External drive for 2012 Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by k3lee, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. k3lee macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #1
    I have a 2012 Mac Mini (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7; 16 GB - user installed Crucial).

    I need an external drive for backup. Also, I run into freezes/hangs when running Adobe CS6, like everyone else. Can I use an external drive to improve the performance of CS6?

    I have admired the MiniStack since I bought this little machine (which I love), partly because it looks like the two would pair well. But I think other products also do that now, or at least match the Mini's footprint.

    Do I want a MiniStack instead of some other - possibly cheaper - brand?

    If I go for a MiniStack should I get the MiniStack or the MiniStack Max? Looks like the MiniStack comes with backup software preinstalled, but I'm not sure how valuable that actually is.

    I have a TSSTcorp optical drive which I only need once in awhile. I don't have/use Blu Ray, so it has suited me just fine. I also don't use memory cards.

    I COULD use some extra USB ports (even with a Belkin hub hanging off my Mini), but it's not essential.

    This will be my primary machine for the foreseeable future, so I want a solid configuration with a long shelf life.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    Does the 2012 Mini you have now have a platter-based internal 1tb drive?

    The quickest and easiest way to speed it up is to buy an SSD, a good external USB3 enclosure, and boot and run the Mini from that.

    A 240gb SSD will run $100+/- right now. I've seen Crucial drives in the low 80's.

    Put your OS, apps, accounts, and some data on the SSD.
    If you have large libraries of photos, music and movies -- keep them on the internal HDD.

    You will be AMAZED at the performance increase...
     
  3. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #3
    enough said.....:)
     
  4. k3lee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    External drive for 2012 Mini

    Yes, I have the standard 1TB HDD internal drive.

    I thought about adding an external SSD for performance reasons, but that still leaves me without a drive for storing backups.

    I WISH I could afford a jumbo sized SSD that would handle both, but I can't. And I can't afford to buy one drive to improve performance and a separate one for backup.

    Between the two needs, backup is most important. I have a HUGE photo library, and while I would love to see faster performance for CS6, all I usually have to do is close any other applications I have open and it starts chugging along again.

    Everything else runs fast enough for my purposes . . . at least right now. If/when the day comes that I start doing more sophisticated things with graphics or videos, I expect I WILL need to invest in that SSD. Or maybe before then if I run into some extra cash.

    But you've helped make things a little clearer. Apparently I will need to choose between a backup drive and a much faster drive to run on.
     
  5. geta macrumors 6502a

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    The Moon
    #5
    The MiniStack is nice, but ended up getting 2TB WD with USB3 for backup coz of the price...

    Since you still using the original HDD, i would replace it with SSD, you can find 500GB around €200, get external USB3 enclosure (€20), and use it as your backup drive.
     
  6. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #6
    I haven't checked the numbers, but I would guess that any drive you hook up to via USB 3.0 is going to be limited by the interface, which probably means little or no benefit to running an SSD vs. a HDD on a USB 3.0 port. (?)
     
  7. adonis3k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #7
    I added a Samsung SSD to my Mini as a Boot/OS drive and used the 1TB as a backup/media. Then I bought a WD My passport USB 3.0 2TB drive which acts as a Timemachine and 2nd backup drive.
     
  8. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    Oct 26, 2014
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #8
    This is similar to my setup, I think it's the optimum setup for very little outlay.

    It gives you two backup locations, the internal spinner, and external spinner. Time machine automatically alternates between locations.

    My next step will be to buy a USB backup drive with hardware Raid 1. Then my internal spinner will be used purely for media, and my backups will be safe.

    If you are on Yosemite a work around to get trim is to use an external thunderbolt SSD to boot from.
     
  9. kaibob macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona
    #9
    I'm running an SSD as a boot drive in an external USB 3.0 enclosure, and I'm getting both read and write speeds of about 430 MB/sec, which is 3 to 4 times what you would get with a HDD. Other forum members have gotten similar results with a quality SSD.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=18546414&postcount=17
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    OP wrote above:
    [[ I thought about adding an external SSD for performance reasons, but that still leaves me without a drive for storing backups. ]]

    Then you add a THIRD drive as a backup drive.

