Mac mini SSD upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ahead123, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Ahead123, Mar 31, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012

    Ahead123 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #1
    Hi, this is my first post, I will be receiving a Mac mini i7 750Gb on Monday, my first Mac so I am very excited.

    I have been reading all posts re: installing an SSD drive, but I can't follow most suggestions since I do not have a very fast broadband (so downloading Lion again is out of question) and I do not have an external enclosure to format/migrate OS-X to the SSD drive.

    I have three PCs at home (all Linux) and a 2Tb NAS.

    Is this possible:
    1 - open up the mini
    2 - install the SSD (does it matter if upper or lower position?)
    3 - boot it up (how does it know to boot up from the original drive and not the freshly formatted SSD? Will I get an error or recovery mode?)
    4 - ghost copy the original drive to the SSD (what about the recovery partition? I don't even know what it is anyway)
    5 - change boot priority to SSD first
    6 - boot again this time from the SSD
    7 - format the original hard drive

    Thanks!
     
  2. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #2
    I think that's possible. The reason most people don't go that route is because they have more content in their HHD than the SSD so they need a clean install on the SSD to recover the applications and library and alias the home folder on the HHD.
     
  3. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #3
    Yeah I think this will work too. If you leave the original drive in there too, you can use its recovery partition to manage the SSD drive too. That way you can avoid having to redownload that down the road.
     
  4. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #4
    Thanks guys, I too need a clean install on the SSD and tons of content (to transfer) to the HDD. What about my doubts (Questions 2, 3, 4)?

    I would like to simplify but keep reading people downloading a 5Gb OS that they already have because it comes with the unit, so I am puzzled.
     
  5. AT0MAC macrumors regular

    AT0MAC

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #5
    Wirelessly posted

    1) yes, but you need a few tools so you don't break anything. Look in Youtube for guides by OWC or iFixit.

    2) both will work, but if you want both drives inside on the same time you need a special SATA cable, buy on ebay or iFixit.com. Look for guides to dissassemble server edition as it have two drives from the factory.

    3) as long you only have one os x installation it will boot from that.

    4) use SuperDuper or CCC to copy your HDD to the SSD. There are guides via google how to have them also copy the recovery partition. Recovery partition is like a boot cd for windows.

    5) when inside os x you can change startup volume, boot drive, from the apple settings menu in upper left corner.

    6) restart

    7) use disc utilities or other for that
     
  6. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #6
    Thank you, it sounds good. I already have the Fixit kit. I think I will not erase the original HDD so to have a second boot option in case the SSD ever fails (as far as the Mac does not get confused with two OSs on two different hard drives).
     
  7. AT0MAC macrumors regular

    AT0MAC

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #7
    Wirelessly posted

    Os x dont get confused like windows easily does. Its either setup in system settings wich drive is startup volume or you can hold down option/alt on your keyboard during boot to choose another drive.
    The ifixit kit is AWESOME, really easy to work when you have that
     
  8. AT0MAC, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

    AT0MAC macrumors regular

    AT0MAC

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    Jun 4, 2011
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    #8
    Sorry for double post, was on my Galaxy tab :/
     
  9. MJL macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 25, 2011
    #9
    be very carefull with the connectors, more than one person has accidentally removed the IR connector socket from the logic board and destroyed their computer.

    I used two spudgers to remove the IR connector, gently, gently.
     
  10. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #10
    Thanks folks - today's Monday but UPS did not show up, as soon as I get it and do the job I will post the result here :)
     
  11. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    #11
    I just ordered a MacMini Server myself and took a look at how to install your own SSD. It looks pretty complicated but possible if you have all the necessary tools. It's not as straight forward as swapping out a HD in a MBP. I'll hold off on putting in an SSD until the HD dies sometime down the road.
     
  12. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #12
    I just did it, Corsair SSD install and 16Gb ram. Following the ifixit video was quite easy, however, putting things back was hard. I could not align the antenna plate with its 2 screws holes AND the hard disk holes at the same time, so I ended up removing the two hard disk screws on the hard disk side, in order to wiggle the hard drive a little. At least for me this is definitely not an easy mod.

