Questions about adding internal SSD to base model 2012 Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ActionableMango, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #1
    I have a spare 60gb SSD I'd like to plop into my 2012 Mini. I've done my homework searching through the forums, finding the dual drive kits available, and looking through the iFixit instructions. Nevertheless, I have a couple of questions.

    First, there seems to be a lot of debate about the SSD being the top or bottom drive. For example, there are people that absolutely insist the added SSD cannot be the second drive, but also the iFixit instructions explicitly say to leave the HDD where it is and to add the SSD as a second drive. I found many people talking about there personal experience, but it all conflicts. Even worse, I found posts from people saying that fusion drives coming directly from Apple come either way (SSD on top and SSD on bottom). Does anyone understand what is going on?

    Second, I don't want this to be a Fusion setup. I assume this won't happen automatically and so I don't have to do anything special? My intent is to install OS X on the SSD and to use the HDD for not much more than a time machine destination for the SSD.
     
  2. hfg, Jul 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #2
    If you have a Server model that came with factory oem dual-drive cables, or have added a quality second SATA cable, it doesn't matter which drive is in which location. The lower drive is easier to exchange if needed, and might have better cooling due to the position near the air intake and the fact that it is screwed onto the metal shield plate. You do need to select which drive is the boot drive in SystemPreferences as usual. I suspect other poster's problems may relate to poor quality SATA cables attached to the higher speed SSD. It is much less risky (due to less disassembly) to leave the upper drive as is and add your drive to the lower bay if you have a choice. If you originally had a single drive system, you will have to work with what you have as the Mini seems to come from the factory with drives in either position.

    If you initialize the drives with the Disk Utility located in the recovery boot screen, then it will notice that both a SSD and Hard Disk are present and offer to "fix" your Fusion drive for you. You can simply exit that option if you don't want the Fusion drive create, format each drive normally, and proceed with the OS X installation on the SSD drive. You can also simply boot externally, format the drives as desired, and clone your external system to the SSD.

    The main thing is to not break any of the fragile connectors while working in the Mini. I have been inside several of them multiple times and managed to break the fan connector once. Fortunately replacement fans are readily available on eBay and I didn't break the motherboard connector. If you are careful, you can actually exchange the bottom drive without actually unplugging any connectors other than the SATA drive cable.

    Good luck ...
     
  3. Butchie-T, Jul 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015

    Butchie-T macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    When I purchased my 2012 Mini back in October of last year, I also purchased a second 2TB hard drive and, with the data doubler kit, added it as a second drive in the top bay. The OEM 500GB drive being installed in the bottom bay. I did not change this configuration and my OS boot is from the bottom drive.

    Recently I purchased a Samsung EVO 500GB SSD and, using CCC, cloned the OS drive to the SSD and replaced the 500GB hard drive with the SSD. Still in the bottom (top when you turn the Mac Mini over to work on.) and was not prompted to create a fusion setup. So currently I'm running with both drives separately and not fused.

    When I swapped the SDD, I did not even need to remove the ram to get to the drive as it is very accessible once you take out the wireless antenna, fan and the shroud.

    As for the debate on top or bottom. I just simply found out the location of my OS drive and just reinstalled it there. Personally I cannot see where it makes a difference whether you are using the SDD as a second drive or as the OS drive. Really makes no difference except for performance. Many folks are running a pure SDD setup so drive position does not really seem to be an issue.

    I just did this swap and really have not had an opportunity to put the SSD through its paces. While it seems that boot up time is still about the same, the applications loading do seem to be a bit snappier. I am running Mavericks and did have to enable trim support, other than that, no problems at all.

    Just be careful of those connectors when you remove and install them. Those danged things are tiny and can be easy to break if you are not slow and careful when disconnecting and reconnecting them.

    Bottom line, enjoy your Mini and don't worry about the external noise.
     
  4. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    True. I've slipped Crucial M500 SSD in and out of the lower bay of my 2012 mini a couple of times. After the first time it is a five minute operation.
     
  5. ActionableMango thread starter macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I appreciate it.
     

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