SSD upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by g.t. rags, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. g.t. rags macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2010
    Long Island
    Does anyone know if Apple, or even micro center, will upgrade a 2012 mac mini to a SSD, as well as install OSX on the machine.

    i'd also like to keep my TB HDD that came with the machine inside as well....

    i just don't think i have the capability to do this myself.
  2. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    Apple won't do it but some 3rd party resellers will and they should let you keep the stock drive. You can get a kit to install a second drive in the Mini if you want both drives still in there. If you want to use the original as an external drive they could sell you an enclosure and put the drive in that for you.
  3. Kentuckienne, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014

    Kentuckienne macrumors regular


    Sep 19, 2013
    I just did this yesterday, and you can do it. Order the SSD drive from OWC (macsales). You'll need to check "about this mac" - "system report" - "hardware" - "SATA/SATA Express" and then look at the right hand pane. Under "Apple HDD" heading you will see an entry for "bay" - if it's "lower" it means the 1 TB drive is located on the bottom of the mac as it sits normally, and you will order the data doubler kit along with the SSD drive. That kit includes a bracket for putting the drive in the upper bay along with some screwdriver, torx and pry tool. (NOTE: I went and bought a kit from iFixit afterwards because you really, really need that spudger).

    OWC has online videos to walk you through everything. They also send you a paper instruction sheet, and you can watch the video while doing the work if you have tv/phone/another device that can youtube.

    I found the process quite simple with all the directions. There are some connectors that you can break if you pull on them wrong, but the video/print docs point out to be careful you're not prying the socket off the board. And the little wireless antenna connector was hard to put back on because it was so tiny -if I'd only had the spudger ...

    I installed the new drive, booted the computer, ran disk utility from the old drive to format the new one into one partition, then booted again into recovery partition, connected to wifi, and selected "install OS" on the new drive. It asked me to verify my apple id, then downloaded and installed Mavericks on the SSD. Then I migrated the OS to the new drive. Main thing - be sure you know the network password when you boot in recovery mode because it won't be stored in the settings any more.

    At that point, I shrank the 1 TB drive down and made a second partition, and once I move all the data off the one partition I'll delete the OS off the old drive. Doing this, let me keep the SSD without making a fusion drive of it.

    If you aren't comfortable taking things apart, there are surely apple certified repair shops who will do this for you. OWC might have a name. But if you want to give it a try, the documentation really is good.
  4. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    OKay, I just did this myself and have a couple thoughts to add to Kentuckienne's post.

    You need a kit no matter what, but save yourself some time/effort and make sure you get the correct kit in the first place. Check if your stock drive is in the upper vs lower bay as that changes which OWC kit you need. If your existing drive is in the upper bay you need the kit with an extra wrench as well as a couple of studs.

    For the SSD itself consider the Crucial mx100 series. Anandtech review here. $110 gets you a 256GB drive, or for 512GB the price is $215 (Amazon or Newegg). OWC's Mercury Electra 6G drives are $150 or $290 respectively.

    I actually formatted and set up the SSD via an external USB3 enclosure prior to the install and even ran off the drive for a couple days. Probably not worth going out of your way to do this, but I had the enclosure and preferred to ensure the SSD was working fine before digging in.
    NOTE: it's really helpful to have a second computer or an ipad handy to view OWC's video or look up something while you're in the middle of the upgrade... :)
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    From the post above:
    [[ I actually formatted and set up the SSD via an external USB3 enclosure prior to the install and even ran off the drive for a couple days. Probably not worth going out of your way to do this, but I had the enclosure and preferred to ensure the SSD was working fine before digging in. ]]

    You did it the right way.
    A little caution "up front" saves grief later on.

    Did you try any speed tests between the USB3 dock and the internal installation?
  6. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    It's not an easy task as replacing a Macbook HDD. I would send your Mini to the technicians, preferable to an AASP (the nearest one from my house does this kind of upgrade, but don't know about USA AASPs). Be prepared for paying a good amount of money, so maybe you'll want to save money by buying a 120GB SSD and then setting up a fusion drive.

    Since you live in USA where buying parts from Ebay is easy and fast, I'd do it by myself. I bet it's even possible to build a Mac Mini from the scratch only by buying used/new parts. Have the right tools (I had to improvise turning some screws with spliers, which is very prone to hitting a logic board chip and messing everything. Look carefully both iFixit and OWC tutorials while removing the components. Some parts are more tight (wi-fi grill, HDD), others not really (like the connectors). Have plastic/non-conductive spudgers so you can reach connectors without having to pull wires for removing them.

