I want to get a Mac Mini to replace my Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by SteelBlueTJ, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. SteelBlueTJ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    I have a 2010 Mac Pro 2.8 Quad, 16GB, 240GB SSD, 3TB HHD storage, USB 3.0 card. All that and I never use it for anything more than internet browsing, email, iTunes and occasional photoshop or final cut pro work (rarely). Do you think I could get away with switching to a maxed out I7 mini with 16GB and an SSD? I am sick and tired of my noisy mac pro. It's not all that noisy, but compared to all other macs it definitely has an annoying hum to it. Dust collection inside is another annoyance. Plus I spent a ton of money on a machine I don't even use to its full potential. At this point, I plan to wait and see if Apple updates the Mini with Haswell and new GPU, which I guess to be pretty soon. But has anyone else made a switch like this? I have been reading about the performance of the latest Mac Mini and it actually rivals that of the 2010 Mac Pro. My only issue is storage. I would have to figure out what to do with my drives. Sell them with the Mac Pro and get an external, or buy some sort of enclosure for them?
     
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    I have a 12-core Mac Pro at work and a 2.6 gHz Mac Mini quad-core i7 (current Ivy Bridge) with 16 GB of RAM and its plenty speedy for processing raw files from my digital cameras. I don't think you'd miss a beat. You could put your SSD in the mini if it is a 9.5mm drive and initialize it and the spinning HD as a single Fusion volume. The 3 TB drive could go in a FW800 or USB3 enclosure.
     
  3. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Yea I thought about ordering the Mini with the standard 1TB drive and adding my existing 240GB SSD to it with the kit from OWC. That would be my ideal setup, but I don't feel comfortable gutting a brand new Mini in fear of screwing something up. Then I thought about getting it with a Fusion drive, but I hear it's not as snappy as a standard SSD. I don't really like the idea of having 2 or 3 external drives hogging up my desk either. If I ordered it with the Apple SSD, then it would only have the OS and Apps on it (only 45 GB used). I would need at least a 1TB external for files (only have about 250GB), and another 1TB external for Time Machine and clone backups (partitioned one for each). If I went with fusion drive, then that would eliminate one external. Not sure what to do. :confused:
     
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #4
    The Mac Mini would be a nice device for your needs. Any of the SSD or combinations would be faster than a single 5400 speed mechanical drive. With that in mind, I would suggest you figure which combo or single SSD to use internally. If you are worried about breaking a new Mac Mini to get an SSD inside, then consider spending a few extra dollars and let OWC do it for you. As well, also consider something like the MiniStack for an external non-TB drive for additional space or back up. USB 3 should be fast enough for back ups, Time Machine etc. Obviously external TB is fastest but USB 3 should be considered. If you go with the MiniStack, I suggest putting some small spacers between it and the Mini for better cooling. Even 1/4 inch makes a long term difference.

    I have a Mac Mini, external disc rw, various portable drives and NAS. This combo serves me very well for Photoshop and more (16 gigs RAM, SSD internal).

    Hope you find your perfect set up.
     
  5. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #5
    Just go with a 2012 mini and add an ssd yourself. The operation is really easy on the 2012 especially with 7mm drives. With a 7mm you only need to unscrew the airport antenna, and then you can slide it in. They moved the platter disk to the bottom (which is called upper bay) so it is much easier than before. You won't be able to fix the disk with screws if you do it like this, but usually you get a plastic spacer with the ssd, and if you slide that on top, it won't go anywhere.
     
  6. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 2, 2012
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    USA
    #6
    Thanks. Yea I think I'll order the mini with the standard 1TB HD and add my own SSD. I did replace the HD in my old iMac so I have some experience ripping into a mac. I can always have OWC do it too if for some reason I chicken out of it. Thanks
     
  7. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #7
    Get the 2.6GHz special order.

    The HDD to SSD (or addition of an SSD) is doable. Ifixit, OWC and You Tube all have instructions. There are plenty of DIY SSDers here as well.

