Ordered 2012 mini QC - need guidance on SSD options

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by elasticmedia, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. elasticmedia macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #1
    Hi

    I just ebayed a 2.6 ghz 2012 Mac Mini server QC with 2 1TB platter drives. I am digesting info and would be all ears for your input. I will be using this mini for web graphics and for running windows 7 via Parallels.

    1. I would imagine that if you had only SSD drives in the mini, then heat would be much less inside?
    2. There are a lot of options for choosing an SSD drive. Samsung 840/850 has a good reputation, but there are allegations of a Trim bug with Samsung and some other brands. The OWC Mercury drives are on the expensive side and OWC is working hard to sell their superiority. I gather that OWC uses Garbage Collection rather than Trim as a way to avoid the Trim problems, but I also read that Trim would allow Garbage collection to work more efficiently.
    3. I read that El Capitan will have built in support for Trim, which is a first.
    4. It seems that 120 GB or 240/250 GB is the sweet spot for buying an SSD: if I got one that size I would have to decide whether to create a Fusion drive or leave it separate.
    5. Unfortunately these minis are limited to 16GB of memory: I wonder if I would gain with installing Windows on a Bootcamp partition rather than use parallels, since restarting would be so quick if I have an SSD boot or a fusion drive boot.
    6. Lastly if you were to swallow the OWC kool-aid and bought a mercury SSD, would you go regular or extreme? 120 GB is $73 for regular or $100 for extreme. 240 GB is $122 for regular or $195 for extreme. You could buy a regular 480 GB for just over the price of a extreme 240 GB. The extreme is faster in some stats and has a 5 year warranty rather than a 3 year one.
    Thanks for listening!
    Jim
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #2
    Samsung 840/850 Evo in the size you like 250gb tends to offer a speed bump due to the nature of ssd's.
     
  3. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #3
    Nice score! I'm running a '12 2.3 QC, 16GB RAM, also came with 2x1TB HDDs (it was a server model). Swapped out the bottom 1TB for my existing Crucial MX100 512GB SSD I was using in my '11 MBP.

    1. The heat doesn't seem appreciably different, a touch lower, less power consumed, especially at idle - I haven't done extensive testing, just a few comparisons using iStatPro before/after SSD install - you mostly have major heat concerns from surges due to major CPU/GPU usage. I've got a little DIY fan setup on mine, seems like it helps a touch.

    2. As I mentioned, I'm using a Crucial (at the time, it had the best price/performance/feature ratios), the big price impact for the next level of SSD only resulted in a very small performance boost for 35-40% price bump.

    3. I'm running 10.10.4, using the trim option from Apple, no sweat on a Crucial drive, previously I used Trim Enabler from Cindori.

    4. I could've converted to a fusion setup with my remaining 1TB spinner, I prefer to manage things myself. My second drive is for archives, movie/video, music and temp files (I used to use an external for the same, still do for local backup), my SSD is for everything else, so I guess full speed across all my "working" files.

    5. I'm a Parallels user (on PD10), I like having Windows (and other OSs) in a VM and all my "primary computing" in OSX (including non-windows dev work). With Bootcamp, you'd get better performance, but I'd say that's mostly for gaming. One option with Parallels is to install Windows into Bootcamp, then use that same BC install in a VM when you want. You've basically got a shared Windows environment that can be run "native" or in a VM. For backup, I actually like having my VMs in a single file, make a restore trivial, or even managing multiple configs for testing, or matching client environments.

    6. The warranty is nice, it's certainly fast, I guess it's probably one of those "how much faster on average for real world usage" vs. the price difference. Maybe someone else will have some hands on experience.
     
  4. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
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    United States
    #4
    1. Maybe a little bit, but I wouldn't make that a deciding factor unless you're having over-heating issues. It should be tad quieter with only an SSD, if you're sensitive to HDD noises.

    2. Crucial BX100 and Samsung 850 Evo are two excellent choices (whether or not the 840 issues have all been addressed, I'd stay away at this point). I wouldn't recommend the OWC SSD's at all - there are too many other newer, less expensive, and better reviewed SSDs out there.

