putting SSD into a 2012 i5 mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by roadkill401, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #1
    I bought a 2012 mac mini i5 for the family to use. I have upgraded the unit from the 4gb ram to 16 (as it was about the same cost to buy as getting 8gb ram here in Canada).

    I tried to upgrade the mac to Yosimite and it just ground to a halt and didn't run correctly. wouldn't wake up from sleep and constant beach ball. I took it back to Maverick and it was fine again.

    I am told it most likely was that the slow 500gb hard drive inside is the cause, so I went out and purchased the upper drive kit from OWC with the thought of putting in an SSD drive so that I can eventually move the mac over to Sierra when it comes out.

    Right now the drive inside is 1/2 full, but most of it is from my Daughter with her 'One Direction' photo library and 3 different versions of SIMMs. I have a small 120gb SSD that I was thinking of using as I already own it so it costs nothing to put inside. I know the OS will fit on it, but sadly doesn't leave anything for users and especially not by daughter.

    How easy is it to put the OS onto one drive and have the users sitting on a different drive inside the mac? I have tried to get help from Apple support who simply said they don't support that sort of thing. All the books i have tried to pull from the library on OSx Yosemite and El Cap don't go into that sort of thing. Am i taking on a project doomed to fail? is it a better idea to save up for a larger 500gb SSD (give up coffee and beer for 3-4 months) so it all fits onto one drive, and you have an empty 500gb spinning hard drive inside (for time machine or backup purposes)

    Any help of suggestions are appreciated. Instruction on how to pull it off would be fantastic, but a point to where to look just as helpful.

    Matt
     
  2. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #2
    You could make a DIY Fusion drive with your 120GB SSD and the existing 500GB Hard Disk (after you modify it for dual drive capability). You will need to backup the existing data before starting this if you want to save it for your daughter. Or ... pull out the 500GB and stick a 2tb hard disk in there and create the Fusion drive. Then you can use the existing bootable 500GB drive to initialize and set up the new Fusion system (with a cheap external enclosure for the drive). It can then be a backup drive for awhile at least, until it becomes too small.
     
  3. treekram macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #3
    There may be a disconnect here but computers with modern operating systems are made so that different users can use them. I'm at a loss to explain why Apple wasn't at least willing to point you in the right direction. You have to have a different account for the different users in your household - so no automatic login anymore.

    Setting up different users on the Mac: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH18891?locale=en_US

    A user will have their one home folder and they should put their data there and not any place else. I always setup my account as an admin so I don't know how permissive OSX is for non-admin users in terms of being able to store data elsewhere. You can set the home directory in the System Preferences you have to do the not-obvious control-click to set that up as explained in: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201548

    Usually applications are not that big relative to the total disk size and most will store data someplace in user's home directory rather than in the application directory. So it should be OK to have those on the SSD. You can also enforce parental controls - search on the web for how to do that on a Mac.

    For this to work and to limit what can be put on the SSD, you don't want to use the Fusion drive since you have no direct control over what the OS will place on the SSD and what will be placed on the HDD. In your current situation, you may want to try cloning the HDD to the SSD, not including your daughter's files - hopefully it fits and then go from there.

    As I mentioned, I hope there's not a discconect here - is this what you're hoping to do or are looking to completely isolate the other users - OS and all - in that case you can have the SSD and the HDD each with their own system - you just have to press the option key at boot time and the user has to select the appropriate disk.
     
  4. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #4
    I never really thought about setting up at a fusion drive. I have read the back and forth arguing about what is better on the iMac forum and there are those who a dead set that pure SSD is the only way to go, and those who say there fusion drive works great.

    There isn't an issue with backing up the current drive over to an external storage. I do own CCC and can plug in a hard drive via USB to do that. From what I have read, all that I care about is an improvement in speed on the drive. If the fusion thinks that storing my daughters SIMMs needs to be on the SSD part of a fusion, i really don't care. I just would like to speed up the machine so that El Capitan will work and allow me to move this Mac to Sierra.

    I didn't think that the 2.5ghz i5 was a very slow machine. It just seems to crawl a bit and beech ball. Even now with Maverick if you have 2 people logged in at the same time it gets rather sluggish. For 16gb of RAM i know it's not a memory thing, so the only thing left is the physical hard drive.

    I hope that the spinning hard drive is not on it's way out. How would you test that sort of thing? I would think that SMART would tell you via the OS... is that a function that apple supports??
     
  5. for this macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    #5
    Although an SSD will definitely make it snappier, you don't need an SSD to run "current" newer versions of OS X. I've upgraded my 2012 i5 to Yosemite and later to El Capitan. It's as fast (or as slow) as Maverick with the stock spinning drive. I know because I have Maverick in another partition to compare with. I've not encountered the problems you described in Yosemite. The problem may be from other components or an earlier version of Yosemite.
     
  6. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #6
    my issues were that the computer would when calling up more than one application at a time, go into beachball spin hell and effectively lock up. If the computer went into sleep for more than 4-5 hours, it would never wake back up. effectively it was just impossible to use.

    At the time is was still under the 1 year warranty yet Apple could not diagnose any issues with the machine hardware wise and after 7 weeks of not being able to use the machine and waisting countless hours trying their diagnostics and the wipe, re-loading, test repeat gave up and went back to Maverick.

    My hope is that I can get a stable machine with adding an SSD to speed it up a bit.
     
  7. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    OP firstly as a Brit I feel I should apologise on behalf of the whole country for One Direction, we have as a country produced many fine musicians sadly One Erection are helping to average us down.

    Sounds to me like the 500gb spinner is dying, I would just bin it (how fast does it run on BlackMagicSpeedtest ?). My 2009 Mini runs fine with a Western Digital Black 750mb 7200 spinner. I'd be tempted as you've already bought the SSD to put a new 500 or 750 spinner in (had you not bought the ssd I would have suggested a straight 500 vs 500 swap - can you return it for a switch ?)

    Finally I have installed 3 SSD's in various machines and so far the usb key startup with a blanc ssd inside which you then format and load the osx too has worked very well (as has restore from timemachine but you have only 120 ssd vs what will be a larger backup)
     
  8. for this macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    #8
    Apple don't have a utility to test a hard drive throughly, especially for bad sectors. Their support also didn't test a drive for bad sectors, from my experience years ago. SMART doesn't put bad sectors into a serious category. So SMART will still report your drive is healthy even though it has bad sectors.

    I use smartmontools to test for bad sectors. It's a command line application but it's free and does the job well.
    http://mulita.com/blog/getting-smartmontools-up-and-running-on-mavericks/

    But bad sectors or a slow drive should not make the mini unable to wake up from sleep. That issue is probably from something else.
     
  9. roadkill401 thread starter macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #9
    You are likely right. I think that Apple had some really bad OS installers that do not check to make sure that all the support files (ktext) and everything it correct with an install. I've bought the kit so I might as well use it. (had a moment of weakness and ordered the upgrade) rather than phoning around to try and find a computer store that will install the drive for me at a reasonable price.
     
  10. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    If you download and run BlackMagicSpeedtest tomcheck read/write speeds I susoect you'll find a low number like 25/30-ish which ime shows the disk is not working correctly. My 2009 Mini with a WD Black Spinner gives 100/110-ish and the SSD I out into the wife's 2012 MBP gives 500 :) I don't know if your Mini is Sata 2 or 3 but an SSD should run at 250 for Sata 2 or 500 for Sata 3
     

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