Mac Mini hard Drive Configuration

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mikegml, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. mikegml macrumors member

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    #1
    Hi Folks.

    My first post. I've moved to Apple after nothing but PCs. It's been on the cards for a while. Firstly the endless windows glitches drive you nuts, and secondly It seems Windows 7 (which I think is OK despite glitches) is the end of the windows OS as we know. I tried Windows 8 on an old laptop and I'd rather use anything than that. I have an iphone have used ipads and don't expect any problem moving over to Lion.

    I've bought a mac mini server, 2.6, i.7, 4gb ram, but have 16Gb memory ready to install on arrival. I went for the server because of it's capacity. The plan is to go fully SSD, I understand it's a little easier also to wire up the second SSD.

    Anyway, I have a few questions regarding hard drives, windows 7, and partitions which I'd like advice on.

    I want the drives configured to keep the OS and docs' on separate partitions, this is a priority regardless of anything else. I want to install Windows 7 as I have some apps which may only work on windows plus I don't wish to buy/get apple versions of many apps which work just fine on windows.

    Can I have Lion and Windows on separate partitions on the first drive, leaving the second drive purely for all files, doc's? Can I have Lion and Windows together on the first drive at all? How big is the advantage of having the second drive ideally used only for file storage SSD.

    I do a lot of photo editing sometimes with huge files and some video editing, otherwise just normal everyday use. I do not play any games, never will.

    Advice appreciated.
     
  2. MJL macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    You can have OS X and Windows on the same drive and leave the other drive totally dedicated to data (and/or time machine) if you are so inclined.

    Windows will not recognize more than 4 partitions in a MBR based machine and Bootcamp is creating some form of hybrid MBR. This means that if you have OS X and Windows then you cannot have more partitions on that drive.

    It all depends on what you are going to run 99% of the time - for me Windows is critical (business) and I use OS X with Winclone to make partition images of the Window partition. So my machine is set up as OS X with an exFAT partition on one drive and Windows with Time Machine on the other drive. If one drive fails then there is a backup on the other drive. Ofcourse I have external backups too but time is also critical so like to keep things internally. However with the USB 3.0 connectors in the 2012 Mac mini no second internal drive is mandatory - I just like to have automated backups and a tidy desk so have it internal. Weekly backups go to external.

    You might want to use the fastest drive for the OS and then you can use a slower / cheaper / bigger drive for data, will work a charm.
     
  3. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Thanks.

    I think I got most of what you say.

    So I can have Lion and Windows on the first drive, that's on two separate partitions right?

    Bit confused by the 4 partitions. You mean 4 partitions in total for both drives? I'm happy to keep the second drive as one whole, no partition on that drive.

    As long as I keep the the Lion and Windows OS's separate from the unpartitioned second drive then that's fine.

    If the first drive is used only for the OS's I suppose a 250Gb SSD is more than plenty for that drive
     
  4. MJL macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    4 partitions on the drive that has both OS X and Windows. One partition is taken up by the GUID configuration, one by OS X Recovery, one by OS X and then there is one for Windows. No more is visible for windows (OS X can happily see more) and if you were to create an extra under OS X then Windows won't be starting any longer. The second drive can hold more than one partition.

    256 Gb is plenty - OS X will take inclusive temporary files around 20 Gb, Windows around 30 Gb and then you get all your additional programs. I'm using 128 Gb for a drive that has both OS X and Windows but it is always good practice to get a bit more for future use.
     
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #5
    You may want to explore virtual windows via software such as Parallels and VMware Fusion. The only caveat is that certain Windows apps might take a hit (games in particular). There are lots of advantages to Win 7 running in virtual mode and as someone who does use that combination (to run my 8 Win applications) it has made life very easy with almost no waiting time for boot up and of course, Mac is always available when Windows is up and running.

    Both OSX and Win 7 can share folders and more importantly for me, both can access my NAS on an as need basis.

    As mentioned, some apps in Windows don't do as well and you should check your apps to see how well they run in virtual mode. If they run well, you might want to consider the advantages of this combination.

    FYI - Mac Mini 2.0 quad with OSX Server, 16 gigs RAM, 2xSSD internal, 2xNAS, multiple external drives via FW800, USB2. My internal drives are separate drives (no RAID) and I use one to mirror the other via asynchronous backups. (I manually back up the main drive to the 2nd drive using software which also btw, backs up my "Windows 7 Virtual" file.
     
  6. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #6
    This will work fine, that's what I do on my mini. Just make sure to format the second disk as ex-fat as I think it's the only kind of partition that allows for large files and has write access by windows and mac.

    You might want to pull out the sata cable on drive 2 until you get both OS's installed. That might keep the mac from getting confused about partitions.
     
  7. opinio macrumors 65816

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    #7
    If you've come from windows and want to continue using it then I would suggest you look at Paralells. It is a lot better than bootcamp.
     
  8. mikegml, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013

    mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Thanks guys.

