old Mini, new SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jiker, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. jiker macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2002
    I have a late 2006 mac mini. Stats:

    I've maxed out the RAM (2GB :( ), upgrade the processor to 2.0Ghz Core 2 duo (gotta love socketed processors), and bumped up the HDD to 128GB. I am definitely in need of a new machine, but I want to see what the next mini and mac pro options look like, so I'm not ready to upgrade yet.

    The problem is I've finally hit the limit of the HDD - I now have too much music/pictures etc. and I have 2 gigs remaining. I'm guessing I'm pushing against the swap space, because it definitely feels like it's getting sluggish and producing errors more often (importing photos/movies into iPhoto is rather annoying/impossible.

    Yes, I can always add more HDDs to fix the space issue, but I'm thinking I might want to get a speed bump while I'm at it. Also, when I upgrade the machine, I can either swap the SSD with the primary (if Apple doesn't do PCI-e which is unlikely), or drop it in an enclosure and have some fast external storage with thunderbolt. Most people have positive things to say about the Samsung 840 pro, so that's what I'm thinking. For the current machine, of course it is overkill as it is only SATA 1(not sure - spec just says SATA?), but I'm looking to future proof it for the new machine as well.

    So question #1 - Would a SATA 3 drive work in a machine that old?
    question #2 - Is it worth it? or should I just save my pennies for the new machine and fix my current situation with band-aids like partitioning my backup drive to give me some usable space or cheap USB thumb drives get me by?

  2. sergioarista macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    1. yes
    2. not really

    I did the same, it definitely runs faster/smoother but nothing compared to a mba or any current machine with ssd ( no instant app opening)

    I use mine connected to a 55" TV as media server and news center and works great for that... it is a pretty solid old machine
  3. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    For Media, get a scorpio black 750GB. These are cheap and very fast, excellent for maxing out the gigabit and SATA 1 connection if you use it as server. SSD is useless for your use and way too expensive for such an old machine.
    And to question 1: it might even fail to work! Most SSD's are getting flawed under SATA 2 speeds.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ question #2 - Is it worth it? ]]

    Frankly, no, it's not worth it.

    Time to start the search for a new computer. You got your money's worth from the old one.
  5. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    1. A Sata II (6GB/s) drive will work just fine in your machine; it'll just run at the SATA I (3GB/s) rate.

    2. While I am normally a big fan of SSD upgrades (I've done it on two of my own Macs and even an iPod), in your case, I would agree with other posters here and say that it's time to get a new machine. Right now, I think the sweet spot for SSD upgrades are machines that are 2 to 4 years old, especially ones that have an Intel Core i processor or newer. The other thing is, what if the new Mini does have PCIe storage? May as well just hold over until it's released, and then buy what you need.
  6. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    You could always flash your Mini with the MacMini2,1 firmware to be able to access 3.3GB of ram.

    SATA I is 1.5Gbps, SATA II is 3Gbps, and SATA III is 6Gbps.
  7. jiker thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2002
    Thanks for talking me off the ledge, everyone. I will save the money for the new machine. Now if apple would just announce the Mac mini and Mac Pro plans!
  8. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Woops; good catch.
  9. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Remember that when you're in the market for a new mini, you must upgrade the drive in the new one too. So why not get a good one now, and put it in the new Mini when you get that.
    Or grab a USB 3 external case with a Seagate Barracuda or so.
  10. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    Gotta agree with that. Get SSD now - old computer will be a bit faster. You'll "need" SSD in new computer as well.
  11. wmmf macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Partial transfer to new SSD?

    Not to hijack the thread here, but I'm sort of in the same boat and a little unsure about how to proceed from a larger HDD (320gb) to a smaller SSD (60 or 120 gb). For financial reasons I can't go with a larger SSD, so I'm thinking of putting the original HDD in an enclosure and using it for iPhoto and iTunes libraries, etc., leaving the SSD inside for OS, apps, basic documents, etc.

    But the actual "how" of getting these basics over to the SSD is confusing me. I once used Carbon Copy Cloner on another computer, but that was a straight transfer of the entire drive. In this case, what are the steps for copying just the essentials over to the SSD, then reformatting the HDD and putting the libraries on it as if it were an external drive?

    Thanks for any help, and I can make this a new thread if that's more appropriate.
  12. Giuly, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    Depending on the exact model of Mac Mini, you could remove the Superdrive and replace it with either a OWC DataDoubler if it's SATA or an IDE hard drive carrier for SATA hard drives, which allows you to install the hard drive along with the SSD. Don't install the SSD into the Superdrive bay though, as on some Macs it's SATA-I (which is still fast enough for hard drives).

    If your Mac Mini is newer than the early 2009 model and runs Mountain Lion, you could also set it up as a Fusion Drive.

    As far as the SSD goes, the SanDisk Ultra Plus is still the best choice for SATA-II machines, everything else won't turn out faster but is just more expensive.

    Copying the data over works fine with CCC, just untick the iTunes and iPhoto library folders.
  13. jiker thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2002
    I agree I'll need something faster, but it's likely the next round of machines will be Apple's PCIe SSDs. That means I might not be able to swap out the drive like I'd like to do, and the SSD will likely to be limited to external use. While that would not be a bad thing to have, it's not a "need". A new machine is definitely a need so i'll wait for the hardware updates and then decide what the right path is.
  14. wmmf macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Thanks, Giuly, for the advice. Just today I've been looking at the OWC Data Doubler as a way to get better speed off the HDD and faster access to the libraries there, versus putting it in a USB 2.0 external case. I also found some information like you mentioned about using CCC to selectively copy info to the new drive.

    I'll have to look around for info on using them in a Fusion setup, but at least I know it's possible (I've got an early '09 Mini). Thanks again.
  15. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    There is a lot of cheaper (and slower) SSDs in the market. You could try a 60GB SATAII SSD plus a 500GB HDD connected through a firewire enclosure. According to OWC your 2006 Mini supports up to 4GB RAM.

    4GB of RAM (reference: OWC) - $59,99
    120GB SATAII SSD - $117,99
    500GB Mini stack FW800 - $107,99
    Total: $285,99

    Still way cheaper than a new Mini and in some aspects you have a better solution - the SSD certainly will make your system launch apps and websites faster than a HDD-equipped Mini.

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