Replace hard drive of Mac mini with SSD

I am using a Mid 2011 Mac mini as my work computer. I use it mainly for programming (python, javascript and iOS) and some photoshop work. The memory was increased to 8GB last year, which boosts the performance a lot. The speed has been pretty good until recently I noticed some lag when multiple big programs were running (such as xcode, thunderbird and photoshop). I decided to replace its hard drive with a SSD because SSD has become quite affordable these days.

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 1.12.50 AM

The project started with buying a 250GB Samsung 840 SSD from newegg and the tools needed to open the mac mini, including a very economic Husky 8-IN-1 Torx Screwdriver Set from the Home Depot and a Mac mini Logic Board Removal Tool from iFixit. Today, everything has arrived so I followed the iFixit guide and the OWC guide and replaced the hard drive with a SSD.

The process are quite straight forward. One thing I found is that you don’t have to move or remove the logic board to take out the hard drive, which means that you don’t have to get and use logic board removal tool if you are just replacing the hard drive. You would need it if you are adding a second hard drive as described in the OWC guide. So if you are just replacing the hard drive, follow steps 1 to 15 in the OWC guide or steps 1 to 12 in the iFixit guide. After removing the hard drive connector, you can slide out the hard drive, carefully. Moreover, you don’t have to completely remove the antenna plate and its connector. I just left it connected and hanging on the side. Be very careful do not break the thin cable.

Regarding the OSX system, first I resized the main partition on the original hard drive (500GB Hitachi 5400rpm) to 240GB so it can be directly cloned to the SSD. Then I plugged in both disks to my Windows 7 PC and used Macrium Relect (free version) to clone all the partitions to the SSD. The sector-by-sector copy took about an hour and produced an exact copy on the SSD. The system boots up fine but with a much shorter time. The only I need to change is to re-enable smb sharing that I use with my PC. Below is a speed test of the SSD with Blackmagic Disk Speed Test (free). One last thing I did was install Trim Enabler to turn on trim for the SSD.



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