Fusion Drive Mac Mini Late 2014

Configure your Mac mini with these options, only at the Apple Online Store. 8GB LPDDR3 memory; 16GB LPDDR3 memory; 1TB Fusion Drive; Apple Remote; 2.6GHz. 16GB LPDDR3 memory; 3.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor; 1TB Fusion Drive; 256GB flash storage (SSD) Apple Remote; 2.8GHz. 16GB LPDDR3 memory; 3.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor; 2TB Fusion Drive.

Use this guide to replace the hard drive in your hard-drive-only or Fusion Drive Mac mini Late 2014. This guide was made with a Fusion Drive Mac mini. If your Mac mini only has a hard drive, skip the steps about the PCIe SSD and its connector. How to Upgrade or Install an SSD in an Apple Mac mini (Late 2014) OWC Skill Level: 'Straightforward' Duration: 5:11 OWC's step-by-step video of how to upgrade or install an SSD in an Apple Mac mini (Late 2014). Interested in using these videos on your site view our video usage policy. DISCLAIMER: Although every effort is made to provide the. ST-M2A1347 is used to covert M.2 M-Key SSD as SSD for late 2014 year Mac Mini A 1347 MEGEN2XX/A MEGEM2XX/A MEGEQ2XX/A Only compatibility With:Later 2014 year Mac Mini A1347 MEGEN2XX/A MEGEM2XX/A MEGEQ2XX/A NOT fit 2010-2013 year Mac Mini A1347 Notice: The Nvme SSD only work for Mac OS HiSierra or above systerm.

Ok, then the iFixit article I provided should be helpful.


I am now assuming you want to replace your mini's HDD with a SSD. As such I suggest that you check out Other World Computing (OWC) as this is one area that they specialize in. They also provide HDD to SSD upgrade kit which I have used on a number of my old Mac.


The basic process will be the following:

  1. Clone your existing HDD to the SSD.
  2. Boot from the SSD to verify everything is working properly.
  3. Replace the HDD with the SSD.


You can then use the HDD as a backup or spare.

I finally got around to upgrading my 2014 Mac mini with a solid state drive (SSD). The difference is like night and day. If you’re using one of these models and you’re looking for a good way to bump up the performance, an SSD is, quite frankly, one of the only things you can do (unlike older Mac minis, Apple soldered the RAM in place). Regardless, I strongly recommend considering it – not just for a 2014 Mac mini, but for any older Mac you’d like to pep up.

Setup Fusion Mac

At $499, the base-model Mac mini is Apple’s least-expensive Mac, half the price of the MacBook Air but not nearly as peppy. It comes with a 1.4 GHz CPU and 4 GB of RAM. I never expected it to win any races, but what kills the Mac mini compared to the MacBook Air isn’t the CPU or the RAM. It’s the storage. That’s because Apple continues to offer that model with a spinning hard disk drive, and that murders performance.

The price of SSDs has dropped precipitously in the past few years, but hard drives remain the champion of low cost per gigabyte – a 500 GB HDD replacement for a Mac mini costs you less than $50 at retail, while a 500 GB SSD might cost three times that amount. It’s little wonder that Apple continues to use them for low-cost, low-margin systems like the Mac mini. In the process, Apple sacrifices a lot of performance.

21st-century computing saddled with 20th-century storage

Hard drives are faster, smaller, and use less energy than ever before, but they’re still essentially unchanged in basic concept from the first refrigerator-sized storage devices that IBM developed for its room-sized computers more than half a century ago.

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. Different materials, upgrades in mechanisms and capabilities, much better electronics inside, but mechanically similar enough that there’s no mistaking it.

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. A tiny arm outfitted with sensitive electronics reads and writes data sequentially to the disc surface by changing microscopic parts of the surface’s magnetic polarity.

Why SSDs make the difference

macOS is not bad at navigating slower-speed CPUs and limited RAM overhead. It does so by pushing off a lot of work to “virtual memory,” which pages information out to storage when not in active physical memory. That’s why my poor Mac mini slowed to a crawl whenever I asked it to do something. Click on an app icon in the Dock, for example, and I’d lose track of how many “bounces” I’d watch until it finally opened. 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.

Using a Mac with limited memory, slow CPU and a spinning hard drive requires infinite patience. More often than not, I’d start to do something, wander off until the Mac mini was ready, then get back to it.

SSDs comprise memory chips with no moving parts. They’re very sophisticated memory chips, connected to equally complex controller circuits which manage the flow of data hither and yon. But they’re not saddled with spinning motors, disk arms, or anything else that moves. 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.

