External SSD boot drive - 2011 Mini

robertk328

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Jun 7, 2010
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I have a 2011 Mini (mid-tier) that's been getting long in the tooth.
Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 7.44.06 AM.png

Not sure what I want to do next -- probably the 2014 but also considering a 27 inch iMac. I have read a good bit about adding an external SSD as a boot drive to avoid opening it up (it's my only computer, though I do have an iPad I could watch the install video on!)

I ordered a:

Since my computer doesn't have USB3, I have it plugged into FW800.

While downloading El Capitan after I got the drive installed an initiated, I ran the test and it showed my internal 5400 RPM HD at about 10 MB/s. Ran a test on the SSD and got results in the 80s! Thought I was home free, but I knew the download of El Capitan would affect the results. After all was said and done, and I'm just sitting here with nothing going on, my internal gets between 30 MB/s and 60 MB/s, and the SSD continues consistent in the low 80s.

DiskSpeedTest_HD.pngDiskSpeedTest_Macintosh SSD.png

Am I wrong in thinking my speeds should be better than this? I know benchmarks aren't the only indicator of performance, as it does feel like it has more snap, but benchmarks are numbers and that's what we like ;)

I'm sure the answer is to open it up but I'd rather avoid that if possible!
 

Bigeric23

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Aug 17, 2010
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If it's working fine and feels like it has more "snap," you don't need to worry about what the numbers "should" be. Just my two cents.
 

robertk328

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If it's working fine and feels like it has more "snap," you don't need to worry about what the numbers "should" be. Just my two cents.

I pretty much agreed with you -- but after watching a video or two I realized it wasn't going to be as bad as I thought. I changed HD in my G4 Cube many moons ago and realized I could do this, too :) Biggest issue I had was getting the guide pins to seat in the grommets in the back. Using a plastic library card like this video demonstrated:


I was able to get it seated with a few tries. I was even able to do it without moving the logic board/mother board (as shown in the same video) though some videos showed it needing to be moved.

Super happy with the results -- Blackmagic almost seems like it can't go high enough, nearly pegging the meter.
DiskSpeedTest_SSD_INSIDE.png
 

robertk328

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Well, make that two things I had difficulty. Evidently I had trouble getting the fan installed right as the computer got warm to the touch and stuttered quite a bit. Checked the fan connector and sure enough it was not attached right. :concern: smcFanControl shows it's humming along nicely now at 1800 rpm and is cool again :)
 

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