MacMini — Hard Drive vs SSD
The difference in boot time, application launch time and overall response time is dramatic: the Apple hard drive just feels so sluggish compared to the lightning fast OWC 6G SSD.
The Photoshop CS6 diglloydMedium benchmark shows that the OWC 6G SSD cuts the time in half as compared to the Apple 1TB hard drive. If anything, other system response characteristics are improved by more than that; it’s night and day.
A dual drive setup is WAY better than Apple’s Fusion option. It will perform better, avoids potential reliability problems with two JBOD'd drives, and it makes it possible to have having an internal clone or Time Machine backup.
Benefits of dual drives
Which leads me to my recommended setup for a far more useful Mac Mini:
- 16GB memory.
- 120GB or 240GB or 480GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G for the boot drive and performance-sensitive data (such as an Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 catalog).
- For those who want nearly a terabyte of very fast and silent storage, replace the hard drive with a 960GB Mercury Electra MAX 3G SSD (which is what I use for an internal Time Machine backup). Still way, way faster than a hard drive. Or for the really hard core, 2 X 960GB
- Don’t forget backups. At least two externals, the triple-interface OWC Mercury Elite Pro is ideal (use it via USB3). Use cloning for backup.