Who swapped stock HDD with an SSD on 2011 Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by coelacanth, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. coelacanth, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    coelacanth macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    #1
    I'm not talking about the second disk, but the one and only HDD on the new mini.

    From the description and the pictures on ifixit.com, it seems swapping the main HDD with an SSD to be even easier than the last mini due to having enough wiggle room left for the second HDD. I remember seeing youtube video of 2010 mini that you have to slide the main logic board partially to take the HDD out. ifixit.com photos suggest you can easily take the HDD out from the new mini without taking the whole thing apart.

    I understand you'll have to source a propriety cable to fit the second drive, but for the primary drive, the swap job looks rather straight forward assuming you have all the basic hand tools.

    Any inputs, thoughts or hopefully some actually installation report?
     
  2. Edge macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    #2
    The 500GB drive came out relatively easily, just the one cable (no temp sensor cable) to unplug. However, the SSD I installed was boxier than the 500GB drive and therefore required the partial removal of the motherboard. In my case sliding the motherboard out about 2cm to an inch was enough.

    I went through the internet reinstall process, which took nearly two hours. A carbon copy over USB would have been easier, but I wanted to test it out.

    I also have the bottom SATA drive cable from a 2010 Mac mini server on it's way.
     
  3. coelacanth thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2004
    #3
    Good to know! I suppose I'm handy enough for this swap job. Would you mind sharing the brand/model of the SSD you used?
     
  4. Edge macrumors member

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    Jul 28, 2005
    #4
    It's not very helpful, but it's an OCZ Vertex 2 purchased before the Mac mini. So it's only SATA II 3 GB/s, not SATA III 6GB/s. In hindsight, to really make the most of the Mac mini bus I'd go for a SATA III 6GB/s drive like an OCZ Agility, an OWC Mercury Pro 6G or an Intel.
     
  5. philipma1957, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #5
    yeah I posted a long thread on this site.


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1194678

    4 tools
    torx 6
    torx 8
    a hex wrench don't remember what size
    a plastic pry tool

    ifixit has a kit
    owc has a kit

    amazon has a kit

    http://www.amazon.com/Maxtech-16521...754W/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1311846489&sr=8-3

    http://www.amazon.com/Silverhill-Nylon-Marking-Pick-Spudger/dp/B003BQYK7O

    tweezers are also handy
     
  6. coelacanth thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2004
    #6
    Thanks very much philipma1957 for that great post. Looks doable. I have all the tools already.

    I'm planning to put 128GB Crucial m4 (6GB/s) into external enclosure, format and CCC from the stock drive, do the swap and keep the stock HDD in the enclosure as a backup system. I hope the drive package is thin enough I don't have to slide the logic board out.
     
  7. salazr macrumors newbie

    salazr

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    #7
    Last night I swapped the stock drive for a 240GB OCZ Agility 3.

    It's remarkably easy. Just remember to put the two screws that go on the hard drive facing the back of the mini otherwise the Wifi card won't fit into place :)

    Also worth pointing out, is that I literally just swapped the drive for an empty SSD and booted into Internet Recovery (cmd+R). Half an hour later I had Lion on the SSD magically (!!!).
     
  8. coelacanth thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2004
    #8
    Sounds ensuring.

    Can you clarify one thing about Internet Recovery?

    If you initially don't format the new drive drive, what you'd normally do is to use the Disk Utility booted from Recovery DVD. With these new Macs, my understanding is that you'll first download the utility part of recovery "disk" from Apple server so you'll have regular GUI for the rest of OS installation. Can you do this initial part without formatting the drive beforehand via external enclosure/USB connection?
     
  9. kerplunknet macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2006
    #9
    When you do the Internet Recovery (CMD+R) it will do this:

    It will load a few recovery option files and then present you with a screen allowing you to either Install Mac OS X or use Disk Utility. You will want to use the Disk Utility to create 1 partition first, then just go back to the Install Mac OS X part. It was very simple. I think my Internet connection downloaded Lion faster than it would have taken to DVD install.
     
  10. fiddlestyx macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #10
    Any suggestions/recommendations for SSD that would work well with the new Mini? I must admit ignorance when it comes to SSDs.

    Also, if I understand right, the main things to put on the SSD would be the OS and applications, correct?
     
