You'll need plenty of different screwdriver bits to carry out the work, so get one of these magnetic screwdrivers with multiple bits. While you're inside your Mac Mini, use some canned air to give it a blast and ensure there's no lingering dust. Better than using your fingers, this pry tool kit is worth having in your tool kit for those hard to remove and tiny parts.
One of the best upgrades to make is to swap out the old mechanical hard drive for an SSD. Data transfer speeds will be at least four times faster, and that will make a huge difference in the day-to-day running of your Mac Mini. Remove the two screws on the fan and the single screw on the black shroud. Using a business card again for support, slide the new SSD into place until the screws lock into place on the bracket inside the Mac Mini. One additional thing to do throughout this process is to use some canned air to blast out any dust.
You'll be surprised at how clean the inside of a computer this old is, but it never hurts to clear it out while you're inside. All the parts you need to easily add a second hard drive to your Mac Mini, including the all important ribbon cable and logic board removal tool.
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Better than a standard magnetic hard drive, this hybrid is a great choice for mass storage in your upgraded Mac Mini. Not everyone will want to do this, but it is possible to install a second drive in the Mac Mini to maximize its storage potential. You could reuse the existing hard drive, but since it's over six years old, it makes much better sense to use a fresh one.
You can use either a hard drive or an SSD, or as we are here, a Seagate Firecuda hybrid drive, not unlike the Fusion Drive Apple uses in some of its machines.
Remove the two Torx T6 screws that hold the drive bracket and power supply in place. Once everything is back in place and the Mac Mini is closed up, it's time to do a fresh install of macOS. You could clone the existing drive and skip this step, however, when doing any kind of work this extensive we always find that doing a fresh install of the OS is a good idea. It'll take some time, but you'll now download a factory-fresh version of macOS from Apple and use it to set up your Mac Mini again from scratch.
On your new drive, you will need to use the Disk Utility feature to first erase the SSD even though it's blank and then create a new partition to install macOS on to. So the best you can do is grab a 16GB kit made up of a pair of 8GB sticks. If it shows the amount of RAM you installed, all is well.
If not, you'll need to go back in and troubleshoot your installation one stick at a time. Remove one, reboot and check About This Mac again to verify. By doing it a stick at a time you can easily identify if you have any bad RAM. If this is the case the system won't post, so it's easy to spot. This Dell monitor is not only an affordable display but also a solid workhorse thanks to its x resolution. Match this with reliable color reproduction, thin bezel, IPS technology, attractive aesthetics, good connectivity, and VESA mount support, and you have a screen that's well worth investing in.
Use one of these and hook up to a p monitor for high resolution computing every day. Now you've brought your Mac Mini back to life for the present day, it's worth considering what you're going to use to look at it all day. The Mac Mini won't give you a 4K output, but it can handle p but only over a DisplayPort connection.
HDMI on this model is limited to p. A new Mac is an expensive thing, there's no denying that. Ultimate performance will always be better on newer models, but if you're looking for a really expensive way to get into Mac computing, or want a solid secondary machine, you can do a lot worse than picking up a used Mac Mini and upgrading it. Where do you find one though?
That depends where you live, but the usual places like eBay and Craigslist are a great place to start. Don't overpay, though, for one that someone else has upgraded, when you can likely do the work yourself for less.
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Whether you buy or already have an old Mac Mini sat around doing nothing, with not a lot of money and a couple of hours of your time, you can turn it into a fantastic little computer to use in the present day. You can pick and choose which of the upgrades you want to do, but here's a handy list of all our picks for the bits that went into our Mac Mini upgrade, along with the tools and accessories you need to install them.
Replacing a mechanical hard drive with an SSD will transform the performance of the Mac Mini and your own experience with it. There is a free PCIe port on the motherboard.
You can replace the SATA drive with a 2. All these upgrades are complicated, but we do provide printed illustrated guides and free phone tech support if you need help. These SSD drives are a standard 2. The model also had a SATA option, please see our notes on upgrading.
Proprietary here means an industry standard NVME drive is not compatible. Not everyone wants to do their own installation. We offer an installation service at our Sydney Pymble office. An Apple qualified technician does all our hardware and software work. We match Crucial's warranty, so our labour warranty is also 3 years.
This means if you have to claim your Crucial warranty, we will not charge a second installation fee!
How can I get my new SSD installed? Below we have a full range of SSD drives with installation included.
Mac Fusion Drive vs SSD vs Hard Drive
Just choose the size you want, there are no hidden extras. The price you see is the price you pay. In Store Services Menu. These are the kits or parts you need for a successful installation of your SSD. Add to your cart what you need with the SSD you have chosen. When checking out, don't forget to tell us in the customer notes which Macbook or Macbook pro you have, and we will include full printed instructions. All key commands now install the original macOS that came with your Mac. For example; if you have an older Mac that shipped with Lion, then internet recovery will install that version on your Mac.
The only way to get a newer version of macOS is via macOS Utilities on Time Machine or a recovery partition on a Mac drive such as your old hard drive. From mid , most Macs shipped with part of the macOS embedded in the logic board. This allowed the Mac to do an Internet Recovery, go to the Apple website, download some software, and boot to the macOS Utilities page.
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From this page you could initialise a new drive and install the latest macOS. Changes from the release of High Sierra mean that the only macOS you can install via Internet Recovery is the version you have embedded on your logic board the macOS that shipped with your Mac. We are still testing different scenerios, if you have experienced something different, please let us know.
Why is this an issue? From Sierra and High Sierra, Apple has a new drive format structure. To control how the latest macOS is installed, Apple has locked down ways to install it. With the dramatics out of the way, there are various ways to install macOS on your Mac, Apple provides many options.
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This quick guide is designed to answer questions you have and provide a bit of clarity on the different processes. This is based on our experience and is always being revised. If you can add to these guides, please contact us accordingly. If you don't have a Time Machine or a working mac drive with the latest macOS then you only have one option. So if your drive or Time Machine was created with Sierra, then that is the macOS you can download and install.
You can not install High Sierra or Mojave. The latest macOS is only available via an upgrade path. To use Time Machine restart your Mac while holding down the option key. Using your old drive to get a new macOS Your current hard drive will most likely have a recovery partition. This should make the Mac boot from the recovery partition. If a spinning globe of the world appears, then it is going to Apple website to install an older version of MacOS, so cancel that operation or shut the Mac down via a hard power off hold down power button.
You need to restart holding down the option key, select the recovery partition on the drive that appear. Hold down the option key and reboot the Mac. Holding down the option key loads the boot manager and the Time Machine drive should appear onscreen. You will have the option of installing a new macOS there are also options to restore from Time Machine and Disk Utility. Your Mac is not seeing the Time Machine.
Make sure there is a physical connection not wifi. Is the Time Machine turned on?