Swapping out the HDD in the 2014 Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by SashimiSensei, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. SashimiSensei macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    #1
    Hi all, new to the forum. I'm considering getting the new Mac Mini (not what we were all hoping for, but it still fits my needs) but I was wondering what the chances will be of being able to replace the stock HDD with my own 2.5inch SSD?

    I looked on the iFixit site at the teardown and it seems that you can certainly get at the HDD, but there is nothing mentioned about replacing it with an SSD. They only mention possibly installing a blade SSD, which is not what I'm interested in as I already have an 2.5" SSD ready to go.

    Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.

    Sashimi.
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    OP wrote above:
    [[ I already have an 2.5" SSD ready to go.
    Any suggestions are welcome. ]]


    Before you break open the Mini (which would be new and under warranty), you might consider booting and running the Mini with the SSD mounted -externally- for a while.

    You should realize up front that swapping the HDD out in the Mini requires a measurable amount of "surgery", and (from past reports in this forum) that more than a few folks have ended up breaking something inside in the process.

    My suggestion:
    Since you have an SSD "in hand", just leave the HDD -inside- the Mini for the moment.

    Get an external enclosure, or you might consider picking up a USB3/SATA docking station if you don't already have one. They're only about $25 and will offer you performance that will be quite close to that of an internally-installed SSD on the SATA bus.

    Another reason to have the dock is that it offers you the chance to "prep" the SSD BEFORE you install it. I would suggest at the very least, cloning the OS from the HDD internal drive to the docked SSD, and do a test boot to make sure everything is working as intended.

    There -are- two disadvantages of using USB3 as your external booter:
    1. Firmware updates probably won't install
    2. You can't enable TRIM via USB
    HOWEVER - I've been booting and running a late-2012 Mini for almost two years via a USB3-mounted SSD, and neither of the above has been an issue.
    TRIM seems to be over-rated -- I get virtually THE SAME SPEEDS today, as I did when the drive I'm using now was new last March.
     
  3. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #3
    Docks are handy. I've used mine several times to make CCC copies of drives and then verify that they are bootable before installing them in minis.
     
  4. SashimiSensei thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    #4
    Thanks for the suggestion Fishrrman, that's a good idea that I hadn't considered. What sort of read/write speeds do you think you get over USB3?
    Since a USB3 enclosure only costs about 10 quid I think this might be the way to go.
     
  5. Oujmik macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    #5
    I don't have the figures to hand right now, but I have an OWC SSD on USB3 and Fusion Drive in my 2012 Mac Mini and they benchmark pretty much identically suggesting that USB 3 is no slower that SATAIII. Having said that I previously used the same OWC drive over FW800 (which is a bottleneck, but faster than a 5400rpm HDD on SATAII) as the boot drive for a 2009 mini. I got annoyed with it because the drive wouldn't turn off or sleep when the mini did and sometimes the mini would fail to start up until you turned the drive on and off. I think these are mainly issues with the FW800 drivers though. Definitely give the enclosure a go - you've got nothing to lose.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    [[ What sort of read/write speeds do you think you get over USB3? ]]
     

    Attached Files:

  7. germinator macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #7
    It should be no problem to replace the HDD, provided:
    1. You have the required tool (Torx security size 6)
    2. Your HDD is 7 mm height.

    Since the OEM HDD is 7 mm, you'll need to keep that same height if you just want a slide-in replacement. It is unclear to me whether it is possible to modify the mounting bracket to accommodate standard 9.5 mm height.

    Note that as of today AFAIK there are no 2.5" 7.5 mm 7200 RPM 1 TB HDDs (though they may come soon).
     
  8. SashimiSensei thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    #8
    Thanks Fishrrman. I'm impressed by those speeds, I think I'm going to have to give this a go myself. I wonder if it's possible to bootcamp Windows 7 off the same external SSD? Huum...
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    [[ I wonder if it's possible to bootcamp Windows 7 off the same external SSD? Huum...]]

    I'm not a Windows user and know little about it, but from what I've read, you can't boot Windows from a USB drive.
    There may be workarounds to this, perhaps others will comment.

    My suggestion is that if you want to use an SSD to boot externally (connected via USB3), that you set up BootCamp on your internal HDD.

    Actually, I'd like to make a further recommendation (what I have done).
    - Partition the internal drive
    - Set up the "first partition" to be roughly equivalent in size to the SSD
    - Once the SSD is set up, use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the contents of the boot SSD to the first partition of the internal HDD
    - Now, you have a "second boot source" that is ALWAYS and IMMEDIATELY available to you.

    Why do this?
    When a hard drive fails, it tends to "fail slowly", giving "warnings" beforehand in many cases. This can give the user an opportunity to "take action" before all is lost.
    However, from what I've read, SSD's don't fail in this manner. They tend to fail "all at once", completely, as in "one moment it's working, the next moment it's gone".

    Granted, the probability of this happening is relatively low, but it -is- "there".
    If you have a cloned backup readily available, it could save you A LOT of frustration down the line someday....
     
  10. SashimiSensei thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    #10
    Ok cool, Well I'm gonna give this a try. Thanks again!
     
  11. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #11
    The cheapest enclosures don't offer UASP, which is essential to get full USB 3 speed with a SSD!
     
  12. scoobdriver macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    #12
    I created a Fusion drive on my 2014 Mini with a 128 SSD on USB UASP .. Works awesome..
     
  13. cgc macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Location:
    Utah
    #13
    I read that Apple was disabling TRIM support for non-Apple drives so that could be a huge problem (and a douche move by Apple).
     
  14. scoobdriver macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    #14
    Not sure how that effects home made Fusion Drive ?!?! :/
     
  15. cgc macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Location:
    Utah
    #15
    Here's the article...
     
  16. scoobdriver macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    #16
    I dont see any option in system reports to state the status on a fusion drive though ..
     
  17. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    @Shashimi - as above don't buy on price, check the enclosure has the spec. Pointless saving £10 and getting an inferior product.
     

Share This Page