Mac Mini: Fusion Drive Or SSD?
Old 20th February 2013
  #1
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Mac Mini: Fusion Drive Or SSD?

Hello all, I am about to purchase a new Mac Mini, but I am not sure whether to go with the so-called 1TB "Fusion Drive" or just the 256 GB SSD?

Anybody have any suggestions? Anybody have any experience with the Fusion Drive? Any problems with it?

Please note, I have no interest in opening the Mini up and adding in my own drive; just want a built to order, turn-key solution.

Any thoughts/help would be appreciated?
Old 20th February 2013
  #2
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My advice has been to get the stock machine and later on buy external SSDs that you can put in (cheap) USB 3.0 or (expensive) Thunderbolt cases. Why? Because SSD prices are dropping very fast very soon. Micron Technologies (AKA crucial.com) announced in January that this Spring they will be coming out with a 1Tb 2.5" SSD for $600.

AnandTech - Micron/Crucial Announces M500 SSD Line of SSDs

So for the most bang for your buck you could get a mini now and either swap in the SSD later, or add it to the SSD (with a $30 internal bracket, so it sits next to the internal HDD) or put it in an external case. And I've put my money where my mouth is: I bought a stock 2.3GHz mini last month (actually got it at the Apple refurb store for $679), put in 16Gb RAM myself for $85 (prices have gone up to $100 lately), and I'm waiting for the big-n-cheap SSDs to come out in a couple of months....
Old 21st February 2013
  #3
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Thanks for the reply. I understand that it would be cheaper to install an SSD myself, but I know my limits - I have no technical skills whatsoever. So, I want to either get the SSD or Fusion drive pre-installed from Apple.

Anybody else have any thoughts?
Old 21st February 2013
  #4
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cube66's Avatar
 

The Fusion Drive is working very well from what I have read from users. I am in the same position as you and I am going to buy 2,6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with Fusion Drive. I add a external SSD later.

Good Luck man!

Old 21st February 2013
  #5
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The problem is that the fusion drive analyzes how often files are accessed and moves them between HDD and SSD part.
This is far from ideal in audio applications.

Check certified dealers in your area.
They can add whatever you want to the base Macs and offer reasonable prices - and you won´t loose warranty!


I´ll get my new Mac mini 2.6 Ghz on monday and my local Apple reseller has added a Samsung 840 Pro SSD and put the stock 1TB HDD into an external USB 3.0 case.
That way I can decide where the files go - and I´ll put software, VI´s, samples and loops onto the SSD and audiofiles on the HDD.
Old 21st February 2013
  #6
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noexitrecords View Post
Thanks for the reply. I understand that it would be cheaper to install an SSD myself, but I know my limits - I have no technical skills whatsoever. So, I want to either get the SSD or Fusion drive pre-installed from Apple.
Or you can do what I did (and will do): just get the stock model now and buy a an *external* SSD later. $200 above the basic mini price today gets you a small internal 256Gb SSD (and loses you a 1Tb internal drive), which is pretty pricey to begin with and will be wildly overpriced in just a few months.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #7
Music & Film
 

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
Or you can do what I did (and will do): just get the stock model now and buy a an *external* SSD later. $200 above the basic mini price today gets you a small internal 256Gb SSD (and loses you a 1Tb internal drive), which is pretty pricey to begin with and will be wildly overpriced in just a few months.

Exactly
Old 13th August 2013
  #8
Gear interested
 

update on mac mini

Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
Or you can do what I did (and will do): just get the stock model now and buy a an *external* SSD later. $200 above the basic mini price today gets you a small internal 256Gb SSD (and loses you a 1Tb internal drive), which is pretty pricey to begin with and will be wildly overpriced in just a few months.
Hey, I'm just wondering how this train of thought has progressed as I'm just about to buy a mac mini with a SSD. Its' $300 more but doesn't seem much cheaper elsewhere right now and I really don't want a new mac with a 5400 rpm drive in it. Any thoughts?
Old 13th August 2013
  #9
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Cheech's Avatar
 

I would absolutely recommend, getting the fastest processor you can get, then upgrade your HD to a SSD, and max out your ram on your own.

I just purchased a kit from OWC, that let me case up my stock drive from my macbook pro, and I put in a SSD, and maxed out my ram.

I have NEVER seen my laptop zip like it is.

They have tons of how to install videos on their website. Im absolutely positive that if I can do it, anyone can.

The hardest part, is backing up your drive, and migrating to the new one.
It just takes a while depending on how much info you are migrating.

UPGRADE YOUR OWN
Old 13th August 2013
  #10
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

I love the Fusion drive. IMac 27 3.4 .....very quick. I use an external drive for audio.
Old 13th August 2013
  #11
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Mixtree Audio's Avatar
B e V e r y C a r e f u l adding a second SSD in the 2012 Mac Mini. You need a surgeon's hands and a lot of good light and patience. I ripped a connector receptacle right off the solder joints because I pried from the wrong side. Be absolutely certain with every move. As soon as you open up the Mac the warranty evaporates.

