Mac Mini purchase and then upgrade to SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Bismarck, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Bismarck macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2006
    I have a MacPro that I bought in Nov 2006, but it's time to reduce the footprint and weight. I'm also on Snow Leopard - I haven't seen a need to upgrade, but I guess a new machine should get off to a fresh start with the new OS. Though I could wait a bit for the new Pro, any new Mini would already outperform my current Mac. After reading up on things, I would like some feedback on what my selection might be, and a tip on the boot drive.

    My thoughts so far:
    - 2.6GHz quad-core i7
    - 4GB base memory
    - upgrade memory myself to 16GB (and save $100+ over Apple's upgrade)
    - 1TB SATA drive
    - add a 240GB SSD from OWC

    For slightly more than Apple's upgrade from 1TB SATA to 256GB SSD, I get a SSD drive and get to also keep the SATA drive.

    I've seen the OWC video on how to install a second "disk" drive in a Mini, and I can handle that. But I want the SSD to be the boot drive. With no optical drive and no optical disc with OSX, I guess I can just use a disk utility to copy the SATA drive to the SSD drive. But since the drives are different capacities, I'm not sure how that is done and whether the disk utility that comes with Mavericks can do that. Maybe I would need to use some 3rd party utility?

    Thanks for any tips.
  2. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    Disk Utility can do want you want, but a better choice would be a disk cloning application such as 'Carbon Copy' or 'SuperDuper'.
  3. MickeyVee macrumors member


    Jun 28, 2009
    That's pretty much what I'll be doing. Will be getting a 256GB S SSD for Christmas and adding it to my 2012 MacMini.

    Once you have both drives in with the SSD in slot 0, you can create a fusion drive and have a single virtual 1.2TB drive. There are a number of sites that list the exact commands in terminal to 'fuse' the drives.

    If you're coming from SL, you'll have to do a fresh install of 10.9 and then use Migration Assistant to get your programs and data back from your MP. I would suggest a SuperDuper backup on an external drive and them migtrate back from the backup.

    Hope this helps, M
  4. blanka, Nov 22, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    And please don't follow the OWC guide. It sucks and might damage your machine. It is also depicting a 2011 Mini, which has a different use of the bays.
    Just unscrew the Wifi antenna, and slide the SSD in. Don't care about screws to hold the SSD, removing the mobo etc. If the SSD is too loose, shove the spacer that comes with the SSD underneath or on top (depending on the room the cable leaves).
    This way you can't break a thing. 5 minute procedure.

    Depending on your file management strategy choose either 2 volumes or Fusion. I like to keep files outside the user folder on the platter disk, and use the SSD solely for system, programs and scratch. I also have TM running an internal copy of the OS on the second drive. You can also choose to clone the SSD to the HD now and then and keep an option to boot from both volumes.

    If you want NO Fusion drive, please install OSX first to one drive with the SSD left out. Then you clone it to the other drive.
  5. Edde1 macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Can i add a second hdd just removing the wifi antenna and buy extra hdd cable? The guids online are more complicated?
  6. dccarmo macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2010
    Where one could find the 2nd SATA cable to buy in a physical store? (the cable this guy bought for the hdd)
  7. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Yep. You need a lower bay cable. They are cheap on Ebay, but it is hard to see if you get the right one. Somehow they inform about use in 2010-2011/server machines mostly, not about compatibility with the 2012. Apple changed the position of the default drive. In the 2011 the empty place is the hard to reach top bay, now it is the easy accessible bottom bay. Cable's are different.
  8. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    I followed ifixit's guide to installing a second hard drive into the system. It's a bit more complicated, but I do like that my drive is seated firmly in the case vs. loosely sitting in the case. It was also neat to take the complete mini apart.

    A $30 kit included the parts and all the tools I needed to add the second drive.

    To answer the OP's question, I used SuperDuper! to clone the drive then made the 1TB drive my download storage drive. This is my HTPC though, not my main computer.
  9. Edde1 macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Does it matter if the ssd is in bottom or top position or if its connected to 0 or 1 cable. I have thinking of just buy a good usb 3.0 case and run os from that but i dont know.
  10. olegunnar macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2013
    No, that doesn't matter.

    As for the original question, I've done the same just this week. If you're planning on installing the SSD drive right away - before setting up too much - just download Mavericks from the app store to the original drive, install it to the SSD (you can select which drive to install to in the installer) and you're done. It'll install and boot from the SSD.

    If I may suggest so, you could then format the original drive and make it the Users drive, by changing the home dir under advanced settings in the users tab in System preferences.

    That way you have the system partition (the SSD) and the Users partition (the original HD).
  11. jhfenton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It wasn't all 2012's. I bought a 2012 base model i5 last December and the stock 500GB HDD was in the lower bay. I added a 180GB Intel SSD and had to put it in the upper bay.
  12. raniel macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2011
    Do you have any videos for that?

Share This Page