    You might want to consider a fusion drive by adding the SSD to the HDD instead of replacing it. You will need an extra sata ribbon and mounts (OWC or Ifixit) but it is worth it.
     
  8. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    #8
    I want to get the new Mac Pro to replace my Mac mini

    But am waiting to see the power consumption of the new Mac Pro's and waiting for the next generation to come out so that the initial hickups can be caught by the bleeding edge buyers.

    At the moment I have two Mac mini's, both with dual SSD, one has two Toshiba's the other two Samsung's. But I want one of them to be replaced with the new Mac Pro, want to drive more monitors at the same time. (running windows).
     
  9. EpicBlob macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #9
    You can add an external GPU to your Mac Mini. I added a nVidia 660 to mine. Turns my mini into a comparable system to the $2500 base Mac Pro.
     
  10. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #10
    Does the cost of your external GPU turn your mini into a $2500 mini as well?
     
  11. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 2, 2012
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    USA
    #11
    How noisy is the Mac mini with both a HDD and an SSD? If I add an SSD, is the hard disk drive still audible? It would be ideal to add a second SSD instead, but large capacity ones (960gb) are still way to expensive.

    Also, which drive is the primary drive - the top or bottom? Or doesn't it matter?
     
  12. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #12
    SSD or not the drives in the mini are inaudible. An SSD is completely silent anyway. I have never been able to hear a drive.

    Which drive is primary? It doesn't really matter. There is not primary and secondary, just lower and upper bay. I have had the boot disk (SSD) in the upper and lower bays and the HDD in the other. I have also run a fusion both ways. I swapped bays in a fusion setup once and the mini simply rebooted - not problems.

    Although I think Cape Dave had issues with running boot camp if the OS drive was in the upper bay.

    Remember when you turn the mini upside down the first bay under the wifi grill is the lower bay and the second bay up inside is the upper bay (because the mini is upside down). Many people get it the wrong way around.

    Also Apple constructs the mini with the single OEM in either bay. It used always to be in the lower bay just under the wifi grill so you had to remove the lower drive to place the second drive in. But in the last 6 months or so there have been a number of minis with the OEM drive in the upper bay so you only need to slot in the second drive and your done. I say that because you need to make sure you get the right kit depending on what bay you are adding a drive to. OWC has both now. You will see a second install video now on their second drive kit webpage.
     
  13. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    Thanks. Those of you with SSDs in your mini, do you sleep your mini when you're not using it or do you shut it down? I heard SSDs can sometimes "brick" if put in sleep mode. Just curious on how they do in a mini with sleeping vs shutdown. I also have a base model 11" Air and I never shut it down. I just close the lid when I am done and it is fine.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    [[ Yea I thought about ordering the Mini with the standard 1TB drive and adding my existing 240GB SSD to it with the kit from OWC. That would be my ideal setup, but I don't feel comfortable gutting a brand new Mini in fear of screwing something up. ]]

    There's a very easy solution to this that will give your SSD speed that is all-but the equal of being installed internally.

    That is, buy a USB3/SATA docking station (with the proper controller chip inside), put the SSD into it, and off you go.

    A couple that would work (no financial interest):
    http://plugable.com/products/USB3-SATA-U3
    http://plugable.com/products/USB3-SATA-UASP1
    This might be worth checking, as well:
    http://plugable.com/products/pss-dd1

    One limitation, however, is that I don't know of any utility that can do a firmware update via USB. I believe it can be done via thunderbolt.

    I've been running my late-2012 Mini via USB3 and an SSD since January. No problems at all, runs as if it were installed internally.
     
  15. EpicBlob macrumors member

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    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #15
    Nope, cost me about $1400.
     
  16. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #16
    I never put my mini in sleep. It is either on or off.
    Booting with SSD is 8 seconds, so it is not like you are rebooting your 2 floppy 128K Mac system.
     

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