SSD Issues in Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'OS: Mac OS' started by N0TZU, Apr 13, 2017.

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  1. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm considering replacing the hard drive with an SSD in my shack Mac Mini (late 2012, 16GB,running Sierra). Other than the tedious mechanical access, has anyone had any problems with this?
  2. K3DCW

    K3DCW QRZ Lifetime Member #212 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    No problems, only good results.

    Make sure you have the right tools; there are some odd screwheads and the such. I bought a tool set from Other World Computing at the same time I bought my SSDs. Following their instructional videos made the swap rather painless.
  3. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Make sure you have an image of your drive to restore once the drive is installed.
  4. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depending upon the version of OS X, you may need to install "trim enabler".
  5. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm thinking of upgrading my MacMini with an SSD drive, too--mine's got space for two drives so I'm waffling between replacing its original drive and just using that or using the SSD as my "main" drive and use my original one in addition to it.

    I've heard nothing but good things about OWC's (now kit. Be sure to watch their vid on how to replace the Mac Mini's drive so the process is as painless as possible:
  6. K3DCW

    K3DCW QRZ Lifetime Member #212 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The difference in performance between an SSD and a mechanical drive is astounding, especially on bootup and every time you start an application.
  7. W1HMM

    W1HMM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    MacSales has fantastic products and support. I have replaced the spindle drives in all my computers with SSDs and haven't regretted it. They sell packages that also come with an external case for the spindle drive you remove. I've done that and used the old drive for external storage and backups.

  8. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just thought I'd bump the thread--I ordered a Samsung Evo 1TB SSD drive for my Mac Mini this morning and ordered the toolkit from OWC, so once I have both I'll give you a report on how the drive swap went.

    I decided not to double-stack my Mini so it would run cooler with just the SSD installed. That, and now that it's over five years old it's kind of silly to have a hard-used hard drive inside since, when it fails, it would mean opening the box* up twice--better to retire or use the existing drive as an auxiliary external back-up drive should my primary back-up drive fail for whatever reason. (I keep two back-ups for my home computer: one at home and one at work so in case of fire or theft I'll have another of last week's back-up to go to.

    *Opening a desktop-size computer is no biggie, but with the delicate connectors used in the Mac Mini the fewer times you have to disconnect/reconnect them, the better.
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  9. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    I installed the SSD in my Mac Mini…or should I say, reinstalled it (four times) and it works great! It was my fat, fumbling fingers, a couple of idiosyncrasies with the Mac Mini, and a mysterious boot problem that plagued the first three installation attempts but the fourth one was successful.

    First things, first: Clone your existing drive’s contents onto the (new) SSD drive, it being mounted in an exterior hard drive case or fixture. That way, you won’t run into the problem of your Mac Mini not recognizing the SSD drive (so it can be formatted) which is what happened with mine—Disk Utilities just couldn’t see it with it mounted on-board. By cloning your drive to the SSD, it makes the installation process go a lot smooth/faster. I use Carbon Cloner so for my clone I had it check the integrity of each file before copying it to the SSD--it took over eight hours for the clone process--instead of the nominal 1.5 hours--but at least I know no corrupted files were copied...hopefully!

    I followed the drive swap video on Disassembly of the Mac Mini wasn’t too difficult. (Taking anything apart is easy—it’s the putting it back together correctly that’s hard!)

    The part of the reassembly that added a lot of frustration, and time, was reinstalling the Wi-Fi antenna grid/plate. There’s an eensy-weensy, very fine groove that it must fit in else it won’t sit flush with the chassis, preventing installation of its two, side, retaining screws. I messed with that problem for over an hour trying to figure out why it wouldn’t seat—I couldn’t/can't even see the groove it slides into. It eventually took some creative sliding and gentle plate warping to get the plate to fit back into its groove and seat.

    The Wi-Fi antenna connector wasn’t fun, either—if it isn’t DNO lined up with its mating socket then you’re going to have trouble getting it connected. (Limited access space and fat fingers strike again...even with fine tools in hand.)

    Another item too look out for is the connector that connects the hard drive to the logic board—it takes very little pull for it to become disengaged so I think that’s one possibility of why the Mac Mini didn’t recognize the SSD drive the first or second installation attempt: when confirming reseating the drive into its two 'holes', I may have inadvertently pulled up on the drive a little too far and unseated the connector.

    The three screws that the plastic, bottom cover engages to lock itself down are very easy to strip—even though I used the suggested 2mm hex wrench it still stripped the insides of them; the Torx T-8 saved the day so I could install them to get the job done but I’ll have to order new screws. :S

    Last edited: May 16, 2017

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