Replaced 2012 internal HDD with SSD the "easy" way

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by fhall1, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #1
    The price of the Samsung 840 1TB SSD drive (on sale) finally made me buy one. After watching a bunch of Youtube videos, reading the ifixit guide and a bunch of forum posts I took the plunge on my 2012 Mac Mini (already upgraded to 16GB RAM when I first got it). My main fear in all this was breaking off one of those tiny connectors - something I did on a Dell laptop a couple years ago.

    Anyway - after cloning the internal boot drive to the SSD in an external FW adapter using CCC I was ready to go.

    The point of my post is to tell folks on the fence that it was relatively easy if you have the proper Torx and Hex drivers, a spudger, and a sturdy business card - along with some patience. After the disk cloning, the physical replacement took less than 30 minutes.

    I won't go through the entire process since you can see it at a bunch of places, but wanted to let folks know that:

    1) No need to remove the case screw that is on the opposite side of the logic board from the hard drive bay.
    2) No need to slide out the logic board at all
    3) No need to remove the RAM modules
    4) No need to unplug the fan - just unscrew and tip it out of the way
    5) No need to unplug the WiFi antenna grate - also, just unscrew and tip it out of the way
    6) The only connector I had to remove was the HDD SATA connector (using the spudger)

    Once the SATA cable is unplugged, the existing HDD can be carefully maneuvered out and the new SSD in (with help from the business card)with everything else still plugged into the logic board.

    Plug in the SATA cable, replace the grate, fan, cowl, screws and case bottom and the machine now boots up quickly and flies through tasks. It's amazing how fast it feels now compared to the old 1TB spinning drive.
     
  2. macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #2
    I'd love to do that with one of my older (2010) iMacs, but I don't have the stomach for it, and I'm worried I might screw up one of my most reliable desktops, the only one still running SL.
     
  3. ABCDEF-Hex, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014

    ABCDEF-Hex macrumors 6502

    ABCDEF-Hex

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Location:
    NC
    #3
    Oh - one of the "cave people".

    When Flash Gordon discovered the clay people (in the very old Flash Gordon series) they were running Snow Leopard.
     
  4. wwohl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    #4
    Good to hear,

    I agree, it was very easy. I had issues once my drive was installed because the ifixit cable wasnt working with the SSD (a known issue). I wound up assembling and disassembling my mini 3 times.

    By the third time, I could have it completely disassembled in under 3 minutes and back together in under 5. Its super easy, the parts are very unlikely to break (i have no idea how so many people have encountered broken connectors).

    Having torn apart a few iphones (which are horrifically tedious). This was a breeze.

    Buy the ifixit kit with tools and youll have no issues. If you have a SATA to USB or TB adapter, you can even set the drive up before you install. I had the operating system running off the SSD on the SATA adapter a day before my dual HD kit arrived. Once it did, I just threw the drive in and booted up. Worked like a charm

    Bill
     
  5. macs4nw, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014

    macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #5
    Go ahead, and have your fun, but that particular machine has been, and to this day still is, one of my most reliable computers, and I have not seen the need to upgrade its OS. I'm running ML on two newer computers, one of them an all-flash laptop, and when I buy a new desktop, it'll naturally be running Mavericks. (And will probably be all-flash.)

    But even now, I still use that 2010 desktop regularly, and though slower than the laptop, it continues to serve me well.
     
  6. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #6
    Something to point out is that the difficulty comes when adding a second drive or if the factory drive is installed in the "upper" bay. Apparently not all Minis came with the drive in the "lower" bay in which case you do have to take the entire Mini apart.

    Otherwise you got it, simply replacing the drive in the lower bay is a whole lot easier. :)
     
  7. jwhite4304 macrumors member

    jwhite4304

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
    High Point NC
    #7
    How can you determine the drive is in lower bay without opening the mini?
    Thanks,
    Jimbo
     
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #8
    Roughly put:
    2012 models have an upper bay drive, 2011 ones a lower bay one.
    If you want to add an SSD or replace a 2011 drive, you can go the easy route. The only need to do the problematic route is when you need to replace the 2012 original drive, or in case of a server-version with 2 drives, the top drive failed. So basically in 99% of the "I want to add an SSD" cases, there are zero problems in using the easy route.
     
  9. fhall1 thread starter macrumors 68040

    fhall1

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #9
    Not necessarily 100% true....my 2012 had its single, original HDD installed in the lower bay (closest to the black plastic case bottom).
     
  10. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Location:
    Sarf London
    #10
    Click on the disk's icon in Disk Utility. In the bottom left of the pane it will give you the 'Connection ID' of Lower or Upper.
     
  11. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #11
    I have two 2012s. Both came with the disk in the lower bay.
     
  12. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #12

    As others have said, this is incorrect. My 2012 also came with the original drive in the lower bay.
     
