Mac Mini 2014 - M2 Update Attempt

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Archivist, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Archivist macrumors newbie

    Archivist

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Location:
    Colorado
    #1
    Hello All - treekram, Boyd01, bopajuice, et al.

    Thought I'd spend a minute updating you on my attempt to update my 2014 Mac Mini per our conversations from mid-February.

    1. I was able to purchase a SSD Connector for an M.2 from BeetsTech (eBay is cheaper)
    2. I acquired a Used Apple 128GB SSD MacBook Air 13 M.2 SSD from eBay.
    3. I had a very difficult time opening the 2014 Mac Mini as it uses T5, TR T6 and TR T7 (TR=Tamper Resistant - i.e. raised center security bump) in very tiny screws. For anyone trying to find these screwdrivers, I think Amazon is best, my only local vendor was surprisingly Harbor Freight.
    4. Once open, I followed the info on iFixit, though in reality you do not need to disconnect the Antenna, Fan, et. al unless you plan to replace the HD.
    5. The SSD Connector is accessed fairly easily and the BeetsTech connector seems correct.
    6. However, the 128GB SSD is much longer by ~ 1+ cm than the space available BUT this M.2 IS NOT RECOGNIZED BY the Mac Mini. It will fit in the space sliding slightly above the left side protrusion.
    I tried Safe Mode and all Utilities and finally gave up in frustration. The iFixit pictures are quite good, but extracting the MB from the Case was impossible for me even with my kit for my 2012 Mini. Not sure if there is another screw that needs to be removed, but it would not budge. I replaced everything, then closed it back up and verified that everything worked as before.

    In lieu of an M.2 SSD, I see a couple of vendors on eBay selling 2014 Mini's with the 2TB FireCuda HD (8GB of NVRAM & 2TB HD from Seagate) in 2.5 inch notebook format. These are available for < $100 w/5 year warranty from Seagate, so provided you can access/remove your current HD this is actually a cheaper solution to an upgrade - presumptively slightly faster w/twice the storage.

    As others have reported, I hope that Apple hasn't abandoned the Mini or has a small desktop replacement with modern/updated chips to release this year. For the time being I must revert to my older faster and more reliable computer.

    Best to all attempting to make the Mini more viable!

    Dave
     
  2. RyanXM macrumors 6502

    RyanXM

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #2
    Do you have links to the PCIe SSD connector and the Apple OEM SSD that you purchased?
     
  3. Archivist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Archivist

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
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    Colorado
    #3
    Hi RyanXM,

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/PCIe-SSD-SOLID-STATE-DRIVE-CABLE-CONNECTOR-Mac-Mini-Unibody-A1347-Late-2014/282751602786?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649 - less than I paid for the SSD Connector.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/USED-Apple-128GB-SSD-MacBook-Air-13-2010-2011-655-1664-MZ-CPA1280-0A5/222820635406?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649 - Sold to me, but others are available.

    However - the 128GB does not work in the 2014 Mac Mini! Too long by at least 1+ cm and unrecognized by Mini in present form. There are specific M.2 SSD's that might work, but are much much more expensive. Also be careful, the 2014 Mac Mini takes a 2 channel PCIe SSD not the more recent 4 channel SSD's being offered.

    I decided that the cost of the upgrade vs a new SSD HD and/or the FireCuda was a better option, but my 2012 still works well and I have decided to keep it going until/if Apple releases a newer model or replacement.

    Dave
     
  4. treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #4
    Archivist, it looks like you bought the wrong SSD. The Ebay description of "128gb PCI-E" is not quite correct as the drives for the MacBook Air's of that time period look to be SATA drives. But otherwise, the Ebay listing is explicit as to what the drive is and I can't fault the seller too much in how it was listed. But that's why it doesn't fit and doesn't work even when connected. You needed to look for listings for SSD's meant for the 2014 Mini, the late 2013-2015 MBP, the 2013+ MBA or the 2013 MacPro. When you mentioned there were relatively cheap M.2 Apple SSD's, I wasn't aware that you were looking at those meant for the earlier MBA's. I also wasn't aware that these MBA's had SSD's - earlier than the MBP's had. In the future, I'll be sure to put a qualifier in my posts for people looking at used Apple SSD's for the 2014 Mini that the pre-2013 SSD's meant for the MBA won't work in the Mini.
     
