Perform the surgery or spend

grandM

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 14, 2013
1,100
57
I'm the proud owner of a mini late 2012 2.3 i7. As the mini was performing less and less I bought a internal ssd. The ram already was upgraded to 16 GB.

Being lazy I did not perform the surgery yet. I did the geekbench and got 3144 single core score and 10220 multi score. A new mini about doubles these scores.

What is troubling me most is the OS support. I can imagine next iteration will no longer support the late 2012. Xcode tends to require the latest OS.

Which brings me to the obvious question being Perform the surgery or buy a new device...
 

Miat

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2012
708
668
That is what I am doing, for at least 6-12 months. I have an Air to use if the Mini bites the dust, so can afford to push my luck on lifespan, and not have to rush a replacement.

Even if it only gets you another year or so, you will be in a better position for choosing an upgrade. You can save more money for a better model, and also wait for any hardware bugs to be sorted, refurbs to become an option, and more 3rd party stuff, and maybe even a specs bump from Apple (such as cheaper storage, just to pick a completely random example, no honestly...).

If installing the SSD is the only surgery you want to do, you could always just stick it in an external enclosure and boot from that via USB. Use the internal drive/s for backups and/or storage. Almost no work at all, and no risk to internals.
 
Comment

grandM

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 14, 2013
1,100
57
Lol well never underestimate my laziness. I must admit I 'm starting to rethink my decision to add it internally. I still prefer it over external but if the 2012 becomes no longer supported next year I can still use the SSD with a new mini. Anyone know the difference between a thunderbolt versus USB 3 external enclosure? Or are there better options? Can you still go to sleep mode with an external boot SSD?
[doublepost=1541551210][/doublepost]
hows the mac mini 2012 performance on Majove OS?
With my spinner it lags. Especially playing video with VLC.
 
Comment

thoang77

macrumors member
Aug 6, 2010
62
113
SF Bay Area
Lol well never underestimate my laziness. I must admit I 'm starting to rethink my decision to add it internally. I still prefer it over external but if the 2012 becomes no longer supported next year I can still use the SSD with a new mini. Anyone know the difference between a thunderbolt versus USB 3 external enclosure? Or are there better options? Can you still go to sleep mode with an external boot SSD?
Edit- Disregard:I don't believe you can boot from a USB external. If you're going to go thunderbolt,

Just install it and rip it out when you replace the machine in the future. You'd be better off leaving it in if you want to use the 2012 as a secondary machine anyway.

do the surgery, it's easy. Even easier if you don't need to clone your current drive and are open to starting fresh.
 
Last edited:
Comment

macdragonfl

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2006
547
289
Ft. Lauderdale,Fl
I don't believe you can boot from a USB external. If you're going to go thunderbolt, just install it and rip it out when you replace the machine in the future. You'd be better off leaving it in if you want to use the 2012 as a secondary machine anyway.

do the surgery, it's easy. Even easier if you don't need to clone your current drive and are open to starting fresh.
No issue booting from external USB 3, been that way a long time.


[doublepost=1541570851][/doublepost]
Lol well never underestimate my laziness. I must admit I 'm starting to rethink my decision to add it internally. I still prefer it over external but if the 2012 becomes no longer supported next year I can still use the SSD with a new mini. Anyone know the difference between a thunderbolt versus USB 3 external enclosure? Or are there better options? Can you still go to sleep mode with an external boot SSD?
[doublepost=1541551210][/doublepost]
With my spinner it lags. Especially playing video with VLC.
Thunderbolt is faster, enclosure more expensive. USB 3, less expensive, slower but day to day you won’t notice it much. Yes you can sleep external drives without issue.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: strawbale
Comment

Partron22

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
2,553
746
Yes
I suspect the plastic used in those ultra-thin ribbon cables becomes weaker over time.
I'd happily open a 10 year old Mini to blow out the dust, but even 6 years seems a little old to be trying major surgery,
SSD on an external hard plug in chasis will give you most st the speed you'd get with internal SSD on a 2012, so why take the risk?
 
Comment

madrag

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2007
359
69
I suspect the plastic used in those ultra-thin ribbon cables becomes weaker over time. (...)
That's a good point! I didn't think of the resistence of the materials after some time.

Apart from the age of the materials, the HDD replacement is fairly simple, I've added a second drive to my MM and it wasn't that hard, and mind you that it was addind a second drive and not just a replacement of the main one, I suppose just replacing would be a piece of cake.

To be noted, I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of hardware changes, but if it was easy for me, I think it should be easy for most people, as long as they use the right tools and follow the right procedures (and take it slow, no harm being carefull).

I say, go for an external drive, it will be lightning fast compared to the HDD (~90MB/s vs about >400MB/s), and if you get a new MM or whatever, it will be a good value for the money already spent.
 
Comment

thoang77

macrumors member
Aug 6, 2010
62
113
SF Bay Area
No issue booting from external USB 3, been that way a long time.
Certainly can. I have booted my 2012 Mini externally before.
Didn't realize that. Never needed to, so I wasn't sure. Thanks for the corrections.

Regardless, do the surgery. The ribbon cable should be fine after 6 years of being exposed to nothing other than maybe 70C air from time to time
 
Comment

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,986
6,469
thoang wrote:
"I don't believe you can boot from a USB external..."

Where in heaven's name did you ever get this idea?

I've been booting and running my late 2012 Mini from an SSD mounted in a USB3/SATA docking station since the day I took it out of the box in January 2013.