    There's nothing complicated about this. That's what USB3 ports are for.

    For your backup drive, you might consider starting with a USB3/SATA docking station as your "base". Something like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Tool-Free-Ina...=1421509139&sr=8-2&keywords=inateck+usb3+dock
    (no financial interest in above link)
    Cost will be less than $25.

    Next, you select one or more "bare" drives of your choice -- can be either 3.5" or 2.5" drives, even an SSD.

    With the dock, you can swap drives around easily as required. You can even boot from one in an emergency. These are VERY useful pieces of hardware to have around...
     
  11. k3lee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #11
    I appreciate all the feedback. I am learning, and contemplating.

    Meanwhile . . .

    (1) Is is true that the processor is taxed more (and perhaps runs hotter) when using:
    (a) an external boot drive?
    (b) especially an unpowered one?
    My mini doesn't get very warm (and runs silently). I want to keep it - and anything else I add - that way.

    (2) Are there ANY specific advantages to having a powered external drive (especially now that USB3 is common)?

    (3) Are any of the drives people have recommended meant to STACK with the Mini? (Maximizing use of space and minimizing clutter are MAJOR considerations for me.)

    (4) I thought about a SATA dock, especially since I still access my old PC drive occasionally. However, all these warm - and often glowy - boxes are cat magnets. Fur and electronics do not a good marriage make.

    (5) What about long term off-site storage? Can Time Machine do a backup spanning volumes (either thumb drives or DVDs)? Or should I just dedicate a naked HDD to this (making that dock handy after all)?

    (6) How do SSDs compare to HDDs in terms of data longevity?

    (7) Is there an app that will teach me to be more decisive? :confused:
     
  12. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #12
    Too funny. That is exactly how I have this 2012 i7 Mini set up.
     
  13. thedeske, Jan 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #13
    Close setup here. I have a 500gb factory HD. Added a Sam 840 256 for OS and direct the media downloads and home folder to the HD. No Fusion. Have several externals for system clones, media, etc. One is a basic Passport. I keep 2 system clones for safety.

    I see nothing wrong with an external SSD boot drive, but the internal retro was not a big deal here & performs very well.
     
  14. QuietGamer macrumors newbie

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    Nov 23, 2014
    Location:
    US
    #14
    (5) What about long term off-site storage? Can Time Machine do a backup spanning volumes (either thumb drives or DVDs)? Or should I just dedicate a naked HDD to this (making that dock handy after all)?


    For off site storage you can make a BOOTABLE copy of your system which would allow you to plug this copy into any mac and it would be just like you where using your own system.

    Say if a house fire happens and you don't have your computer anymore, this copy would have everything on it (prior to the date it is made of course).

    http://bombich.com

    You need a external drive with enough space to hold the contents of the original drive. A portable USB 3 drive will work fine.
     
  15. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #15
    The main reason I prefer a clone (CCC or Superduper)
    over time machine. Smart updates from either app are quick once you have the first clone done. Off site is hard copy or online. Some people do both.
     
  16. Dsnoops macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    #16
    When using an external SSD or HD, I like to use an external enclosure with its own power supply, (on most it is an option). Right not I am using a Other World Computing Mercury Elite Pro mini, in usb 3.0.
     
  17. k3lee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #17
    External drive for Mini

    Now that I've decided what I want, I realize no such product is made. So I'm rethinking . . .

    (1) Has anyone experienced USB3 interference from wireless devices (Bluetooth keyboards/trackpads or the newer routers)? Having read product reviews maligning USB3 drives that other purchasers simply LOVED, I wonder if interference was the problem (not that production lines churn out perfect products every time).

    (2) Is Thunderbolt worth it (especially considering Thunderbolt II is not backwards compatible)?

