2011 Mac Mini Ssd Drive

Mac mini (Mid 2011) - Technical Specifications. The perfect fit for any desk. Powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and DDR3 memory. Configurable to 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, only at the Apple Online Store. Configurable to 4GB or 8GB, only at the Apple Online Store. Configurable to 8GB, only at the Apple Online Store.

  1. 2011 Mac Mini Ssd Drive Vs Ssd
  2. Mac Mini 2014 Ssd Install
  3. Mac Mini Ssd Upgrade
  4. 2011 Mac Mini Ssd Drive Replacement
  5. Mac Mini Mid 2011 Ssd Hard Drive
  6. Late 2012 Mac Mini Ssd

2011 Mac Mini Ssd Drive Vs Ssd

Active1 year, 9 months ago

I have a Mac mini (Mid 2011) and I want to use an external SSD (Samsung Portable SSD T5) with it. Now the problem is that Mac mini (Mid 2011) only has:

  • Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps) (not Thunderbolt 3, perhaps Thunderbolt 2) :-(
  • Four USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)

I guess that the only way I can leverage the speed of the external SSD is by using it thru the Thunderbolt port. The external SSD is back compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. But AFAIK using it on one of the USB 2.0 ports will defeat the whole purpose of using a SSD. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

So, I tried to find a Thunderbolt 2 to USB Type-C cable, but couldn't find it anywhere. Only items which I could find are USB C to Mini Display Port Cables but they specifically state that they:

  • Supports video only (not data transfer)
  • Check for a Mini DisplayPort port (not a Thunderbolt / Thunderbolt 2 port

I also found that using these:

  • with an Apple Thunderbolt Cable

can (possibly) resolve the issue, but these items are super expensive. I was hoping to spend a little less on the connectors.

So, essentially I want to use a high-speed external SSD with an ancient machine. Is there any way I can do that?

zeFreezeFree
2

I do not think a simple cable to going to be sufficient. The differences between Thunderbolt and USB Type-C are different enough that an adapter will be needed. One such possible adapter would be the Kanex Thunderbolt Male to USB 3.1 (G2 Type-A) Female/ eSATA Female Adapter - Black. Unfortunately, this item is more expensive than anything mentioned in your question.

Another possible way to access the speed of a SSD would be to replace your internal drive. Although, these instructions show the upgrade procedure may be difficult.

David AndersonDavid Anderson
29.2k8 gold badges42 silver badges81 bronze badges

I know this question is old but I came across a solution for myself. I wanted to speed up an old Mac with a new drive but keep the drive 'future proof' by getting one with USB-C. I did this by getting a drive with a USB-C port, as opposed to an attached USB-C cable. A drive like the one in the link. ->https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/ENVPROC2N02/

By having a female port instead of a captive cable with a male plug I can use a common USB-C to USB-A cable to plug into any USB-A port at USB 3.1 speeds. I found out that this drive from OWC is backward compatible with USB 2.0, which makes it potentially even more useful in the future.

USB-C on a drive can mean it's talking USB or Thunderbolt on the wire. A ThunderBolt drive with a USB-C port on it might fall back to USB 3.x or even USB 2.0 but don't bet on it without looking closely at the spec sheet.

A ThunderBolt drive with a captive USB-C cable (like this one ->https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB3ENVP20/ ) is not going to plug into a computer with ThunderBolt 2 and USB-A ports cheaply and easily.

2011

Best option, in my opinion, for connecting fast drives to ThunderBolt 2 computers is an adapter like this ->https://www.kanex.com/thunderbolt-esata

With a USB 3.x and eSATA ports you will be able to plug into faster drives, and with ports more common than ThunderBolt 2. A drive with a USB-C port (as opposed to a captive cable) can plug in with an inexpensive USB-A to USB-C 'superspeed' cable.

If you really, absolutely, need a USB-C port that can be used to plug in a SSD at it's best speed then you are looking at a ThunderBolt 2 PCIe breakout box with a USB-C card inside. Maybe you can still find a ThunderBolt 2 dock with a USB-C port but as I recall they were always rare, expensive, and not on the market for long.