  5. RyanXM macrumors 6502

    RyanXM

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #5
    @Archivist

    That is the wrong SSD for the 2014 Mac mini. You will need something from a Late 2013 MBP/MBA and on. Here are a few:

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...0.X128GB+SSUAX.TRS0&_nkw=128GB+SSUAX&_sacat=0

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_od...0.X128GB+SSUBX.TRS0&_nkw=128GB+SSUBX&_sacat=0

    Seller 575rider also has a full kit available. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Sams...587209?hash=item41dc481ac9:g:36IAAOSwyQtVqWG3

    You will not see a speed difference between the SSUAX or the SSUBX because of the physical connector being locked to x2 @ 5.0GT/s. You'll max around 700MBs.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    Frustrations like those of the OP illustrate why often the easiest, cheapest and safest solution is just to plug in a USB3 SSD and be done with it. You sacrifice only about 20% of the overall speed you would see from an internally-installed drive.

    Then again, a -used- Apple SSD (the design that was OEM for the 2014 Mini) would have fit right in...
     
  7. Archivist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Archivist

    Joined:
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    Colorado
    #7
    --- Post Merged, Mar 13, 2018 ---
    Treekram/RyanXM,

    I appreciated the feedback. As noted I think the connector was correct, but obviously the SSD wasn't. I tried diligently to find the right options, but evidently didn't get my specs correct. Good discussion for others attempting to upgrade a 2014 Mini. From what you sent, the $ 20-40 difference between a 128 vs 256 M.2 SSD is very worthwhile.

    I don't disagree with Fishrrman re:an external USB SSD, though getting it to function properly might also create problems. I personally don't like booting from an external device except when necessary.

    Since I think I may have solved my original video issues and my 2012 is faster/quad-core/has more memory/w-fusion drive, I've decided to stay there. Still it's tempting to look to something "newer" if not as potentially functional.

    Thanks for the conversation!

    Dave
     
  8. krause734 macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #8
    Wow that sounds frustrating but it's a great learning experience. I just installed an SSD in my Intel NUC and it was much easier with a magnetic screwdriver and I needed a smaller one than I expected. I've given up on Apple Desktops for obvious reasons. Very happy with my 7th Gen i3 NUC and Linux Mint. Was under $500 with 8GB RAM and 250GB Samsung 960 SSD. I have a bad feeling about the future of the Mac Mini/Pro but I'm hoping I'll be pleasantly surprised and come back some day soon.
     
  9. Archivist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Archivist

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    Hi Krause,

    You bet! Very frustrating, but I've built many a computer over the years, so in a way a bit "fun" just not the results I wanted! Since you are running Linux on your NUC, how do you find the software to work? I still need Quicken/TurboTax, Word/Excel and other products from the "main" stream. I don't know of anyone who's managed to get OSx (a linux derivative) to work directly on a Linux "box", but I suppose someone has. Any thoughts?

    Dave
     
  10. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

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    Location:
    Toronto
    #10
    Fit right in-with the added connector. USB3 works, and the 2014s don't have much else going, but adding a PCIe SSD is so straightforward it should be considered, once you find the drive!
     
  11. krause734 macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #11
    You can run Windows Programs on either a dual boot partition or using Wine. I use Google Drive instead of Microsoft Office and Mint.com instead of Quicken. I actually prefer the simple Linux music program RythymBox over the bloated iTunes. You can run Linux Mint on your Mac with a thumb drive to see if you like it. Certainly there is a Hackintosh community out there too, but I've heard nightmares about updating.
     
  12. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #12
    Does the 2014 Mac Mini even support NVME at boot time? Early Apple PCIe blades were AHCI, not NVMe, but I don't know where/when the switchover occurred.
     
  13. RyanXM macrumors 6502

    RyanXM

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    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #13
    After updating to any version of High Sierra, NVMe drives are supported. They will show up as "external" devices in EFI with the orange USB drive icon, but they boot just fine. They can also be used to create a Fusion HD. I've done this for several family members.
     
  14. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #14
    Oh, interesting. On the Mac Pro side, High Sierra includes an NVME MacOS driver, but of course OS drivers are not applicable at boot time. So on a Mac Pro, you cannot boot with an NVME drive, but you can have an NVME non-bootable storage drive.

    On the Mac Mini there must have been a firmware update that included NVME support for the EFI to use at boot time. The Mac Pro got a firmware update with High Sierra but it was for APFS support at boot time, and not NVME. So NVME is still not bootable even with High Sierra.
     
  15. RyanXM macrumors 6502

    RyanXM

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
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    DFW, TX
    #15
    I assume you are talking about the cMP. The nMP is able to boot NVMe drives after the High Sierra EFI update. 10.13.1 and after is all that I've tested.
     
  16. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #16
    You're right, yes, cMP.

    The nMP is the computer that drove me to a Windows PC.
     
  17. gto47 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #17
    Might be worth trying sierra not high sierra. I can say that High Sierra broke APFS compatability with my mac pro when using my pcie based Accelsior card. When I formatted this card with APFS it was never able to boot. Not sure if its been fixed since the initial release but i've heard some of apple's own SSD were affected as well.
     

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16 March 12, 2018