Upgrade For Mac Mini

EricGandolfe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2012
20
0
So for Christmas I'm going to be getting a Mac mini. I want to upgrade it with an SSD, and 16gb of RAM (Maybe 8). I really don't have the extra $300-400 for an SSD, so is it super necessary? I'm going to be using it for video editing, photoshop, and some minor gaming (Minecraft, Gameboy emulators, and TF2). So....what is everyone's thoughts?
 

moral-hazard

macrumors regular
Jul 27, 2009
180
0
Palo Alto, CA
Well, I need at least a 250gb SSD, which is definitely not well under $200.
SSD prices have come down considerably. OCZ Vertex drives are often priced at < $1/GB. When on sale I've seen them as low as $0.50/GB. You could definitely find a 256GB for $200 or possibly lower, for example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227792&Tpk=vertex 4 256gb

My advice would be to keep shopping around for good deals - you still have a few months to find a good deal. I follow a couple of tech deal blogs (dealnews, etc) that often highlight cheap SSD deals. Something might come up in your price range and surprise you. Otherwise, the Mini will still be a great machine even without the SSD, and you can always upgrade later.

Not sure if you have a brand preference - personally I have Intel SSD's in my three work machines and an OCZ Vertex 2 in my desktop. If you are looking for a high-end, extremely reliable drive I'd recommend OWC or Intel. OCZ is also a quality drive (at least from my experience, others can chime in). Hope this helps!
 

mgartner0622

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2010
1,019
0
Colorado, USA
I'd save your money and just got for a large 7200 RPM drive. I have a 128GB SSD in my Mini, and a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive in my MacBook Pro. In comparison, the SSD saves about half a second when opening most applications. Is that half a second worth $200+ to you? Using a disk speed test, the MacBook Pro even has a faster write speed than my Mini with the SSD.
 

comatory

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2012
736
0
I'd save your money and just got for a large 7200 RPM drive. I have a 128GB SSD in my Mini, and a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive in my MacBook Pro. In comparison, the SSD saves about half a second when opening most applications. Is that half a second worth $200+ to you? Using a disk speed test, the MacBook Pro even has a faster write speed than my Mini with the SSD.
lol what?

maybe if you're opening light applications and use the OS lightly, then it's about the same. but SSD is definitely huge improvement for the whole OS responsiveness.

for example Safari takes about 3-4 secs to open, on SSD it's instant (well maybe half a second). so if the OP doesn't mind about this, he shouldn't spend money on SSD.
but there are way more things that SSDs are useful, when working with files in Photoshop, it's definitely faster, especially if you have lots of layers, Logic Pro loads projects very quickly.

me personally, I wouldn't go back to classic HDD now that I tasted SSD, it's so much.... faster and responsive, beats any 7200RPM drive.
 

TheRocketmac

macrumors member
Jan 19, 2011
35
0
Texas
Why not get something like a Samsung 830 128GB on Amazon/NewEgg for ~$100 and a 750GB or 1TB secondary drive? The kit from OWC is actually quite nicely put together for adding a 2nd drive.


Speeds on my mini (2.5-2011) sharply increased with this particular upgrade (used a Crucial M4-256GB SSD with a 1TB M8 Spinpoint hdd).


Corsair/g.Skill memory (DDR10600-1333mhz) 16GB...$79.99 (NewEgg)
Samsung 830 128GB...$99.99 (Amazon or NewEgg)
OWC 2nd HDD/SDD kit (with tools)...$44.99+ <$10 shipping
Secondary drive of your choice...$69.99-$149.99 (something like a USB 2 or 3 WesternDigital Enclosure would work and give the current mini drive a home upon replacement.)


#note: you could use the current boot drive as your second drive to save same cash.
 
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mgartner0622

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2010
1,019
0
Colorado, USA
lol what?
Keep in mind I have a very early SSD, from around 2009, the same age as the Mini, which is also limited to 3GB/s SATA bus. Modern day SSD speeds have improved since then and also support 6GB/s. But this is just my personal experience with the speed increase it provides.
 

comatory

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2012
736
0
Keep in mind I have a very early SSD, from around 2009, the same age as the Mini, which is also limited to 3GB/s SATA bus. Modern day SSD speeds have improved since then and also support 6GB/s. But this is just my personal experience with the speed increase it provides.
Oh OK I thought we were talking about 6Gb buses. Still I've heard it's worth it even on older SATA buses but I can see that there might not be such a big differences, maybe if you're reading bunch of small files at once (startup).

I'm too spoilt by SSDs, I consider HDD a great option for archiving/media libraries and scratchdisks when they're RAIDed.
 

flopticalcube

macrumors G4
Oh OK I thought we were talking about 6Gb buses. Still I've heard it's worth it even on older SATA buses but I can see that there might not be such a big differences, maybe if you're reading bunch of small files at once (startup).