One example of such a breakout box. ->https://eshop.macsales.com/item/AKiTiO/2PCTIA/

There's lots of USB-C PCIe cards out there, I'll leave finding those as an exercise for the reader.

MacGuffinMacGuffin

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Aluminum 'Unibody' Mac mini Q&A

Update Published January 27, 2021

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How do you upgrade the storage in the Aluminum 'Unibody' Mac mini models? What type of hard drive(s) or SSD(s) do they each support?

There are five different lines of Aluminum 'Unibody' Mac mini systems -- the 'Mid-2010,' 'Mid-2011,' 'Late 2012', 'Late 2014' and 'Late 2018' -- with notable differences in supported storage.


Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (Non-Server Mid-2010 - Left, Mid-2011 & Late 2012 - Right)

Identification Help

If you're not sure which Aluminum Mac mini model you have, the optical drive equipped 'Mid-2010' models and current 'Late 2018' 'Space Gray' models should be easy to spot (at least for now), but many models in between these lines are more of a challenge.

All Aluminum Mac mini models can be precisely identified by the Model Identifier in software or externally by EMC Number, and more details about specific identifiers are provided in EveryMac.com's extensive Mac Identification section.

To locate the model identifier in software, select 'About This Mac' under the Apple Menu on your computer and click the 'More Info...' button. If the Mac mini is running OS X 10.7 'Lion' or later, you will need to click the 'System Report' button after clicking 'More Info...' as well.

For the pre-Late 2014 Mac mini models, the EMC number is visible upon removing the bottom 'spin off' panel to the right of the memory slots (when the ports are facing you). It is on the bottom of the 'Late 2014' and 'Late 2018' models toward the ports.

As always, EveryMac.com has hand documented the model identifiers and EMC numbers unique to each model, which are most easily visualized as a chart:

Alu. Mac mini

Subfamily

Model ID

EMC No.

Mid-2010

Mid-2010

Mid-2010

Mid-2011

Mid-2011

Mid-2011

Mid-2011

Late 2012

Late 2012

Late 2012

Late 2012

Late 2012

Late 2014

Late 2014

Late 2014

Late 2014

Late 2018

Late 2018

Late 2018

EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Lookup feature -- as well as the EveryMac app -- also can identify these models by their Serial Numbers.

Storage Types, Dimensions & Requirements

Regular 'Mid-2010' Aluminum 'Unibody' Mac mini models, which have optical drives, support a single 2.5-inch, 9.5 mm tall, 3 Gb/s Serial ATA (SATA Revision 2.0) hard drive or SSD (or two storage drives if you remove the optical drive). The oddball Mac mini 'Core 2 Duo' 2.66 Server (Mid-2010) supports two storage drives of the same type (and no optical drive).

All 'Mid-2011' and 'Late 2012' models hold two 2.5-inch storage drives with the same 9.5 mm height restriction, but have faster 6 Gb/s Serial ATA (SATA Revision 3.0) support.

The non-server 'Mid-2011' and 'Late 2012' models, which only ship with one hard drive by default, a second hard drive or SSD is supported, but one has to purchase the cable needed to attach the drive to the board before installation is possible.

A user from the MacRumors forums first determined that the needed part is referred to as the 'Bottom Hard Drive Flex Cable' (Apple Part Number 922-9560) and successfully installed a second drive. More recently, site sponsor Other World Computing began offering a 'Data Doubler' upgrade kit for the Aluminum Mac mini models that includes everything needed to perform this upgrade -- the cable, drive bracket, precisely sized screwdrivers and screws -- in one convenient package.

The 'Late 2014' models have a 6 Gb/s Serial ATA (SATA Revision 3.0) connector for a 2.5-Inch hard drive or SSD in addition to a proprietary PCIe connector for a 'blade' SSD. As first noted by site sponsor OWC, the cable to connect this SSD to the PCIe connector is not present unless the system is configured with a 'Fusion Drive' at the time of initial purchase. However, it is possible to buy this cable later. This 'PCIe SSD Cable Connector' is part number 821-00010-A.

The current 'Late 2018' models have onboard storage and it cannot be upgraded at all after the initial system purchase.

