Which HDD fits in the Mini 2012?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by BuyCurious, May 29, 2014.

  1. BuyCurious macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2014
    Hey guys,

    I just scored a Mini 2012 with 16 gigs of RAM and a 120/500 Fusion drive for 390 €.

    Before I install the thing (getting it tomorrow) I'd like to know if there's a stress free way to replace the 500 GB HDD by a 1 TB one and still keep it bootable. I don't have any other computers here, so it needs to work. I do have a super old external drive I want to get rid off, but that still has a solid terabyte of music on it.

    How do I upgrade the HDD without the Mac becoming unbootable?

    Thanks guys!
  2. crsh1976, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014

    crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    The mini uses 2.5" SATA drives (laptop drives), but be aware that the fusion drive is a single device and thus you cannot only replace the 500 GB portion of it with something else - you'll also lose the 120 GB SSD part.

    Edit: Wrong

    iFixIt has some awesome repair/take-apart guides, here's one on how to open a 2012 mini and replace the hard drive: http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+Mac+Mini+Late+2012+Dual+Hard+Drive+Kit/11713
  3. h9826790, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Same suggestion. Replace by a 1T HDD will remove your 120G SSD as well. Which is a big NO. If you need more space, install an extra HDD is better than replace the fusion driver.

    Anyway, I won't call it stress free. Not too hard to install, but not brainless either.

    If you want more space without stress, get a USB 3.0 HDD which should be fast enough for normal data storage.
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    The first thing to do when considering putting a new HDD in any Mac is to connect it using a USB to SATA cable, format it as HFS+ Journaled/GUID partition scheme, install OSX and test booting from the new drive. This is how you ensure you aren't making your Mac unbootable, by booting from the new HDD before ever opening up your Mac. I should mention that installing to an external HDD is not straightforward. You will need to download OSX Mavericks from the app store and follow one of the tutorials about how to make your own USB installer stick. So you will have 3 bootable devices going at one time. One is your old internal fusion drive. One is the bootable stick you made to install Mavericks and one is the target HDD or SSD you are installing to.

    Perhaps the OP should consider a 1 TB SSD?

    I replaced the HDD in my wife's Mac mini with an SSD. I seriously underestimated the work involved. Having upgraded memory, I noticed the HDD was right next to it and (wrongly) assumed I could simply pop in a new one. Wrong. You have to basically take the mini motherboard apart from the case enough to slide the case about 1/4 inch to give you room to get the old HDD out and new HDD or SSD in. Then you have to carefully peel the old thermal sensor off the old HDD and glue or stick it on the new one. Ifixit gives excellent tutorials for this but I was surprised when it was 50-ish steps rather than 5 or 6 steps. :eek:
  5. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    Won't the OP just be replacing the HDD component of the Fusion drive and leaving the SDD where it is?

    If this is the case, then no question that the Fusion drive will be "broken" since OSX sees it as a single drive or volume (not sure of the proper terminology), but won't OSX try to rebuild a new Fusion drive by default when it recovers? I recall other posts which stated that this is the default prompt when an SDD is added to a Mini with single HDD installed.

    For consideration / confirmation or correction from someone more informed than me!
  6. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Replacing the HDD can easily be done (If you dont mind taking the entire thing apart), but you will loose all files and have to reinstall the OS. Consider upgrading the SSD also. Most SSD's below 250 Gb are slower than their bigger counterparts.
  7. sumo.do, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014

    sumo.do macrumors regular


    Mar 12, 2014
    This is wrong. The fusion drive is two seperate 2.5" drives, one SSD and one HDD. They are fused through software (OS X's Core Storage - the same software running encryption). You can replace either drive in the fusion but you will need to 'fuse' them again through Core Storage. There are multiple methods for this through the disk utility (GUI or terminal) but if you have a 2012 mini then disk utility will usually automate the process when you run the install from.

    When you 'un-fuse' the fusion by replacing either of the drives then YES you will lose all data. You need to back up with say Time Machine and reinstall the image back onto the new fusion drive.

    When you replace a drive and proceed to install the new OS through say a USB installer disk or Internet Recovery (CMD-OPTION-R) then Disk Utility will ask to 'Fix' the two drives to 'fuse' them. Using Terminal without the Disk Util GUI is also a way of doing it but more difficult.

    So yes you can replace the 500GB part in your fusion drive and you can replace the SSD part as well but you will need to rebuild (re-fuse) the drive with Core Storage. It is a little similar to RAID in that respect, although there are significant diffrerences in how RAID and Fusion work (striping and mirroring versus movement of files from one drive to another). Also similar to RAID 0 is the fact that you lose all data when you replace one of the drives. So you need to backup before you do a Fusion rebuild.


    Back up current OS on Time Machine on a USB direct drive. Use a USB direct drive because it backs up the Recovery Drive where as a Time Capsule NAS only backs up the primary OS X drive. Put in your 120GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. Press CMD-OPTION-R and boot to internet recovery or run recovery from the Time Machine drive its self by booting into it (CMD-Option). Then open Disk Utility and click on the SDD and click 'Fix'. Then re-install the OS onto the new Fusion drive.

    Comments (twice) that you will lose the 120GB SSD are simply wrong.
  8. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I recently put a dual drive kit in a 2012 i7 Mac Mini and have a pic of the exact 1TB inside.

    Hope this helps you.

    Attached Files:

  9. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    Crap, you guys are right, I checked it out - nevermind my original post.

    I guess I was stuck on the hybrid drive thing, the FD is indeed two physical drives 'fused' via software, not a 2-in-1 drive like WD's and Seagate's.

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