Wanting to add a SSD to my late '12 Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by cali shot doc, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. cali shot doc macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    I have a late 2012 mac mini with a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 16gb of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory. It has 500gb internal HD and a 3 Tb External HD that has all of my movies, audio and pics on. I want to add an External SSD to have it boot up from and with black friday here and seeing the New Egg add i see they are on sale.

    First off i am not a computer hardware guy. I know enough to get buy so my first question is, Is this even possible to have it boot from an external SSD or does it have to be internal? Also Can i still have my 3tb external HD how I'm using it?

    Can you guys give me some recommendations? Do they sell SSD's ready for external use or will i need to buy an external case?

    Thanks for any help:confused:
  2. asriznet macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    If you're going to get an SSD, it's better to replace it with the internal HDD. Then if you need that additional 500GB storage, get a HDD enclosure to connect the HDD to your mac mini via USB 3.

    Reason: the HDD SATA interface runs on 6gbps while the USB 3 interface is on 5gbps therefore you'll get a better speed running of the SATA connection.

    the external HDD should work the same, you just have to clone the internal HDD to the SSD so that everything will run off the same in the system, just on a different hardware - Carbon Copy Cloner does the job well.
  3. cali shot doc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    how hard is it to replace?
  4. asriznet macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    Have a look yourself at the following guide - https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+Mini+Late+2012+Hard+Drive+Replacement/11716

    You'll need some tools but it's definitely a good experience.

    or you can just buy the SSD and pay someone to have it done for you.

    If you just wish to use the SSD externally via USB, it's possible, you'll need an enclosure for the SSD.
  5. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2014
    I'd recommend you to try switching the internal drive instead, because of the added hassle, the potentially lessened stability, and the probable decline in speed compared to a drive connected straight to the controller inside the computer.

    To boot from an external drive, what you'll want to achieve, is to convince your computer that the drive isn't removable. There are tutorials on the web for doing so.

    No matter what way you go, if you buy a third-party SSD, you'll need to read up on how to enable TRIM for it in OS X (you need to do some manual file editing, and you'll probably need to do it again after major system updates).
  6. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland

    You don't need to disassemble the whole Mini just to replace the single HDD with an SSD.
    There are various guides here (like this one, which I loosely followed: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1568313&page=2)

    With current SSD prices, it's not worth creating a Fusion-drive, IMO.
  7. asriznet macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    It's actually a bit harder to replace the HDD for this Mac mini compared with 2010/2011 MBPs which is why the guys at ifixit rate the level as "Moderate" to perform this task.

    It looks like the whole mini was disassemble from the photos - only the power supply was left in tact, even the logic board needs to slide out in order for the hard drive can be removed.
  8. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    If the original drive was in the "top" slot, then yes the whole computer has to come apart to replace the drive. If it's in the "bottom" location, it doesn't. For what it's worth, my 2012 Mini bought in Aug. as a refurb had the original drive in the "bottom" slot.

    Lots of posts on this in the Mac Mini section of this forum also.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    My advice will be different from the others.

    You should know that opening the Mini and attempting to install a second internal drive requires a modest amount of skill and ability to work confidently with VERY small connectors that are fragile and prone to breakage.

    There have been numerous posts here at MR.com from folks who thought they could do the job, went inside and then..... broke something.

    You should review the ifixit.com drive installation guide, and watch a few videos, before attempting this yourself.

    Having said that, you can boot and run the Mini from an externally-mounted SSD with no problems -- I've been running mine that way for almost two years now.

    The speed differences from booting and running externally, vis-a-vis internally, will be negligible -- as in, "next to nothing". I doubt you could perceive the difference.

    It's FAR easier to go this route, and actually cheaper. You don't need a second internal cable or tools, just hook up the drive and go.

    I'd suggest something like a USB3/SATA "docking station" and the SSD of your choice. Just set the dock in an out-of-the-way spot on your desk, and forget about it.

    But don't let anyone in this forum tell you it won't work, and that the results won't be fast. They're talking through their hats!
  10. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    If you want to have an easier USB3 external solution for an SSD, rather than having some clunky drive dock taking up space, I would recommend this enclosure:


    The USB3-only enclosure is only USD$27 and works very well with SSDs. I have used a 750GB Samsung 840 EVO in one without any issues, and it's faster too.

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