These details can be helpfully summarized accordingly:

Alu. Mac mini

Subfamily

Model ID

Dimensions

Interface

Mid-2010

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 2.0 x2*

Mid-2010

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 2.0 x2*

Mid-2010

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 2.0 x2

Mid-2011

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Mid-2011

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Mid-2011

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Mid-2011

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2012

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2012

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2012

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2012

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2012

2.5' 9.5 mm

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2014

2.5' 9.5 mm
Blade SSD

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2014

2.5' 9.5 mm
Blade SSD

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2014

2.5' 9.5 mm
Blade SSD

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2014

2.5' 9.5 mm
Blade SSD

SATA 3.0 x2

Late 2018

Onboard†

Onboard†

Late 2018

Onboard†

Onboard†

Late 2018

Onboard†

Onboard†

* By default, one SATA 2.0 connector in these models is occupied by an optical drive.

† These models have onboard PCIe-based storage that cannot be upgraded after the initial system purchase.

Hard Drive Upgrade Official Disclaimer & Cautions

To upgrade the memory in the Aluminum 'Unibody' Mac mini models released before and after the Late 2014 models, Apple has made it straightforward. Replacing the hard drive or hard drives is a more complicated procedure and Apple does not support users performing this upgrade themselves.

In the User Guide, Apple formally states the following:

Except for memory, do not attempt to replace or repair any components inside your Mac mini. If your Mac mini needs service, consult the service and support information that came with your Mac mini for information about how to contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple for service.

Mac Mini 2014 Ssd Install

If you install items other than memory, you risk damaging your equipment, and such damage isn't covered by the limited warranty on your Mac mini.

As Apple does not consider the hard drive to be a 'customer installable part,' EveryMac.com cannot recommend that users perform the upgrade themselves. Most likely should instead add a quick and easy external hard drive or alternately hire a professional. Given the small and densely packed nature of the Aluminum Mac mini models this certainly is not a good system to upgrade yourself without substantial experience upgrading the hard drive in similar systems.

Hard Drive Upgrade Instructions

However, for highly experienced users, upgrading the hard drive or hard drives -- or swapping in one or more SSDs -- is difficult, but feasible nevertheless.

These videos from OWC cover the procedure for the optical-drive equipped 'Mid-2010' models and the optical drive-less 'Mid-2010' Server, 'Mid-2011,' 'Late 2012,' and models, in a step-by-step fashion:

'Mid-2010' Mac mini (One Hard Drive, One Optical Drive)


'Mid-2010' Mac mini Server (Dual Hard Drives)

'Mid-2011' & 'Late 2012' Mac mini (Dual Hard Drives)

'Late 2014' Mac mini (Hard Drive or Fusion Drive; PCIe SSD Instructions)

It is hoped that by watching the videos you should be able to determine whether or not you feel comfortable performing the upgrade yourself or if you would rather hire a professional.

Mac mini Hard Drive or SSD Purchase Options

In theory, just about any hard drive or SSD that meets the minimum requirements should work in the Mac mini. However, it always is best to buy from a trusted company with Mac knowledge for the most trouble-free experience.

In addition to the convenient storage upgrade kit for applicable Aluminum Mac mini models, Other World Computing sells compatible hard drives and SSDs and offers an installation service, as well.

In the UK and Ireland, site sponsor Flexx sells Mac mini compatible SSDs with free shipping. The company provides flat rate shipping to France, Germany, and Switzerland and inexpensive shipping for all of Europe, too.

In Australia, site sponsors Macfixit and Upgradeable sell Mac mini compatible hard drives and SSDs with fast shipping, a money-back guarantee and more.

Mac Mini Ssd Upgrade

In New Zealand, site sponsor Upgradeable New Zealand sells Mac mini hard drives and SSDs with fast delivery to all corners of the country, precise compatibility, a lifetime warranty, and a money-back guarantee.

Also see:

  • How do you upgrade the RAM in the Aluminum 'Unibody' Mac mini models? What type of RAM do they use? How much RAM do they actually support?
  • How do you upgrade the hard drive in the Polycarbonate Intel Mac mini models? What type of hard drive do they support? Is it possible to replace the optical drive with a second hard drive?

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2011 Mac Mini Ssd Drive Replacement

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