I just ordered a new 2012 Mac Mini with 2.6GHz i7, 16 gb ram (3rd party), and a 256 GB SSD as system drive.
I currently have a 500 GB Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid in a Firewire 800 enclosure but really want to take advantage of the Mac Mini's Thunderbolt Port or maybe the USB 3.0's!
Here's a few choices I've seen:
1. Large SSD (OCZ Vertex 4, Samsung 840, etc) in a USB 3.0 enclosure (I cannot for the life of me find an empty Thunderbolt enclosure...)
2. Another small (256 GB or so) SSD external from LaCie, maybe their rugged one and use that for recording to and holding samples/audio and get a very large regular HDD to back up project files and keep things on there that I won't use often.
3. Stick with my Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid and stick it into a USB 3.0 enclosure
Will I notice any difference between USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt in actual use? What's a read/write speed where I will have no problem whatsoever?
Cheapest option is to take your existing drive and put it in a new case. You'll get faster speeds with USB 3.0 and you won't spend a fortune.
Do a Google on OWC's SSDs. Over the last two years there have been a number of incompatibility issues which OWC has moved slowly on. Personally if I was looking for an SSD right now I'd get the Samsung 840 Series SSD 500Gb and put it in a USB 3.0 case.
A case can be purchased for around the same price as the OWC kit, portability has its advantages, and the real-world speeds are not appreciably different from what I've read.