Is 256GB enough? MM2018

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wdwpsu, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. wdwpsu macrumors member

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    #1
    (Note: After decades of PC experience, this is my first Mac)
    I purchased a Mac Mini with a 256GB hard drive with the intention of using it primarily for OS and Apps. I bought a 512GB Samsung T5 for miscellaneous data and I have a 8TB WD Easystore for my "media vault".

    I'm getting frustrated with the number of apps that insist on either being installed to the boot/os drive or use the boot drive for their data (Microsoft Outlook...) . I'm getting concerned that I planned incorrectly and that 256GB may not have been enough.

    Was my strategy flawed? Will 256GB be enough? I feel like the PC didn't care if stuff was on a C: D: E: drive. Not as much the case with my early on Mac experience.
     
  2. Spankey, Dec 10, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018

    Spankey macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Should be fine unless you are thinking about Bootcamp. 256GB is more than enough usually to load apps and keep data on external drives.

    I have Mac OS on a 256GB partition of a 512GB drive with Windows on the other half.
     
  3. trsblader macrumors 6502

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    #3
    There's really no right answer here as it completely depends on your usage. 256gb for just documents seems more than sufficient. 256gb for a video or music producer working on multiple projects at once probably not good enough. My work machine, even with 2 VM's, sees less than 100gb used at any given time. My play machine currently sits at over 500gb of usage as there's quite a few large games on it. How much are you currently using and do you see that changing any time soon?
     
  4. F-Train macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Further to @Spankey's post, with which I agree, if you are seeing "System" use a lot of the internal drive, don't worry about it. This is apparently AFPS doing its thing in relation to backups. The size of "System" changes depending on how much drive space there is. If you are curious about this, there are some discussions about it on the internet. There are even Terminal commands to delete some of System's usage, but my personal view is that this is harmless.
     
  5. wdwpsu thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    I'm sure 256GB isn't enough for all of my work. That's why I augmented it with the 512GB T5. I'm just getting frustrated with the amount of Apps that won't let me use it for storage (again Microsoft Outlook, for which I have about 10GB of emails I'm bringing in).
     
  6. F-Train macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    What apps, apart from Microsoft Outlook, are you using that are taking up so much space?

    Re Outlook e-mails, maybe archive some of it on an external drive?
     
  7. wdwpsu thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    [And maybe it's just a Microsoft (go figure) annoyance] Office 2019 would not let me install to my external drive. I haven't installed much yet. I just knew for my first couple apps I installed, I was getting frustrated with the reliance on using my OS drive. And, before I got too deep in to the process, I wanted verification that 256GB should be enough or if I should have gone 512GB.
     
  8. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    #8
    I've been running my main system (27" iMac) on a 256GB SSD for several years without any issues. One solution to the "must be installed on main filesystem" problem is to use *nix soft links or macOS aliases to make it look like things are in the main filesystem when they aren't. I've done this for many years (mostly on *nix systems), and there are probably some apps that won't go for this, but it's one thing to try. My own opinion about apps that are this brain-dead is that the developer was clearly incompetent and you would be better off with better apps. However, as always, YMMV.
     
  9. pl1984 macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Welcome to Macintosh, you thought it'd be easier than a PC didn't you ;) You're going to receive suggestions that you adapt your use case to accommodate the limitations of the computer. Don't do it. If you cannot make the computer work for you return it and buy a PC.

    As to the original question whether it's sufficient is highly dependent on your use case. 256GB is the bare minimum with 512GB being more comfortable. Do you have any historical information on how much disk space you've used? How much have you used on your previous computer(s)?
     
  10. wdwpsu thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    I'm pretty much copying what worked for me on the PC as far as space wise. I'll probably be okay with my setup. It's just a matter of finding best practices. I won't be installing much software anyhow beyond Office Suite, Lightroom/Photoshop and Dev tools.

    I guess what I've found out is that Microsoft software sucks as bad on Apple as Apple software sucks on Microsoft OS (iTunes is Abysmal on a PC).
     
  11. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    #11
    Bullhockey! I found myself far less limited by disk filesystem formatting on macOS than I ever did on Windows. You just need to learn the flexibility in the filesystem and use it as intended. Not surprising that an MS app would be the big problem - still looking for the c:\ drive.
     
  12. pl1984 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Why not? The c:\ drive can be inexpensive on the PC. Not so much on a Mac.
     
  13. wdwpsu thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    And it looks like iTunes wants to backup my 64GB iPhone to my 256GB Boot/OS Drive. I think jasnw's symbolic link tricks will help me past that one.
     
  14. dogslobber macrumors 68040

    dogslobber

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    #14
    250GB will be enough until you run out of space.
     
  15. Fishrrman, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors Pentium

    Fishrrman

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    #15
    OP wrote:
    "I'm getting frustrated with the number of apps that insist on either being installed to the boot/os drive or use the boot drive for their data (Microsoft Outlook...) . I'm getting concerned that I planned incorrectly and that 256GB may not have been enough."

    First off, relax.

    256gb is -just fine- for the OS, applications, and "limited" accounts.
    The idea is to keep the boot drive "lean and clean".

    By "limited accounts" I mean that you store your "large libraries" (photos, music, movies) on EXTERNAL storage of some kind (HDD or SSD). Then let your apps "reference them" on the external drives. No problem with that.

    You already have the external drives, so just use 'em.

    Again... stop worrying about installing your apps on the boot drive.
    The "applications" folder (on the boot drive, at root level) is where they're supposed to go.

    EDIT:
    I just checked the size of -my- applications folder, which has a lot of unnecessary stuff in it. Size: 27gb.

