Is it hard to add SSD and RAM?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by BiteDisAppleD, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. BiteDisAppleD macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2014
    I wondering if any Mac Mini users opened up their Macs and add SSD and RAM. I'm kinda scared opening up mine to add the SSD. Is it easy? I'm scared to screw up the connectors and such


  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
  3. BiteDisAppleD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2014
    The 2012
  4. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    No, it's not hard to replace the HDD with an SSD provided you have the right tools. The main requirement are the 2 Torx screwdrivers. There are lots of videos showing you how to do this. Check out:

    I recommend watching the videos through to the end a couple of times so you understand what to expect before you start work. Get some small containers for all the screws, and use a camera to take photos to remember where things went before you disassemble!

    It should take no more than 15-30 minutes. If you have a single drive Mini you might want to consider adding a second drive (there is space inside the case) by getting the additional SATA cable (the Server version of the Mini already has the cables included).

    My 2011 quad-core mini now has 2 SSDs and is pretty snappy.

  5. BiteDisAppleD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2014
    What processor does your version have?
  6. seth556 macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2014
    It's not too bad, buy the kit on Amazon with the tools and extra sata connector. Then just take your time and lay everything out. As long as you don't try to rip everything apart and are smart about it then you'll be fine. If you try to rip it apart in 2 minutes then you'll probably break one of the connectors.

    I used the old HDD as a second drive and added a SSD as the main drive and it's awesome.
  7. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I thought it was nerve-wracking and difficult but I missed a couple of important steps in the directions. I've got an SSD from another Mac that I sold and am waiting to decide if it is going to replace the W8 OEM HDD in my 2012 or be installed in a new 2012 (or 2014 (right!)).

    I won't hesitate to rip the 2012 apart again. SSDs are totally doable by people with the right tools who can follow directions. Like others I used the OWC data doubler kit. Their kit worked perfectly.
  8. BiteDisAppleD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2014
    So basically just take my time?
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    There are shops that will install for you. I think OWC will do it for little money if you buy the parts from them.
  10. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    I've done it and and it's not difficult but does take a bit of care lifting the attatchments to the logic board. It took me a couple of hours going slowly. All the details are in my post #6 of this thread
  11. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    It's a quad-core i7 (Sandy Bridge) running at 2.0GHz. I think the model number is i7-2635QM. My Mini is the 2011 Server version, which originally came with 2 x 500GB 7200rpm HDDs. I also upgraded to 16GB RAM, which makes a big difference if you want to run Virtual Machines or other RAM-hungry apps.
  12. yukyuklee macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2011
    Boston, MA
    really easy to install all you have to worry about is being careful of not over screwing the screws. Just take your time and think about what you are doing. Also be careful of the sensor tab on the hdd bracket
  13. Agent-J macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2014
    I have added memory and a second drive to my mid-2011 Mini. It's not too hard to do. I bought the data doubler kit from OWC ( They have an excellent DIY video. The one bit that defeated me was the little clip for the power plug. I ended up taking it out because I must not have been putting it back properly, and it kept getting loose in the case. My Mini now has 16GB of RAM, a 240 GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD. :)
  14. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    At $200 you might as well put a 512 GB Crucial MX100 in. It's reading and writing faster than my mid 2013 rMBP
  15. Blackstick macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2014
    Sunny South Florida
    Not hard but follow the guides and take your time. I'd recommend buying the kit that OWC/iFixIt sells. Make sure you get a tray to hold screws and label them or photograph as needed for re-assembly reference.
  16. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    The hardest thing about doing the upgrade is putting the power supply back in and making sure the hard drive connectors stay in place.
    Oh yeah the mesh screen can be a pain.
    OWC has some fantastic directions and their upgrade kit is expensive for what you get but it makes the upgrade a breeze as it has everything you need including tools.
    It's fun to do, much different than upgrading PC.
    Give yourself plenty of time to do it.

    you will be amazed at the performance improvement.
    I upgraded a mini and put it on my wifes desk. Dual booting ts a few seconds longer but the overall performance gain will be very apparent.
  17. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    It's a walk in the park, I fitted the dual drive ribbon, had the mid range 2012 mini. Just follow the tutorial and be patient.

