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The Mac mini family was first introduced in January of 2005.

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SSD replacement vs dual drive differences and why one over the other?

Hi everyone, about to proceed with my SSD upgrade surgery for my Mac Mini but before that I'm curious:

There seems to be an even split between people adding another SSD to their already existing HDD and people completely swapping their HDD for an SSD. Where is the difference between these systems and why would one opt for one over the other?

Thanks guys!

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We go with option D ;-)

The answer here is not cut and dry.

If you got a smaller HD and didn't need a lot of storage and you only wanted speed (web server). Then swapping out the HD with a SSD makes sense.

If you need more storage then often one just upgrades the HD to a larger size. Or adding a second HD drive for still more storage.

In some cases people want there cake and eat it too! So you end up either putting in a SSHD gaining the storage of a HD with the performance gains of a SSD. Or, doing a dual drive setup. Here you stay with the HD you have and add in a SSD drive. Then you can setup Fusion or run the drives discreetly.

The only issue you really face here is the loss of your optical drive if your system had one internally. If you have a newer model you might encounter issues with the second SATA port as some models have an issue with the SATA I/O speed.

We gave up doing the dual drive HD/SSD setups. Instead we are only using the hybrid SSHD drive for the first drive. We also only use SATA II (3.0 Gb.s) HD drives in place of the optical drive due to the system port issue.

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Thanks for the explanation Dan. I'm actually on the late 2012 model with the 1TB HDD so theres already an open space ready for a secondary drive. I only use my machine for leisure and not technically demanding tasks like sound editing or video rendering. This is more like a Facebook/Youtube/Gmail machine and other internet surfing purposes with the occasional several GB downloads.

This will also be my first ever go at opening up a computer and making changes to it which is why I cant really decide on which route to go. I usually throw all my large sized media into an external hard-drive and delete them from my computer to help keep it running smoothly and to save space. From your explanation, it would seem that the direct swap option would fit me best is that right?


What are you looking for here: Speed or Space? Since this is such a new unit it would be a waste throwing away the 1TB drive. Remember this is one of the systems that has a SATA II port on the optical drive so you can't move the HD over (the HD is SATA III) nor, install a SATA III SSD in the optical drive connection (unless you can manually set it to SATA II).


With my current usage, I would say speed over space. I do realise that throwing out the original 1TB. Who wouldnt want more memory?! But with my current practice of keeping the high GB stuff on an external drive it would seem that space isnt that demanding on my unit. Maybe Ill use the original 1TB drive as another external drive. It says on the box of my SSD that my unit is a SATA3 but compatible with SATA2 and SATA1. Does that still mean that I need to manually set it to SATA2 or will it be able to switch gears by itself?


Sadly, the auto sync function won't work correctly here. You do need a drive which you can manually set or one that is fixed at SATA II (3.0 Gb/s).


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