Making matters worse, once you dig a little deeper iFixit found that there were no pop-out RAM slots at all. Instead, the RAM is soldered directly onto the logic board. Digging deeper, iFixit found another bummer: But where Apple taketh away, Apple also giveth The DIY site says it plans on tearing down one of the more expensive models of the new Mac mini packed with a Fusion Drive to confirm their suspicions. Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers.
The difference is like night and day. It comes with a 1. In the process, Apple sacrifices a lot of performance. Almost 30 years ago I worked for a hard drive company, and one of the first things I did when I started was to take apart a drive to understand how it worked. The one I disassembled was bigger, slower, noisier, and less reliable than the ones used in computers today, but with the cover off, it looked just the same as a modern one.
Upgrading Mac Mini (2014-2017): Installing an SSD
Inside each hard drive is a mechanism that looks remarkably like a record player. Your data is written to a disc of magnetic material that spins on a central motor. Trying to do anything was equally painful — lots of spinning beach balls while the Mac waited for data.
Starting up and shutting down took a long time too, as macOS handled all that virtual memory housekeeping. SSDs comprise memory chips with no moving parts. The flow of data is governed by basic physics — how fast electricity moves across circuits, the bandwidth of the controller chips and the peripheral interface. Replacing the hard drive with an SSD removes that bottleneck. Now the Mac mini performs more like a MacBook Air albeit still slower than one.
Mac mini Late 2014 Hard Drive Replacement
Two or three bounces and apps open. I can open several apps at once without suffering the indignity of endless beach balls.
Sometimes the changes were subtle, sometimes dramatic. But in the end, it went smoothly and without incident. But I wanted to save myself time. Cloning creates a bootable bit-for-bit copy of the existing hard drive. T6 security screws differ from standard Torx screws with an indentation in their center that keeps a regular Torx bit from fitting. Again, iFixit saved my bacon here — their toolkit included everything I needed, except for a motherboard removal tool read on for details.
To replace the hard drive on a Mac mini, you have to disassemble the Mac mini case, carefully disconnect the Wi-Fi antenna, disassemble the fan, remove the main logic board and the power supply.
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Most of that is pretty straightforward, albeit time consuming, often frustrating work because of the small space and tiny components. I budged an entire morning to do the upgrade, but I was doing a lot of other stuff while I worked.
New Mac mini restricts RAM and storage upgrades, but hints at PCIe SSD possibilities | Macworld
Most of the guides I saw mention a Mac mini motherboard removal tool, which is inserted into two holes on the motherboard to help you slide it out of the back of the case. It was unnecessary in my experience — just pushing the board out the back with my thumbs was enough to get it out. But forewarned is forearmed.
If you want to make sure you have everything you need, make sure to have that on-hand too.