Mac Mini - SSD as Boot Drive

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mdburke, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. mdburke macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Hello all. I've had my 1.83C2D Mini running Plex as a dedicated media center for about 2 years now - love it. However, storage is becoming an issue.

    I've been running a 500GB hard drive for a while and its starting to fill up (450GB used). While I am intrigued by the WD 12.5mm 1TB drives, I am not too thrilled with the tight squeeze and probable heat issues.

    I am thinking about swapping out the 500GB drive for a 32GB SSD ( and using it solely as a boot drive. I will move my movies to an actively-cooled external 3.5" drive (more cost effective).

    Will I run into any problems along the way? Is the installation/setup of the SSD drive just the same as a normal SATA II drive? Any other suggestions?


    EDIT: After some browsing on the web, I may end up just buying a MiniStack v2.5 enclosure and a 1TB drive and call it a day.
  2. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    The SSD is a great option. I have my mini with an intel SSD and it is fantastic.

    I have all my digital assets on a drobo except for my photos. They reside on the mini's drive.

    I have my mini to startup and shut down automatically every day. It is lightening fast. It works as a media server for everybody in the house.

    A great option. I just colned my internal HD- I had about 20 gigs of stuff using superduper and then just swapped the drives.

    You won't regret putting an SSD in your machine.
  3. mdburke thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Well, I saw a good deal and picked up the Intel X25-V 2.5" 40GB SSD for $99. Now, I think I'll get the MiniStack and a 1TB 3.5" drive for storage.

    Any hints on how to maintain a SSD's performance on OS X?
  4. mdburke thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Well, I screwed it up. When installing my ssd, I ended up ripping the audio ribbon off the board. So now I have no sound. The Mac mini boots up and launches plex in less than ten seconds which is great.

    I ordered a USB sound card as a quick, cheap fix. Luckily I have this iPad to keep me busy in the mean time.
  5. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    I purchased a MiniStack about two weeks ago and one problem with this device is that you can't stack it under the Mac mini without having the fans in the MiniStack run rather noisily. In fact, the fan in the MiniStack can get quite loud (in my hands, it ramps up and down almost constantly). I tried putting small, corner spacers between the Mac mini and the MiniStack and even that didn't stop the fan from coming on.

    This problem has been reported quite widely on the internet so I don't think that I have a defective unit. However, if you place the MiniStack next to the Mac mini (i.e. by itself) the fan doesn't seem to run at all (or maybe it never gets above a very low speed). Thus, if you can't "stack" the MiniStack it kind of loses its appeal (unless you need the hubs or aren't bothered by the noise from the fan in the MiniStack).
  6. mdburke thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Hmmm. My plan is to put the ministack under the Mac mini. I hope that since I purchased a samsung green drive that the fan won't be an issue; the drive is supposed to run pretty cool.
  7. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    I'm using a Western Digital Green drive so I hope you have better luck with the Sansung. Frankly, the MiniStack case never gets that warm and the air that is blown out the back by the fan always seems cool, so the MiniStack just seems to want to run the fan almost regardless of the temperature of the drive/case. It doesn't run constantly, but when I had the MiniStack under my Mac mini the fan in the MiniStack seemed to ramp up and down in a several minute long cycle -- quiet for a minute or two, then louder, louder, louder and then it ramped down again to be relatively silent and then it started the cycle again.

    I'd be interested to know how your MiniStack fan performs (please report back in this thread). Other than the fan noise, the MiniStack seems to be a pretty good unit.
  8. mdburke thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2008
    It's all hooked up. And the fan is definitely running full speed. Like you said, the air seems very cool that is coming out the back of the unit. I wonder if it's just since we placed the thermal wire (???) right on the middle/top of the case. Perhaps it senses the Mac mini ambient heat.

    Anyhow, I am importing all my movies to plex now. Everything seems to be running very fast and smooth. A worthwhile upgrade. And easy to expand in the future.

    Although I could have bought a new Mac mini for a couple hundred more... Haha.
  9. alexnc macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2010
    Mac Mini + SSD + PLEX ???

    Bummer, I did the same thing ... replaced HDD in Mac Mini with SSD and ribbon cable to audio came off (brittle little thing). So a few of questions:

    a) what USB audio sound card did you use for the Mac Mini?
    b) using PLEX 8.5, seems like all of my Video Plug-Ins running fast, like 4X fast forward.
    c) using PLEX 8.5 or Safari, seems like Netflix doesn't work any more.

    Are you encountering any of the same issues (or other issues)?

    Any recommendations on tuning / tweaks to SSD so that it works well on Mac Mini?
  10. mdburke thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2008
    I purchased a StarTech USB sound card from newegg for 15 bucks. It sounds the the same as the on board sound.

    I haven't used any plug INS since installing the ssd.

    I have found that it is recommended that you disable spotlight when using an ssd drive.
  11. alexnc macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2010

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