    Garbage Collection is not a replacement for TRIM... Garbage Collection doesn't address the issue that TRIM does. I'd recommend an SSD with TRIM.

    3. I'd say the same as previous poster.

    4. ~250GB is the most popular with ~500GB gaining ground. Unless you're on a very tight budget, skip the 120GB.

    5. I'd say similar to previous poster.

    6. I wouldn't recommend the OWC. I don't know all the specific details of the OWC SSD's, but typically the "Pro" versions are not worth it for your type of usage (that goes for any of the popular SSDs).
     
  5. DaveN macrumors 6502a

    DaveN

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    #5
    I bucked the trend and went with the OWC drive when Apple locked out Trim support. It has worked out fine for me. I have a second 2012 mini I haven't fired up yet. I plan on giving it to my sister to replace her much older mini. What am I going to use for her SSD? I'm watching this thread for ideas.
     
  6. elasticmedia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #6
    I have watched a number of videos on the surgery replacing the HD with an SSD. Since my mini will have 2 hard drives installed, it occurs to me that the easy method that some people are talking about is the good route: just take off 1 shroud and move the wifi antenna out of the way: the visible drive (the lower drive) can be removed and put in the SSD without doing all the hard and possible risky steps removing everything. You could even wedge it in or tape it in.

    Btw, I bought the mini on a weird fluke: the final buyer bought the mini for $1075 but pooped out somehow. I had bid $925 on a "dip my toe in the water" bid near the final seconds but obviously didn't get it. I got a second chance email and went for it. Hopefully it will be a good choice!
     
  7. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    You must need a quad core pretty bad. It's kind of nuts what 2012 Quad MM's are going for.
     
  8. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #8
    The bottom drive (the most accessible from the bottom) is pretty simple to swap. You don't even need to pull as much as some of the guides indicate, I think its' pretty intuitive what needs to come out. Just move the outer mounting pins to the SSD, it should all go back together just like OEM. You'll need a couple of small torx and hex drivers.

    One reason I chose to just keep my "top" 1TB drive in the machine is exactly what you outlined - you really have to break the machine down, just seemed like a PITA and now I actually like having the extra storage in the machine.

    Yeah, wow, I got a good deal for my 2.3 QC, and I'd love a 2.6 but those premiums are a just a little too much for me. TBH, it's 98% likely I'll end up with a 15" MBP retina, discrete GPU machine by the end of the year - love the MM, excellent price-to-performance ratio, but I can see I'm going to miss the portability.
     
  9. adonis3k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #9
    Is there any gain to be had with the Samsung 830/840/850 SSDs? or can the Mini only support upto so much?
     
  10. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #10
    The 2012 MM supports SATAIII drives, which means each drive is limited to 600MB/s. The current Samsung 850 EVO is rated for about 540MB/sec read and 520MB/sec write. So that Samsung comes really really close to the theoretical limit of SATAIII. Anything faster would be pointless.
     
  11. adonis3k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #11
    Thanks, I have a 256GB 830 so was wondering upgrading to a 850 evo 500GB
     
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
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    Boston, MA
    #12
    http://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Samsung-850-Evo-250GB-vs-Samsung-830-256GB/2977vs1387

    Looks like the 850 would be somewhat faster. However, I don't think it's worth the upgrade for a few reasons. First of all, SSD prices are currently falling like crazy. The patient buyers would wait until the prices settle down and plateau somewhere, and then buy the fastest and largest drive that is in their budget. Further, while the huge speed jump from spinner to SSD is very very noticeable and adds a ton of benefit, the jump from a good SSD to a great SSD is much less noticeable. Odds are you wouldn't notice unless you regularly check bootup and shutdown and app start times with a stopwatch.

    I think SSDs will hit less than 10cents/GB sometime in 2016. When that happens, 1TB or 2TB SSDs will be quite affordable, and by then the limits of SATAIII will be easily hit by even a budget drive. I think at that point, I will put 2x2TB SSDs that get somewhere between 500-600MB/s speed, and I hope to pay $400 or less to do so. Until then, whatever SSD for a boot drive and a spinner for storage is more than sufficient.
     
