Mac Mini Storage Options

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Hrothgar, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. Hrothgar macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    New York
    I've read a bunch of threads about options for the Mac Mini -- SSD, PcIE, 2x, 4x SATA SSD, blades -- I don't really understand it all.

    I'm planning to get the $699 Mac Mini.

    I thought I read somewhere that it's possible to buy one without any internal storage, and then use the savings to buy an internal SSD -- all in for the same $699. Is this possible?

    Assuming that's not really possible . . .

    What are my options for a good internal SSD that will sit on top of the internal 1TB hdd?

    I plan to use the Mini primarily as a music server. My thought is to put the OS on the SSD, and probably my server software (JRiver, I think), and leave the music files on the HDD.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    One option...

    Choose a Mac Mini with integral SSD/PCI-e: it's far better than choosing a 'mechanical' HDD.

    Then, buy a MiniStack Max. You choose the size of HDD, and disc reader/writer - such as DVD, or Bluray writer or burner. They're available from OWC in the U.S. and TheBookYard in the UK.
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Here's your options from Apple:
    HDD only (bloody slow)
    Fusion drive (comes with a HDD and a 128GB SSD, best balance of cost and performance)
    SSD only (bloody fast and bloody expensive too).

    If you order a Fusion drive or a pure-SSD setup from Apple, it will come with a PCIe SSD. If you ordered a HDD-only Mac, you can replace the HDD with a SATA SSD yourself. You can also add a PCIe SSD to HDD-only machines by buying the flex cable plus the PCIe SSD off eBay. Nobody sells PCIe SSDs except for the ones that are pulled off other Macs on eBay.

    Note that any form of DIY upgrades will instantly void the warranty.
  4. grcar Suspended


    Sep 28, 2014
    You have not been planning very well if you have not first gone to the Apple web site to check the available configurations. There is no option to purchase without internal storage of some kind. The fastest is the Apple original equipment SSD because it has a PCIe connection. You have to do something special to install such a connection after market.
  5. Hrothgar thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    New York
    Thanks. I wasn't aware that PCIe ssd wasn't available retail (other than "used" units on eBay). I was hoping to find a way to get a good ssd in the Mini without paying the $200 upgrade price to Apple.
  6. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Now you are getting the picture Hrothgar!
    That $200 will seem even less expensive when you consider that an after-purchase PCIe mod requires that you buy an installation kit (for the cable) and involves opening the case. If you purchase a PCIe SSD equipped mini from Apple then you can use external USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt HDDs to expand your storage at will.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    To expand on what yjchau95 said above, if you've already decided to get the mid-range Mini, spend a little more and also include the 1tb fusion drive option.

    What you're actually getting is a 128gb PCIe "blade" SSD, -and- a 1tb HDD mounted in the SATA bay. In reality, 1.125tb of storage (instead of 1tb).

    You can choose to run them "as a fusion drive", or -- if the mood suits you -- you could "de-fuse" the two drives, and run them as two "standalone" drives.

    As stated above in post 3, the "best balance of cost and performance".

    No matter how you slice it, the money you spend "up front" for the 1tb fusion will be less than any other "add an SSD later" scenario you can come up with...
  8. Hrothgar thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    New York
    Thank you. What's the benefit of "de-fusing" the drives?
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you "de-fuse" a fusion drive, you split it into separate drives. You will now have two drive icons on your desktop, one for the SSD, and one for the HDD.

    The primary benefit would be that the SSD can now run at full speed without the OS "shifting things around" between different portions of the fusion drive.
    This might make a noticeable difference if the total amount of data you will have on the computer exceeds the capacity of the SSD (i.e., is greater than 128gb).

    On the SSD, you can keep:
    - The OS
    - Your applications
    - Your accounts (less large collections of movies, music, pictures).

    On the HDD you can keep:
    - large collections of infrequently-accessed stuff (like the movies, music, and pictures).
    - other seldom-accessed data.

    You have to be willing to manage "where stuff goes" yourself. I have no problems with this, and I think many users would adjust to it quickly.

    Actually, the new PCIe-based blade SSD's in newer Macs (including the Mini) are so fast as to make any differences between fusion and non-fusion all-but-unnoticeable in normal use.

    When fusion was first introduced, I didn't like the concept and recommended against it.
    But now, it would be my first choice if I was shopping for a new Mini (or other fusion-capable Mac). Until large-capacity SSDs become more affordable, fusion represents a very effective blend of drive speed, size, and reasonable pricing.
  10. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I also recommend a fusion approach. I have one in my Mini with a Samsung 850pro and the stock HDD.

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9 July 6, 2015