Make Mini HD External?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Toucansma, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Toucansma macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2001

    About to get a new Mini. Have a quick question. I plan to swap out the HD with an SSD (I have a 256gb one), and put the old HD in an external case. What I am wondering is , unlike an SSD, will the HD really truly ever be bottle necked by a USB 3 enclosure (I am pretty sure a USB 2 would bottle neck it)?


  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Depending on the enclosure, no, the HDD will not be bottlenecked, as the probably only offers around 80 to 90 MB/s sequential read and write speeds, maybe a bit more, depending on the HDD model. But USB 3.0 offers much faster speeds than that, but some enclosures have proven to be not that fast.
    USB 2.0 offers around 37 MB/s for sequential read and write access.
  3. Toucansma thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2001
  4. August West macrumors regular

    August West

    Aug 23, 2009
    Land of Enchantment
    I did just what you are thinking about and don't have any complaints with the setup. But I used an old 5400 rpm Toshiba drive I had laying around and put it in a Mediasonic USB 3.0 enclosure. BM speed disk reports it at about 70 MB/s both read/write which I would guess is about the max the drive is capable since it was never a speedy drive even when new. Since I just use the drive as storage for .flac/.shn music files + photos it works fine and frees up a lot of space on my SSD. I've actually been quite pleased with the ease of setup and performance.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    An alternative:

    If you don't want to go through the trouble of opening the Mini and swapping drives, you can pick up either a USB3 external enclosure, OR a USB3/SATA "docking station", put the SSD into either, and use that as your "external booter".

    You will get read speeds that all-but equal that of a drive on the internal SATA bus, and write speeds that will be slightly slower (but still VERY fast).

    Saves having to fool with the insides of the Mini -- number of stories here on MR from folks who have opened it up thinking they could do the job, and then ran into trouble as they went along.
  6. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    You might be able to leave the current drive in place and install a second internal drive in your Mac mini.

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