    It's going to take you a long LONG time to run out of space by putting too many apps on your boot drive!
     
  16. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #16
    I had never realized that some apps refuse to install on external drive. Never tried, actually. That looks so Android.

    256GB is usually fine if you're cautious when storing large files. If you have a lot of data at OneDrive, it can be concerning (never tried to install OneDrive folder on external drive). Also, iCloud drive perhaps has the same issue. I think that 256GB is enough, but the new sweet spot is 512GB, and that's why Apple charges a lot for upgrading to this modest step further than 256GB.
     
  17. smetvid macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I personally would be concerned if a system drive was using up more than 256GB of space even if I had a 512Gb drive. I’m not talking iTunes or photos content either. A system using more than 256Gb is already bloated and nobody really needs that many apps and garbage clogging up their system.

    The only reason a system drive needs more than 256GB is if that same drive needs to store photos and music. I setup iTunes and Photos to use an external disc and I use a lot of apps like Affinity Design, FCPX, Motion and Logic. Logic likes to install all of its sound libraries on the system drive but I don’t need to download all of those either.
     
  18. F-Train, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018

    F-Train macrumors 6502a

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    #18
  19. Robejazz macrumors member

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    #19
    This was a life saver! I saw you post this in another thread and its working great... the only caveat I saw was that if the drive is also your TimeMachine Backup, logic will not put the files there. Other wise great! Thanks
     
  20. pl1984 macrumors 68000

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    #20
    I am amazed at the lengths some people will go to defend Apple's choice of small drives / high prices for their drives. It is not uncommon or unreasonable for a user to store all of their content on a single, internal drive. The expectation that users should use an external drive is driven by Apple's small drives / high cost / non-replaceability is a Bandaid for a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place. It makes little sense to have a SFF computer and then have to negate its benefit by attached a bunch of external devices to work around artificial limitations.
     
  21. smetvid macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I'm not defending anything. I don't waste my time attacking or defending products or manufacturers. When it comes to a laptop I absolutely agree that sometimes it is best to have a larger internal drive. With a desktop however it makes little sense to cling to this type of thinking and it matters very little. The obsession with having a large internal drive on a desktop system is frankly ridiculous. This is also the choice Apple made. Speed over size and some people may prefer that. There are oodles of ways to add slower/larger to a desktop system that do not affect the usability of that system in any way shape or form. Adding external storage is not a bandaid. Its an unavoidable fact of life that a single internal storage will likely run out at some point and realistically it is better computing practice to move content externally and remove unused content file and applications. If you are obsessed with large/.slower internal storage then go shop for something else. Apple choosing faster/smaller drives is not a crime and many of us are perfectly happy to use a desktop in this way because even if we were on a PC we would do exactly the same thing.
     
  22. pl1984 macrumors 68000

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    #22
    It's not an obsession with having a large internal drive. It's about having a replaceable drive. My Z440 came equipped with a 1TB spinner. For $279 I installed a brand new, 1TB HP Z-Turbo NVMe drive. Had I wanted I could have installed a 256GB version. Or a 512 GB version. Or one of these and have 8 TB of NVMe storage:


    I could also install a traditional SATA SSD. Or very well left it as it were with the 1TB spinner. The Mini forces you to decide on drive capacity at the time of purchase. Choose too little and you're forced to use an external drive or replace the system completely. There's zero technical reason for the Mini's SSD to be welded to the motherboard. An M.2 socket doesn't consume much additional space and it would greatly simplify the purchase of a Mini (how many "How large of an SSD should I get?" threads have we seen?)
     
  23. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    #23
    I think smetvid's point is that the issue of a replaceable internal drive is now on the fence between gotta-have and nice-to-have, unlike upgradeable-memory which is still in the gotta-have category. With faster transfer speeds to and from external SSDs the need to have everything on an internal bus-connected drive is less critical than it used to be. I've been living with a small-ish (256gb) internal SSD plus a large (3TB) internal spinner for my data store in my 2011 iMac and it has been perfectly OK. Access to this spinner, even thought it's internal, is probably slower than access to an external SSD using current port technologies. When I pull the trigger on a Mini I'll get the 256gb SSD because I know I can live with putting my large data stores on external drives. This is definitely a YMMV situation, and while it definitely would have been nice if Apple had been less ROI-oriented and more customer-oriented and made the drive DIY replaceable, it's not an issue for everyone.
     
  24. pl1984 macrumors 68000

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    #24
    My point is I think it's foolish to be forced, at the time of purchase, to choose which capacity to get when a simple 50 cent connector can eliminate the issue altogether. I see zero technical or cost reasons why a simple connector could not be used. In addition I think it's foolish every Apple system forces external expandability. By the time one adds in a common number of external upgrades they have consumed the equivalent space as a small to medium sized tower. Yet they have a tangle of cables and power supplies laying around (or, as some pictures of people's Mini configurations have shown, creatively cable tied / mounted / what-have-you).

    IMO a SFF system shouldn't need much external stuff connected to it. Due to the lack of alternative people are buying SFF systems and building them into small to medium sized tower equivalents.
     
  25. brdeveloper, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018

    brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #25
    Don't know why people are so excited about these new minis. You spend almost the price of a decent iMac 27" to get a thing that needs to become a cable mess to scale decently in time. Most people are excited with eGPU upgrades, but that's expensive and take a lot of space in the desk.

    I hate the way Apple forces people to get newer hardware: changes ports, puts/removes soldered components. This all looks artificial, it's a deliberate (and too obvious for not being ofensive) move to limit "natural" capabilities of a product. It reminds Nikon, which is usually creating newer lens mounts for preventing people from using older lenses, on the contrary of Pentax, for example.
     

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