    Well... it isn't an easy task. I wouldn't probably do it on a brand new Mini in Brazil (where it's hard finding non-standard components like those small connectors).
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Agreed. Installing the SSD wasn't "hard" considering I've been digging around inside computers for a couple decades, but it does require time and care. I also had a second clone on another external drive as well as Time Machine backup. Yes I do wear a belt with my suspenders. :D

    I did just out of curiosity, but didn't record numbers. 512GB Crucial mx100 in a cheap enclosure netted around 300+MBps via Blackmagic if I remember correctly. Same SSD mounted internally pegs the meters at 500+MBps. Fun to know for bench racing, but in real world usage I doubt I'd ever notice the difference.


    Yes, I'm not sure I'd recommend this for an inexperienced individual. While the process isn't that difficult technically, there's a certain amount of confidence that's very helpful.

    Apart from ensuring you have the right tools, the one thing I would emphasize most strongly is don't try to force anything into place. If something doesn't seem to be going into place relatively easily, sit back and figure out what's going on and/or what you're doing wrong. The wifi antenna / grill assembly was annoying, as was getting the SSD placed correctly so it lined up with the screw holes in the grill assembly. (as mentioned, I have one of the mini's with the OEM drive in the upper bay)
  8. g.t. rags thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2010
    Long Island
    I have all the tools needed, but I feel it would be done with no confidence.

    I've swapped out hd's in pc's, as well replaced a battery in my 09 Mbp, but I think this is just out of my pay grade.
  9. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Are you sure on tools? If you have the tools, like the teeny tors drivers and the motherboard ejection tool, and regularly fiddle with things that require such small tools... You should be fine, dont understand why you hesitate.

    IFixit has a good guide, and a tool kit.

    I did it about 3 weeks ago. Its not bad. Go slow, follow the pictures.
  10. g.t. rags thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2010
    Long Island
    i guess I'm just being a manjina
  11. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    As Clint says "A man's got know his limitations"

    I am a bit of a clutz and whilst I replaced the HDD in my 2009 Mini the newer machines are more tricky. It's no crime to have someone do this for you. The upgrades you want will give you a very nice machine.
  12. bradkb macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2012
    I was nervous about doing my Mac mini, got the Kit of ebay (£13.99) which was the connector ribbon, screw drivers and torques, and the motherboard ejection tool, as well as the plastic sploger. Included as well were the screws for the second drive.

    All in all, took less than 20 mins, straight forward if you follow ifixits walk through, just take your time.

    I already had a 250gb SSD in my old laptop, I no longer use it, so formatted that, and used it.

    Now OSX is installed on the SSD, and all my user data is on the original HDD, and my mac mini is absolutely lightening quick.

    Well worthwhile upgrade, OSX just flies now.
  13. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    Also remember after everything is done to go in to settings and select the new ssd as the new boot drive

    After installing the ssd I was still getting the old hardrive reboot times . Cause the mac was searching for the old drive first before finding the crucial ssd
  14. Gpulvi macrumors member


    Oct 11, 2011
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
  15. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    I have just finished installing and setting up my gf's 2012 mac mini and I will reiterate a few comments from this thread.

    1. The Crucial MX100 512 GB is da bomb. I'm getting 470mb/s write and 500mb/s read which is faster than my early 2013 rMBP with 512GB

    2. Although this is not that difficult it also can be a bit tricky and it may be better paying a shop to do it. The 2012 is tighter than the 2011, not as much room to disconnect the power supply from the logic board. Also it's very tricky getting the wi fi screen seated in it's little ledge. I don't think it will be be much fun for you.

    3. The free Trim Enabler is as easy as pressing a button.

    4. You can download DiskMakerX and then download Mavericks from the App store but don't install it. Use DiskMakerX to create a boot install disk. You'll need an 8GB or larger thumbdrive, the faster the better.
  16. JohnPi314 macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2014
    Since this is an old thread (Jun 25) I don't know if you will see this post or not.

    I don't know about MicroCenter, but OWC will install the SSD for you.
  17. g.t. rags thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2010
    Long Island
    I saw it. Lol

    Going to look into when I get home. Going to puerto plata tomorrow morning for a long weekend

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