Mid Model looks good, is SSD vital (transcoding)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by CHAOS STEP, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. CHAOS STEP macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2005
    playing tiddlywinks with Kim Jong-un

    So I was waiting for the new models to drop and was pleasantly surprised that the mid model now has a quad core.

    I currently have a late 2009 2.53 mini and although for the most part I transcode my DVD collection, I now have quite a few Blu Rays that I would like to do (as the MKV rips are massive). Unfortunately transcoding Blu-ray MKVs is fun! The only one I did so far took me 26 hours!

    Anywhoo, I was interested last year when they dropped the previous server model, but couldn't justify upgrading at that time. The fact that the mid model now has a QC effectively means that I save money by not getting the server version.

    Furthermore the upgrade processor looks great, and seems worth the extra. However the 5400 HDD sucks a bit I guess ...

    With that said, if the most intensive task Im throwing at my mini will be transcoding Blu Ray MKVs,will the HDD really make a difference? I'm guessing that the CPU does all the work in this process and writing to disk is not the bottle neck?

    I will probably upgrade the HDD eventually (say after a year), so I can stick in a SSD later - but I would rather do it later, if it isn't really going to affect the speed of things.

    What say you, fellow mini brothers. To SSD or not SSD?
  2. nolem macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2004
    Ahoy there,
    I just put an order in for the mid Mac mini. Kept the stock 5400 hd. I already have a 256gb ssd I plan to put in it. Hopefully apple left room on the inside for two hds like the previous generation. I think they did because if you look and the hd options for the server you can configure it with two hds, so to me that means there will still be room for two hds even you buy it with just one, which was the deal with the 2011 mini. If that's not the case I'll swap the ssd in for the 1tb hd and use that as an external drive. That's my plan!
  3. the27thvoice macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Purely for financial reasons I will use the 5400rpm HDD for a while, then order a dual HD kit from iFixit and slap in a 256GB SSD in addition.
  4. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    how big of a difference will having that 1TB in an enclosure vs put back in after you get a kit from ifixit. When i get mine im going to be putting in a SSD but i dont know whether itll be worth it or not to put the 1TB back if and when ifixit tells us we can and has a kit/says the old kit is compatible
  5. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    The mid-option with the 2.6Ghz looks like the sweet spot this time, I've got a Samsung 830 256 SSD sitting right here waiting on it. Will run this with a TBD that a friend sold me for $650 last summer. Should be a substantial performance boost over my 2010 13" Air with C2D.
  6. rshock macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    If you are getting the mid model anyway, I would spring for the 1TB fusion drive [+250]. It includes a 256Gb SSD + 750Gb HDD. Considering a 256Gb SSD is around $160-$200 by itself (not including installing it), its a pretty good deal.
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    don't get an internal ssd.


    look into this has the cable price is decent. wait for it to have a sale
  8. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    I would, but I've already bought the Samsung 830 256SSD for $179, which will give me 256SSD/1TBHDD. Will have to buy the carrier + cable, and will add 16GB RAM.
  9. nydennis macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    I wonder if this is going to be one drive with 750gb+ the 256 ssd similar to the Seagate (although Seagate has less flash memory I believe) or will this be a 750gb hdd and a 256 SSD as separate drives?

    If they split it up into two drives. I wonder if the 750gb drive is 7200 rpm or 5400 then? If not 7200 then I would wonder why they didn't leave the 1TB in and give the 256 ssd separate.
  10. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    I ordered the mid model with bumped CPU, and a 240 GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD & 16 GB RAM kit from OWC. I already have a pair of 4 TB FW800 RAID0 drives to attach to it. Might move the drives to a Thunderbolt enclosure in the future.
  11. nolem macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2004
    Probably no different then if you had it hooked up via USB or thunderbolt externally. I'd just rather have it all internal to keep extra clutter off my desk and leave the USB/thunderbolt port open for other uses.


    Nope the fusion drive option for the mini only has 128gb flash storage, not 256. Says so if you click the "learn more" link under the HD configure options.
  12. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    I don't see where the HDD would be a bottleneck. I think you will be fine.
  13. CHAOS STEP thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2005
    playing tiddlywinks with Kim Jong-un
    Thanks for all the feedback, depending on how much I can restrain myself - (I have an Apple Store a stone's throw from my work), I will order get the mid model with the upgraded CPU.

    If not I will fall to temptation on my lunch break and just get the regular mid model.

    By default I will order the max RAM separately.

    I'll hang fire on the fusion drive (intriguing as it is though).

    In a year's time I will probably get the largest reasonably priced SSD and switch the current drive - I may even get that 'special' lead and bunk bed it instead.
  14. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    Encoding etc is more CPU intensive, so I doubt a SSD would make things any faster - I think you are doing the right thing by waiting for now.

    I also dont want to go for the fusion drive just yet - not until it has been fully tested and validated etc!

    Personally, I swear by SSDs and love the one I have in my MacBook, but wont bother with the Mini just yet. I use my MacBook as my main machine, running several applications on and off, my general work, and so on - so the SSD made a huge difference. I'll be using the Mini as a headless server, encoding video, and to run Plex etc, so again, a SSD probably wouldnt do much for me.

    I generally put it this way - if its your main workhorse machine then a SSD is a great upgrade. If its something to be used on the side, like a server, or just for encoding jobs etc, then I'd save the cost of the SSD for now. Just keep your eye on prices and jump on a bargain deal if one comes along ;)
  15. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    I'm seriously thinking about the low end model. I have a big question about hard drives, though. If I stick to the stock drive and add an external SSD, what would I be losing other than desk space?

    Also, how would a USB3 SSD perform as a startup drive compared with a Thunderbolt one (limited selection/price). Thanks for any help.

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