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Some lessons on Mac minis and SSD options | Macminicolo Blog - Tips, tutorials and reviews on running a Mac mini server

Some lessons on Mac minis and SSD options


Over the years, we've installed hundreds of SSD drives into Mac minis. It's always a great upgrade and can make an old mini feel like new again. Of course iFixit has all the Mac mini upgrade tutorials you'd need and the process isn't as horrible as it seems at first. When you've done it enough times and have the right tools, the process takes less than a couple minutes.

Since we've installed so many different drives and brands over the years, we have experience with their longevity and some potential issues. I thought I'd write a few of these lessons we've learned in case it helps others:

First the bad: OCZ and Crucial SSD drives are fast, but they've been less reliable in our experience. The firmware upgrades require Windows or bootable CDs. Even worse than that, the return process for those drives are excruciating. There will be a ton of automated replies and waiting.

Second, a word of caution: If you are going to put an SSD drive into a Mac mini server or any other Mac with dual drives, be sure to clone the data using SuperDuper or CCC. There is a bug in Mavericks and Disk Utility. If you do a "Restore" to the drive and then install it into a Mac with dual drives, the OS will see it as a potentially broken Fusion drive the first time you boot up. Nine times out of ten, this will brick your SSD drive. (And I don't mean "brick" in the way people refer to iPhones that just need to be restarted. This will most likely require a return with the manufacturer.)


Finally, the reason you probably started reading: The Samsung 840 EVO SSD is the best option on the market right now. We've installed 100+ of these drives, and near 300 if you count their predecessor the Samsung 830. I don't know their RMA process yet because we've never had to return one. These drives are fast, have good P/E cycles and are very well priced. As of today, Amazon has the popular 250GB for just $173 and the 1TB version is just $524. With a drive that size, you don't even have to mess with the Fusion setup. If you really want an ultimate setup, a 2012 Mac mini can handle a 1TB SSD and a 2TB HDD together

Update: The 840 is now being phased out, but the streak of great drives continues with the 850. The 250GB is just $249 and the 1TB is down to $469.  

So if you're looking to breath life into a Mac mini, and SSD upgrade is not too hard and not too expensive. (Of course, if you're a Macminicolo customer that wants to upgrade your server, just let us know. Glad to help.)


About Macminicolo

Macminicolo, a Las Vegas based company, has been hosting Mac minis since their introduction in January 2005. We are the leaders in this niche market and are known for our personal service and advanced data center. We currently host hundreds of Mac minis for satisfied customers located in 56 different countries around the world. Find us on Twitter @macminicolo or on our company blog.