only one SATA interface. I am considering buying a Mac mini 2.6 GHz Desktop Computer (Late 2014) for my daughter to design games. But I wonder if the SSD can be used on it with its own disk coexist. Sure, if there is only one SATA interface, the only alternative that I can think of is.... replace its original 1TB (not fusion drive) with the 250GB SSD and then put 1TB drive in external HD enclosure(any faster interface suggested?) Thanks,
     
  2. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #2
    If you get one with just the flash-based storage, you theoretically can add that SSD to the Mini but it would require full disassembly of the computer to install. You could also get one with a Fusion Drive and replace the platter drive with the SSD but you still have to completely disassemble the computer.

    If you get one with only a platter-based drive, the second drive connection wouldn't support that drive as it is a PCI-E connection.
     
  3. yingying thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    hallux, thanks. But I don't get you. Do you mean .... if I buy a Mac Mini with traditional HD(platter-based drive), I cannot replace it with SSD myself? Is any problem with whole disk migration?
     
  4. treekram, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016

    treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    If the 2014 Mini has an HDD, you can replace it with another SATA drive (HDD or SSD) - but it is not easy.

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+Mini+Late+2014+Hard+Drive+Replacement/32815

    There are numerous threads on this forum about the replacement of the drives in the 2014 and 2012 (similar) Mini. Some people have broken something while doing the replacement, others found it relatively easy to do.

    Different people use different methods for disk migration - there should be no problem there, but again, some people have had difficulty doing so, most (if they know what they're doing) find it pretty easy to do.

    To answer the question in the title of your post, the Mini 2014 has only one SATA connection. Besides putting it in the computer, your Evo can also be put in a USB (or Thunderbolt - more expensive) enclosure and used that way. Using USB will be a little slower than putting it in the computer, using Thunderbolt should be just as fast as using the internal SATA connection.
     
  5. yingying thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Treekram, thank you for detailed answer. esp. "using Thunderbolt should be just as fast as using the internal SATA connection....." My derivated question is.... 1. Can/Should we set this Thunderbolt-connected external drive a primary drive and that inside (original) traditional HDD as slave drive? 2. Why primary? Is this my long-term myth or truth.... the faster primary drive makes A) booting faster (this is for sure.) 2) start and run general programs/app faster(? in general we put these MS. Office, SQL, terminal, python, JDK or IntelliJ, Swift in primary, don't we?) 3) wake up faster? (where is the stuff in L2, L3 cache (when running) stored while sleeping? where is the stuff in RAM stored while sleeping? SSD or RAM? My knowledge is not updated... but since now battery life is so long, I suspect DRAM is still recharged at high frequency while sleep.

    Too many questions, sorry.
     
  6. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 9, 2015
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    #6
    I mentioned Thunderbolt as an alternative but the reality is only a few people actually choose to connect external drives via Thunderbolt because it's expensive compared to USB. (Although I use a Thunderbolt external SSD.) A cheap Thunderbolt enclosure (SATA connector) is about $100, compared to $25 for a USB 3.0 UASP enclosure and the speed difference, if you put the drive in them, may be 10% (I haven't seen tests so this is just a guess). You can connect really fast SSD's (PCIe 4-lane or RAID0) via Thunderbolt, but they're several hundred dollars and up.

    At that point, if you want speed, it's probably better to buy the Mini with an Apple SSD (PCIe) inside. You need to buy it at the time of purchase because Apple uses a proprietary connection and currently, the after-market alternatives are taken from other Macs and/or more expensive than what it cost to get it when you buy it initially as part of the computer. A 256GB PCIe is $200 from Apple (this option no longer has the 1TB HDD). The PCIe SSD from Apple will be around 40% faster than a SATA SSD. However, I don't know that most people would be able to tell the difference between the PCIe SSD and either an internal SATA SSD or an external SSD connected via USB or Thunderbolt. I have a MySQL database, Eclipse (Java), Xcode and I don't think it would be a big difference between the PCIe SSD and the SATA drive I have now (although my main machine is the 2012 Mac, which doesn't have the PCIe connector). If I really wanted more speed, for myself, I would look towards something like a Mac Pro vs. just trying to find just a faster SSD. You can also get the fusion drive, but unless you think that you need the 1TB, for what you want to use it for (development, database, office apps), it's probably better to get a 256GB PCIe SSD and use the Evo as an external drive via USB. It's hard to make a precise recommendation unless you know what kind of database size you have and how big the applications and other data are.
     

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