Mini HDD question...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by GBNova, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. GBNova, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

    GBNova macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2009
    I'm thinking of buying the mid tier mini with the 1TB 5400 drive to save a bit of cash. I was wondering if later on I wanted to buy a USB external SSD to run the OS and frequently used apps off of and use the internal HD for just file storage could I do that?
  2. jwp2222 macrumors newbie


    Jan 24, 2015
  3. kaibob, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

    kaibob macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Prescott, Arizona
    I'm running an SSD as a boot drive in an external USB 3.0 enclosure, and I'm getting both read and write speeds of about 430 MB/sec, which is 3 to 4 times what you would get with a HDD. Other forum members have gotten similar results with a quality SSD. So, based on my experience, the answer to your question is yes, and it works quite well.
  4. GBNova thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2009
    Thanks, I thought I had heard others doing it. The other option would be to replace the internal drive which I would rather not have to do. OR, just spend $200 more up front and get a fusion drive. I currently use a 5400 rpm drive on my windows 7 machine and I'm not bothered by the speed.
  5. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    If you're truly not bothered by the HDD speed on W7, you won't be bothered by it on OS X. But I think that's a case of "Ignorance is bliss". ;)
  6. Butchie-T macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2014
    Why not use the Thunderbolt port instead of the USB port?
  7. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    The OP mentions he wants to save cash, and Thunderbolt external enclosures are not cheap.

    USB3 enclosures can be picked up starting around $20,
    whereas Thunderbolt enclosures start at $125-$150
  8. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Putting an SSD in the SATA bay is still quite difficult, and PCIe SSDs are still very expensive. If the OP doesn't want to deal with these hassles, then an external over USB 3 should work just fine.

    Exactly. Even the 7200 RPM in a 2010 iMac is noticeably slow to me, but that is mainly due to the fact I use SSDs every day. Coming from a mini with a 5400 RPM it would seem quite fast.
  9. GBNova thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2009
    Well I went for the i5 2.6gz, 8mb ram mini with the 1TB 5400. If I find it's too slow I'll either take it back or attach an SSD external to it. I could have managed the 256mb SSD version of the mini, but that was $220 more and I probably wouldn't have had enough space and would have been left buying an external anyway.
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Better to have an internal SSD + external storage than external SSD + internal storage.

    At least you get pure speed and TRIM support with the former.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    jwp wrote above:
    [[ Running off of the USB would be too slow. ]]

    This is nonsense, pure nonsense.

    There is nothing "slow" about running a Mini via an SSD mounted in an external USB3 enclosure or USB3/SATA docking station. Granted, 430mbps read speeds do not match the 730mbps (or so) speed of a "blade" type SSD mounted internally. But 430mbps is a world apart from the speeds you'll see of a 5400rpm HDD internal drive.

    Attached below are the speeds I get on mine (Crucial m500 mounted in a USB3/SATA docking station. System has been up and running this way since March 2014):

    Also -- from others' postings here, it looks downright easy to add a "blade" SSD to a 2014 Mini, IF you have both the blade AND the proper ribbon cable/mounting platform parts. The ribbon can be "detached" from the mounting platform and re-located into the Mini with minimal fuss and bother...

    Attached Files:

  12. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    You can also buy the PCIE cable (applecomponents) for about $40 and get a Apple blade PCIE SSD from ebay when you are ready. This requires almost no tear down (other than removing the base plate) to put in and will allow you to keep your hard drive for data. There's a whole thread on it.... It isn't much cheaper than buying a Fusion drive from Apple at the get go, but at least it gives you some flexibility with your cash flow (i.e. you don't have to buy it up front).
  13. GBNova thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2009
    Thanks guys.

    I thought you had to take everything out of the mini to get to the HDD? Or are you saying would just need to take the base plate off to connect the cable and the SSD would still sit outside the mini?
  14. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    NOT if you are adding a PCIE. The PCIE sits "under" the hard drive (which when you take the plate off it is right in front of you). Go to iFixit and you can see the tear down and where the PCIE blade sits.

    Now if you want to replace the mechanical drive with an SSD, then yes you have to tear the whole thing apart.

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