Perform the surgery or spend

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by grandM, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. grandM macrumors 65816

    grandM

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #1
    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...
     
  2. twennywonn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #2
    Well, that upgrade brings a ton of life into the 2012. I would say find a good youtube video and perform surgery it's really not bad.
     
  3. EightyTwenty macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 11, 2015
    #3
    It is very easy to upgrade the hard drive in the 2012 mini. If you bought the SSD, might as well use it.
     
  4. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #4
    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.
     
  5. hr10 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #5
    hows the mac mini 2012 performance on Majove OS?
     
  6. thoang77 macrumors member

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    Aug 6, 2010
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #6
    I can't believe you've made it this long without an SSD. If you're at least mildly satisfied with how it runs now, the SSD will be a world changer.
     
  7. grandM thread starter macrumors 65816

    grandM

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #7
    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?
    --- Post Merged, Nov 6, 2018 ---
    With my spinner it lags. Especially playing video with VLC.
     
  8. thoang77, Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018

    thoang77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #8
    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.
     
  9. macdragonfl, Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018

    macdragonfl macrumors 6502

    macdragonfl

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale,Fl
    #9
    No issue booting from external USB 3, been that way a long time.


    --- Post Merged, Nov 6, 2018 ---
    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.
     
  10. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #10
    Certainly can. I have booted my 2012 Mini externally before.
     
  11. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Yes
    #11
    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?
     
  12. madrag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #12
    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.
     
  13. thoang77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #13
    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
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    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.
     
  15. thoang77 macrumors member

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    Aug 6, 2010
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #15
    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.
     
  16. DesertSurfer macrumors 6502a

    DesertSurfer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Location:
    Between the Sonoran Desert and the Pacific Ocean
    #16
    My 2012 2.5ghz dual are i5 mini, with 16gb and 256 SSD is running Mohave just fine.
     
  17. grandM thread starter macrumors 65816

    grandM

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #17
    damn I really need to hook up that 1 TB SSD
    thunderbolt supports trim, usb3 not?
     
  18. radus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    #18
    --- Post Merged, Nov 6, 2018 ---

    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.
     
  19. monkeybongo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #19
    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/
     
  20. radus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    #20
    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.
     
  21. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #21
    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.
     
  22. Decimotox macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    #22
    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!
     
  23. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #23
    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.
     
  24. Mizouse macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #24
    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.
     
  25. radus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    #25
    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.
     

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