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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Best strategy for buying a 2011 mini?

Best strategy for buying a 2011 mini?
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Uisce
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Jul 25, 2011, 04:28 PM
 
Hi gang,

I'm looking at buying a new mini, probably the midlevel with the i7 option, but rather than pay for the $150 hard drive and RAM from Apple, I'd like your input on what my best option is for a faster hard drive replacement, if its something I should consider. I figure a 3rd party drive can be had for $50-70, and size isn't overly important as I keep everything other than the OS and apps on external drives.

Opening the computer to swap a hard drive and replace ram isn't an issue, just whether or not I will see a real improvement with replacing the 5400 rpm drive from Apple with a 7200 rpm drive, or if there's an even better option out there.

Current plan is buy the mini from Apple, two 8GB sticks of 3rd party RAM, and a 7200 rpm drive from some place. Install and let the Lion updater dl and install the OS on the new drive.

Input?
( Last edited by Uisce; Jul 25, 2011 at 04:36 PM. )

Uisce
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 25, 2011, 05:20 PM
 
Its a pity you can't get the quad core version with the Radeon GPU.

As for a drive upgrade, I would go ahead and buy 3rd party. For $150 you can probably get a bigger, better drive and either fit it as a second internal or put the Apple drive in an external case.

I'd be interested to know if the single drive configurations are supplied with the cables etc to add a second drive later.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Uisce  (op)
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Jul 25, 2011, 11:38 PM
 
According to iFixit there's room and a port for a plug, but no cable.

Uisce
     
P
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Jul 31, 2011, 02:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uisce View Post
Opening the computer to swap a hard drive and replace ram isn't an issue, just whether or not I will see a real improvement with replacing the 5400 rpm drive from Apple with a 7200 rpm drive, or if there's an even better option out there.
If you can afford it, put an SSD in there. Last-gen drives with the Sandforce 1200 chipset are available cheapish these days. I have one from OCZ, but I can not recommend it due the huge hassle it is to upgrade the firmware. OWC has more or less the same drives (same controller, which is what counts) and should offer better support for Mac users.

If you don't want to limit yourself to the sizes available on SSDs today, consider a hybrid drive such as the Seagate Momentus XT. In my personal experience, the speed boost over a regular 2.5" HDD is quite significant.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
mavherzog
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Aug 19, 2011, 10:12 PM
 
I have a hybrid drive and 8GB of ram on its way to me from newegg. Plan on buying a new mini (i7 / Radeon) in a week or so.

I have the hybrid drives in several laptops and HIGHLY recommend them!
     
   
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