which SSD for 2012 Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by chadcj7, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. chadcj7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #1
    I was wanting to know what SSD everyone recommends for a 2012 mac mini. I have ordered an upgrade from 4gb of ram to 16gb. I use this mostly for a plex server and a media client for my big screen in basement. Not worried about anything larger then 120gb drive as I have a NAS with 11tb's of storage

    thanks and let me know if the below link is a good drive

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OAJ5N6I/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tonymacx86com-20
     
  2. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    #2
    The Samsung 850 EVO is excellent. :)
    I have 2 of them in different sizes and they have performed perfectly for me.
     
  3. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    That's a popular and good drive and I haven't seen anybody having problems with it in the Mini. But for $20 more, you really don't want double the capacity? (I bought a couple of the 240GB models for my MBP around Christmas for $78/each.)

    There are a lot of posts here and a lot of articles on the web about installing an SSD in the 2012 Mini. Make sure you're well-prepared before installing the SSD.
     
  4. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #4
    I have an Intel SSDSC2BW240A4 that I am using for the SSD portion of my fusion drive. It has worked well.
     
  5. chadcj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    #5
    I have seen a lot of the past and videos by OWC. It is my understanding that it makes things easier for install with this. The only thing that is not clear is if I need any adapters for the drive to the motherboard
     
  6. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2010
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    London, UK
    #6
    I have done this on a 2012 Mac Mini. It's not particularly difficult but you will need some adapters and special tools to open up the Mini, and it takes a little while. This is the kit I used which I highly recommend: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMM11D2/

    Keep in mind what it says in the page about the 'lower' and 'upper drive': NOTE: A small number of 2012 units were shipped with the drive mounted in the upper drive bay rather than the more typical lower bay shown in this video. If you have a 2012 model, you will want to determine the configuration of your Mac mini's drives prior to ordering.

    My 2012 Mac Mini was one of those units with the upper drive bay, which makes the procedure slightly more difficult and you will need a different kit. You should check.

    As with previous posters, I recommend the 850 EVO as well. I installed a 120GB version, which combined with the existing 500GB spinner I have set up as a 620GB Fusion Drive. But these days the 256GB version is only marginally more expensive (whereas the 512GB is double the price of the 256GB).
     
  7. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #7
    It's also really easy to check which bay the drive is in. Don't even have to open up the computer. Just find the drive in "About this Mac" details and it will say upper bay or lower bay.
     
  8. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Yes sorry I should have clarified that. First check which drive the bay is in, and then buy the appropriate kit from OWC.
     
  9. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

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    Oct 31, 2014
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    Stockholm
    #9
    I'd second the users recommending a 256gb drive. I've done the hdd to ssd swap on a 2010 mini its way more complicated than a macbook pro drive swap but if you're concentrating enough you'll get through it.
     
  10. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #10
    I own a small company with 4 2012 i7 Mini Servers and I personally own one myself, with the company Servers upgraded to an SSD for the OS drive and I'm waiting for a sale to upgrade my personal Mini.

    I'm going to recommend a different SSD - the 850 Pro. Yes, it costs more. But, everything I've read and my own experience lead me to offer that it's a much faster drive that's running an OS - on the order of 30-40% faster. The EVO and Pro are on-par with each other only for read/write activities - look at the simple comparison that CNET provided for several current SSDS - http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-ssd-850-evo/2/ and hone in on the "Data Transfer Performance", focusing on the "As OS Drive" data - our own testing shows a roughly 35% faster OS drive when comparing the EVO and Pro versions of the Samsung 850, about in line with what testers have posted on the interwebs.

    If I was looking for fast storage, the EVO kills it, hands down. For an OS drive in our Minis, we've replaced all of our Intel SSD 730 drives with Samsung 850 Pro drives. Spend a bit more for the Pro, get a whole lot more drive for the money.
     
  11. MisterAndrew macrumors regular

    MisterAndrew

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    Portland, Oregon
    #11
    I think that's good advice recommending the Samsung 850 Pro for the primary OS drive. A higher capacity 850 EVO would be good as the second drive.
     
