Worth adding a 2TB to a 2012 Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by belltree, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. belltree macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #1
    I have a Late 2012 (quad Core i7, 16GB) Mac Mini with a 1TB HDD and have found it quite slow. I want to add in a 2TB SSD as my 1TB HDD is almost full but the cost for the 2TB is quite high. I am trying to justify spending the $$$ for the SSD for a 5 year old system (which may only get another 2 years of OS updates) vs waiting for a possible 2018 Mac Mini.

    Any thoughts, advice?
     
  2. adam9c1 macrumors 68000

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    well, the mini is certainly coming...

    I suggest you get a large enough SSD for your OS and CORE applications / data folders.

    Do you really need 2TB SSD?
     
  3. Miat, Nov 4, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017

    Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #3
    In a similar situation myself. Do I stick with the spinner boot drive and cross my fingers, or invest in an SSD and cross my fingers the other way?

    Options include:

    1. You can always repurpose the SSD for another machine if the Mini gets an upgrade, or stick it into an external enclosure, or sell it. So it is not necessarily a wasted investment. And who knows, maybe Apple will have a 2.5" drive slot in an upgraded 2018 model.

    2. 2TB SSDs ain't cheap, and are comparable to the cost of a top spec current model Mini. Getting a 1TB SSD will cost about half as much as a 2TB, and you can spend some of the savings on external spinner back up drives to offload some of your files and free up space on the 1TB SSD boot drive.

    3. Leave the spinner in and use it for the storage drive, then install an SSD in an external enclosure and boot off that. Is a bit slower than if it was internal, but a lot less work and risk in pulling the Mini apart, both to install it and take it out later if required.

    4. If your spinner is a 5400 RPM, you could upgrade to a 7200 RPM version, which is a substantial speed bump, and much cheaper than the same capacity SSD. Though it is nowhere near the speed bump an SSD will give you, obviously.

    5. If Apple stop supporting the 2012 Mini in OS X, you can install Linux. Though presumably Linux will have some limits on legacy hardware too.
     
  4. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #4
    In general, not just mini, I have found it is good to have a 256-512GB main OS drive (for macOS and Windows), make sure you don't fill it with applications or other data so that it has a long and good performing life. Then for the rest of your data split them into two categories. One is the applications and other data that you need/want to have access to all the time, any time. For that install a second SSD, perhaps even larger than the main one. Two is the data you don't really need to have all the time available or that speed of access is not important, have an external (or internal if we are talking about PC cases) very large mechanical drive.
    In your case going for 1 or even 2 smaller SSDs, for example 256 + 512 AND an external say 4TB mechanical drive will still be cheaper than getting a single 2TB SSD.
     
  5. Boyd01 Moderator

    Boyd01

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    I have a 2012 2.7ghz quad Mini with an original Apple 256gb internal SSD. I upgraded by adding a 1TB external Samsung T3 SSD as a boot drive with Sierra and it runs quite fast. I only use this machine for video/audio editing. Did not want to open it up, I left Mountain Lion on the internal SSD along with all my old, expensive software.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    Why not buy a USB3 EXTERNAL 1tb or 512gb SSD, and just plug it in?
     
  7. ziggy29 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    Oregon North Coast
    #7
    I'd just use an external SSD. The performance hit is minimal with USB 3, and the Mini is a difficult machine to work on when it comes to swapping out a drive. Plus you can repurpose it to another Mac in the future. Most likely you don't need a 2 TB $$D. 500 GB or maybe as little as 250 GB might be enough -- you definitely want the OS on the SSD, and maybe a few other apps with the need for speed. A lot of the apps, and pretty much all of the data and other files, can usually reside just fine on a spinner without much of a performance hit.

    This configuration also allows me to use one of the internal spinners, which also has High Sierra installed, as a recovery volume and alternate boot drive (albeit a lot slower).
     
  8. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    #8
    I have a bit of limited experience with 2012 Minis, owning several Server models from that year; all of them shipped with the stock 1TB spinners. Follow this, I have a point to consider.

    The 8 units in my company have their spinners replaced with dual 1TB Samsung 1TB SSDs (the 2TB units weren't available then) in RAID 0. They're all used in rendering workflows, and have RAID arrays attached. My personal Server (and my GF's Server) are set up with a 512GB 850 Pro in the Lower Bay and the stock 1TB spinner in the Upper Bay; the spinners are used for iTunes Media and other documents. The stock spinners are the Samsung SpinPoint units, likely the same as your spinner. Here's my point…

    All 10 of the Minis I alluded to contained the stock 1TB spinners, capable of SATA III link speeds (6 Gigabit) - but, for some unknown reason the Negotiated Link Speed was (and is in the two personal Minis they're still in) is SATA II (3 Gigabit). Check your Mini's Negotiated Link Speed (in System Information, "SATA/SATA Express" panel) - I'd hazard a guess that the disk's Negotiated Link Speed is 3 Gigabit/SATA II - my connected DAS with 5400 RPM spinners result in throughput speeds 2-3 times what my internal spinner returns. Frustrating, that!

    Rather than invest in an internal spinner for my "data" disk, I put that money toward an 8TB WD easystore (8TB WD Red, 256GB cache - the 4TB units don't contain Red drives) for archiving AND a 256/512GB SSD to replace your internal spinner; I won't use any SSD at this point besides a Samsung unit but you likely won't see much difference between an EVO or a Pro for general usage. Put the stock spinner in a cheap enclosure that can be booted from - just in case.