    I now have a 512GB SSD + 750GB 7200rpm drive and 16GB ram.

    Good luck
  18. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    iFixit sells the kit with tools for the same price as OWC's discounted price, and the kit without tools is $5 cheaper on iFixit and still includes the logic board removal tool. At full price, OWC's kit IS expensive. I got my kit (without tools) from iFixit.
  19. elolaugesen macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    Two of my comments related to same topic..

    Note 2.

    There is a video out there saw it some time ago have to find it again.. Sorry just remembered seeing it and then used the trick.. Been discussed on the mac mini forum ???

    All i could find. Lots examples on you tube...

    Look down see the two brackets for the ssd/disk. Space between them. Place card stiff long card between and ssd should with some help. Wiggling moving help etc slide in. Tight space but it worked .. Took 5 minutes to do it....

    Note 1:
    Just installed the Crucial M500 486gb in my late 2012 mini. worked like a charm, fiddle wifi, did not pull out logic board used the card trick to slide ssd into place.

    Used my seagate slim portable drive connecter cable etc for preloading/testing the ssd, set up recovery partition and tested everything with usb3. Also had another external backup tested.

    30 minutes to complete final installation job. fiddly, constantly concerned about touching things but slow and easy. used the ipad for video help all done..

    thank you to all of you who have posted help, information, suggestions etc about this task.
  20. FireWire2 macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008

    It is not hard at all, but I would recommend to get 256GB SSD instead of 128GB
    Youtube or Google will give you step by step procedure


    It is not hard at all, but I would recommend to get 256GB SSD instead of 128GB
    Youtube or Google will give you step by step procedure

    I did mine within 3 months and never look back it sooo fast, worth every penny spend.
  21. bbooze macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2014
    What work flow did you guys use to get the SSD drive to be your boot drive? I'm picturing a couple different ways.

    1) Leave all your applications and system files on the internal 5400 HDD. Install new drive. Boot up. Then somehow transfer all the system files from HDD to the new SDD? Then wipe the HDD clean and intend to use it as a media disk? Is there a mac utility that does this? I'm having trouble picturing how two operation systems can exist internally at the same time, or how to assign one to be the true boot disk.

    2) Use time Machine to backup the entire system disk to an external HD. Then wipe the boot disk clean? Power down and install the new SDD drive. Boot up. Will there somehow be a bare bones mac utility that will allow you to plug in the external HD so as to transfer all the system files to your new boot disk, the SDD?

    Trying to get this figured out before buying the kit + SDD drive. I have only owned this mac mini for about a month and can't believe how slow it is. The 2010 imac that died and forced me to go shopping absolutely blew this thing away, even though all the Geekbench scores claim that the mini should be speedier.
  22. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    When you install Mavericks on the SSD it will automatically make that the default boot device (mine did).

    Mavericks DOES include an app to do the file/app transfer, it's called Migration Assistant. I didn't use it on my Mini (except to migrate apps to it from my MBP) but I DID use it on my MBP when I installed the SSD in that. I installed the SSD, put the original HDD in a USB enclosure, installed Mavericks on the SSD, when prompted for MA I pointed it to the old HDD as the source and in about an hour my MBP was pretty much EXACTLY like it was except with an SSD instead of an HDD.

    Read up on Migration Assistant here:
  23. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    The best advice I could give is to follow the iFixit teardown step by step.

    If you do this you will know exactly what to look for, what to do and it will make you take your time.

    When people think they know everything is when they rush and usually this is when problems arise.

    RAM is by far the easiest to switch out.

    Replacing the HDD with an SSD isn't too involvded.

    Adding an SSD in addition to the HDD and you're basically doing the entire teardown. It is not difficult, it just looks that way.;)
  24. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    From what I gather, many have tried and most have succeeded as evidenced by the previous posts; however, some have failed magnificently with many cases of connectors being pulled off the motherboad!

    If you are uncertain about installing the SSD, there is no shame in opting for a decent USB 3.0 (make sure it supports UASP) or Thunderbolt enclosure. I just picked up a Vantec NexStar 6G NST-266S3 today for $20 CDN that I will check out in the next couple of days.

    RAM is a different story, just buy compatible spec an DIY.


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