Mac mini 2014 built-in SSD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mayuka, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. mayuka macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have a question regarding the built-in SSD which comes with the Mac mini 2014 model.

    I had a look at OWC's website, but they do not seem to have a replacement SSD listed for the 2014 Mac mini. Thus, I'm wondering whether Apple decided for a custom SSD which is unique to the Mac mini or if the built-in SSD is compatible to e.g. the Macbook Air 2013/2014 models or something like that. The comments to the iFixit guide are not helpful in that case. The only thing which seems to be clear is that it is a PCIe adapter but not which kind...

    To keep it short: Which replacement SSD can I built into the Mac mini 2014?
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    "Which replacement SSD can I built into the Mac mini 2014?"

    I could be wrong, but probably the only blade/ssd's that will fit are used Apple components that you might buy from eBay, etc.

    Others: please jump in and correct me.

    Note to OP:
    You -can- put a "conventional" SATA-type SSD into the SATA bay, but it will run only at SATA speeds.
    The Apple-only blade/SSD runs faster.
     
  3. mayuka thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #3
    That's my intention. But currently there are only 2 very expensive 512GB SSD available for Mac Mini. However, if you search for used Macbook Air or Macbook Pro SSDs of that size you get much more reasonable offers.

    I don't think that Apple has invented a new SSD connector type. So my guess is that you can also use the SSDs from e.g. Macbook Pro. The question is only: which one does fit?

    I know. However, Apple has only enabled 2 PCIe lanes in the Mac mini, which gives speeds around 750 MB/s at max.
     
  4. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68040

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
  5. treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #5
    iFixit has a couple of teardowns for the 2014 Mini, one of which has information on the SSD they found in the 2014 Mini.
    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Mac+Mini+Late+2014+Teardown/30410

    According to this article the SSD from 2014 Mini matches the SSD in the 2013 MBA (Step 9). If you look at the listing of the chip part #'s - if you find an Apple SSD from this same time period (as mentioned in post #4) with these same part #'s with the same form factor it should work (the controller is the crucial part). I've seen somewhere that the 11" MBA's from this time period have a different SSD. Also, I think Apple sourced some of these SSD's from a different vendor (Sandisk?) in that case they will have different part #'s.

    Also as mentioned in post #4, you'll need the SSD cable assembly if your Mini didn't come with a SSD.

    The possible issue you have in buying these used SSD's is that SSD's have a finite number of erase/write cycles so if you buy one with a high write count, it might not be long before it will fail. If you find a seller who discloses that count and know what the expected count is, then it may not be so bad.
     
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #6
    With the blade benching at 750 and SATA3 benching at 550, I'm not sure it is cost effective to get a blade replacement. Especially since that bench is only for sequential reads, which is not a typical use of a computer. Unless you are specifically and frequently reading or writing very large single files, I doubt you will notice a difference in real life. I'd get a drive doubler kit and install a SATA SSD, use the budget for more capacity.

    If that IS your use case, or you just really want a blade anyway, then I believe @treekram is correct.

    One thing that throws me off though is that although OWC sells a blade upgrade for 2013 MacBook Air, for 2014 Mini they just say "coming soon". If those two computers have a compatible interface, why not sell that upgrade for both Mac models?
     
  7. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68040

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #7
    The reviews I've seen on here of their PCIe blades are generally unfavourable.
     
  8. mayuka thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #8
    Thanks. That's what I needed to know.

    For what I can tell, the SSDs in the 11" MBA were shorter than the ones in 13" MBA.

    A cable is rather cheap. To get a 512GB SSD in good shape for a reasonable price will be the hard part. :)
     
  9. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68040

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #9
    The Mac I got mine from was liquid damaged but the SSD was fine. It may help to look on local classifieds for people with damaged laptops who are looking to recoup some money.
     
  10. treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #10
    The OWC SSD for the 2014 Mini has been "coming soon" for a long time now. The OWC Aura includes the "Envoy Pro", which is a small enclosure that you can place the Apple SSD in when replacing the Apple SSD with the OWC Aura. However, OWC says not to use the Aura in this enclosure even though it apparently works. Based on this, my guess is that there's a heat or power issue and perhaps this issue extends to the use of the Aura in the 2014 Mini. Because of the design constraints they were under, the Aura uses TLC vs. MLC NAND chips and TLC uses more power and generates more heat than MLC.

    OWC also now has an "Aura Pro X" ($20-$50 more than the Aura, depending on the SSD capacity). This was introduced in mid-October and is a MLC NVME SSD which will only work with High Sierra (although if you're willing to fiddle around with the OSX NVME driver, it may work with El Capitan and Sierra). They don't list it as being Mini 2014-compatible - I have no idea why this would be - it may be a business decision.
     
  11. mika4real macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    #11
    If I didn't get it wrong the new Transcend JetDrive 820 blades should fit in the 2014 mac mini

    https://us.transcend-info.com/apple/jetdrive_pcie
     
  12. mayuka thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #12
    Thanks. Mac Mini 7,1 is listed there. So they should be compatible. They may even be a better alternative to OWC (which do not even have a SSD available at the moment).
     
  13. treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #13
    It appears that the Transcend JetDrive 820 is NVMe - if that's the case, there's a good possibility that you either need to have High Sierra or there's some type of software driver or patch involved if you want to use an earlier OS. I didn't dig deep into this (and this information isn't on the page in the link) so I can't say for sure. When Anandtech does a review of a SSD, they delve into the technical details but I don't see an Anandtech review of either the OWC Aura Pro X or the Transcend JetDrive 820.

    Also, the JetDrive 820 uses TLC vs. MLC for the Aura Pro X. I'm leery of TLC in PCIe SSD's - I had a Samsung 960 Evo in a non-Mac system which died early on and it appears this happens more than it should. For the 960 Evo, it appears that if it doesn't die very early on, it's OK but I spent the extra money to buy a 960 Pro to the replace the Evo. The JetDrive 820 is 2-lane (of course the 2014 Mini also has a PCIe 2-lane), not a 4-lane so that may help in reducing heat which is likely the problem I had with the 960 Evo.
     

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12 November 6, 2017