    Much good info', I can see that I've got quite a bit to learn yet.

    The mini hasn't even arrived yet but when I've got my head around how it all fits together and I'm ready to install the SSDs I'll be back for some more detailed info.
     
  9. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    OK, I'm ready, (I've had my Mac almost two weeks)) I've got my head around enough of the 'Mac thing' that I'd like to get the SSD installed soon because I can't resist 'doing stuff'. I don't want to get doing stuff that interferes with or is rendered useless after the SSD install.

    So.........I've got my Samsung 256gb 840 pro ready to go. I've put it in a USB 3.0 enclosure ready to take the OS image

    What's the best way to make the cloned image? CCC or Super Duper?

    My objectives are:

    1. To keep the second drive purely for data and Time Machine. (Vistadude mentions formatting the second drive to ex-fat if I've got large files? I have many massive files. (photos videos).

    2. To have separate partitions for M' Lion and Windows 7. (MJL says I can have four partitions, one for OS X, one for OS X recovery, one for the GUID config', and one for win 7.

    However, others recommend running windows in virtual mode so do I need four partitions? Or should I have four just in case I don't go virtual? Should I create the partitions before creating the cloned image or when it's newly installed).

    Thanks in advance.

    (The 'server' HD says I've used 300 GB of space on the drive!)
     
  10. opinio macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Use CCC as it can clone the recovery partition as well, while Super Duper cannot. If you use Super Duper you will only end up with the OS partition.

    Although I think the best method is to use Apple’s software in the recovery partition. Boot into the recovery partition (CMD r) on your mini and start Disk Utility. You click on the Restore tab and make sure the source is your Macintosh HD and the destination is the 840 Pro then proceed with the restore (i.e. clone). Simple as that. The ‘restore’ process in Disk Utility draws the recovery partition and OS etc across.

    Alternately, you can simply boot into your Time Machine backup drive (option key on boot and choose the TM Drive - unless it is a Time Capsule which does not allow to boot into) and restore from Time Machine to the 840 pro. Once again, the system copies both the OS and recovery partitions.

    The 2012 mini will force a fusion drive if you have an internal SSD and HDD. You can seperate them but it is some work. I suggest you simply run a fusion drive or simply a single SSD with the HDD in a seperate enclosure.
     
  11. mikegml, Oct 16, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

    mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Thanks again.

    I've downloaded CCC, in fact I've bought it, it seems worth it. Are you saying that my second HD will be seen as one after installation of the SSD as per the Fusion Model mini! Are you further saying that I should remove the second drive and put it into an enclosure!

    I hope I misunderstand you on this?
     
  12. opinio macrumors 65816

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    #12
    If you have a 2012 mini and you have an SSD and HDD in the two internal bays then Disk Utility will want to force the two to be fused as a Fusion drive. When you run Disk Utility on the blank drives it will ask you to ‘fix’ them, with the resulting fix being a fusion drive. For me (and most of us) this is not an issue as I want a fusion drive. If you want a separate SSD and HDD to appear in OS X then you need to do a little bit of fiddling around. You basically need to set up the OS on the SSD without the HDD attached (I believe). Or copy a version of OS X from another drive onto the SSD. If you use the traditional ‘Apple’ sanctioned method of Internet Recover (CMD-Opt-R) then Dis Utility in this method will want to fuse them. Other forum members can comment on this I am sure if you want to go down this path. I am suggesting you put the HDD in an external enclosure only if you want to as it is a lot simpler than having to pull the logic board out to get a second drive in the upper bay of the mini (the bay right up inside). Simply put, it is easy to replace the OEM HDD with an SSD, but it is a lot more work to add an SSD to the OEM HDD as you need to do some open heart surgery on the mini and you need extra parts such as a sata ribbon and screws.

    Anyway I am perhaps confusing things by giving you too much info.
     
  13. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Thanks again, appreciated. No, not too much info' I think I've got most or all of what you say, every post clues me up more.

    I'm surprised about the SSD and HDD forming a fusion drive as I don't think I've heard it mentioned in my searches but I'm sure you're right.

    I was determined to separate the OS and data due to past Windows experiences, but, if it's a real PITA to keep the drives separate then I'll go with the 'fusion' option which I assume I can partition anyway. Plus I have other external drives for backup.

    Just to make sure there's no big misunderstanding regarding your comments about "pulling out the logic board to get a second drive in the upper bay". I have the Server Mini with two 1TB drives. I am changing only the 'lower' drive to SSD (256Gb Samsung). The 'upper' drive stays where it is, I'm not touching it.

    Last question before I get cloning. I'm assuming it's the 'Server HD' I'm cloning as that's the one with the OS on it. It's showing 305Gb used!

    P.S. I've put nothing on any drive, no files, it's still as it was when unpacked except for preference changes.
     
  14. opinio macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Everything you said sound about right.

