Optimal Mini config advice wanted

Bunyak

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 15, 2011
72
3
I just bought a refurbished dual-core i7 Mini with a 500GB HDD. I'd like advice on the best configuration for the following uses:

1. I need Windows for my employer's VPN. Should I boot from an external SSD in a Thunderbolt enclosure or add a SSD to the Mini chassis? Should I have separate SSDs for OS X and Windows or is one SSD fine?

2. Virtualization or Boot Camp for Windows? My VPN requires a smart-card reader with custom drivers, plus the typical Entrust and Oracle software. Will Boot Camp be more reliable or can Parallels/VMWare handle custom drivers and a VPN?

3. Thunderbird e-mail archive. Should I put my e-mail folders on the HDD or a separate partition on the SSD? I will back up the folders with Mozy so I just want to avoid OS reinstallation complications. Thanks!
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
I just bought a refurbished dual-core i7 Mini with a 500GB HDD. I'd like advice on the best configuration for the following uses:

1. I need Windows for my employer's VPN. Should I boot from an external SSD in a Thunderbolt enclosure or add a SSD to the Mini chassis? Should I have separate SSDs for OS X and Windows or is one SSD fine?
Whether you go internal or external SSD, is up to you. Check out ifixit.com to see what you will need to do to get an SSD in the Mini. If that seems too much for you, then go external. As for what you should do, I would just partition 1 SSD. Determine which OS you will spend your majority of time in and give it the most space.
2. Virtualization or Boot Camp for Windows? My VPN requires a smart-card reader with custom drivers, plus the typical Entrust and Oracle software. Will Boot Camp be more reliable or can Parallels/VMWare handle custom drivers and a VPN?
If I were you, I would try it via Vmware (which is my preferred, Parallels is reportedly faster, but crashes more. I prefer stability of speed). It is much easier to just boot up a VM than logging out of OSX and then into Windows.
 

KScottMyers

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2009
236
2
Orlando, FL
I just bought a refurbished dual-core i7 Mini with a 500GB HDD. I'd like advice on the best configuration for the following uses:

1. I need Windows for my employer's VPN. Should I boot from an external SSD in a Thunderbolt enclosure or add a SSD to the Mini chassis? Should I have separate SSDs for OS X and Windows or is one SSD fine?

2. Virtualization or Boot Camp for Windows? My VPN requires a smart-card reader with custom drivers, plus the typical Entrust and Oracle software. Will Boot Camp be more reliable or can Parallels/VMWare handle custom drivers and a VPN?

3. Thunderbird e-mail archive. Should I put my e-mail folders on the HDD or a separate partition on the SSD? I will back up the folders with Mozy so I just want to avoid OS reinstallation complications. Thanks!
1. Install an internal SSD as your main drive. trust me, you'll never look back. The speed difference is substantial. Use the 500GB drive as additional internal storage.

2. Parallels all the way. Version 7 is rock solid and I use it every day and it integrates nicely with OS X. Install Parallels on the SSD. Once again, the speed difference in substantial.

3. Thunderbird - sorry - no idea why anyone uses this? What does it offer over Apple Mail?

4. Use an external drive with Time Machine - it doesn't get any easier backing up or restoring data with Apple's solution, plus Mountain Lion allows multiple TM backups.
 
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