As a result, SSDs are very fast. They’re also very quiet, since there are no moving parts. They’re more reliable than hard drives too, since jostling them doesn’t risk damaging moving components inside. They can also be produced in much smaller sizes, though SSD makers also make them in housing designed to work as a plug-and-play Serial ATA (SATA)-equipped replacements for hard drives. I used one such drive, from Mac-friendly upgrade company Other World Computing.

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). Two or three bounces and apps open. I can open several apps at once without suffering the indignity of endless beach balls. It’s really brightened things up. I haven’t benchmarked it, but I really don’t need to – it was totally worth the effort.

Doing the upgrade

This is now the fourth Mac mini model I’ve worked on, and Apple has changed them each time. Sometimes the changes were subtle, sometimes dramatic. This was by far the most challenging Mac mini I’ve disassembled. But in the end, it went smoothly and without incident. I’m not going to go through the process step-by-step, but I thought I’d offer a few impressions and suggestions based on my experience. If you’re interested, just Google it or hit YouTube for help. iFixit’s step-by-step teardowns and repair guides are indispensable. (I found the Verge’s teardown instructions, written by Nick Statt, which I won’t link to here, to be needlessly hysterical and overdramatic.)

The first order of business was to clone the Mac mini’s hard drive to the SSD. I did so by putting the SSD in an external USB drive sled I keep around for such occasions – they’re a dime a dozen from vendors like NewEgg. This wasn’t strictly necessary – I could have used the Mac mini’s Internet Restore mode to download a fresh copy of macOS from Apple’s servers and install it, then restore from my Time Machine backup. But I wanted to save myself time. Cloning creates a bootable bit-for-bit copy of the existing hard drive. I used Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper to handle that.

Upgrade Mac Mini 2014 Ssd

2tb Fusion Drive

The first thing that tripped me up when I popped off the Mac mini’s bottom case cover: The 2014 model uses T6 security screws on the bottom. T6 security screws differ from standard Torx screws with an indentation in their center that keeps a regular Torx bit from fitting. You’ll need a special T6 security bit to remove it. Again, iFixit saved my bacon here – their toolkit included everything I needed, except for a motherboard removal tool (read on for details).

Here’s a tip: As you’re going along, use your smartphone to take photos of all the screws you remove, or place them on a mat in roughly the same place as you took them out. That’ll make it easier for you during the reassembly to figure out which screws go where.

To replace the hard drive on a 2014 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. 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.

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. iFixit offers their own version for $5, and I’ve seen videos of people improvising their own using a pair of small screwdrivers or even using a straightened wire coathanger. 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.

Once those items are removed, the last thing to do is to remove the hard drive tray. Four screws on either side of the drive hold it in place, and the SATA data cable is glued down to the drive’s controller board and affixed using a small piece of black tape which keeps the SATA cable in place. Both the tape and the SATA cable can be peeled off and put back in place once you’ve replaced the drive with the SSD. One last note – the hard drive Apple included in my Mac mini had two little foam pieces glued to it to reduce drive vibration. I didn’t bother to put those back on the SSD, since SSDs don’t vibrate, and because the SSD I used was taller than the 7mm drive, manufactured by HGST, that Apple installed. I haven’t seen any negative results.

Mac Mini Hard Drive Upgrade

Following the steps in reverse order I was able to close up the Mac mini and get it started without any issues. It booted right up and has been operating fine ever since.

In conclusion

This isn’t an upgrade for the faint-hearted, and I really wouldn’t recommend it for a first-time either. But if you have some experiencing taking Apple gear apart, or even if you just have the will to do it, it’s well worth the time. Set aside a few hours to do and make sure you have the right parts – get familiar with some online tutorials, then get cracking!

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Samsung Ssd For Mac Mini Late 2014

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Ssd Hard Drive For Mac Mini Late 2014

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It’s been way too long. Not our words but Apple’s, printed on the invitations to a product launch event in October this year. Unveiled then were an iPad Air 2, iMac with Retina 5K display... and a revamped Mac mini.

Of all those products it was arguably the Mac mini that was most in need of the attention, since it hadn’t been looked at by the running-upgrades department in two long years. Also read our Mac mini (Late 2014) 2.8GHz review.

But we say ‘arguably’ advisedly. The 2012 Mac mini may have looked a little over-ripe in computer years but it also didn’t need much to improve it. Its Ivy Bridge-generation Intel Core processor was still an efficient chip that helped secure the Mac mini as one of the most power-sipping PCs on the planet.

