Supersize Mac Mini 2009

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by PeterJP, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. PeterJP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #1
    Hi,

    First of all, let me say that I'm really enjoying my Mac Mini 2009. It's a neat little computer that, in its stock version, is already quite capable. However, I'd like to give it a major hack & upgrade to replace a major part of my current computer equipment at home. Here's what I have:

    - An old(er) PC with 1.5TB storage for TV
    - The Mac Mini with the standard 160GB drive, currently only used for some light web based stuff with an external 500GB USB drive for Time Machine
    - A custom built mini-ITX FreeBSD NAS with 2x1.5TB in JBOD set up as a backup for the PC and some sort of file sharing between PC and Mac

    The TV on PC will be kicked out in favor of a proprietary set top box. All the rest of the media is now also on the PC. Here's what I would like to end up with:

    - The Mac Mini with an SSD (boot/system, preferably internal) + 3x 1.5TB drives. One 1.5TB would be local data (media), the other 2x1.5TB would probably be set up for Time Machine + backup from other computers (laptops) in the house. At least 2 of the 1.5TB drives would go in one of these: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/esata/Elite-AL_Pro-RAID_Ready_Dual-Drive

    I know my Mac Mini supports SATA port duplicators, I just can't figure out how this all works. I read through PhilipMa's articles, but I don't understand what mods I have to do internally to get multiple (e)SATA cables coming out of the Mac. Is there a list of components and things to do available ? I have plenty of PC setup experience but I want to prepare before I dive in :D

    Thanks,


    peter.
     
  2. philipma1957, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #2
    I just woke up it is 540 am here in the usa.

    you need a few parts I do not know if you can get them in europe.

    the first part will work if you cut one of the little black tabs off , that end goes into the mini thre ohe end goes into the external case.

    http://www.satacables.com/

    you need a tray if you have a 1 bay / hdd mac mini.

    I am not sure if the tray I linked to will work.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SATA-2nd-HD...ay_Caddies&hash=item416232f03c#ht_4765wt_1165



    if the tray is correct it is drop in for the dvd player. you will need to cut a hole in the center so on cable goes below to the bottom hdd sata connection the other cable goes to the top in the tray. I used velcro to keep the cables in place.
     

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  3. PeterJP, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #3
    Philipma !

    Ignore this message, as I've done some more reading up... see the message below :)

    Good morning ! That is what I call dedication to the Mac forums :)


    Thanks for the links.

    I was thinking to put an SSD where the current HDD is. I would kick out the SuperDrive (mount in an USB enclosure) and leave that part empty. That's enough space to route cables & to make sure there can be some air ventilation. I am reading your articles at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1178755. Very interesting, but here are the parts I don't understand. Click on the URL to see one of your photos.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=291587&d=1309341163

    What are you screwing into the Mac here ?

    http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=291585&d=1309341163

    I think you cut a hole through your tray here to route the cable ? Why are you using the little connector that looks like a gender changer ?

    PS: I would prefer using regular SATA cables: the connectors are smaller which makes them easier to configure inside the Mac. So converting to eSATA is not needed in my case.


    Thanks,

    Peter.
     
  4. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #4
    SATA duplicator

    Philipma,

    Reading up on your first eSATA hack, I see that all you're doing is take one cable from each SATA connector (DVD + HDD) and bring them out.

    I think I read somewhere that SATA duplicators could be used on these Mac minis. That would bring the number of ports to 4. Is that true ? Or is there a limitation ?

    If duplicators cannot be used, I need to get RAID enclosures, which would make things more expensive, but still possible.

    Thanks,


    Peter.
     
  5. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #5
    Nope

    Hi,

    After some more research, it would seem like SATA multipliers are either not supported on the Mac Mini, or they aren't the best idea because it means sharing one SATA channel with multiple drives. I wanted to get 4 SATA ports (boot SSD + 3x 1.5TB) but I don't want to compromise the SSD's speed. The 1.5TB drives would be one for data + 2 for backup etc. That sort of setup requires at least 3 SATA ports (SSD + 1.5TB data + RAID enclosure for 2x 1.5TB) and will not work.

    Back to the drawing board :)


    Peter.
     
