Mac Mini + Intel 520 SSD 480GB ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ibizan, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. ibizan macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    Hi, has anyone successfully installed an Intel 520 SSD inside their 2011/2012 model Mac mini?

    I'm interested in this particular SSD and haven't read much about it on the forums (in terms of use in the minis). Horror stories welcome too, thanks!
  2. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    I havent installed a 520 but have a 335 on order which I'll install when it gets here. Intel and Samsung seem to be the most Mac friendly SSD's IMO.
  3. R1D1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2012
    I used a OCZ Vertex 4 256G SSD in my new late 2012 Mac Mini and it is working great with no issues. I used an Intel SSD in an older Mini to replace an HDD that was becoming unstable, and it worked fine as well.
  4. ibizan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    @R1D1: Were you able to use Disk Utility to wipe/format your Intel SSD and also install firmware updates? It seems that the available software supplied by Intel is heavily PC-oriented. I checked their support site and the only Mac-compliant SSD tool was last updated in 2011, no mention of whether it'll even run on 10.8.2 ML.

    @kdoug: Please let us know how the 335 install goes, if you have any problems formatting the drive, if you're able to update the firmware, and/or run the Intel SSD software!
  5. R1D1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2012
    I used Carbon Copy Cloner for both, first time using it was with the Intel SSD. Worked like a charm. In both cases I wanted to keep the OS version the same as what was already installed on the HDD.
  6. Quash macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2007
    I have a 240gb intel 520 in my mac mini.
    No problems with it so far.
  7. cvs macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2011
    Is that for the late 2012 mac mini?

    I have the option to either BTO a mac mini with an Apple 256GB or get the 480GB Intel 520 series for the same price.

    Should I go for it?
  8. ibizan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    I installed the Intel 520 480GB, works perfectly in my late 2012 mini. If you go this route, two things to keep in mind that only affects this particular model:


    2) if you're using the data doubler kit from OWC or iFixit, switch the position of the two drives once you've opened up the mini. For some reason, the OS won't recognize a non-Apple SSD in the secondary slot. Cloning via CCC/SuperDuper doesn't work either. So swap the factory HDD position and connect it with the non-Apple SATA cable. The SSD then goes into the slot previously occupied by the HDD, now using Apple's original SATA cable. Again, this only affects 2012 minis due to their special build of 10.8.2. Then use Internet Recovery to install the OS onto the SSD.

    The last thing I would add: if you need the capacity, the 480GB is great. For me, I've shifted some of my User subfolders to the 1TB HDD; the OS and all apps are on the SSD and only take up about 20GB. In hindsight, I would've been fine with an SSD half the size. I think many people place their entire home folder onto the platter but you risk losing some of the speed benefits of having the solid state. Check this for clarification:

    Whichever you choose, the 2012 mini runs like a beast. I'm calling it my Mac Pro Mini.

    EDIT: If you can get the 480GB for the same price, go for that. The self-install is easy if you follow the steps carefully.
  9. cvs macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2011
    Thanks !!

    I am also contemplating getting the MM with 2x256GB SSD, gets a bit more expensive but may be worth it.

    I am not sure if I would choose to keep the original 1TB HDD in as well because I am kinda worried about potential heat problems.

    How is it in your system? Have you noticed any high temperatures?
  10. ibizan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    I have iStat Menus 4 installed—my HDD/SSD setup hasn't ever gone above 51C and typically sits at 43C during normal operation. The Intel CPU limit (triggering auto shutdown) is set at 105C.
  11. alexkoo1812 macrumors newbie


    Jan 29, 2012
    Why would you say so...Although I did met some problem installing Plextor M5P as second SSD in my 2011 late Mac Mini (in Lower Bay). It is not recognized by OSX in Disk Utility... But I exchange to an old intel SSD, it's fine...Not sure what's the problem.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I bought an Intel 520 series 180gb SSD to use with my 2012 Mini i7.

    Instead of mounting it internally (didn't want to open the Mini and have problems, as a number of others have had, as reported in this forum), I bought a "lay-flat" USB3/SATA docking station. (with ASMedia 1053 controller chip).

    Using the BlackMagic speed test utility, I get read speeds of 410gbps and write speeds of 247gbps via USB3. The write speeds might not be quite as fast as you would obtain through an internal SATA connection, but they're very, very good. And read speeds are nearly identical to what you obtain via internal SATA.

    Also, there are no "random disconnects" that others have experienced, and no "sleep problems", either.

    Oyen Digital makes a very nice 2.5" enclosure with an ASMedia controller chip, if you would prefer a "full enclosure" to a "docking station" setup.

    I don't understand why more folks haven't considered this option.

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