Hybrid drive in 2012 Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dandeco, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. dandeco macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    Well, I have had my 2012 quad-core Mac Mini for seven months now (2.3 GHz Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM), and I am wondering if I should replace the stock 1 TB hard drive with one of those hybrid drives? I've been seeing a bunch of new ones on eBay for under $100, usually as a "SSHD" that has 1 TB of traditional hard drive storage, and either 8 GB or 32 GB SSD cache.
    Would there be an extremely noticeable increase in performance if I do so? It does take my Mac Mini a while to boot up due to it using a traditional hard drive. I also often do quite a bit of video work, so that may also help.
    I could open it up and replace the internal drive while doing so, as I've seen guides on how to do so. It seems certainly easier than doing so with the 2005-2010 Mac Mini case style.

    Any opinions/comments?
  2. craig1024 macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2016
    You should just put a 120gb ssd in a USB 3 enclosure and use that for your os and the internal for storage the hybrid drives are not worth it.
  3. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  4. dandeco thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    You know, maybe I will go for the 1 TB solid state drive then, if I can get one for that low of a price.
  5. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  6. craig1024 macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2016
    you could also get an owc data doubler and have two internal drives.
  7. dandeco thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    I'm actually thinking of doing that, too!
  8. SpecFoto, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016

    SpecFoto macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2013
    So Cal
    My Mac Mini, being the 2012 i7 server model, came with 2 1TB drives. After upgrading one drive to 2TB, the mini was used mostly for iTunes storage for my Apple TV. My main Mac is a Mac Pro hex core 2012 with 4@ 4TB enterprise RAID 0 drives with 2 @ 1 TB SSD drives as system and backup. But with 6 fans going all the time it puts out lots of heat in my small office room, especially in the summer. In an effort to cut down the heat and the electricity usage I started to use the mini back in May for my photo work to see how it worked for me. So I put a 960MB San Disk SSD in it to replace the original 1TB and I am really impressed in how fast it is now. It starts up in about 8 seconds, the MP takes 15, is so quiet and does not get hot at all. With 16GB of memory, the programs I use, mostly PS and LR, work just fine. Plus it still does double duty, being the iTunes server as I store the 1.7TB of movie files I have on the 2nd internal 2TB drive. I partitioned the SSD with 1/3 system and 2/3 home folder and that is where I run PS and LR off of.

    I paid $165 for the San Disk 960MB SSD on sale, it is the 2nd one I have and it works just great. Really no reason to pay for the Samsung 850EVO in my opinion, though I do have 1 in the MP. The replacement process is not really hard at all, just follow the ifFxit or OWC videos. I like the OWC video better, as it has detailed instruction on putting it all back together after you have taken it apart, whereas the iFiixt just says do it in reverse order.

    Once you get it all apart, it is easy to add the tray for the 2nd drive, and I highly recommend you do add the drive. It is a lot easier than having to deal with an external drive.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Post #2 above has it right.

    Although I might use a 240gb SSD instead.
  10. DonCarlos macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2009
    Las Vegas
    'I could open it up and replace the internal drive while doing so, as I've seen guides on how to do so. It seems certainly easier than doing so with the 2005-2010 Mac Mini case style'...........

    Yup you can do it. I wasn't really sure if I could but I did it. I got a set of the Rhino screwdriver tools that had the correct T screw heads at Fry's for under 10 bucks. Followed some instructions and videos found on the net (there are many) and voila' done deal. Just take your time is my only advice and understand that a few of the cables are pretty easy to break or ruin. And yes it is much easier to open up than that old mini cakebox. I will tell you though the difference between and HD and an SSD will shock you in speed. Wow. My takes 21-30 seconds to boot from the chime. I don't think I could ever go back to and HD. My write/reads average about 500 according to the free BlackMagic Speed app.

    But I will add that I decided not to do a hybrid setup, and elected to just put in a 500 GB SSD (Samsung Evo 850, $105), and just pulled the old HD out. I use two WD externals, a 3TB with USB 3.0 for Time Machine backups, and an older 2TB Studio (FW800) for photos. I keep no photos on the new SSD and simply assigned the Photo Library to the WD Studio. Pretty slick really, just hit the photo icon on your mac and boom you go directly to the external to view or add photos. Both externals are always hooked into the mac and available. That's what I really liked about the 2012 were the flexible I/O's that allow me to still use FW or USB 3 or now lightening. The hybrid set IMHP is an unnecessary waste of storage and adds to computer confusion. Give it one operating drive only is my view of things (keep it simple stupid is my mantra). Good luck and post what you decided to do and the results
  11. QWERTYMac7 macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2012
    FWIW - I have a 750 Hybrid drive in my 2011 2.5 MM. It has served me VERY well with fast startup times of both the Mac as well as Windows 7 vi Parallels. I also have the Data Doubler and have a 1.5 TB drive residing there for a total of 2.25 GB.

    The computer is used for work and also HTPC. I plan upon retiring it in the next two years to be a full time HTPC.

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