Optimal Mini config advice wanted

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Bunyak, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Bunyak macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
    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!
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    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.
    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.
  3. KScottMyers, Aug 13, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012

    KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    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.
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    You can also give the free Virtual Box a try first. Works great for me.

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