Imac alternative: Mac Mini 2.26 upgraded with SSD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by melliflu, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. melliflu macrumors newbie


    Mar 15, 2010
    Hello from France!

    I'm quite obsessed by silence and screen quality, so i decided not to take any chance with the new imacs 27.

    I want to report here my experience with:

    - Mac mini 2.26GHz 2GB late 2009, $599
    - SSD Corsair performance 128GB, $360
    - Eizo EV2411W 24'' discontinued, $500

    1. Choice of the lower end Mini: according to this article only 10% performance increase with the Mini 2.53, 4GB ram.

    2. Choice of SSD. Corsair Performance and Intel work fine with Mac. One must remember that to keep the SSD performance high, it is recommended not to write on it too much, an external "storage" drive is necessary, so one may as well choose the 64GB SSD to save $$. I installed the 160GB HD from the Mini (Fujitsu drive, constant clicking noise, Apple knows about this issue) in an external Firewire box.

    3. Eizo screen. Quality of screens has a price. These ones are massive, old design, but matte and very rich in settings possibilities. Colors are even !

    All this works smoothly, in silence. The Mini fan was still audible at the original 1350 rpm so I installed Fan Control to force it down to 1000rpm, temperature stays in the 40-50 degrees range with that setting in normal conditions or video playback.
    With SSD, Mini starts up under 16s and all programs open blazing fast.

    Xbench overall result: 187 (232 for the SSD only)
    Geekbench result: 3364
    $1460 system, could have been under $1000 with smaller SSD and non-Eizo monitor.

    If you follow this very precise video tutorial, replacing the Mini hard drive with SSD is a breeze (ie. for people who had already opened a computer or a Swiss watch before !) Mini design is remarquable of compacity.

    Reset Mini SMC and Pram right after SSD installation.

    It is a completely satisfying system. I hope Apple decides to upgrade the next generation of Mini with system on a small SSD and hard drive storage instead of the Superdrive. And a smaller Mini power adapter please, this one is ridiculous !
  2. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Northeast USA
    im going for a similar set up.

    i have the 2.26 mac mini with 4GB RAM
    it currently has a 5400rpm 500gb HD
    i just ordered a 40GB intel x25-v SSD

    going to move the 500gb HD to the optical slot and use the SSD for OS and apps. or keep the optical drive and use a 7200rpm 500gb WD scorpio connected via firewire. not sure which yet.

    planning to use this on my 24" cinema display.
  3. cbster macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Orange County
    Just curious as to why this needs to be done. I have replaced regular mechanical hard drives and have never performed this step. Is this necessary?

  4. melliflu thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 15, 2010
    @ Cbster - The SSD I used was in fact in my Macbook pro before. I tried to install it in the Mini without resetting the SSD and reinstalling the system (to save time, resetting SSD requires secure erase with HDDerase, see other threads about how to format a SSD).

    The SSD transposed in Mac Mini worked fine except for a 4-6 seconds delay at start-up, before the Apple logo, that disappeared once I reset SMC and Pram - in fact SMC did the trick, but i did reset Pram after.

    So i suppose this is not necessary with a new blank SSD - anyone ?
  5. turbineseaplane macrumors 68040


    Mar 19, 2008
    I have a Mini 2.26 with 8gb RAM and an OCZ 120gb SSD Vertex.

    It's very snappy, but it really pales compared to an iMac honestly.

    The SSD is the best part, but compared to a modern i5 or i7 it's not even close to being a contest.

    Nor should it be however, based upon the price difference.
  6. LittleEskimo macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2009
    I have a question about these SSD's. I am thinking of a mini, and have seen tons of mini SSD boot-up videos, and the results are amazing. But my question is that I am wanting to know why the performance gets slower after time, as well as a more important question, if it can ever be fixed. Thanks.
  7. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    Where did you get a 24 inch Eizo monitor from for $500? That's a very good deal.
  8. melliflu thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 15, 2010
    @ MarcLondon - got the Eizo screen used.

    about SSD loss of performance, search the web for full technical explanations, in short, there's hope in the next 2 years for either implementation of a good TRIM firmware in all SSD for all systems or for a user-friendly erase procedure (it is now quite difficult to secure-erase a SSD, especially with a Mac)

    Meanwhile, the way around is to use the SSD to run the system and softwares ONLY and store everything else in a hard disk. My SSD contains only 13GB of data for Snow Leopard and programs, and run like the first day, as (almost) no extra data is written on it - in fact I was dissappointed by the size of the huge 733 Mb Apple SL update a few days ago...
  9. macchiato2009 macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009
    so happy with my mini with SSD

    it beats any C2D imac at the moment :D

    i compared with a friend who has the 2 new imac

    he stopped laughing when my mini kicked the a$$ of his machines for most tasks
  10. Ironduke Suspended


    Nov 12, 2006
    err I thought the mini can only do 4GB's of ram?

    please explain sir.
  11. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Officially the new Mini's support up to 4GB RAM....however, in actuality, people have installed 8 GB RAM and it works fine.
  12. Bacong macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2009
    Westland, Michigan
    By fall my Mini will have 8 GB of ram and a SSD in it...can't wait.
  13. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Hello from California, the world's 8th largest economy in the world.

    21" iMac 3.06 $1099.
    replace optical w/ 128 gig SSD $350
    Dell u2410 $450
    4 gigs ram for $100 (8 total)


    And I get a 3.06 C2D, dual screens, 8 gigs of ram for cheap, second internal 500 gig drive, iSight, BT keyboard/mouse, and longer "future proofing" and silent =)

  14. LittleEskimo macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2009
    Hmmmm, wondering if I should just go to a 7200rpm drive until better firmware comes around. Mostly just because I have read that adobe suites/programs can only be activated/deactivated so many times, and I imagine that fixing a ssd's performance would require a format, which in turn would call for more activation/deactivation's of programs. I would not be surprised if I was wrong on any of these factors, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Anyone ever try a 10k or 15k rpm drive in a mini?

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