Mini SSD upgrade - 2009 vs 2012

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Richard8655, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. Richard8655, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017

    Richard8655 macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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    #1
    Recently successfully completed an SSD upgrade for my late 2012 Mini. It was relatively straightforward, although not without risk of snapping and breaking connections and connectors.

    I also have an early 2009 Mini, and wonder if those who've done that model can compare SSD upgrade difficulty factor with the 2012. My 2009 is running extremely slow and think it'll need a drive upgrade very soon, and SSD could do wonders for it.

    Also any SSD recommendations for early 2009 appreciated. I've read the Samsung 850 EVO 1TB (which I used for my 2012) may not be a good match for this model.
     
  2. treekram macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I have a late 2009, 2012 and 2014 Minis and I've changed the drive in all of them. The late 2009 (similar to the early 2009) is quite a bit easier than the 2012 except in cracking open the case. I needed to use a hard-metal putty knife to do it - those that have a lot of flex in the metal won't work as well (or at all).

    Most people have been able to the use the 850 Evo SSD's in the Mac's with the Nvidia MCP79 chip but there are people that haven't. If you don't have a problem spending the money, I would say that's a good a bet as anything else currently available. Just make sure you can return it if it doesn't work. I haven't replaced the HDD with an SSD in my 2009 Mini - it isn't used much but when I do use it, the HDD seems fine performance-wise with Snow Leopard.
     
  3. Richard8655, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017

    Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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    #3
    Good information, thanks much.

    This is what caught my eye as far as being careful when upgrading a 2009 Mini with an SSD:

    "Just one catch: Not all SSDs will always work as fast as you’d want. You need to be careful when choosing your brand, since many Macs built around 2007–2011 come with the buggy Nvidia MCP79 SATA controller. Those Macs will not work with their full 3Gbps link speed with a lot of current SSD’s, instead falling back to 1.5Gbps only. The bad combination might give you other issues as well. Even if you can’t get 6Gbps like modern machines, you’re still much better off with 3Gbps than 1.5Gbps if you have a choice. You can check if you have the MCP79 by going to the upper left hand corner Apple menu, choosing About This Mac, More Info, System Report and the SATA section. Here, you’ll also see the negotiated SATA link speed."

    http://blogs.helsinki.fi/tuylaant/2014/01/upgrading-old-macs-to-ssds/

    I checked mine, and it's the MCP79 with link speed 3Gbps and negotiated link speed 1.5Gbps. Maybe it's not a big deal, but thinking best to install the most compatible SSD that works best with the 2009. The article goes on to recommend the Crucial M500 SSD to get the preferred negotiated link speed of 3 Gbps with this model Mini. (superceded by the Crucial MX300 SSD)
     
  4. Razzerman macrumors regular

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    #4
    I have an early 2009 mini, and put a 240gb crucial bx100 in it. The drive is great, makes everything super smooth. Just be aware that with newer drives in older machines, there is a speed limit with the mini only being sata II, iirc. I followed the 'how to' video and all went smoothly enough. Just get ready for the dust explosion.

    Max out the ram as well. This have given my old mini another lease of life.

    Cheers,

    Razzerman
     
  5. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    #5

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/late-2009-what-type-of-ssd-can-i-buy.2029235/

    Crucial SSD was the answer for me. I tried the Samsung 840 EVO with no success, and was surprised because the 850 EVO and this 840 EVO worked great in my 2011 machines.
     
  6. Richard8655, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017

    Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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    #6
    That thread also discusses and addresses this issue well, I think. Looks to me that Crucial SSD is the way to go in best chance to get optimal negotiated speed of 3Gbps with these older Minis. Especially with your Samsung experience which the Finnish article also confirms.
     
  7. treekram, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017

    treekram macrumors 65816

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    #7
    The Evo 840 definitely had problems with the MCP79. (By 2011, most if not all Macs no longer used the MCP79.) But the 840's have been discontinued for some time now it's not a model that comes up for sale (new) very often. Back last summer, there were a couple of suppliers on Amazon who were selling stockpiled Crucial/Micro M500's. I bought for one my 2014 Mini since they were selling for a good price. I still see them on Amazon but they're now priced about the same price as current new mid-level SSD's. People have reported problems with the currently available Crucial, the MX300. In another thread California (the poster) reported issues with a Crucial BX200 (which may also occur with the BX100) where people can get it working by leaving it idle for 8 hours. People are reporting that the Toshiba/OCZ Trion 150 works and it's cheaper than an Evo 850 but that's also a case where you want to make sure you can return it if it doesn't work. The Trion 100 had problems even working, period, with the MCP79.

    EDIT. Currently, on Amazon, I see a bunch of sellers selling the M500 at ridiculous prices and a couple selling refurbished. I would stay away from the refurbished unless it's directly from the manufacturer and they tell you what the wear count is.
     