It came with 4 GB of memory which could be upgraded up to 16 GB in seconds through a spin-off hatch on the underside. For storage it had plenty, either a 500 or 1000 GB hard disk; or optionally could be configured with a 1 TB Fusion Drive or 256 GB Flash Drive.

The new Mac mini (Late 2014) is built around exactly the same cool and understated ingot of aluminium, milled from solid into a perfect round-cornered square of 21st century computing.

Grabbing attention in this revision is the price drop of the entry-level model, from 2012’s £499 to a new low of £399. There are down sides though. The Mac mini’s performance peak has been eroded by striking any quad-core processors from the list; and system memory follows Apple’s new trend of being soldered to the logic board and cannot therefore ever be upgraded at a later date. Check out the Mac mini on Apple's web store: here.

Also take a look at our complete guide to buying a Mac here and Mac mini versus MacBook Air, which Mac is best value

Read:

Mac mini (Late 2014): build different

The Mac mini (Late 2014) has two rather than one Thunderbolt ports, these now up to version 2 specification. But in the process it has lost its FireWire 800 connector. If you need FireWire there is an adaptor available (£25) although we note from Apple Store customer feedback that this has its own issues with some peripherals that otherwise work fine with a native FireWire port.

The Wi-Fi card inside has been upgraded to 802.11ac, and with the help of the mini’s three-antennae configuration is capable of wireless sync speeds up to 1300 Mb/s (with real data throughput typically up to around half this speed).

Read:

Mac mini (Late 2014): storage wars

For storage, the Mac mini still comes in 500 and 1000 GB hard-disk configurations, with the same additional Fusion Drive and SSD-only options, the latter now up to 1 TB Flash Drive for just the top 2.8 GHz processor model.

Since the optical drive was stripped from the Unibody chassis with the mid-2011 refresh, the Mac mini has had space for two 2.5in SATA drives inside. That’s still the case, although there’s only one SATA connector on the logic board now, since the Fusion or Flash Drive models now work with PCIe-attached solid-state drives.

Read about why we recommend you get a Fusion Drive.

That’s great news for performance. Apple’s PCIe-attached flash drives are close to twice as fast as those available to Windows PCs, which still uniformly rely on the SATA Revision 3 bus protocol. However even now, more than a year after Apple’s PCIe-attachment technology was introduced with 2013’s MacBook Air, there is still no third-party manufacturer able to make a drop-in replacement to upgrade capacity. So DIYers looking to make a dual-drive Mac mini out of a single-drive purchase will be out of luck.

When it comes to on-board data storage, the 500 GB SATA disk should be more than adequate in capacity for many people, if conspicuously short of élan when it comes to system responsiveness compared to, say, the MacBook Air.

We're also looked at the new Retina iMac recently, here's our Apple iMac with Retina 5K display review

Mac mini (Late 2014): getting inside and updating the disk drive

You can still upgrade the disk drive yourself, or find a competent technician to do the job – once you get past Apple’s tamperproof screws on the underside.

The black plastic ‘lid’ still comes off easily enough, but behind that, instead of the inviting innards of yore, there’s now an edge-to-edge circular steel bulkhead in place, sealed down with Torx T6T security screws. Get passed these and you’ll be able to swap the internal disk for something much faster, such as a SATA Revision 3 SSD from the likes of Kingston, Crucial or Samsung.

Soldered memory is perhaps the cause of most anguish among users with recent Mac models, since it means you’re expected to anticipate the amount of memory you’ll need for the lifetime of the product at the time of purchase; and moreover because you have to pay Apple’s inflated prices for SDRAM.

Take the entry-level £399 Mac mini we tested here as an example. This is built with 4 GB of memory, and to double that to 8 GB will cost you £80 from Apple.

For the previous generation, an 8 GB upgrade kit is available from Crucial, currently selling for £61. So the going third-party route saves you just £19 here.

The difference becomes more troubling at the next size jump. To make a 16 GB Mac mini, Apple charges £240 on top of the standard 4 GB model’s price. Turning to the Crucial UK website, it currently charges £123.59 for its 2 x 8 GB memory kit of DDR3 PC3-12800 RAM. And this is where Apple gets the bad press, for its near-100 percent markup on other retailers’ prices.

If you elect for the middle Mac mini model (2.6 GHz, £599) or top (2.8 GHz, £799), you’ll already find 8 GB memory soldered in place. To configure either of these with 16 GB costs an extra £160 at time of purchase.

For the previous generation, to upgrade to 16 GB still costs £123.59 even if you had 8 GB already installed with the typical 2 x 4 GB arrangement), so the Apple markup over the independent memory-seller alternatives is reduced to only around £36 here.

