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macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 22, 2005
Hey, just got my base model Mac Mini M1 today.

As it is the base model, with just 256gb (although 256gb of *smoking* ssd performance - 3200MB/s write, 2800MB/s read!!), I ordered two reasonably priced crucial 2tb drives (mx500 on a deal at £156 each - about $212 USD).
These are never going to even get close to the onboard SSD chips - max 560/510 MB/s - I knew that.

I opted to go a bit cheap and got a usb-3 enclosure and a usb-c to sata cable, for each drive respectively.
One will be local backup, the other for data. That'll do for now, whilst I search for something a little more fitting & sexy - there's a TON of expensive junk enclosures out there. Total minefield.

Oddly enough, the usb-c connected to a thunderbolt 3 port, only hits around 320MB/s read/write, yet the USB-A external enclosure hits 360MB/s - go figure. Total for both connection options was about £20, so no big deal. Possibly the el-cheapo usb-c to sata cable I got is at fault, but I wouldn't expect to ever hit the max speed.

Is that about the best I can expect? - I'm thinking it probably is, but it begs the question, whether I should've opted for faster SSD's? - but then, price right? - £156 for 2tb of SSD is pretty damn good.
My experience of this tells me you *never* hit the advertised max speed of an SSD, so I guess 65% ain't too bad for external.

What is everyone else doing RE external storage?
Let's face it, this is the best bang for the buck Mac ever - but adding extra storage, as always with Apple, is crazy expensive.

I may research NvME enclosures - but would like to know what other people are doing regarding this?
Sure, this is a pretty well covered topic - but I'm wanting to see what others are doing for the Mac Mini M1 and external storage.

The NvME is a route I'll go down if I'm finding some issues with loading apps and data of the cheap SSD's I have - but need to wait for the stats first.

But boy, am I happy. It wipes the floor with my souped up old mac pro 5.1 cheese grater :) - and my power bill is going to be cheaper ?

Anyone in the UK want to buy my old 5.1 mac pro? /joke ... need to get it on eBay before the price plummets ... oh wait, it already has ;)
Last edited:


macrumors member
Nov 20, 2020
I am in the EXACT same boat, but I got the 8GB/512MB model for $200 more. I do regret it a little as I could've done with 256GB (even with all my apps I'm only using 125GB!). I would've rather saved the $200 and potential gone with the Space Gray 'pro' model rumored for next year or the year after that. I have a Crucial 512GB MX100 for Backup and 1TB MX500 in USB3 enclosures for data. I feel like that's the best tradeoff

It's criminal how much Apple wants for +RAM & + Storage. However, agree that the Mac Mini M1 is an incredible machine. It is dead silent and always cool to touch no matter everything I throw at it. Software support is obviously not there for Apple Silicon but slowly catching up.

In hindsight, I would've gone with 8GB/256GB and also waited another 3-4 months for a deeper sale than what's available for -$30 off from Costco.


macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 22, 2005
I deliberated over the 16GB, but after a lot of reading up, it really does depend on the use case.
I'm not doing heavy video production.
My Logic Pro X usage, right now, is fairly amateurish - the most tracks I've ever racked up is about 20.
I do a little light weight design - but nothing that would warrant more ram on the M1.

My purpose for this mac, is, 90% music production and casual surfing/email/graphic design - so, it's perfect.
Except the storage!

I've looked at loads of drive bays - there was one which looked so awesome, pretty much the same dimensions as the mac mini, so it sits under it. The *real* reviews indicated it was a stinker of a product, which is sad.

Fortunately, I don't need a USB-C dock, which I was worried about - because they all suck. Every single one.
The 2xthunderbolt 3 and 2xUSB-A are perfect for my needs and my el-cheapo USB-A hub is spot on for connecting audio devices.

I do intend to keep this unit in absolutely pristine condition, so it's going to sit in a dust free space below my desk.
Kept all the packaging as usual.
I reckon the resale value is going to be strong even in 12 months from now, so I'll look again then to see what Apple is offering - although I'm 100% sure you will *Still* pay a premium for extra ram and storage!

I got mine for £16 less than Apple, via amazon - about $21 USD. Go figure!
But we pay a premium here in the UK.
The base model from apple UK, is £699 - which is $934 USD.
Apple have *always* just substituted the currency symbol from $ to £ over here, keeping the same figures after ;)
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