  13. SpinalTap macrumors regular

    SpinalTap

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    Sep 25, 2003
    Location:
    Bournville, UK
    #13
    I have a 2012 2.3Ghz MM Server with 16GB RAM, and replaced the one drive for a 1TB Samsung Evo 840. I kept the two drives separate, with most applications on the SSD and BootCamp on the HDD - alongside my movie library that is accessed by AppleTV.

    Typically, the MM maintains a 60 degree operating temperature. I use Parallels to access the BootCamp partition from the SSD. Periodically, this can push the temperature above 100 degrees. However, if I use CrossOver Mac instead of Parallels it doesn't raise the temperature.

    Even so, you could retain both standard HDD's and run OS X on a 128GB SSD from an external USB 3.0 caddy - such as the IcyBox IB-254U3 (with UASP). Treat this as your boot-up drive.
     
  14. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #14
    Here is another option:

    On my 2012 QC Server Mini, I replaced the bottom hard disk with a 512 GB SSD partitioned in half. I installed bootable Windows on one of the 256 GB SSD partitions, and used the other SSD 256GB partition to build a Fusion drive with the upper 1TB original hard disk. It is working great and Windows is SSD fast. I use VMware to create a Virtual Machine for Windows using the same disk image as the bootable SSD Windows so it is fast and consumes no additional disk space.
     
  15. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #15
    I recently replaced the Samsung 128GB with a newer Samsung 850 250GB w/ the stock 1TB Samsung HDD fusioned with 16GB RAM. Runs like a Mac Mini should, fast and reliable.
     
  16. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #16
    I ended up choosing Crucial MX200 for mine. Followed the iFixIt procedure (https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+Mac+Mini+Late+2012+Dual+Hard+Drive+Kit/11713)and after replacing the drives in the first two machines, the next three I did without the instructions.
     
  17. elasticmedia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #17
    Now almost a month later, I am getting ready to do the surgery and install the Samsung 850 SSD. I bought a 250 GB drive and have moved all the large files onto the upper drive in the mini. My plan is to clone the lower drive (my boot drive) with either carbon copy cloner or super duper. Since I want to just clone the drive to the ssd, I think one of these two apps has a free version that will make a bootable copy. Any recommendations of which to choose? As far as trim goes, I think el capitan will have trim, but since that is some time away, I will have to enable trim myself.

    Any last minute recommendations would be heartily appreciated!
     
  18. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #18
    I would recommend carbon copy cloner (CCC). It costs money, but you can download the trial and use it for 30 days.
    http://bombich.com
    The nice thing about CCC is that it gives you the option to clone the Recovery drive when cloning the boot drive. That is important when you want to clone back to your new drive. Super Duper does not have that option.
    I'm not sure what OS you are using, but Yosemite 10.10.4 & 10.10.5 supports the built in trimforce command for trim. Let us know if you need the command information.
     
  19. elasticmedia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #19
    Egads - the more I read about Trim and SSD's the more murky and scary the landscape becomes. There seems to be many ways and methods to do it. I will be using Yosemite until El Capitan comes out.
     
  20. elasticmedia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #20
    The Cindori.org people seem to pitch their products, Trim Enabler or Disk Sensei, as a way to enable trim without the risky part of disable Kext Signing. Btw, my drive is an 850 eve.
     
  21. ron7624 Contributor

    ron7624

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, Texas area
    #21
    Your endeavors are way out of my league, but I did attempt to install Win 7 via Parallels on a late 2014 MacMini and although sucessful the experience was so slow and choppy that i gave up after 3 sucessful installs. I would say Bootcamp will give you your best experience. So far I still have a windows computer just to run one program.
    Good luck.
     
  22. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #22
    Is bandwidth or quota an issue for you? If not, perhaps a clean install using Internet Recovery may be a better option.

    I realise you're working with a BSD variant and not Windows, but regardless I expect there to be a layover in bits and bytes hanging around from logs, crashes, updates, patches, demos, uninstalls...but that's me. Someone that likes to do a rebuild every 18 months (max).

    Just think it'd be a nice baseline, benchmark to start from scratch.
     

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