    Now what's left is all software, duplicating the boot HHD to the SSD and change boot order. This should be relatively easy (unless my Mac wants the boot drive to be in the lower position, in this case I would need to do everything again!).
     
  13. AT0MAC macrumors regular

    AT0MAC

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #13
    OS X is pretty clever about that, it's all controlled from within your :apple: menu in upper left corner. So it does not matter in what order you installed the SSD/HDD, it's all software configured.

    About the antenna grill, yes that is probably the biggest pain in the *** if you have the right tools for the rest of it. Finally after a week or two since I upgraded mine I have set the grill back in place. There is apparently a small 2mm gap that have to fit on either side of the metal housing right there were it sits. If you try to squeeze it all underneath you end up bending the grill like I did (until I figured out what was wrong and bend it back) and if you try to get all of it over the metal edge it will never align with any of the holes.
    There is only 1 way to do it.
     
  14. mrrippey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    #14
    SSD not mounted

    Hey gang,

    Not to thread jack but I just did this (was not too difficult) but I noticed two things (one big)

    1. the HDMI output took a little while to work (about a few minutes to show the screen)
    2. My Intel 520 240GB SSD is no where to be found.

    I tried disk utility and it is not listed as well as in terminal using diskutil list. I assumed the SSD was formatted already but even if it wasn't it should show up as an unformatted disk. I do have three usb drives connected but do not think that should be an issue. I do not want to reopen the mini to check things over again but I may have to.

    Anyone encounter this?

    Rippey
     
  15. AT0MAC macrumors regular

    AT0MAC

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #15
    1) Something is seriously wrong with either your GPU or your HDMI cable, should work right away.

    2) I have two of that exact drive in my Mac Mini and both showed up perfectly the first time even they were not formated, again, something is wrong with either the SSD or the SATA cable.
     
  16. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #16
    well that was odd, did another reboot and everything came up roses, Disk Utility asked to initialize the newly found disk. Looks like it needed two reboots for some reason. All looks okay now. Onto a clean install of Lion

    Rippey
     
  17. AT0MAC macrumors regular

    AT0MAC

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    Jun 4, 2011
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    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #17
    Phew... Very good news! I really hate when people kill their minis, it's an awesome little machine :cool:
     
  18. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #18
    Not for me, now I am having software issues :mad:
    I cloned the HDD to the SSD using superduper, asking to make the SSD the boot drive. Then I rebooted (from the SSD) and everything was fine. I then decided to erase the HDD (not wanting to have 2 OSs or identical hard drives on the same machine), reboot, everything was fine.
    Then I launched a few programs and copied some files from one drive to the other with no problems.
    Then I did a disk check on the SSD and it was okay, but when I tried verify permissions gave tons of errors. So I clicked repair permissions and it said okay (took a while). Then, I once again rebooted and it failed. (BTW if I boot with Option pressed the original HDD is named "Windows" (?).
    Now I have just rebooted with CMD-R and it must be downloading something really big because there's been a world spinning for like 1/2 hour and the bar is still at 10%.
     
  19. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #19
    lets try this over. when you boot with you finger on the option button what shows up on the ssd drive?
     
  20. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #20
    For three times I rebooted with Option pressed and it showed correctly Mac OS x on the SSD drive (and "windows" on the freshly formatted original HDD).

    I was happy! It's only after I repaired the permissions that things went wrong, and upon reboot I would get a panic screen and a multilanguage panel saying to power off and on again (which doesn't change things). After now 45 mins it is still downloading the whatever is downloading, 50% now and I have a 2 or 3 Mbit connection so it can't be Lion itself.
     
  21. Ahead123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2012
    #21
    It has finished downloading, it was the Recovery Disk utility. I click verify disk (on the SSD) it says OK, click verify permissions, also okay, click Repair disk just to be sure (thought it would say there's nothing to repair) and instead it stops at "Invalid Node Structure", says 'this disk can not be repaired, backup as many files as possible and reformat it'!!
    Ironically after the "repair", the Mount Point is not mounted anymore, there is no folders/files on the disk, everything just wiped out. Now I have to download Lion from scratch, just the one thing I wanted to avoid.
     
  22. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #22
    Did you have any issues formatting the 520? I left it for an hour and it stayed stuck at 50%

    Rippey
     

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