Split the fusion drive on my "new" 2014 Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Boyd01, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #1
    Couldn't resist any longer and just ordered a new 2014 2.8ghz/8gb/1tb fusion Mini on sale at B&H Photo for $529. Have been using a base 2014 1.4ghz/4gb/500gb HD mini as an iTunes server for the past 3 years and have been concerned about what I might replace it with when it inevitably dies (it runs 24/7 in a closed cabinet). The new mini is too expensive, and frankly it's over-powered for what I need. So this seems like a good deal (Apple sells the same model as a refurb for $849!).

    My thought is to split the 128gb SSD from the fusion drive and use it as a boot drive (just like a 2018 mini, LOL), then use the 1tb internal HD as a shared network drive. All my media is on an external 3tb disk that is cloned to a backup disk every night. 128gb is more than enough room for the boot drive, I think the old server only has about 50gb on the internal drive.

    I found this guide to splitting a fusion disk: https://www.lifewire.com/split-fusion-drive-apart-2260166

    What are your thoughts? Is there a better guide somewhere? Is there some reason why I shouldn't do this? Apparently these Mini's ship with Sierra pre-installed. That is fine with me, I'm also running Sierra on my 2012 quad Mini and 2013 MacBook Air. But is there some reason why I should update to a newer version of MacOS? This machine just runs iTunes with home sharing and file sharing enabled. Don't use it to browse the web, send e-mail or anything else. The old 2014 Mini is running El Capitan and has been very stable, it only gets re-booted two or three times a year.
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    If you want to do this, go ahead and do it.

    If all you're going to really use is "the 128gb of space" that is on the SSD, there may not be a compelling need to do it... since the HDD portion of the fusion drive will just "sit there", unused, and not effect the overall performance of the SSD.

    I'd suggest that you just "try it with the fusion" first (and with Low Sierra as well).
    Run it this way for 3-4 weeks, then evaluate.
    Is it performing up to your needs and expectations?
    If so, I'd just "leave it be"...
     
  3. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2018
    #3
    I don't see why not. I have a 128gb 2018 model, the space is manageable. SSDs slow down and wear out more quickly after being fulled to the brim.

    I'd rather manage the space myself than to trust Apple's automated software is doing that. This is the company who puts style over function, run by a stingy CEO.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    IMO that guide is making it more complicated than it needs to be. Just command-option-r boot into Internet recovery then in the Utilities menu open Terminal and run the command below (including the quotes) to blow off the Fusion drive.

    By default the Fusion drive is called Macintosh HD and this will kill it without having to fuss with those UUIDs.

    Code:
    diskutil cs delete "Macintosh HD"
    Then use Disk Util to format both drives and install the OS in the flash drive and you are done.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208312

    I would go ahead and update to Mojave. Starting with High Sierra there are some macOS Server features that were moved to the base OS that might be of use to you the way you are using this Mini.
     
  5. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    I had been thinking of doing just this. OTOH, I might just let it sit unused for awhile, since I don’’t have an immediate need to replace the old Mini. Just decided I’d go for this deal while it’s still available. In the past, I let a couple other B&H deals slip past and later wished I’d pulled the trigger. ;)

    But, most likely, I will split the SSD when I initially setup the new server. If I’m ever gonna do it, might as well be done with it.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2019 ---
    Thanks! Had not looked into this at any depth yet, but it sure sounded more complicated than necessary. And I have also been thinking about updating to Mojave, for the reasons you cited - specifically the time machine server. My 2tb Time Capsule is getting old and I need to think about a replacement for that too. :)

    That article suggested that if you used Disk Utility to reformat the split drives, they would automatically be re-combined into a Fusion Drive again. So that made me wonder what would happen during an upgrade to Mojave. Would APFS be installed on the SSD, or would it end up as a Fusion Drive with HFS?
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    No... DU won't put the Fusion back together. They may be confusing DU under El Capitan that would offer to rebuild the Fusion drive when you started it, but that was removed after El Capitan.

    https://forums.macrumors.com/posts/22923135/

    Here is an old post of mine showing just that.

    If you do what I described Mojave will change the flash drive to APFS during the install and you should be good to go.
     
  7. Boyd01, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019

    Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    Thanks for your help - this worked perfectly! However it couldn't be done when I booted from the Fusion Drive. No problem, because I had already cloned the old Mini to a Samsung T3 (external USB SSD). So, I booted from the T3, executed the diskutil command from terminal and the drives were quickly split.

    There has been some confusion about whether Apple was using really small SSD's in the Mini Fusion Drives. I can confirm that the 2.8ghz 2014 Mini I got from B&H has a 128gb SSD. It clocks at ~700MB/sec write and 760MB/sec read - which I what I expected and is the same as my 2013 MacBook Air.

    I didn't need to use Disk Utility at all BTW. While booted from my T3 clone, I just went to the App Store and installed Mojave on the internal 128gb SSD. That took about 20 minutes (with FIOS), and then it took about 20 minutes more to migrate all the files from the T3 clone. There was only about 30gb on the old Mini, so I was surprised that the migration took this long from the T3 - it was reporting 331MB/sec reading the files.

    So this was easily accomplished and the new server is a huge upgrade from my old base 2014 Mini, with twice the CPU speed, twice the RAM, a disk that is 7x faster and a price around 500 bucks. :) Here's a link to the B&H sale, if anyone is interested (no affiliation)

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086737-REG/apple_mgeq2ll_a_mac_mini_2_8_ghz.html
     
  8. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2018
    #8
    If I needed another mac, this actually would be under consideration.

    That said, this is the exception to the rule and not how good of a deal the 2014 minis are in general (as this was the top of the line model at almost half off). Good find, I would have glazed over it without even a thought otherwise.
     
  9. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
    Totally agree - and I'll confess that the refurb 2018 i3 Mini for $679 was also tempting

    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...mini-36GHz-quad-core-Intel-Core-i3-Space-Gray

    But the T2 chip has a lot of new issues I don't want to deal with, while another 2014 Mini is a known quantity that quickly swaps with my old 1.4 ghz Mini. And the $150 savings will pay for lunch for the next two weeks. :)

    And it also feels like a real computer, compared to that disaster known as the 1.4ghz/4gb mini. Boots into Mojave in about 20 seconds, apps open instantly from the dock. It literally took about 40 seconds just to open system preferences on the old Mini. Even though my AppleTV3's only support 100mb ethernet, they feel faster because there's less latency accessing the new server.
     
  10. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2018
    #10
    Yea, that 1.4/4gb 2014 model is garbage. It's probably the main reason why the 2014 has such a bad rep.

    T2 has never been an issue for me, but I'm guessing audio professionals and linux users weren't happy.
     
  11. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #11
    B&H was was also blowing out the 1.4ghz 2014 Mini for something like $360 but they sold out quickly. For a simple little server, that wasn't a bad deal IMO. Mine ran 24/7 with virtually no problems for 3 years and was able to saturate gigabit ethernet with AFP file sharing from an external USB 3.0 hard drive.

    I may re-purpose mine as a specialized server to support software that I create.
     

Share This Page

10 June 5, 2019