New SSD into 2014 Mini - PITA !

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MacVidCards, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I bought a entry-level Mini to test eGPUs with.

    I had forgotten how EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL a 5400 rpm drive is.

    LONG, SLOW boots. Get to desktop and then wait while it finally puts the stuff on there. Anytime you click on something you get a lovely, colorful beachball to watch as you wait for the window to open, etc.

    Well, I wanted cheap and I got it.

    I could plug SSDs in via USB3 and even had a TB PCIE SSD that I used.

    Night and Day doesn't describe it. G3 vs Mac Pro does.

    So I ordered a 512 Gig SSD on Newegg for like $200.

    iFixit noted the T6 security screws. Went on Amazon and saw that many kits listed security bits, but only down to T7. (coincidence? I think not) So I ordered one that said all were security. HD got here and I used a USB adapter to clone the 500GB internal onto it. Finally the Amazon package arrived, I got everything readying guess what? The Amazon seller lied. Security down to T7, regular below that.

    I considered using a small handgun to open up the recalcitrant Mini. I decided to order another driver from Amazon. I got the WLXY single driver. And today it showed up. I got all the parts on a clean tabletop and dug in !!!

    On the very first screw head the driver stripped away to a nice rounded end. Made of something like lead. I started thinking handgun or tire iron....then saw my trusty file. I could file a little bit off the tip between screws and get a bite, but only if I applied super-human strength in downward pressure. I got to the fifth one out of six and had filed all of the tip away that had a hole in it. So I got out the pliers for screw #6.

    Lesson learned, get a HIGH QUALITY T6 security screw or use the handgun/tire iron method. (If you use a hammer, make sure it is Metric)

    This is where it gets interesting, the iFixit teardown is exactly that, just a bunch of pix. They also want to sell you their removal tool. A couple of T5 and T6 screwdrivers did the trick, but you have to get all of the screws out.

    They note in the small print that they don't show ALL of the screws they remove.

    So I had to look at the 2012 guide and found them all. Basically you have to gut the entire thing to get HD out. Got the SSD in and put it all back together. Only 1 extra screw !! And of course I left out the 6 security screws, waiting to get a new driver.

    Gaffer's Tape holding bottom on now.

    Amazingly, it booted right up, in a fraction of the time that it took before. A completely different machine.
  2. Tsavo macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2014
    I haven't done this to mine yet. Just waiting on the T6 driver. What's the T5 for?

    Says only T6 in required tools listing. Perhaps they forgot to list the T5, or is it not needed?
  3. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Yep - the smaller the bit, the more important it is to buy quality.
    Been There

    Glad you got it going. Put the hammer away ;)
  4. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2014
    The Netherlands
    I noticed that Apple also apply loctite on the 2012 Mac mini screws, presumably to make it that little bit harder for you to get in there.

    I used an 8mm spanner on the end of the OWC tools, and it worked great.

    I'm considering upgrading a 2014 base mini at some point, but waiting for the proper tools to hit the market.

    I'm thinking a base with 8GB RAM and a 1TB SSD would make a nice media setup.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Rather than fight with the thing like this, why not just add an SSD externally via USB3 or thunderbolt?

    A LOT LESS trouble and frustration, and less chance of actually breaking something inside.

    I -know- that one can't use TRIM via USB. I've been running my late-2012 Mini via USB3 for almost two years now, with no perceptible degradation of speed or performance at all.

    I did add an 8gb DIMM to the Mini's top slot for more RAM. But other than that, easier just to leave the innards alone, and "go external"...
  6. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    As a guess, he's using the two drivers instead of the U-shaped board tool.
  7. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    TB is a horrendously expensive port to use for anything except a display. USB throughput can cause other external USB devices to stutter due to lack of bandwidth.

    Opening the Mini up to perform surgery is a rite of passage regardless of Apple's attempts to manacle it.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    dogslobber wrote above:
    [[ USB throughput can cause other external USB devices to stutter due to lack of bandwidth. ]]

    I sense you haven't had much experience with USB3.

    Do you know what "UASP" stands for?
  9. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I bought an OWC ThunderBay 4 to use with my mini. Granted $450 is a lot of money for a non-RAID, empty HDD box but I have to say it works really, really good.

    In particular it sleeps and wakes perfectly with the mini, something that my USB3 devices cannot seem to do reliably. It also never disconnects which is a statement that cannot be made for my USB devices.

    The main benefit of having four HDDs in a TB box is that it frees a USB port. The mini is so pathetically short of USB ports that the benefit of getting one back trumps the the great connectivity of TB.
  10. Cape Dave, Dec 6, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014

    Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    I keep telling all people, if it does not have an SSD inside it really is not a real computer anymore. They simply are not optional.

    This is 2014.

    You proved my point nicely, thanks :)
  11. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    UASP doesn't magically grant additional bandwidth. It's still a 5gb/s port. If the drive consumes all the bandwidth, then any other device on that controller will suffer.
  12. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    I agree... even on my 2010 Mini. Replacing a Mini HDD makes you think "ok, now I'm able to replace any part on a Mac".

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