  11. kerplunknet macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2006
    #11
    I just installed a 160 GB Intel 320 series SSD. Go to NewEgg or Amazon and type in "intel 320 ssd" and choose your size. A lot of people recommend other brands like OWC, but for the best of both worlds (performance AND reliability), I would have to recommend SSDs with Intel controllers.
     
  12. volodymyrqa macrumors regular

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    #12
    - As far as i know Apple checks if you mac is eligible for free installation through internet recovery... How it will know that i do, if i put completely clean SSD?

    - how internet recovery app launches on a non formatted SSD ? Or it uses RAM for this purpose?
     
  13. ascender macrumors 68000

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    Dec 8, 2005
  14. japtor macrumors regular

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #14
    I think the Lion license may be linked to the computer actually. I'm not entirely sure on how it works, but I think there's a barebones downloader in the EFI or something (basically built into the machine) that formats and downloads the basic Lion installer to whatever drive you stick in.
     
  15. volodymyrqa macrumors regular

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    Kyiv, Ukraine
    #15
    interesting :)

    BTW Intel 320 series SSD is a good option to install into new Mac Mini ?
     
  16. moxxey macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #16
    I bought two quad core Mac Minis and installed an SSD in both. Was far more tricky than I had expected!

    The first Mini took at least an hour to get the SSD correctly installed. The darned SATA cables kept popping out of the motherboard.

    The second was far quicker to install, but one of the heatsink screws wouldn't screw in properly. Had to remove the screw! So, heatsink is connected with a screw missing.

    Both Minis operating correctly, but it's something I'm unlikely to do again. I'd buy a Mini with SSD installed.
     
  17. moxxey macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #17
    BTW one important note...

    My SSDs were unformatted and Lion still installed from the internet with no issues. Asked for a wireless network, started downloading, gives you the recovery option where you can use Disk Utility to erase your SSD. Once you've done that, choose the SSD for a fresh install and the Lion recovery will download and install the remaining files!
     
  18. kerplunknet macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2006
    #18
    One thing I'd like to say is that I was able to slide/squeeze in my Intel 320 series SSD without having to slide out the motherboard at all. It made it much more simple. I don't see why this couldn't be done for other SSDs as well, however.
     
  19. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #19
    yeah you have the two hdds inside very tight more disassembly needed then the one drive minis. if I buy a server I would be likely to order a 2 x 750 model leave them alone just add ram. then buy a t-bolt when it comes out.

    the mods are more for the 1 drive models. pretty easy at a big savings. I am doing my fourth one today.
     
  20. OTACORB macrumors 6502a

    OTACORB

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    Jun 21, 2009
    Location:
    Central, Louisiana
    #20
    The new Mac Mini 2011 is actually easier to install a new hard drive in than the 2010 or earlier version for sure.

    I initially had a bit of problem though I kept getting a screen with the circle and line through it. I had taken my SSD drive from my previous Mac Mini and I guess because it already had OS X on it, I never could get to the Internet Recovery screen. I finally just put it in a windows machine deleted the partitions and then left it raw with no format.

    I then reinstall it in my new Mac Mini 2011 and this time the Internet Recovery option came right up.

    Tell you one thing there is a big difference between the stock 500gb 5400 RPM and my 3gb/s 240gb OWC Mercury Extreme SSD. I opted to do this rather than buy another 6gb/s SSD. I am satisfied let me just put it that way and it beats spending another $500.

    It is pretty cool the way these newer Mac's actually recover through the internet.

    Has anyone else run into any issues with a previously used drive that was not raw? Just curious?
     
  21. japtor macrumors regular

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #21
    I'd wait on it until Intel patches the bug they found. The Samsung 470 performs pretty similarly and is cheaper per GB (at least at the larger sizes), I'm leaning towards that one right now.
     
  22. moxxey macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #22
    Yes, you're not wrong there. Also the server motherboard layout is very slightly different from the iFixit breakdown pictures. Still, job done. Just wasn't easy!
     
  23. gigaguy macrumors 65816

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    Apr 19, 2010
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    USA
    #23
    Why do you need a wireless network? I don't use one.
     
  24. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #24
    I presume it would only ask for a wireless network if it can't detect a wired one.
     
  25. moxxey macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #25
    For some reason it didn't pick up the wired network. Asked for a wireless connection.

    Anyway, how many people have a wired network at home? I'm surprised you even asked! I'd assume most home users use wireless.
     

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