Replace Bottom HDD in 2012 Mini Server

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sean barry, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. sean barry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    Belding, MI
    #1
    Hello all,
    After perusing the sight for about an hour I found several threads about upgrading Mini HDDs but not the info I'm looking for. I am buying a 2012 server from a friend and want to replace the bottom 1TB HDD with a 750GB SSD I have sitting around. Much easier than replacing the top one I think. The question is, how easy? I have watched this;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSA65MjfRG8

    And it seems to me I do not need to remove the MB or unplug the antenna for that matter? Any advice for this operation? I am going to wipe both HDs and I have Sierra installed on the 750SSD so I don't think I need to worry about that? Thanks for any and all help.
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
  3. sean barry thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    Belding, MI
    #3
    Thanks for that info. I have replaced and added HDDs and SSDs a few times The hardest thing I have found is pulling the motherboard out. On the 3 I have done all the MBs where a b*tch to remove, needing enough force to break the MB in half! Well almost :D My main question is do I have to remove the MB to replace just the bottom HDD? Thanks again.
     
  4. seismick macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #4
    You don't have to remove the motherboard in order to accomplish what you're aiming for. I have done precisely this on a couple of Mac minis without any trouble. Replacing the bottom drive without manipulating the motherboard also means you don't risk breaking the IR sensor, which if you poke around the forum you'll see is a common issue.

    I found that the trickiest parts were 1) getting the SSD to slide properly into place such that the mounting screws rest in their corresponding slots inside the aluminum chassis and 2) getting the wifi plate to seat properly so that the screws go in without trouble. For the latter, I've fashioned a paperclip into a hook to apply gentle upward pressure as the wifi plate slides into place so that the subtle upper lip of the plate's rounded edge can rest on top of the chassis' edge. Difficult to describe but pretty self-evident once you give it a try.
     
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    You could also just plug in an external SSD and be up and running. I have a 2012 quad server and wanted a 1tb SSD to store my current video project. Got a Samsung t3 and am very happy. I was building heathkits when I was 11 years old, but really didn't want to go through all the hassle of opening my Mini and risking damage. It's a desktop computer that's already plugged into a bunch of peripherals, and the external drive is always available to use with my MacBook Air as needed.

    FWIW, here is what I get with the original Apple internal sm256e SSD on my 2012 server.

    [​IMG]


    And this is what I get with the 1tb Samsung T3 external USB 3.0 SSD

    [​IMG]

    The internal SSD is about 13% faster at writing and 20% faster at reading, so there is some advantage. But I hope my 2012 server will last a few more years and there just seems like too much risk in messing with these things that were clearly never intended to be opened in normal use. Just yesterday there was another thread about someone who is having problems after installing a SSD.

    The 2014 has a faster internal SSD interface, so I think you would see a more significant performance increase with an internal drive on those machines.
     
  6. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #6
    This past Sunday, I replaced the HDD (which was in the upper bay of my 2012 Mac mini) with an SSD, and I added a 1TB HDD to the empty lower bay. Basically, I had to take the entire computer apart. In preparation, I needed to watch all three OWC installation videos: 1) adding a second drive to the upper bay, 2) replacing a drive in the upper bay, and 3) replacing a drive in the lower bay. All the videos are good. #3 is the one you should watch. You don't need to remove the motherboard:

    https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/mac_mini2012_hd/

    I first looked at the printed instructions on how to do everything I needed to do, and they were semi-terrifying. Once I watched the videos, though, I was confident that I was up to the task. I was very careful and proceeded slowly, and all went well. I, too, had trouble removing the MB, but I finally figured out that the trick was to put the correct amount of force at the correct angle using the logic-board removal tool, and also making sure that the tool went as far into the holes as it could. The MB wouldn't budge, but when I finally pushed at a particular angle, it slid out easily.

    The one problem I encountered was that my Mac didn't recognize the bottom-bay HDD after I'd installed it. It turned out that the SATA connector wasn't fully snapped into the socket. Make sure it clicks and doesn't pry out easily. Also, it took me a while to get the wires situated properly so that the antenna plate seated properly. I didn't have any trouble seating the HDD, but some people have.

    Just be very patient, and you'll be fine!
     
  7. sean barry thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    Belding, MI
    #7
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2017 ---
    Thanks again folks. I see no problem in this operation. I remembered that video but could not find it. I feel I am good to go!!.
     

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