Mac Mini 2012 HDD in Upper Bay

lightingman2003

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 2, 2019
4
0
Hi.

I had a spare SSD lying around, and thought I'd use it to lease new life into my Mac Mini 2012 with a 500GB HDD. A few years back, I upgraded to 16GB of RAM (from the factory 4GB), but I needed a new challenge!

Looking around, there are plenty of guides advising how to upgrade the HDD in the Mac Mini to an SSD. However, I soon came across a stumbling block. The HDD (originally installed by the factory) is not in the same position as advised in the guides. My HDD seems to be in the lower bay (or upper bay depending on how you look at it), and connected to the second port on the logic board, not the first. .

I have attached a photo showing its position, as you can see, it is recessed down. All the pictures from the guides show the HDD inline with the logic board.

Preferably, I want to replace this with a 256GB Samsung Evo SSD. Alternatively, I am open to the idea of adding this as a second drive, and then booting from the SSD and using the HDD for storage.

Any guidance would be appreciated!

Thanks
 

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kboller07

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2007
65
1
I replaced a drive on the lower bay, when its upside down the one on the bottom, and I had to use the logic board removal tool to push the logic board back a bit and wiggle the HDD out of there. Just make sure to disconnect the hard drive connector from the logic board. I just used the ifixit guide even though its only for the upper bay. https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+mini+Late+2012+Hard+Drive+Replacement/11716. By moving the logic board away from the drive there's barely enough space in there to pull it out. It took me a few minutes, but the rest of it was quite simple. The IR connector to the logic board is very fragile and that's really the only one you have to be careful about removing before you pull the logic board out an inch or so. They have a specific tool for logic board removal. If you have any more questions I'll gladly get back to you.

Hi.

I had a spare SSD lying around, and thought I'd use it to lease new life into my Mac Mini 2012 with a 500GB HDD. A few years back, I upgraded to 16GB of RAM (from the factory 4GB), but I needed a new challenge!

Looking around, there are plenty of guides advising how to upgrade the HDD in the Mac Mini to an SSD. However, I soon came across a stumbling block. The HDD (originally installed by the factory) is not in the same position as advised in the guides. My HDD seems to be in the lower bay (or upper bay depending on how you look at it), and connected to the second port on the logic board, not the first. .

I have attached a photo showing its position, as you can see, it is recessed down. All the pictures from the guides show the HDD inline with the logic board.

Preferably, I want to replace this with a 256GB Samsung Evo SSD. Alternatively, I am open to the idea of adding this as a second drive, and then booting from the SSD and using the HDD for storage.

Any guidance would be appreciated!

Thanks
 
Last edited:

lightingman2003

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 2, 2019
4
0
Hi @kboller07, thanks for your comprehensive reply.

I'm warming to the idea of adding my SSD as a second drive (into the upper level). Would I need to do anything with the logic board if I add the SSD as a second drive? I can get a hard drive connector from Amazon for a few quid, but I'm not sure where the SSD would attach to keep it secure though.

Appreciate your quick reply though!
 

marclondon

macrumors 6502
Aug 14, 2009
323
40
London
That's the drive in the lower bay (bottom) and is easy to get at and replace. From what I recall that's usually where Apple put a single drive. For the upper bay you need to take the logic board out and put a mounting kit in for a drive if you want two drives.
 

lightingman2003

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 2, 2019
4
0
That's the drive in the lower bay (bottom) and is easy to get at and replace. From what I recall that's usually where Apple put a single drive. For the upper bay you need to take the logic board out and put a mounting kit in for a drive if you want two drives.
Please ignore my #noob questions, but I'm getting a little confused between upper and lower bays! Can you explain the difference between the two?

If I was to add a drive, I would add it on top of my current drive (leaving that in place). Would I still need to remove the logic board to add the second drive on-top of my current drive?
 

marclondon

macrumors 6502
Aug 14, 2009
323
40
London
Please ignore my #noob questions, but I'm getting a little confused between upper and lower bays! Can you explain the difference between the two?

If I was to add a drive, I would add it on top of my current drive (leaving that in place). Would I still need to remove the logic board to add the second drive on-top of my current drive?
Yes, to add a drive you need to take the whole machine apart. To just replace the existing drive that's mounted in the bottom slot it's a fairly easy swap between an HDD and SSD - I don't think you need to undo and move out the logic board, as in this Ifixit page as someone comments. You can then put the HDD in an external case. It's not hard though to get two drives in but the logic board has to come out.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+mini+Late+2012+Hard+Drive+Replacement/11716
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
401
Honolulu HI
Please ignore my #noob questions, but I'm getting a little confused between upper and lower bays! Can you explain the difference between the two?

If I was to add a drive, I would add it on top of my current drive (leaving that in place). Would I still need to remove the logic board to add the second drive on-top of my current drive?
The upper vs. lower bay refers to the position if you lay the Mini flat on a surface with the Apple logo visible. It appears you have the disk in the upper [CORRECTION - the picture shows it in the lower] bay.

If you want to add a second disk, there's better information on all of this on the OWC website. You don't necessarily need to buy from OWC - just be informed on the differences between the two bays. (You need more than just the cable to add a 2nd drive.)
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMM11D2/

Because it appears you have the drive in the lower bay, most kits to add a second drive will assume this and you'll get the appropriate cable.
 
Last edited:

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2008
631
97
If you want to add a second disk, there's better information on all of this on the OWC website. You don't necessarily need to buy from OWC - just be informed on the differences between the two bays. (You need more than just the cable to add a 2nd drive.)
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMM11D2/
I upgraded my wife's and my 2012 Mac minis with Fusion drives about three years ago. One had the boot drive in the upper bay, and the other had it in the lower drive. I used OWC's videos, and all went well.
 

lightingman2003

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 2, 2019
4
0
Thank you all for your comments! I have now installed my Samsung Evo SSD into my Mac Mini and have installed MacOS Mojave. Its all working as expected!