|My Mac Mini 2011|
There is a wide choice of SSD's available for the Mac, which makes the decision of what SSD to buy a bit of a chore. Research is required! Here you will find a list below of what drives to look at:
- OCZ Vertex
- Samsung 830
- Crucial M4
- Sandisk Extreme
- Intel SSD 520 or 330
I ended up choosing the Intel 330 because of the size, 180GB is perfect for me, as 120GB was too small and 240GB was too expensive. All the other manufacturers offer either 120GB or 240GB and as I currently use 110GB of space, 180GB was perfect (120GB is pushing it particularly if you consider I might expand and also for garbage collection and/nor TRIM).
Intel has just released the SSD 330 series, which is a cheaper version of the consumer pro 520.
|Intel SSD 330|
I had decided to save $60 over the 520 and purchase the 330 180GB @ $235AU (which is almost 1$ a gig) and accept a slight hit in performance and 2 years less on warranty (The 520 is 5 years whereas the 330 is 3 years). The warranty difference doesn't concern me too much, as I plan on replacing it in 3 years time with hopefully an affordable 1TB SSD.
Now I have read on a few forums to go for the Crucial because you can update the firmware and no other vendor can; but with the Intel you can update the firmware on a Mac using an ISO image rather than a application (Which is a better way to do it anyway). The current firmware hasn't been updated for a while so it is not as if you need to do upgrade the firmware that often anyway.
One regret is that the 330 series is a tight fit in the Mac mini as the 330 is 9mm thick rather than 7.5mm. I got it in, but it might have been easier with the 520, as I had to use the logic board removal tool. Also, screwing it in wasn't the most perfect way either having to use a 60 degree angle, but as I won't be moving the mini much and it is SSD, it really doesn't matter that much (unless you are a purist).
I really recommend getting the ifix-it dual drive kit, which has a great set of tools and can also allow you to have two drives (I am concerned about having two drives because of heat and as I already have an external drive dock that can use 2.5 or 3.5 drives over Sata or FW800, I don't really need to use a second).
|Mac Mini Dual Drive Kit|
It certainly is a lot more difficult replacing a HD in a Mac mini than with a laptop or Desktop.
I have heard of people destroying the logic board when removing the IR connector.
It is not for the faint of heart. Everything is tiny in the Mac Mini and I have long hands. I had broken one side of the RAM clip before (this didn't affect the RAM) when upgrading to 8GB and felt very nervous when upgrading.
ifixit has great pictorial instructions which I used on my ipod touch using the ifixit app.
I also recommend this picture for when you remove the IR sensor. This is where the spudger comes in handy.
The other tip I have is in regards to the Fan. I had re-connected it, but didn't test to see if it was working and had been using my Mini for an hour or so, when I realised it wasn't on. My Mac Mini was so HOT!!!!!! When I checked the Mini it seemed to be connected properly, but wasn't spinning. I pressed lightly on the connector with the spudger and voila.
Once the SSD was installed, all I did was press option on the keyboard to boot from a recovery USB and use Time Machine to restore. It took a little over an hour to restore and that was using a slow USB2 drive. If I used my faster drive on the firewire 800 port it would have taken half that time. Make sure you create a Lion recovery USB first before you take out the HD. Use this link below to create a USB recovery disk.
So far I am extremely happy with the SSD. No more beach balls, and so far after a weekend the 330 has performed flawlessly. Here are the bench mark results.
|Intel SSD 330 in a Mac Mini 2011 i5 2.5GHZ|
To TRIM or Not to TRIM
There is a fierce debate as to whether to have Trim on or not for sandforce based 3rd party drives in Macs. Mac OS X does not provide Trim support for 3rd party drives. There is a free tool (an unsupported hack) that you can get, but as it is a beta and a hack, there are reports of it being unreliable.
Others say that as sandforce drives have garbage collection you don't need Trim anyway.