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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 10:01 AM   #1
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Questions: SSD Upgrade For Late 2012 Mac Mini

I have been trying to decide how I can upgrade my late 2012 Mini to an SSD drive. It's a 2.5 Ghz i5 with 8 GB RAM.

I bought this brand new in 2015 from Apple and it is running Mohave, latest version but it is painfully slow to boot up and also slow to use when compared to my 2015 MBP. I need a backup machine that is responsive in case of an issue with the MBP to keep my web site going. While I have used it in the past, it takes me about double the time to complete a daily issue and upload it. It likely has been used for less than 200 hours.

I know there are kits available to upgrade the HD to an SSD and would appreciate any recommendations as to what kit is best. Install videos I have watched (from OWC) seem to be easy to understand and not too terribly hard to install.

Then I thought about using an external USB connected SSD drive to boot from, and use the resident HD as a backup but can't find much information on such a setup. Would this type of setup work and improve my speed issues? The bonus would be if I upgrade the entire computer in the future, I would retain the external SSD for other uses. Plus avoid having to do the internal install.

Thoughts or alternate suggestions appreciated.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 11:10 AM   #2
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I upgraded 2 Mac Mini's to SSD, made a HUGE difference and have extended their life considerably. One of them I use to run a wide format printer I have at home. Not the fastest processing obviously, but boot up and loading apps goes really quick, would say things load up on par with my 5K iMac with 1 TB flash drive... well almost as fast.

I did not have any kits, I just swapped out the drive. Will have to check what year they are but thinking they are around the same as yours. I did it internally. One of the Mac Minis I needed to install a fan app to control it as it was spinning constantly, the other one just worked with no issue. It was a simple install, just a lot of screws and things to remove to get to the hard drive so just need to be organized with what goes where.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 11:16 PM   #3
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i also upgraded mine but it is a 2010 as a server. running pretty darn great. All videos, all mp3 are on there
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 07:18 AM   #4
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I wanted to upgrade my 2009 iMac 27 this way but getting to the innards was too complicated for me. So I connected an SSD via Firewire (!) and made it bootable. Works a treat. The machine is now over 10 years old and does everything all the way up to video editing. I just use the internal HD for data and back that up to Time Machine
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 07:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moscool View Post
I wanted to upgrade my 2009 iMac 27 this way but getting to the innards was too complicated for me. So I connected an SSD via Firewire (!) and made it bootable. Works a treat. The machine is now over 10 years old and does everything all the way up to video editing. I just use the internal HD for data and back that up to Time Machine
I had done something similar with my 2011 and a thunderbolt external. Was way faster that the internal ever was! Still had to disconnect the internal drive from the bus, but it was simpler to do that than completely replace the internal.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 05:17 PM   #6
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I had done something similar with my 2011 and a thunderbolt external. Was way faster that the internal ever was! Still had to disconnect the internal drive from the bus, but it was simpler to do that than completely replace the internal.
Well I went out and bought a 500 GB Seagate SSD USB mini HD for $99, plugged it into my MBP SSD and used CCC to clone the SSD to the external Mini Seagate SSD.

I then unmounted the Mini SSD and plugged it into the Mac Mini, set system prefs to make it the boot drive and it now takes less than a minute to boot up, down from nearly four minutes on the resident HD.

The Mini is now very fast and works perfectly. Much easier than installing the SSD in the Mini.

Such a small SSD to be so fast to boot and to use. Glad I went this way.

Here is a pic of the little Seagate on top of the Mini.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 08:51 PM   #7
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I recently bought one of those as a 3rd back-up for all my photos. Really small and portable.
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Old Yesterday, 12:23 PM   #8
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Well I went out and bought a 500 GB Seagate SSD USB mini HD for $99, plugged it into my MBP SSD and used CCC to clone the SSD to the external Mini Seagate SSD.

I then unmounted the Mini SSD and plugged it into the Mac Mini, set system prefs to make it the boot drive and it now takes less than a minute to boot up, down from nearly four minutes on the resident HD.

The Mini is now very fast and works perfectly. Much easier than installing the SSD in the Mini.

Such a small SSD to be so fast to boot and to use. Glad I went this way.

Here is a pic of the little Seagate on top of the Mini.
I wonder if you get the full speed of an SSD plugged in through USB.

What is even crazier are these new drives. On a PC I just built my hard drive is the size of a stick of ram and mounted directly onto the motherboard. No cables, just snaps in and screw it down on the motherboard. Really is crazy how much storage you can have on such a small drive and prices are not out of line either. I paid around $120 for a 1 TB drive
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Old Today, 09:59 AM   #9
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It is easily as fast now as my MBP with a 1 TB SSD. I am very pleased that my Mini is now a pleasure to use. Even my games run smoothly.
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Old Today, 12:42 PM   #10
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Given the ease of use, and the speed of it, the external SSD is a great option compared to taking a Mini apart.
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