Turns out the only thing I damaged was the IR sensor/sleep light. Not the end of the world.
Old 13th August 2013
  #12
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Cheech's Avatar
 

Yeah, I havent seen the procedure for the mac mini, but the macbook pro change out is super easy.

Changing out the drive on an iMac, looks extremely difficult. If you go iMac route, just go ahead and order it with a SSD.

In the end, I think the SSD is well worth the effort.
Old 13th August 2013
  #13
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Dpro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixtree Audio View Post
B e V e r y C a r e f u l adding a second SSD in the 2012 Mac Mini. You need a surgeon's hands and a lot of good light and patience. I ripped a connector receptacle right off the solder joints because I pried from the wrong side. Be absolutely certain with every move. As soon as you open up the Mac the warranty evaporates.

Turns out the only thing I damaged was the IR sensor/sleep light. Not the end of the world.
I did it with mine no problem. I followed the OWC instructions and just was patient about doing it, no rush. It worked fine. Its that simple follow instructions to the letter and use the tools provided with the OWC data doubler kit.

I removed the original drive and installed two SSD's. Now my Mini just smokes in the speed department.
Your warranty does not evaporate either unless you manage to damage something like you did. Otherwise even if you change out the drives the warranty is still valid.

Plus if go to the Apple store and know how to talk the people! They might even help you out anyways even though you did do the damage.
I have had Macbook batteries given to me for free when the Macbooks were out of warranty. I had an Imac that developed a line down the screen and they fixed it for free out of warranty.
My singer replaced her Iphone 3s like 3 times over the course of a year and half. She tended to drop it a lot. LOL

Two things to say here follow instructions to the T and know how to talk to people. It will make things go a long way.
Old 13th August 2013
  #14
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Get the minimum hard drive, the 1TB Fusion drive= $250, vs a Momentus 750GB hybrid drive at $129.

There is a 1TB version on the horizon, no announced price quite sure it will be in $150 or less.

Get your RAM from Crucial or New Egg.

I have 2 hard drives, and 16GB RAM in my MBP, Apple has opened my machine and my Apple Care is still in effect.

They don't care if you upgrade components, it will not void your Apple Care.

There are step by step video tutorials available from OWC, and ifixit.com


Quote
1
Old 13th August 2013
  #15
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m_gant's Avatar
 

I did my own mini with owc kit. Grab a cup of coffee & have some geeky fun no big deal & save lots. Plus it's gratifying!
Old 13th August 2013
  #16
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Cheech's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by m_gant View Post
I did my own mini with owc kit. Grab a cup of coffee & have some geeky fun no big deal & save lots. Plus it's gratifying!
Im gonna have to agree with M on this one. After I completed the upgrade, i was truly gratified. Now, I am looking into the data doubler for the MacBook Pro. As soon as I can get it done, I will. Ive never been more geeked out in my life
Old 13th August 2013
  #17
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Imo, the Data Doubler (I went with the cheaper alternative on Amazon) is a must for anyone seriously doing music with their MBP. It was the best thing I could have ever done and it was easy to install (and worked right off the bat). I have the hybrid Seagate Momentus drive that gdoubleyou posted and it is much faster than the stock 5400rpm drive that comes with it. I even have my sample libraries streaming from there and it's not much a trade off. Highly recommended.
Old 13th August 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rids View Post
Imo, the Data Doubler (I went with the cheaper alternative on Amazon) is a must for anyone seriously doing music with their MBP. It was the best thing I could have ever done and it was easy to install (and worked right off the bat). I have the hybrid Seagate Momentus drive that gdoubleyou posted and it is much faster than the stock 5400rpm drive that comes with it. I even have my sample libraries streaming from there and it's not much a trade off. Highly recommended.
I recently replaced the my 750GB Momentus, with a 1TB 7200rpm drive.
I notice the difference in boot times, and loading times for plugs.

I do have the OWC bracket for a second hard drive, going to reconfigure with the Momentus as the boot drive.

Currently looking at external optical, hard drive/ hub solutions.

Old 7th November 2013
  #19
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jwh1192's Avatar
hi, i am about to go the macmini route (non-server with 2.6 processor upgrade) .. may i ask one more time after a couple months - 1 TB Fusion Drive or just get stock drive and put in 2 - samsung EVo 500Gb drives (one for operating system and the other fro samples playback - all audio on external drive) .. yes i will max ram to 16gb after market ... my macpro 2008 harper town is starting to go (USB power is waining) and need replacement - will i be happy with the macmini ?

thank you for your opinions

john
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