    Don't worry about a fusion drive. It's an excellent way to configure the drives. That is the way apple designed it anyway.

    Also you can only partition the HDD part of the fusion. I also believe this can be done even after the fusion is made and OS is installed so you should be right. So part of the HDD wil be fused with the ssd and the other part will appear as a normal partition.
     
  15. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Thanks.

    My SSD is initialized ready to go but no big rush which is a good job because I haven't a clue where the OS X is.

    Where the hell is it?
     
  16. opinio macrumors 65816

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    #16
    OS X is on the drive you removed? You need to get it onto the new drive right?

    You need to install OS X afresh. Or copy it from a backup. Just to be clear, the OS X is the operating system, i.e. the whole contents of the OEM drive you had.

    If you want a fresh install hit CMD-Opt-r at boot and go into internet recovery and install a fresh copy of OS X (it will download)

    Otherwise you will need to use CCC or Disk Utility or something to copy your old OS X to the new drive.
     
  17. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    Whoa! Slow down my friend. I've not removed anything from anywhere. My mini is unchanged in any way. I've done nothing yet.

    I have merely loaded the Samsung SSD into an enclosure, plugged it into the Mac and initialized it. It is now recognized by my Mac and is just sitting there listed in my devices waiting for me to do something.

    I am now ready to start up CCC which will ask me to navigate to the source (OS X) but at this point I'm stuck. I don't know where on the Mini to navigate to! I know that OS X is the operating system but I can't find it in 'Finder'.

    I've scrolled and searched through every folder on the 'server HD' and can't find where OS X is located. There are quite a few folders that won't allow me access, saying that I do not have permission to open the folder.

    In short I'm ready to clone the OS but can't direct CCC to where OS X is when it asks me to.
     
  18. opinio, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013

    opinio macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Ok.

    In a CCC clone just choose the complete 'Server HD' in the left window and choose the SSD in the right window and click 'Clone'

    You're not looking for OS X. You want to clone the whole OS X Drive which I understand is called Server HD.

    CCC should bring across the recovery partition as well so when you go to boot, hold down the option key. You should see two Server HDs to boot into (internal and the external SSD) and also see the recovery drive on the SSD.

    Given what you are doing, there will be no fusion drive as you are copying the OS on the SSD while it is stand alone - not doing a complete build from scratch on two (SSD/HDD) internal drives.

    Just to be clear, you are cloning an already built OS X drive.
     
  19. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #19
    I feel you spent to much money and just bought the cheat model Mini and put you very own extra hard drive/SSD into it. Just look at some of the OWC install video for 2012 Mac mini.
     
  20. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Thanks again.

    Cloning the whole drive is what I expected to do but as I mentioned in a couple of posts the Server HD shows 320Gb used hence my looking for a separate folder/volume for the OS.

    Having checked this out it seems the server HD has 300Gb worth of movies and photos on it somewhere! I'll hunt them down, delete them and get cloning hopefully.

    Having no fusion drive after cloning the SSD is a also what I thought would happen hence my query of your remark about a 'second drive in the upper bay', obviously a slight misunderstanding here.

    Anyway, should be ok after I find the 300Gb worth of photos/videos to delete, must have come from loading these onto the 'second' drive to test out iphoto. I deleted them after discovering iphoto was rubbish.
     
  21. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    Spent much time going through the various mini configurations, I know which one was best for me and it's the one I've got. I know all about the OWC video.

    There are some things the cheap mini just doesn't have. I could have gone for the fusion model but it wouldn't have cost much less than the server model and wouldn't have been the best model to start with to get my end configuration.

    http://macperformanceguide.com/macmini2012-dual-drives-vs-fusion.html

    I'm a big Lightroom user as well as other even more resource hungry video apps.
     
  22. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #22
    Then make sure you max the RAM in that drive comparing RAM prices at RAMSeeker.com.
     
  23. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    I did that, ordered the mini with minimum ram and ordered the 16Gb from elsewhere.
     
  24. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #24
    [[ I'll go with the 'fusion' option which I assume I can partition anyway ]]

    No, you have very limited options insofar as partitioning an "already-fused" drive goes.

    I think you can "split" the fused drive (or it may be only the HDD portion of the fused drive) into two equally-sized partitions. That's it.

    The only way to have more partitions with fusion is to:
    1. start with UNfused drives
    2. partition each drive (HDD and SSD) as required BEFORE you "fuse them"
    3. manually fuse together the two volumes you want to use to create your fused drive
     
  25. mikegml thread starter macrumors member

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    #25
    I'm actually cloning the SSD right now!

    Possibly you've misread the posts above but 'Opinio' thought I had another model of mini and not the server model (at least I think he did) hence his suggestion for a fusion option.

    But he seems to realise this and says in his last post that I could have the drives separate.

    My SSD has just finished cloning!

    I think that I now re-boot, and select the SSD to boot from to test if it's ok. I'll just do a bit more searching to confirm this and will then re-boot.
     

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