Solid-State Fash Drive Swap For Mac Mini
Drive Replacement In Intel Mini SSD A Very Worthwhile UpgradeApple Mac minis are at the bottom-end of Apple's product line. As such there's been trade-offs in performance and components chosen. Apple's mini's most notably had rather small hard drive capactiy with initally very slow 4500 RPM then 5400 RPM spinning platter drives rather than top-performing 7200 RPM drives with a large cache. So a solid-state mini flash disk drive upgrade can relieve a huge bottleneck to greater overall performance. In many ways, the lowliest Mac model currently shipping BENEFITS THE MOST from an SSD swap.
Cramped But Doable Mac Mini Pry-Apart Take-ApartIt's getting the mini case apart and the lid off that's a pain in the butt. The first time is often frustrating and painstaking. But like any computer disassembly, once you've been thru the hell of doing it once, you learn the technique, tips and tactics needed - and the next time around is alot easier. Overall there's only about 8 screws involved.
The RIGHT tools help - and with the Mac mini both a metal and/or plastic putty knife is critical. A metal putty knife often has the thinness needed to pry open the crack initially - then a plastic putty knife is much softer and safer to work around the edge and release each latch without marring the case edges like a metal edge often does. A small plastic 'Spudger' pry-tool is smarter and safer for prying off things like the drives heat sensor, or loosening taped wires than a flat-tipped metal screwdriver. Mini's have several wired AirPort antennas that must be carefully removed before unscrewing the drive assembly.
Bleeding Edge SATA II SSD's May Not Be Worth ItThe vast majority of Intel Mac mini's (as with most consumer-level Macs made in the mid to late 2008) out there only support the 1.5Gbps 150Mbps SATA I Standard. So current top-performing SSDs in which peak Read and (depending on the controller chip) Write speeds are well over 200Mbps -- may be somewhat limited by your mini Macintoshes SATA I controller.
Serial ATA II specs ARE BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE, so most people needn't fret about having a drive that's 'TOO FAST' - it just may not be your best investment. Remember: Literally ANY RECENT SSD is going to outperform the mini's stock factory-installed drive. OCZ's Agility 2 drive is affordable - and well matched to SATA I controllers.
ALL currently manufactured SATA hard disk drives -- whether conventional spinning platter or solid-state drives -- are now simply made to the faster SATA II spec, so this is not a real issue to worry about. The point is the BEST BANG FOR YOUR Mac mini BUCK may be found in mid-range and value series SSDs who's peak data transfer bandwidth is more in line with a Pre-2009 Mac mini's SATA I capabilities.
Only the latest (Early 2009) mini models now include a SATA II drive controller chipset. So if you have this updated 2009 mini, by all means choose one of the better performing Intel X-25, OCZ Vertex, Agility 2 or Patriot WARP ELITE series SSD drives with 200+Mpbs range Read/Writes well matched to maximumize SATA II performance. Indilinx or SandForce based SSD's are your best SATAII SSD option.
Learn more about OSX compatible flash drive options for Macintosh: Visit the Home Page of Solid-State Drive Upgrades For Apple Macs for SSD news, Best SSD prices, Cheap SSD options, and Upgrade Tips.