I'm too spoilt by SSDs, I consider HDD a great option for archiving/media libraries and scratchdisks when they're RAIDed.
Regardless of bus speed, access times are 1/4th or less on SSDs. For small files, the results are spectacular. Older SSDs had write speed issues and because they are smaller the speed drops off quicker as the disk fills up. Still no real comparison, especially if you have more than one drive at your disposal.
 

Omnius

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2012
537
3
Oh OK I thought we were talking about 6Gb buses. Still I've heard it's worth it even on older SATA buses but I can see that there might not be such a big differences, maybe if you're reading bunch of small files at once (startup).

I'm too spoilt by SSDs, I consider HDD a great option for archiving/media libraries and scratchdisks when they're RAIDed.
my 2,1 Mini uses a 256gb SSD on a SATA I bus. The speed from the HD to SSD was an insane boost in performance.
 

EricGandolfe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2012
20
0
Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. It looks like I'm just gonna be on the hunt for a cheap SSD, but I might just go for a 64gb SSD for boot and applications and use the HDD for everything else.
 

bAdNitro

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2012
72
0
Swoyersville, PA
Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. It looks like I'm just gonna be on the hunt for a cheap SSD, but I might just go for a 64gb SSD for boot and applications and use the HDD for everything else.

I hav an OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD that is amazing. It's in my win7 machine but will be in my Mac Mini in about 2-3 days when it's at my house. The speed is insane on my win 7.

I paid 99$ for the drive from amazon. Comes with a 5 year warranty as well.

Benchmarks prove it's one of the fastest drives available. For the performance, it's really cheap. I have my OS, and Adobe Master Collection on it. All my files and things are on my secondary HDD.

You can get a 256GB Vertex 4 for $199 if you want the extra storage.
 

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,937
517
I might just go for a 64gb SSD for boot and applications and use the HDD for everything else.
I am running OSX off a 128 GB SSD. While you may be okay running the pure OS from a 64GB drive, with only a few applications (and maybe an iTunes lib) those will become very tight very easily. As prices have come down so much, I definitely recommend not to go any lower than 120/128 GB for any SSD nowadays!
 

EricGandolfe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2012
20
0
I am running OSX off a 128 GB SSD. While you may be okay running the pure OS from a 64GB drive, with only a few applications (and maybe an iTunes lib) those will become very tight very easily. As prices have come down so much, I definitely recommend not to go any lower than 120/128 GB for any SSD nowadays!
I have a lot of music so that probably isn't gonna work well with a 64gb SSD haha
 

BurntTimber

macrumors newbie
May 27, 2012
2
0
To piggyback this thread, I'm looking to replace my laptop with a dedicated media machine. Would the Mac Mini with an i5 2.5 GHz and an SSD be enough, or will I really notice the difference in transcoding and playback performance with the i7 upgrade?

I'm thinking of going with the stocker 2.5GHz i5 from apple then upgrade the ram to 16Gb via OWC and do the 128SSD/500HDD combination. The plan is to have the mac mini at my primary TV, and Apple TVs at the other two.

Any objections or recommendations? Am I going to regret not getting the i7?

Sorry if this is more of a hijack than a piggyback.
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,304
897
Any objections or recommendations? Am I going to regret not getting the i7?
To make it short: You'll be fine with the i5. The difference between the 2,5 GHz i5 and the 2,7 GHz i7 is minimal to say the least (6300 vs. 6700 points at Geekbench) and not worth the hefty upgrade price. Yep, you would save some seconds to minutes every day (depending on how much video you encode) but if you're not someone who uses FCP hours every day, it won't be a difference worth 100 bucks.
 

michael_aos

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2004
250
0
I have both an 240 GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD (3Gbit) & 240 GB OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD (running @ SATA-II speed) in my 2006 Mac Pro 1,1.

I occasionally boot off something else -- like an OWC Guardian MAXimus mini FW800, or a 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda internal drive.

The difference is really pronounced. Especially with applications like Safari, where it's writing lots of little temporary files.

With the SSD, it "feels" a lot like my wife's 2011 1.8Ghz Core i7 MacBook Air.
--
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,304
897
Sorry to be off topic... but what do the numbers in "Mac Pro 1,1." Mean?

Been wondering for weeks since joining but never did ask!
These numbers are the Generation of Mac Pros (or, more correctly, the numbers Apple gives them intern), so 1.1 means the first generation of the Mac Pro (after the Power Macs). The number after the . means the model, so the Quad-Core could be 1.1, while the six-core can be 1.2 - just for example.
 

Dixi1801

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2012
46
0
South Yorkshire, England.
These numbers are the Generation of Mac Pros (or, more correctly, the numbers Apple gives them intern), so 1.1 means the first generation of the Mac Pro (after the Power Macs). The number after the . means the model, so the Quad-Core could be 1.1, while the six-core can be 1.2 - just for example.
Thanks very much for that! I thought it may be something to that effect but couldn't be sure!