    I'm not keen on using an external DAS as a regular boot up drive, but it's certainly a very usable option. Not using an external DAS for a startup drive is only my preference. And, IMHO blowing a wad of coin on a 2TB SSD isn't something that I would do even though my rendering Mini workstations pull in $300 an hour. Cheers!
     
  9. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #9
    Oh, I would love to know more about this.
     
  10. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #10

    I have the stock 5400 spinner, with an added 7200 spinner. The 5400 gets a 3GB link, and the 7200 a 6GB link.

    Seems to depend on the individual drive.
     
  11. grad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #11
    Yes, SSDs are (still) expensive but you never regret it. Unless the mechanical drive is e.g. in a NAS sitting rooms away storing slow data or doing backups it doesn't really make sense to have it - too noisy, too risky if you are thinking mobile, too slow if you are thinking internal connection and upgrading the performance of your computer. And it doesn't look like SATA SSDs go away - the industry is going M.2 NVME but stupidly (thanks Intel) you can't use these externally, no USB bridges/enclosures available last time I checked (probably a conspiracy). On the other hand, you can always reuse the 2TB SATA SSD in another computer, either as a primary or secondary volume, or you can just put it in a cheap/easy-to-find USB3 enclosure, no need for buying an external (fixed) SSD (and I do like my Samsung T3).
     
  12. Boyd01 Moderator

    Boyd01

    Staff Member

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    FWIW, this is the original Apple 256gb internal SSD on my 2012 quad mini

    [​IMG]



    and this is my external USB3 1TB Samsung T3 SSD

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #13
    A couple of months ago I came across (online) enclosures/cases for M.2 drives.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    Boyd's speeds above for the Samsung t3 are "as good as one can get" using an external USB3 drive with the Mini.

    That's what I'd recommend to the OP...
     
  15. MarkJames68 macrumors 6502

    MarkJames68

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2017
    #15
    Another option -

    Put in a 1TB SSD, put existing HDD in enclosure and use as a clone backup disk.

    Get another USB SSD up to the capacity you need for additional storage.
     
  16. grad macrumors regular

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    Jun 2, 2014
    #16
    But were they for NVME ?
     
  17. cube macrumors P6

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    May 10, 2004
    #17
    I did not find one when I was looking so I put an adapter in a TB PCIe enclosure.
     
  18. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

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    Nov 5, 2014
    #18
    I don't remember. I wasn't looking for one so I didn't pay much attention.
     
  19. grad macrumors regular

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    Jun 2, 2014
    #19
    They were not compatible for NVME SSDs.

    Yes, the only way is to use a PCIe adapter, either on a computer with PCIe slots or one with working TB (i.e. a Mac). Not flexible enough and a PITA e.g. if you are into hackintosh, try to access your data elsewhere, clone or fix a non working installation etc.
     
  20. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    #20
    Not wanting to stray from the thread too much here. I own/run an engineering company, civil/environmental modeling/forensic are my specialties. I learned two lessons OTJ from others in the 2000s. First (relevant to the billing rates), on a building rehab an issue came up and the work had to stop immediately - the resulting claim cited the $2800 per hour for downtime; I won the claim but learned how much a small army of specialized labor can cost per hour and now have a small army of specialized labor working for me. Second (relevant to the Minis), as the new guy at a small engineering/surveying firm I was stuck with the "boat anchor" but was expected to meet billable production quotas with AutoCAD, a couple of ESRI apps, and HydroCAD all on Windows NT; I spent about $150 and a bit of time to optimize that workstation with a scratch disk, a cache disk, and an OS disk and ended up on the top of the production billable sheet for the rest of my tenure there. I also learned to never bid on low-bid jobs, they almost always never work out as profitable in the end, and to tell people what you can do for them in that I almost always walk my clients past my server room so they can ask me for a tour…

    My Minis are mounted in these boxes, with plenty of fast storage attached. My apps feeding them files to render are all exported flythroughs and structural models (including environmental models), all lump sum contracts. The Mini-based workstations sit alongside a few Windows-based workstations. Some of my subconsultants hire my workstations' render time. I just keep feeding them work and they just keep making me $$$…

    The only workforce I can think of that is more diligent and profitable is yeast in the beer/wine-making industries, and they don't w(h)ine or cry in their beer. Puns intended…
    --- Post Merged, Nov 5, 2017 ---
    I recall that all of the Apple-supplied spinners in the Minis that I own had/have a 3GB aggregated link speed. I gave up trying to figure out why and stuffed an SSD in!
     
  21. Wildhope macrumors member

    Wildhope

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Location:
    NY
    #21
    Wow this is really good imo
     
  22. Trusteft macrumors 6502a

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #22
    Thank you very much for your reply. Always fascinating to learn more about other fields, thank you. I wish you more profits in the future.
     
  23. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    #23
    Thanks for that. FWIW, I donate quite a bit of time and that profit to not-for-profit entities, mainly in rural parts of the PNW - it's the way I'm wired, and it's not all about the money grab for us… Cheers!
     
  24. sublunar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #24
    I have my 2Tb SSD plugged into a SATA 3 2.5" external enclosure which is connected to a Thunderbolt 2 dock which is finally connected my 2012 Mac mini. The Mini itself already has a 256Gb SSD in it but I decided not to bother swapping the units out. The beauty of this is that with with correct dock the 2Tb SSD could boot some other Mac hardware.
     

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23 November 3, 2017