Need Mac Mini Server Hardware Upgrade Suggestions

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Val-kyrie, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. Val-kyrie, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014

    Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    My 2012 Mini Server model with 4GB RAM and 2x1TB HDDs is arriving tomorrow and I would like to start setting it up--it is only being used as a server (files, calendar, mail, contacts, TimeMachine to external drive, VM host, etc.), so I am hoping for some suggestions before I begin.

    I have 16GB RAM which I will use to upgrade the server and I have a 256GB Samsung 840 SSD on hand. My debate is what to do with the SSD, if anything.

    --Use it externally for VMs in a USB/TB enclosure
    --Use it internally for a Fusion Drive
    --Use it internally for a Boot Drive

    What would be its best use for a Server?

    If I use the SSD externally, would you recommend upgrading both of the 1TB HDDs to 7200 RPM HDDs?

    If I install the SSD internally, should I leave the 5400 RPM 1TB HDD in the Mini or should I replace it with a faster 7200 RPM HDD or with a larger (2TB) 2.5" drive to compensate for lost space?

    I hope to only upgrade this once at the beginning and then set it up and let it be for a while, so I appreciate any feedback you all can offer.
  2. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    i'd say place the ssd inside and buy one of those nice new 7200 rpm 2tb drives that are now available in 2.5" form :D

    good luck and enjoy it :D
  3. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    I never had good experience with Apple software RAID. I have my Mac Mini using a 750GB HDD and 128GB SSD in my own Fusion setup. Just make nightly or weekly disk image copies and restore if something fails.

    With your own Fusion, you get both good performance and lots of storage. Plus with 128GB, that's a lot of Tier 1 space for most home users.
  4. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
  5. Val-kyrie thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    Thank you all for your feedback.

    At this point I have decided to install the SSD into the Mac Mini as a Fusion Drive, but I am still concerned about the problems with Yosemite and TRIM on 3d party SSDs.

    I guess the question is whether I am better off with just the stock hard drives or with putting in the Samsung 840 Pro without TRIM.

  6. Riot_Mac macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2003
    I wouldn't use the standard 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive. They are very slow. We use ours as an internal backup. Install an SSD as your boot drive and use TRIM Enabler if you are worried about TRIM.
  7. Val-kyrie thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    The problem with using TRIM Enabler is that although TRIM Enabler will run in Yosemite, there are a lot of caveats (including disabling it before PRAM and NVRAM resets and system updates) and it requires disabling part of OS X's security system-wide.

    I would love to install the SSD but Yosemite has put in a bit of a quandary with its handling of TRIM.
  8. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I've been in a similar situation. I've got a 2009 mini server, used as a server. Both of its HDDs have been replaced over the years.

    When the first one died I was running the drives RAID 0. It was not possible to find the bad drive (for replacement under Applecare -- they wouldn't just replace both) with RAID set up. I never used RAID afterwards and, frankly, never noticed any difference in speed.

    When the second drive died, I bought an SSD and use it as my boot drive. No TRIM. There isn't much changing data on the Boot Drive. On a system with 12 TB of disk capacity, having 500 GB of data drive wouldn't make any difference (it would be unnoticeable for streaming audio/video and hardly seen for file serving). So I made it my boot drive. This dramatically sped up boot time (although it only gets booted once a month or so) which was about 6 minutes. It also improved performance of remote management (running and a Windows VM used for Quicken that also resides on the Boot drive. (The VM runs all the time, but launching Quicken, which is done frequently, is much faster, as are operations within Quicken.)

    I'm currently bringing up a replacement system, a 2012 mini I just bought, i7 but a single drive (in my case having the second drive in the housing wasn't worth much). I've upped it to 10GB of RAM (8 on the old mini) and in some initial testing it is faster than the older mini with the SSD boot drive.

    In conclusion, IMHO, lose the Fusion setup since it is only program loading that will benefit, and having the drives separate will boost reliability. In any case you are unlikely to see much benefit with the SSD when viewed from other systems using the server.

    My server story.
  9. Riot_Mac macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2003
    You will be fine running TRIM Enabler under Yosemite. The security system it disables was the default for years. How often are you resetting the PRAM on a server? I can't say I have ever done that.

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