  13. kissmo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Location:
    Budapest, Hungary
    #13
    Mine too.
    Which made me bend and twist the data cable which I bought from iFixit.

    Nevertheless it worked fine.
    I was happy to not have to remove the entire logic board outside.
     
  14. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #14
    I thought that if your drive is in the lower bay that is the one closest to the antenna and in order to add a second drive, you do have to take the entire thing apart? I ordered an SSD and the OWC data doubler kit because according to my system properties, my hard drive is in the lower bay and the instructions make that installation seem a lot more difficult than if the original drive was in the upper bay...I could be missing something...I don't have any of the tools needed to take it apart so just going by everything I have read online.
     
  15. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #15
    Lower bay is the one nearest the cover, i.e. at the top when the unit is turned upside down for working on. This position needs no extra hardware for adding/changing a drive. If you want to add a second drive (i.e. in the upper bay - the position nearest the apple logo - the lower one when it is turned upside down) then you need some extra parts - drive cable and mounting frame).
     
  16. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #16
    I don't know about the pre-2012 models, but the 2012 Minis have the drive caddy already. The OWC Data Doubler kit comes with the cable, tools, screws and rubber isolators for the drive screws.
     
  17. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
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    #17
    Good to know, does the OWC kit have the cable bent into the right shape ? If you buy the cable from iFixit then it is bent into the right shape AFAIK.
     
  18. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #18
    This is what I ordered, thinking back I think I had to bend the cable at the drive connector, but I didn't have to do any crazy origami or anything. Definitely not anything that I thought was weird or unreasonable.

    Just remembered that it also came with the metal tool to remove the logic board from the case. Very well done kit.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AN5PUSE/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  19. drsox, Apr 22, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014

    drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #19
    I have a 2012 Mini, but I didn't see any second drive caddy in it. Maybe I didn't delve deep enough into the guts to notice. All I did was to replace the one drive (now done twice as I have just now upgraded the SSD to an Evo from an 830). The original drive was in the lower position. I already had the tools from an iFixit repair kit I bought in 2011.

    Did you have any problems with the OWC cable connector not making good contact with the second drive ? I read on this forum there are problems with the iFixit second drive cable connector.
     
  20. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #20
    The caddy is literally the last part you can remove from the case since it's buried under everything. This is it in the pic, just a black piece of plastic.

    [​IMG]

    No problems whatsoever, everything worked the first time I put it all back together.
     
  21. drsox, Apr 22, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014

    drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
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    #21
    Thanks. In that case (!) I didn't see it. Deffo will get the OWC cable then.
    UPDATE : Amazon now sending it to me. Hurrah.
     
  22. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #22
    Ok so I am going to have to take it apart to add the second drive.

    I was reading about a small percentage that came with the original drive mounted in the upper bay so adding a second drive was as easy as sticking it in there without having to take the entire thing apart. OWC sells kits for both.

    I am going to try this weekend. I'm slightly freaking out a little bit because I probably couldn't even get the mac mini back into the box that it shipped in let alone fit all of these itty bitty parts back into the mac mini. I have built a few computers in my day but never anything that required fingernails or a spudger!
     
  23. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Location:
    Northeast
    #23
    I have a 2012. I had the "easy" way memorized from online videos. I studied it before hand. Had no idea there was an upper and lower bay. Found out too late that mine was in the lower and I did not have the tool.

    I was pissed. A brain surgeon I am not.

    I took it to a dealer where they completed the job. I guess I could have eventually done it, but I was nervous about breaking my machine.

    As it was, I broke off a piece of black plastic so small I could not tell where it came from. But, to be fair, I think that was when I was replacing the RAM. Ouch :)

    Works super fine, so all is good. I cannot imagine running this without an SSD. I wanted to replace the drive that was in there as I figured with 2 drives, especially with one a spinner, there would be more heat, and these run a bit too hot for my tastes by default.

    My fan control software helps with that.
     
  24. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #24
    Just finished installing the second drive and it was a lot easier than I thought it would have been. I did end up stripping a screw which luckily it isn't one of the important ones...I also forgot to put the rubber thingy around the power adapter. By the time I realized it, I wasn't about to take the logic board back out again.

    Very smooth process. The OWC instructions are spot on. Much better than the ones I read on iFixIt with their "to put back together follow these instructions in reverse"

    The only thing I had an issue with really was reconnecting the antenna plate. Also the antenna plate was screwed on insanely tight and these little screw drivers were a pain to get any leverage with hence the stripped screw.

    This has been an awesome upgrade :) The only problem now is that to get a MacBook Pro with similar specs it would cost a fortune.
     
  25. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #25
    Well done you. I always worry when disconnecting the fan connector as the leads are quite fiddley. I also find that standing the Mini on its side is the only way to ensure that the lower bay drive is securely seated in the edge support holes (not in the manual).
     

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