[Solved] New Mac Mini external storage suggestions
Good morning all,
While listening to a TDO podcast (I think?), a discussion ensued about the high expense of the internal SSD options for the new Mac Mini. The suggestion was made to settle on a 128GB or 256GB internal SSD option, and subsidize with an external drive over one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports. I’m replacing a late 2012 Mac Mini with a new Mac Mini, 256GB internal SSD. My current Mac Mini has a 1TB SSD internal (installed by me). My assumption, based on what I’ve read about the new Mini’s so far, is that the RAM will be user-upgradeable, but the SSD won’t. My question is: what external option should I go with, and what process would one use to make this work? My current drive has about 150GB free, and is filled with mostly pictures and documents. I have iCloud Drive with 2TB of space (shared with family, but I sync/backup my Documents, Desktop, etc). Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
I am also interested in your question.
I found a couple of options for external storage:
There was a post on Twitter from Dave Hamilton of a comment by one of his followers. The author recommended a 1TB drive (OWC drive above) and a “$20 case”. I don’t know which case they’re referring to, or if it’s a USB-C case.
Question: what would be the best option for my setup- using the external drive as my primary drive for everything, an the internal 256GB drive as an accessory? Or using the internal drive for the OS, and the external drive for high-storage items like Photos and Documents? Any advice would be helpful.
Assuming we are talking about the new Mac mini, this I would put the operating system on the internal storage, as it will most likely be the fastest storage and the operating system as well as your vanilla home folder should not take up too much space.
Then assuming pictures, music, videos are the really big files, use the associated app to specify that your libraries are on the external storage. You can find articles via Google on how to move those libraries to an external drive and then tell the related app how to use those external libraries.
If there is a home folder sub-folder that is not controlled by one of the apps, but has a large amount of storage in it, then move the files to an external device, and then Google creating a Symbolic Link (aka symlink) from your home folder to the external device.
If for your original question about a 150GB drive. If that drive is a rotating hard disk, then using an external SSD will most likely be faster. Even if you ONLY have USB2 interfaces, but much better if you have USB3 ports (making sure your USB3 devices have quality enclosures and quality USB3 cables; as poor quality USB3 cases and cables may generate WiFi interferences).
You can't go wrong with one of the Samsung T5 external SSDs.
Certainly if you think you can fit your "main" home folder on the 128GB SSD, then do that. Just remember that this needs to hold your Mail, your Photos thumbnails, your iTunes artwork, and local storage for your iCloud Drive, so it's possible that 128GB wouldn't be enough. For me it almost certainly wouldn't work, and I would very likely choose to boot from the external.
The listener who wrote in suggested the 2TB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD and their "External drive enclosure case with USB type C interface (USB 3.1, 6 Gbps transfer rate)" — I, too, am not sure of which enclosure listener Lee meant, and I've (now) asked him to chime in here. 😉
Interesting that this post just came across feed as I am in the same position, especially now that Barclays just came out with their “holiday” 18 months interest free offer.
I am planning on getting the i7 and sticking with the minimum storage of 256GB and using that as the boot drive. I will supplement that with a 1TB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G from OWC for about ~$300. FWIW, the holiday catalogue shows this @ $279 but I do not see that price on the web...yet?? I also plan to set the home folder for my user account(s) to use this external drive.
As far as an enclosure, I am planning to get the “Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini” and putting my existing 480GB SSD into the 2nd slot. Running the enclosure in individual drive mode.
As far as RAM, I am planning on getting a single 32GB DIMM from OWC. Leaving the door open to go to 64GB someday in the future should I ever have money again 🙂
...and selling the 8GB RAM the system will come with to OWC for a whopping $30...but that is better than in just sitting in my computer bin-o-crap
@datafornothingandbitsforfree interesting thought & that will save $$$....until I want to go to 64GB, which is not now anyway and when/if that time comes the 32GB DIMMs will be cheaper. Thanx for the suggestion
I am leaning towards a Raid 5 solution after much research. Considering the AKITIO Thunder 3 Quad.
I was going to go with a 1T internal SSD and existing external drives but changed my mind. The uplift to 1T is $600. The cost of the Raid 5 solution is about the same with spinning drives. Using 2T drives will net me roughly 5.5T usable. It will be a big improvement over what I have in usable space and speed. Plus, I will get to use Thunderbolt 3 which is a big part of the new Mac Mini. Merry Christmas to me!!
I went for the 256gb internal SSD and bought an internal Samsung 860 EVO 1tb SSD on sale at my local Micro-Center store, along with a $25 USB 3.1 enclosure with a USB-C cable. I migrated my apps and users to the 256gb drive but didn't move the larger directories like Movies and Pictures. iTunes is already on it's own drive. Then I duplicated the Users folder from my old machine onto the external SSD and put aliases to the photo library, iTunes library in the folders on the internal drive.
By building the external SSD myself, I saved about $50 over buying the prefab WD MyPassport SSD. Total cost for the 1tb external was < $200.