Late 2012 Mac mini: 3TB Fusion drive?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ubele, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #1
    I have a late 2012 Mac mini i7, 2.3 GHz, which I've upgraded to 16 GB of RAM. It has the stock 1TB HDD, though, which is very slow. Last year, I bought a 2015 13" MBP, which I love, and I considered selling my mini. However, after a disastrous upgrade to El Capitan on my MBP (which I finally resolved), I decided that it's a good idea to have two Macs. The mini is my base station, to which I've connected all my peripherals. It's also my media center. Now that 2TB laptop HDDs and 1TB SSDs are cheap, I'd like to upgrade my mini to a 3TB Fusion drive. I'm technically inclined and am capable of doing this. Has anyone else done this, and is there anything I should know before proceeding? Thanks!
     
  2. bplein macrumors 6502

    bplein

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX USA
    #2
    You'll need to add a second hard drive using a 3rd party kit like this https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Mac/Mac-Mini-Dual-Drive-Kit/IF171-005-1.

    Next you'll need to buy an SSD. I recommend Samsung 850 Pros bu tan 850 EVO would work fine. I would choose as large a drive as you are comfortable paying for... 256GB would be my minimum.

    Finally you'll need to find a 2TB SSD to your liking that is thin enough to fit... not sure if 7mm is required but that would work.

    Backup everything (or be good with losing it). Take apart the mini, put in the fresh SSD and the 2TB drive.

    Then find one of the many DIY Fusion Drive tutorials.... and do a Recovery Mode, open Terminal, "fuse" the drives, and then do an internet-based install.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 11, 2016 ---
    BTW, I've done the above, but didn't need the extra drive kit (mine were Mac mini Server models) and I used a 256GB SSD along with a 1TB Apple (HGST) HDD.
     
  3. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #3
    I have done this with my 2012 quad i7 as well. Mine started out life as the "server" model, so it already had 2 drive positions each with a 1TB hard disk. I soon tired of the slow speeds, even in RAID-0, so I replaced the upper 1TB hard disk with a 2TB hard disk, and replaced the lower 1TB hard disk with a 960GB SSD and created a 3TB (almost) DIY Fusion drive using the easy terminal methods found online.

    I used it this way for awhile, but some shifts in my applications for this computer changed again. I currently have a 500 GB SSD in the lower slot, partitioned in half as two drives. One 256 GB SSD partition has a bootable Windows 10 "BootCamp" installation. The other 256 GB SSD partition is joined with the 2TB hard disk as a 2.25 TB OS X Fusion drive. The Windows installation is both bootable, and also accessed as a virtual machine using VMware from within OS X.

    You should have no problems doing what you propose with creating a 3 TB Fusion drive in your Mac Mini.

    Good luck ...
     
  4. Ubele thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #4
    Thanks! Yes, there a couple of 2TB drives out there that will work. Best Buy has one on sale for $109.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 12, 2016 ---
    Thanks! Just curious: why did you replace the 960 GB SSD with a 500? I probably will create a partitioned system like yours with a Windows 10 Bootcamp installation, as I've always used Windows at work and Macs at home, so it would be nice to have Windows as an option. I'm thinking a 256 GB Bootcamp partition on a 1 TB SSD, and the remaining SSD as the boot partition for a 2.75 GB Fusion drive.
     
  5. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #5
    No technical reason really .... I just wanted to use the 960 GB SSD on another system where I needed the size more.
     
  6. Ubele thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #6
    Got it, thanks. When Fusion drives first came out, I seem to recall that there was some limitation to the 3 TB configuration, and I wasn't sure if it had to do with Bootcamp.
     
  7. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #7
    There were problems with installing BootCamp on 3TB Fusion drives due to a 2.2 TB limitation of Windows. You had to put the Windows partition within that space (in the middle) and leave another Partition at the end. I think that issue has been automated with the current installers although I haven't tried it myself.

    I preferred that my Windows partition reside on the SSD rather than the Hard Disk which Apple tools required. Of course, I built DIY Fusion drives with much larger SSD components to accommodate this.
     

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