Mac Mini 2012 SSD Internal or External for Boot Drive?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ianjh, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. ianjh macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2013
    Norfolk, UK
    I'm currently considering upgrading my 2012 Mac Mini 2.5 500GB HD 4GB Ram.

    I intend to upgrade the to 16GB RAM and then either...

    fit or have fitted internally a 256GB Samsung EVO Pro SSD and keep the 500GB for data


    purchase a LaCie 256GB External Thunderbolt/ USB3 drive and use that as the boot drive - may consider just 128GB if I can get away with it? (Just using Mail, ITunes, iPhoto, Safari, Preview. MS Word, Pages, Numbers and X-Plane 10 which is located on the 3TB HD) which is also connected to Airport Extreme using Time Machine

    In addition to the Mac Mini I have a Seagate 3TB GoFlex Desk Top Drive fitted to a Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adaptor which I was lucky to be offered in the Amazon Vine Program.

    I also have, again courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program a Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

    The Mac Mini is connected to an Apple Thunderbolt Display.

    My question(s) are, in order to obtain the best boot /application load times with the external SSD what method of connection would you advise.

    My options are...

    SSD TB into Seagate into Belkin then TB Display

    or SSD into TB Display, Seagate into Belkin TB Dock and TB Display to Mac Mini using the displays built-in connector.

    Would any of these options be more efficient than others and would there be a noticeable speed difference between having a biult-in SSD or the Extrenal TB mode?

    So basically which option would give the best performance compared to my current default setup which is dreadfully slow even following Full Clean install of 10.9.1

    Thanks for any assistance or guidance anyone can provide

    Ian (Norfolk UK)
  2. hwojtek macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Poznan, Poland
    I highly doubt the SSD would saturate the 6 Gbps SATA bus of a Mac Mini, so hooking it up to the computer in an external TB enclosure doesn't make any sense (and booting up from a single SSD drive attached to TB interface would be marginally slower anyway since the SSD is the slowest link in the whole data transfer chain). Have it fitted inside the Mini, use a Data Doubler to make use of your 500 GB HDD and have fun while keeping the whole setup as little complicated as possible.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Any TB daisy chain would provide the same performance, although it may be best to put the display at the end of the line.

    Not a mini, but I have a rMBP with internal SSD and an external SSD that I use to boot Windose.

    Blackmagic speed test show the external SSD via TB to drop off 10% over the internal and the SSD via USB3 drops off 40%, but its still 4 times as good as a recent USB3 rotational drive.

    Whether you notice the 10% difference between the external TB or internal SSD I dunno. The external USB3 SSD is quite adequate, and that is slower than TB.

    Pulling apart a mini is not for the feint of heart, and an external SSD in an TB enclosure offers near the same performance as long as you are not hammering the other TB drives at the same time.
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Go internal. You have an empty slot, use it.
    - There is no Pro Evo. Either a 840 Evo or an 840 Pro. The later is still way better. The Evo is a kind of fusion between a fast 3-9GB SSD with a much slower SSD for the rest of the space. Kind of a fusion between an old 840 and a 840 Pro.
    - I don't like LaCie as they don't communicate what drives they use, and they have a history of using crap drives. So the LaCie might be a regular 840, which is nowhere as fast as an Evo or a 840 pro.
    - SSD DOES saturate the Sata 6Gbit channel. That's why most fast SataIII SSD's max out at about 550MB/s read/write.
  5. ianjh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2013
    Norfolk, UK
    Belated thanks for all the suggestions, think I'll go the internal SSD route with 128GB 840 Pro should be more than enough.



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