  12. chadcj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    #12
    I agree with what you are saying but the question is will i notice a difference between the EVO and the PRO? I know I will see a difference from the standard drive to the SSD
     
  13. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    For your usage, the Evo is fine. If the computer was your main computer and you spend hours doing intensive work (something more than Email, browsing, etc.), the Pro should be considered.

    In the article campyguy referenced, if you just take a quick look at the graphs, the performance looks pretty comparable and the conclusion at the end of the article was:

    "The new Samsung 850 Evo isn't the fastest SSD on the market, especially in terms of copy speed, but in random access speed, which contributes to the overall performance of a computer, it's neck to neck with the top-tier 850 Pro. And, like the Pro, it's now also available in 2TB capacity.

    So if you want to get the most value from your dollar, the Evo is clearly a better choice. Though its 5-year warranty time is short compared to the 10-year of the Pro, that's still one of the longest on the market. And after using both drives for months now, I believe chances are you won't need to use the warranty at all. On the other hand, if you want the top SSD with no compromises, the SSD 850 Pro is the way to go if money is not an issue.

    All things considered, though, the Samsung SSD 850 Evo is for now the best deal for anyone looking to upgrade their computer to a super fast and reliable internal drive."
     
  14. chadcj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    #14
    I think I have decided on the 256gb pro. This PC may transition in to a more daily PC as I transition out my Macbook and look in to using an iPad or iPad Pro. It is also only about 30 bucks more. Still a really aggressive price in my mind. Between that and 16gb of ram this thing should run multiple VM's and become very useful.

    I am also not finding in the hardware section of my mac if the drive is on the top or bottom. i want to make sure I purchased the correct kit to replace the drive. I am going to only have one drive on this machine and not have a fusion setup

    Thanks
     
  15. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #15
    Sorry for the late reply, had some errands pressing. Short answer, absolutely. The common consensus about the EVO is correct - it's the best SSD "deal". I want the best SSD drive, within reason. I buy EVOs for our SATA RAID 0 setups - I'm not anti-EVO, not at all. IMHO the EVO is a great, fast SATA storage device and a huge improvement over spinners for OS drives, but the Pro wipes the floor with the Pro version for OS drives.

    The 4 EVOs we tried out ended up in a RAID setup, and they frickin' fly in that box. We're civil engineers, with some graphics work to clean up presentations and office suite work - CAD, PS, both Win 10 and OS X just run like my Benz E550's engine - they just work smoothly. My only wish for OS X is that I wish I could set the OS cache to "0" like I can in Windows and designate a "scratch disk" to a slave or separate disk - a Pro is the main OS drive and a small EVO is the scratch disk for the OS and AutoCAD (I've been setting up my Win boxes like this for over 10 years) and the combination just flies...

    I'm cruising Slickdeals for price breaks on the Pro - by a few hours last week I missed a couple of coupons on the 1TB drive that knocked it down to $380, and I saw coupons on the 256/512 drives that knocked their price down as well $20-50. The EVO is down as well, with the 1TB drive down to $280 at its lowest, but my take is that I'm already spending about $300 for a great SATA OS drive, the $100 premium for the perfect SATA OS drive is really nothing. Keep an eye out on that site for deals on the drive you want... Cheers!
    --- Post Merged, Feb 14, 2016 ---
    Use your mouse/trackpad to navigate to the Apple Menu (upper left corner of the display) and click - you'll see "About This Mac", then hold down the Option key on your keyboard and you'll see it change to "System Information", then click that Command and that will launch that app.

    Navigate to the Hardware>SATA/SATA Express item (in the left pane), and you'll see data/information about the SATA Tree. Click on one of the drives, and about halfway down you'll see the BDS name of the drive and a few lines below that you'll see the Bay Name with either "Upper" or "Lower".

    All of my Mini Servers shipped with the Lower drive as the OS drive, IMHO the easiest of the two to remove. Every time I get at the Upper drive I wish I had a really strong 6-inch-tall friend...
     
  16. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    Honolulu HI
    #16
    If you're looking for having the Mini take on more tasks in the future, going with the Pro is a reasonable choice.