    (3) Why aren't 3.5" SSDs available? Is there just not enough demand?

    Supposedly 3.5" drives are - in general - a bit faster than 2.5" ones (though less robust). SSDs are (supposedly?) faster than HDDs. Thunderbolt we KNOW is faster than USB3 (and doesn't get interference). But no one is combining all these.

    [Just when I was about to give up and order an inexpensive WD "My Passport", I saw that they come in different versions. Looks like the 2012 versions, which come in a few colors, have a plastic shell, and the 2013s appear to be in aluminum casings. So much for the "just do it" approach.]
     
  18. Gym Hellwig macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    #18
    If I had a mini I would buy the ministack with CD drive (if you ever listen to CDs or watch DVDs on your computer).

    It looks great.
     
  19. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    Boston, MA, US
    #19
    My answers in red above.
     
  20. Apple06 macrumors member

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    Feb 24, 2012
    #20
    I'm not a fan of these WD Passport drives. When either the USB connection or the integrated USB to SATA chipset dies, the whole drive is gone, since it's soldered onto the drive interface. I prefer ones from Seagate or others where you can rip open the case and extract the drive for use via SATA connector if either the connector or chipset malfunctions.
     
  21. k3lee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #21
    External drive for Mini (getting closer)

    That's good to know about the WDs. I will factor that in.

    As for the 5mm ID ferrites . . .

    I was going to say: despite being a keeper of things, I doubt I have any of those obscure objects lying around the house, so where would I get them? THEN, after I found this on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Gino-UF35B-Inner-Diameter-Ferrite/dp/B007Q94CZM ) I laughed when I realized I actually DO have a couple of them! Throwing out some electronics device or another, I salvaged them for an odd purpose. One of our window ACs has vents that don't want to stay tilted, and I've found that hanging a couple of small weights on a string and attaching them to the vents encourages them to stay in place. Whaddaya know?

    Also good info about why SSDs aren't available in 3.5" format. I asked partly because I thought those would be AC powered. But I suppose I can always choose an enclosure with an optional power adapter and put my own drive in.

    Has anyone used OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pros? I believe some (all?) of those offer an optional power supply.

    I was enticed by Samsung's new T1 flash SSD - until two different reviewers mentioned a prodigal daemon that sneaks onto Macs and causes problems.

    I'm starting to lean away from SSDs anyway, partly because prices should start dropping soon and partly because of their limited life span.

    If I end up with the MiniStack after all, that's okay because I have learned a whole, whole lot from this thread and the research it has inspired. Thank you, everyone who has contributed something to my education.
     
  22. newellj macrumors 601

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #22
    Even mechanical (HDD) external drives can get enough power on a USB 3.0 port to run the drive - no external power needed.
     
  23. Apple06 macrumors member

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    Feb 24, 2012
    #23
    I believe only 2.5" HDD can be USB powered, 3.5" HDD always required external power.
     
  24. k3lee thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 2, 2013
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #24
    Finally made a decision

    I just ordered a miniStack enclosure (sans software) and a Toshiba 2TB HDD (DT01ACA Series) to go in it.

    I really wanted an enclosure that would stack with my Mini, and I like the idea of having (a) AC power (b) an enclosure with a fan (even though it will make some noise).

    I chose the drive after reading a lot of reviews from people along with the reliability test results from BackBlaze. Apparently Hitachi garners the highest ratings for reliability, and this is a Hitachi drive. It's just that Hitachi is now owned by Toshiba.

    This cost me $157, which is quite a bit more than the $99 Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive (STDR2000100) I was considering. I do like the Seagate's mobile backup option. But since most of my mobile data is already in the cloud, I decided I wanted a nice, tidy desktop (okay, "desk shelf") more.

    After all the discussion, I knew everyone would be waiting with bated breath for my decision and didn't want to leave anyone hanging ;)
     
  25. grandM macrumors 6502a

    grandM

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #25
    I like that ministack
     

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