  8. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    I posted that I got the Crucial BX200 to work perfectly on the 2009 Mac Mini by letting it idle on sleep for more than eight hours (no data transfer, just powered on). This is per Crucial's own advice on how to get them to work with the 2009 Mac Mini's.

    The Crucial bx200 is now working PERFECTLY on the 09 Mini 3gb/s negotiated link speed!
     
  9. Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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  10. SpacemanSpiffed macrumors regular

    SpacemanSpiffed

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    #10
    I wouldn't worry much about not getting SATA III or even II connection speeds. Except for loading or saving big files, the majority of the speedup comes from not having to move the heads and wait for the platters to come into position every time something else on the disk is accessed (or if a sector went bad and the disk is using a spare).

    Constant waits of milliseconds become nanoseconds, and the "feel" of just operating the computer is so much better.

    Adding a SSD and maxing out the RAM to 8GB ( Needs Apple firmware update I think) are going to get your 2009 Mini very close to it's theoretical potential. Best of luck with it!
     
  11. adam9c1 macrumors 68000

    adam9c1

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    #11
    I can replace drive in a 2009 in about 15 min.

    Visit iFix it.
    Yank the antennas and press in the prongs for the last one. Four screws, then disconnect the ribbon cable.
    After that remove the hard drive from the top frame.
    Watch for the temp monitor cable and reattach to the new drive.
     
  12. Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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    Sounds good. Thanks to both!
     
  13. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    I could never get one of the black screws (one of the four) back into the slot to screw down the logic board.
     
  14. TonyK macrumors 6502a

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    Several of our systems have received Crucial SSDs without any issues and the performance difference between HDs is very noticeable.
     
  15. Richard8655, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Along the same lines with my 2012 SSD upgrade, I struggled to get one of the screws back through the metal grate covering the drive. That grate just wouldn't align over the screw holes the same, so required much pushing forward of the grate. I don't know if it was because the EVO 850 was slightly larger than the HD it replaced. But all eventually went well. Tense moments.
     
  16. SpacemanSpiffed macrumors regular

    SpacemanSpiffed

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    #16
    I've had good success upgrading Minis - '09, '10, '11 and '12 models. Just go slow and careful and note which screws went in what holes.
     
  17. TonyK macrumors 6502a

    TonyK

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    #17
    Late 2015 I replaced memory and HD in a 2009 (Macmini3,1) with no problem. The drive was a Crucial drive and took the mini to 8GB. It is now fast and reliable running El Capitan 10.11.6.
     
  18. Richard8655, Feb 5, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017

    Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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    #18
    For those who upgraded their 2009 Minis to SSD, what size drive did you choose? Did you notice a significant performance improvement?

    I'm wondering if sluggish 2009's are because of aging original HDs, or the slower 2.0 or 2.26 processors. Or both.
     
  19. TonyK macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Original drives are 5400RPM. SSD makes the mini downright snappy.

    Our SSD is 480GB Crucial, I think an M or MX 100.

    I also bumped the memory to 8GB of RAM at the same time.
     
  20. Richard8655, Feb 5, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017

    Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Richard8655

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    #20
    Thanks, good info. I thought the 2009 Minis could only take a max of 4GB RAM, though.

    Edit: Never mind of the last. I saw this at Everymac: "Officially, this model is capable of supporting 4 GB of RAM, but as first reported by MacminiColo, this model unofficially can use 8 GB of RAM after applying EFI Firmware Update 1.2.
     
  21. adam9c1 macrumors 68000

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    #21
    One is longer than the other three.

    Having a magnetizer / de magnetizer helps.
     
  22. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    #22
    The processors are sluggish. I'm sure there is some MR member out there who knows how to re solder the contacts to bump up the logic boards to 2.53 or 2.66ghz.

    But just for everyone's information, the BX200 Crucial drive I got was just the 240gb. All I need on it. I noticed day before yesterday that after start up, the mini downgraded the negotiated link speed to 1.5gb/s.

    So I unplugged the monitor and everything from the mini, restarted it, and kept it like that sleeping overnight.

    Yep, back to 3gb/s negotiated link speed. I should call Crucial to try to understand why it downgraded after one start up.

    I guess the secret is not to turn the machines off. Ever.
     
  23. TonyK macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Didn't apply any EFI patches that I remember. Just removed old memory and inserted new. When I typed about the mini we have and the memory, I was connected via sharing to it and was reading the System Info screen and About This Mac.

    The mini is more than capable of doing what we want which is streaming media from Netflix or Apple for viewing movies or watching YouTube.
     
  24. Richard8655, Feb 7, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017

    Richard8655 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24

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