    On my 2012 Mini with El Capitan, to find the location of the bay, press the Apple icon in the upper left, press "About This Mac", press the "System Report" button. On the left, under "Hardware" (you have to open it up if the arrow is pointing to the right), you should find "SATA" something or other or perhaps "Serial ATA". When you press that, on the right is the list of SATA ports you have. Under each of those will be the drives you have (again, you have to open it up if the arrow is pointing to the right). Press on the drive you have and on the bottom portion of the screen should be the "Bay Name" which should be "Upper" or "Lower".

    EDIT: campyguy was editing his post as I was entering mine. Hope you can find you where your drive is.
     
  17. chadcj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    #17
    Thank you both for your input. I was looking at the incorrect area in the device information. I have found out that It is in the upper drive. Do I need the kit from OWC or can it be done without it? Also when I replace the drive should I put it in the lower or should I put it back in the upper?
     
  18. Gjwilly, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016

    Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    May 1, 2011
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    SF Bay Area
    #18
    You only need the kit (any kit) if you're adding a second drive.
    The Mini comes with only one ribbon cable for the existing drive.
    If you're simply replacing the existing drive then you don't need the kit and you're forced into putting it wherever it originally was.
    The kit comes with the second ribbon cable and the mounting hardware for the second drive. It also comes with all necessary tools so you might want those at least before you proceed.
     
  19. chadcj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    #19

    ok...so as long as I am just replacing the drive I can just use the screw drivers and everything I have at my home to do this? Thank you for saving me some money!
     
  20. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    May 1, 2011
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    SF Bay Area
    #20
    Check out the installation guides from OWC and from iFixit to make sure you have the correct tools.
     
  21. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #21
    Your new best friend is iFixit.
    https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Mac_Mini_Late_2012
     
  22. r6mile macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    I'm pretty sure you will need special tools to take apart the Mac Mini. Also, why would you not add the SSD as a second drive and keep the existing HDD in there as well? I can highly recommend the OWC kit - it comes with everything you need.
     
  23. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 9, 2015
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    Honolulu HI
    #23
    There are two different methods of getting to the drives. One involves pulling out the logic board (which I believe OWC and iFixit show in their videos) - this is the more difficult installation. The other involves just manipulating the drive in the lower bay (the one closest to you when you open the bottom of the computer). I've only done the more difficult installation - other's swear that you can do the easy install if you just want to work with the lower bay.

    You have the HDD in the upper bay. If you're going to replace it, you have to do the more difficult installation. You should get the logic board removal tool that's in the kit.

    If you want to add the SSD in the lower bay, you may be able to do the easy install. But you will need to buy the cable for the lower bay. You will also need the grommets and "set screws".

    In either case, you need the torx and hex screwdrivers plus the 5mm wrench - these are standard so if you already have them, you don't have to buy them. The crux of the matter is that you need some kind of tool not likely to be found in a standard household DIY kit. If you just replace the drive, you need the logic board removal tool or you could try something else, I guess. The spudger is very useful. In addition to the green one, I got something like the following which was very useful:

    https://eustore.ifixit.com/en/Tools/Prying-Opening/Spudger.html

    Sorry for the euro link - it was the first thing that come up in a search.

    If I were you, I'd just pony up for the kit for the Minis with the hard drive in the upper bay, try the easy install method which keeps the hard drive where it is and call it a day.
     
  24. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #24
    teekram wrote: "If I were you, I'd just pony up for the kit for the Minis with the hard drive in the upper bay, try the easy install method which keeps the hard drive where it is and call it a day."

    Seconded. Then, install your OS on the SSD, set it as your Startup Disk, and run off of that drive for a bit until it's running just the way you like it. Eventually, you can, but don't have to, wipe the System off the HDD.

    Or, buy a bottle of your favorite spirits, cuz' you're going to need it... :p
     
  25. chadcj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2008
    #25
    The reason I want to remove it is because I don't need the extra storage. I have a NAS that has around 11tb of usable storage. I also have one drive through work that gives me a bunch of storage. I know it may be harder to do but I have built computers in the past and I am sure it will all work out.....hopefully!

    I also found that I can just buy the tool that helps me remove the motherboard and not have to buy everything else. I will probably just do that.
     

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