  6. philipma1957, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #6
    these work


    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00342UT84...&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&ref=asc_df_B00342UT84


    you can use 1 ssd in the bottom of the mini. then run the cable on the tray top cut no hole in the tray. lead the cable out to the sansdigital. the sansdigital can run up to 2 3tb hdds in raid0 or raid 1.


    the 2009 mini is tricky it has a bridge that is 1 sata to 2 sata jacks. the photo you asked about is me screwing the tray into the top of the bridge. if you run 1 ssd in the mini and the sansdigital you will have a nice mini. I have found that the 2009 mini loves this ssd;

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-MZ-...isk_Drives&hash=item35baaa5e97#ht_2073wt_1183

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-MZ7..._Disk_Drives&hash=item2a204c88b5#ht_843wt_950

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-SAMSUNG...Disk_Drives&hash=item4ab90cd85e#ht_890wt_1183



    he will ship it to europe:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-256...ate_Drives&hash=item27c9012fc0#ht_1516wt_1183
     
  7. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #7
    Why don't you just get an extrenal 4TB or 6TB Western Digital My Book Studio II and connect it via Firewire 800? They are only $330-$430 dollars, and you can save your self so much time and hassle. Firewire should be plenty fast for serving media.
     
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #8
    the sansdigital in raid0 is over 200mbs read and write.

    the wd is about 80mbs read and write.

    personally have done both the sansdigital setup is better. super stable rock solid . whether the op needs this much speed i do not know. I found that my 09 minis just were too slow with jobs like handbrake the cpus had become outdated.
     
  9. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #9
    No doubt the sansdigital is faster, but if the OP is using it for a media server, then firewire speed should be plenty fast. Heck, my 2009 mini has no trouble serving up media for Plex clients with media stored on a USB 2 drive, and the WD firewire should be 2-3x faster, with less CPU overhead. No mods required, just plug in and go. But, it depends on the needs of the OP....
     
  10. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #10
    Hi Mikepro, Philipma,

    Thanks for all your advice. It's an interesting discussion. My current setup is as described in the OP: PC (1,5TB), Mac, NAS (3TB for backups and file serving). My ideal setup would be:

    - Mac mini for media & surfing, probably SSD + 750GB laptop disk internal
    - Mac notebook (TBD) for work
    - something to backup both

    Either I can back up to my existing FreeBSD NAS if I configure it with 2 partitions for TM for each Mac. That config is easy. The question is whether TM over Wi-Fi to a NAS is a good idea. The other option is to use the drives that are in the NAS for some external storage on the Mac mini. This would be easier in use for several reasons (Mac mini: directly connected, e.g. over FW ; also no ssh needed for shutdown as is the case with the FreeBSD NAS now). The question remains: how will I back up a Mac notebook over Wi-Fi using TM to the Mac mini external storage ? ML server ?


    Peter.
     
  11. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #11
    ML server would be one way.

    Buy a Time Capsule is another way. 2TB isn't exactly cheap, but this will be the absolute easiest, set it and forget it, it just works method. Airport Extreme with a USB attached is another way, slightly harder.

    Or, keep using your existing NAS if it works.

    I value my time, and simplicity after dealing with computers and hassles all day long. I went with a Time Capsule, since I needed to upgrade my router anyways. I used to back up to my HP MediaSmart server NAS, but that stopped working as HP refused to update it's drivers. That's the nice thing about using an Apple supported solution, you don't have to deal with that crap.
     
  12. PeterJP thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #12
    The disadvantage being that I need to buy an enclosure for multiple disks, which costs about the same as a TC 2TB.

    I think the TC 2TB is fairly reasonably priced (certainly compared to a 3TB). I need to get a new Gbit+802.11n router anyway, which is just below €100, so I'd just pay a surplus of about €180 to get an all-in-one. There are a few disadvantages:

    - I'll be stuck with my 3x 1.5TB drives doing nothing. I still have a 500GB + 2x 250GB laying around like that, it doesn't feel good :)
    - 2TB may be a little on the low side for a Mac Mini with about 1TB of data + a Mac notebook of some sort. I could swap the internal drive for a 3TB or 4TB one, but that would add 50% or 100% to the price, resp. Adding one of my 1.5TB over USB would seem like an extremely convoluted setup.


    For the time being, this is most likely the way I'll be going. Doing a backup from my PC over FTP, I'm getting sustained 400Mbit/s, which is pretty nice. The CPU of the NAS (Atom 230) seems to be the limit. Another limitation is that it only has 2 SATA connectors. Upgrading the mobo is one road I'm considering. FreeBSD with ZFS gives me the flexibility of sizing all the TM partitions the way I like (with a bit of hacking to make the Macs recognize them as TM partitions).

    Thanks for sharing your experience,


    Peter.
     
  13. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #13
    Well, if you need a new router anyways, definitely consider the Time Capsule. You can use it for Time Machine for some of your systems. You could always connect one of your 1.5TB directly to the Mac Mini and use that for it's time machine. And, connect one to the Time Capsule for extra NAS space, but I'll warn you throughput on the disk connected to the Time Capsule is pretty slow.
     

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