If you have a Mac that you can update you may be interested in reading about the best solid-state storage for Mac upgrades.

Mac mini (Late 2014): lab results

There’s now a very wide range of processor clock speeds offered for the Mac mini, from the cheapest model’s 1.4 GHz Core i5 to a CTO model with 3.0 GHz Core i7.

We tested just the cheapest model here with its MacBook Air-style 1.4 GHz dual-core processor. We don’t have performance results for the entry model of 2012 with its dual-core 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics. But we did find that the new Mac mini’s processor and graphics performance was unsurprisingly close to that of the current MacBook Air range, which takes the same Intel chipset.

In fact the entry-level 2014 Mac mini has much more in common with the entry-level 2014 iMac, since they share the same Intel chip and slow 2.5in notebook hard disk.

The Geekbench 3 processor/memory test rated this Mac mini with 2803 and 5401 points, for single- and multi-core speed respectively.

When we tested the 21.5-inch iMac earlier this year, it scored 2838 and 5464 points respectively. The circa-1 percent difference in results is insignificant and as easily explained by the wholly new OS X revision of 10.10 on the Mac mini against 10.9 on the iMac.

For comparison, the ‘middle’ model Mac mini of 2012 had a 2.3 GHz quad-core i5 processor, and scored 2966 points in single-core tests (a little bit faster, just under 6 percent for the statisticians). And in multi-core mode it scored 11752 points, which can be written as 218 percent faster.

How much the top-spec Mac mini of 2014 may trail the top-spec Mac mini of 2012 remains to be seen.

In the Cinebench tests we also saw the same kind of performance figures as the iMac (Mid-2014, 21.5-inch). Version 11.5 of the CPU test ranked the Mac mini with 1.1 and 2.49 points (versus 1.13 and 2.58 for the iMac). Version 15 scored the Mac mini with 97 and 236 points (98 and 240 points iMac).

Mac mini (Late 2014): graphics & gaming

Graphics tests also showed the same kind of performance as the entry-level iMac, with both machines relying solely on Intel HD Graphics 5000 within the Core i5 processor. Cinebench played at 22 and 23.1 fps for versions 11.5 and 15 of Cinebench, with the latter result around 1.5 fps faster than the iMac – which again could be explained by revisions in the core OS.

Gaming, we found, is not really viable for the Mac mini unless you play older games and/or turn down video quality to very low settings.

Feral’s Batman: Arkham City could average 31 fps when set to 1280 x 720 pixels and Medium quality, albeit with minima at 15 fps which would be noticeable as stutters in gameplay.

Tomb Raider 2013 uses the latest OpenGL 4.1 API which seems to require much more horsepower to run smoothly, in this game at least. At 1280 x 720 screen resolution and Low detail settings, the Mac mini mustered just 19.4 fps. Stepping up to Normal quality lowered framerate further to 15.8 fps.

We switched the game to Legacy OpenGL mode, where it then returned framerates of 34.5 and 24.4 fps for otherwise exactly the same configuration. With no obvious difference in rendering quality to our eyes, this tweak makes the game a more viable option on this Mac.

Power consumption figures have been reduced, as you may expect from not just a slower processor clock, but a change from Ivy Bridge to Haswell generation silicon. This change introduced Intel’s later FinFET ‘3D’ transistors, along with numerous other power-efficiency adjustments to improve battery economy in the laptop and mobile computing age.

The last time we measured a Mac mini it was drawing just 10 W of power from the mains when at the idle desktop. Today’s most affordable Mac mini was found to have just 5 W requirements, rising to a maximum of 40 W when running flat out. That figure of 5 W is startlingly low, another important tick in the mini’s pros list.

Verdict

The entry-level Mac mini at £399 is effectively the most affordable Macintosh ever sold in the computer line’s 30-year history. Yes, the PowerPC G4 version of 2005 started at just £329 in this country, but adjusted for inflation that’s closer to £429 in today’s money. What you get today is a decently fast mini desktop PC using an older hard disk for storage but which is in every other way right up to date; bleeding edge in fact when you consider just how far ahead of the vast majority of Windows wannabees are its wireless and Thunderbolt credentials. For the cheapest model especially where a buyer is looking to keep initial cost down, our only complaint is the lifetime memory sentence. This means a bump to 8 GB for £80 on pay day is almost mandatory, if you want to future-proof the little marvel for several years to come. Storage, for today at least, can still be upgraded with care.

2014Mac

Karen Haslam's preview of the 2014 Mac Mini follows on the next page...