Typing on it right now.
Boots quickly. Runs fast. Still running great going on SIX YEARS of booting this way.
TRIM has NEVER been a factor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mizouse
Comment

thoang77

macrumors member
Aug 6, 2010
62
113
SF Bay Area
thoang wrote:
"I don't believe you can boot from a USB external..."

Where in heaven's name did you ever get this idea?
I think it goes back to some time where you had to install bootcamp on a Thunderbolt drive in order to dual-boot externally. I'm not entirely sure to be honest.
 
Comment

radus

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2009
464
288
[doublepost=1541570851][/doublepost]
Thunderbolt is faster, enclosure more expensive. USB 3, less expensive, slower but day to day you won’t notice it much. Yes you can sleep external drives without issue.[/QUOTE]

Over the time WRITE speed will decrease substantially on an USB Drive, there is no TRIM under OSX (Windows 10 is able to trim some USB Drives). READ will not decrease.

For the Mac Mini an external TB3 NVME M.2 drive or a TB3 RAID seams to be the best for day to day use.
 
Comment

monkeybongo

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2007
96
10
Canada
[doublepost=1541570851][/doublepost]
Thunderbolt is faster, enclosure more expensive. USB 3, less expensive, slower but day to day you won’t notice it much. Yes you can sleep external drives without issue.
Over the time WRITE speed will decrease substantially on an USB Drive, there is no TRIM under OSX (Windows 10 is able to trim some USB Drives). READ will not decrease.

For the Mac Mini an external TB3 NVME M.2 drive or a TB3 RAID seams to be the best for day to day use.[/QUOTE]

I believe OSX now supports TRIM for Apple SSDs but you can enable it on 3rd Party. I followed some instructions on mine but I can’t tell the difference.

https://www.howtogeek.com/222077/how-to-enable-trim-for-third-party-ssds-on-mac-os-x/
 
Comment

radus

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2009
464
288
Over the time WRITE speed will decrease substantially on an USB Drive, there is no TRIM under OSX (Windows 10 is able to trim some USB Drives). READ will not decrease.

For the Mac Mini an external TB3 NVME M.2 drive or a TB3 RAID seams to be the best for day to day use.
I believe OSX now supports TRIM for Apple SSDs but you can enable it on 3rd Party. I followed some instructions on mine but I can’t tell the difference.

https://www.howtogeek.com/222077/how-to-enable-trim-for-third-party-ssds-on-mac-os-x/[/QUOTE]

This - trimforce enable - works very good on internal ssds and tb3 drives but not on USB-Drives.
 
Comment

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2008
666
105
Earlier this year, I upgraded my 2012 i7 2.3 GHz Mac mini and my wife's 2012 i5 with Fusion drives. We went from interminable spinning beach balls to what felt like brand-new machines. Watch the OWC upgrade videos and decide how daunting the process looks to you. I worked slowly and carefully, making sure never to force anything that wouldn't come out or go back in easily (I used persistent jiggling), and everything went fine. I also updated both of our minis to Mojave and haven't noticed any real-world decrease in performance.

I don't see a downside to booting from an external SSD. I wouldn't spend the extra money for a TB3 enclosure unless you need the extra speed over a USB enclosure and are planning to transfer it to a new computer later on. My 2012 mini is still fine for my needs, but Mojave will be the last version of macOS it supports, and it won't run my 4K monitor at native resolution. Lower resolutions look a tad fuzzy. I probably will upgrade to a refurbished 128 GB 2018 mini in 2020 and boot from an external 1 TB SSD.
 
Comment

Decimotox

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2013
596
334
Yeah, adding an SSD ain't hard at all. I bought the OWC data doubler kit - comes with all the tools you need. The surgery is actually pretty each, just be careful. The ribbon cable for the IR receiver is really awkward at times and can be broken easily with the proper force applied. I broke my connector to the motherboard and had to buy a new cable. Then performed the surgery again just to put the new cable in, haha.

But it was worth it. Really upped the speed and value of the machine, should you decide to sell it in the future. I'd highly suggest going for it. Best of luck!
 
Comment

rbrian

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2011
784
342
Aberdeen, Scotland
Do the surgery - if nothing else, you'll learn a new skill. I replaced the 320gb hard drive in my 2010 Macbook Pro with a 1Tb spinner a couple of years later, when SSDs were still far too expensive. What I learnt then has allowed me to build a whole new PC from scratch, and I've upgraded RAM and hard drives on several of my friends' laptops.

It's also worth getting a USB caddy; recently instead of upgrading old laptops, I've been recovering data from my friends' dead machines and uploading their precious baby photos to cloud storage.
 
Comment

Mizouse

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2014
192
259
[doublepost=1541570851][/doublepost]

Over the time WRITE speed will decrease substantially on an USB Drive, there is no TRIM under OSX (Windows 10 is able to trim some USB Drives). READ will not decrease.
I was suspecting this regarding WRITE speed decreasing.

I currently boot my 2012 Mac Mini off an SSD in a USB enclosure.
I just recently noticed that the write speed doesn't seem as fast as when I first started using the SSD.

I should stop being lazy and install it internally.

That said thou, the computer still runs pretty fast.
 
Comment

radus

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2009
464
288
Using an usb-c nvme m.2 external disk WRITE decreased from 900 mb/s to 200 using os x.
Reformat in osx did not changed that.
Reformat to ntfs on my think pad brought it back to 900.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.