Strange 2012 Mac Mini SSD upgrade problem

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Alfuh, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. Alfuh macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2009
    I just picked up a 2012 Quad core and want to get a new SSD and some more RAM in it... and so the journey began

    I picked up THIS DRIVE along with the Data Doubler Kit

    Followed the install video, build it back up and ... nothing. Drive not recognized in Disk Utility program or with Terminal diskutil list command.

    Now, I know this isn't exactly unique and after searching around a bit I found a few things that could fix it.

    I take it apart again and connected the NEW drive with the NEW ribbon to the OLD (original) SATA connection.
    The drive was recognized, I formatted it.

    Take everything apart again and try to connect the OLD drive with the NEW ribbon to the NEW SATA connection
    The drive was recognized. Nice.

    At this point I have confirmed that both the NEW and OLD drive are operational. The NEW and OLD ribbons are operational. The NEW and the OLD SATA ports are operational.

    Should be good to go and based on what I was reading a lot of people ended up putting the NEW SSD drives into the bottom (closest to black twisting bottom of mac mini) bay with the OLD ribbon (the size and shape of them means the ribbons only work with their intended bay) and putting the OLD platter drive into the top bay using the NEW ribbon.

    Boot that up and ... Only the OLD platter drive is recognized! I have already established the NEW SSD is operational and has been recognized using both the connected OLD ribbon AND the OLD SATA port ... wtf can be going on?

    I've seen people have issues with it not being recognized and having to do a SATA to USB external connection, but I have already had it recognized and formatted using Disk Utility.

    Generally when using this sort of process of elimination I can pin point a hardware failure somewhere, but EVERYTHING has proved operational using the different drive, port and ribbon combinations.

    I should also mention that I have at various times booted into recovery using the old platter drive, booted into internet recovery with just the new SSD in and no platter drive, and booted into a USB recovery when I had both drives in as well as just the SSD drive in ... in all instances the only time I was able to recognize the SSD is when it was alone (no platter drive) and connected to the OLD SATA port.

    I'm at a loss ... any insight is VERY appreciated!
  2. Alfuh thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2009
  3. dhmoore74 macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2014
    I haven't read that you have re-installed the OS on the new SSD.

    Question: When you boot the Mac Mini, and hold the option key do you see the two drives?

    If so I think what you need to do now is boot using a USB with Mavericks or Yosemite and then install the OS to the new SSD. After this is complete, you need to boot again holding the option key and select the SSD.

    Then if your intention is to use the original HDD as a data drive you will need to open disk utility and reformat the old HDD and name the partition Data. .

    Now reboot and you will be good to go.
  4. Alfuh thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2009
    Thanks for the reply.

    When I boot into recovery the only option is the old drive and the recovery partition of the old drive.

    The Mac is on 10.9.5, do you think updating to 10.10 would help anything? I can most definitely do that and then create a USB recovery from 10.10.

    Then I can take it apart again and connect everything in the configuration that gets the new drive to be recognized (new SSD drive, & new ribbon connected to original port) and install OS X 10.10 via USB recovery.

    Does that sound about right?

    Thanks again for replying, the thread keeps getting buried beneath 2014 purchase questions lol
  5. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Make sure that after you screw down the shield plate, that the SATA connectors are still seated firmly in their sockets on the main board. Sometimes, I have fount that tightening the lower drive screws through the shield plate seems to jack the cable connector out of the socket slightly.
  6. dhmoore74 macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2014
    Don't boot to the recovery partition....

    You are holding CMD+R on boot. Try holding just the Option Key upon boot. See if you see both drives at this point.

    If so, then you really need to have a boot-able USB and do a clean install and point the install to the new SSD. Once installed you should be able to see the 2nd drive the HDD.

    You can even use Disk Utility to erase the old HDD if needed at that point.

    If not...
  7. Alfuh thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2009
    I went and took it all apart again, double checked the connections of the ribbons and they are good to go.

    I swapped the new drive, with the new ribbon, to the original SATA port (after just taking out the old drive).

    I held the option key to go into the regular recovery and don't see the new drive at this point (but there isn't any recovery on there).

    In recovery I am able to see the SSD at this point so I can give it a go to install a clean OSX ... hopefully that would help with this next issue:

    Using the SAME setup and just adding the platter drive, with the original ribbon, to the extra SATA port ... causes my SSD to disappear! I can't seem to get the mac to recognize both drives at the same time!

    Do you think I just install OSX on the SSD while I can get it to show up and hope that that would help?

    So damn frustrating :mad:
  8. dhmoore74 macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2014
    ok... I don't think I mentioned before. The new SSD needs to be installed on the original SATA port. I will assume the original HDD was installed in the lower bay.

    So...proper install would be to install the new SSD in the lower bay with the original SATA cable connection. Install the original HDD in the upper bay using the new SATA connection cable that came with your upgrade kit.

    It sounds like you are on the right path if you have install just the new SSD on the original cable in the original bay. If you want to install the OS at this time on the new SSD that will work just fine. After the install is complete you can open the mini back up and install the original HDD in the upper bay using the new SATA cable. Then you can reboot the system and it will come up with the new install on the SSD. Now you can use Disk Utility to reformat and erase the HDD and begin using it as a DATA drive.

    If you have problems, let me know. Maybe I you can give me a call and I can walk you thru it
  9. Alfuh thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2009
    Thanks for the advice and explanation. I've really had a hell of a time trying to get this going and I think I'm going to just follow exactly what you said here.

    My original intention was to create a Fusion Drive with the two drives, but it has been an absolute nightmare. Here is the latest update:

    I got a SATA to USB wire off Amazon and hooked the SSD to my iMac and formatted it. This made it viewable in the location that you mention above (as the bottom position with the original cable).

    From here I went and did the Fusion Drive setup ... create LVG and Partition, install OSX to the Partition and then a 5 hour restore of my iMac onto the computer. I think everything is good, but then I notice that the partition I have everything installed on is 1TB! My original HDD is 1TB and the SSD is 240GB ... I lost the SSD in the Fusion process somehow!

    So I get back into a recovery and destroy the LVG and Partition. Time to start from scratch. Take the SSD and format it once again as an external drive on my iMac and now it is once again not being recognized in the Mac Mini ... it's been over a week!

    ***** the Fusion Drive. I'll just install on the SSD and use the HDD as storage :confused:

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