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Announced on October 16, 2014, identifiable by the model number A1347 and EMC 2840.

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Upgrade PCIe or add SATA ssd to Mac Mine late 2014?

Background (and confession):

I have a 2012 Mini which I upgraded in 2021 with the Mac Mini Unibody 1TB SSD Upgrade Kit. Because that Mini's OS is no longer update-able, I just bought a used late 2014 Mac Mini 3.0 i7 with a 256 SSD. I thought I'd just swap the SSDs--puting the SATA 1TB from the 2012 in the new one, but I clearly didn't do my homework well. When I got the 2014 apart, I realized the SSD is PCIe (of course, you're thinking, right?), so it won't go in the 2012 to swap. And when I tried to put the 1TB SSD in the bottom section of the drive carrier, it's cable won't reach the connector.

I need at least 1TB on the new machine, since it's the main computer for household files, photos, music (all backed up, in cloud and external) I've read numerous discussions that my options are to 1) simply upgrade the PCIe (the most expensive option) using a 1TB OWC Aura Pro x2 SSD, or 2) a dual drive option, leaving the 256 blade in and adding a SATA drive below it in the underside of the carrier (I have both the 1TB SSD from the 2012 kit, and the original SATA HD, currently in the IFixit external case as a TimeMachine disc).

My questions:

1) Which option would you recommend? And in the case of option 2, what's the best config? And does it matter much if I use the SATA HD or SSD?

2) As mentioned above, the drive cable currently on the SSD SATA doesn't reach the connector on the 2014 logic board. Is this the one I need to do that?

3) I don't have the parts (grommets and screws) necessary to mount the SATA drive securely to the carrier if I go that route. Can you direct me to where I can find those? iFixit seems to only have them in a Dual Drive Kit for the 2011 and 2012, along with tools I already have.

Grateful, in advance, for any help you can offer.

OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD Image

Product

OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD

$99.99

Mac mini Dual Drive Kit Image

Product

Mac mini Dual Drive Kit

$26.99

Mac mini A1347 (Mid 2011-Late 2014) Upper SATA Cable Image

Product

Mac mini A1347 (Mid 2011-Late 2014) Upper SATA Cable

$19.99

Mac mini Unibody SSD Upgrade Kit Image

Product

Mac mini Unibody SSD Upgrade Kit

$79.99

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mmm… No easy answer here. Your workflow needs defines the direction!

If speed is your goal then installing the OWC Blade SSD makes the most sense. If you need storage then installing a SATA drive either HDD or SSD works! Then if you want both that can increase the I/O speed where the OS and apps are on the Blade PCI drive and your work files are on the SATA drive.

Sadly, you can’t install two SATA drives as the blade interface is not compatible.

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8 Comments:

Thanks @danj. I think the ‘both’ option is best for me, and allows me to repurpose the 1TB SATA SSD I already have. Are you (or others) able to answer my other 2 original questions:

2) As mentioned above, the drive cable currently on the SSD SATA doesn't reach the connector on the 2014 logic board. Is this the one I need to do that?

3) I don't have the parts (grommets and screws) necessary to mount the SATA drive securely to the carrier if I go that route. Can you direct me to where I can find those? iFixit seems to only have them in a Dual Drive Kit for the 2011 and 2012, along with tools I already have.

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@scottexo - All you need here is the Mac mini A1347 (Mid 2011-Late 2014) Upper SATA Cable and you’ll want this kit Mac mini Dual Drive Kit for the screws and grommets and the tool to ease out the guts. The supplied cable is not needed.

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Much obliged, @danj. I’ll order the upper cable.

I already have the needed tools from the Dual Drive Kit. Is there another source for just the screws and grommets?

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@scottexo - Not sure if you save anything here’s another source BeetsTech HD screws, I don’t know of a source for the grommets. But if you give BeetsTech a call or email maybe they have them.

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@danj For $2 I got 3mmx6mm screws and four thin rubber grommets at my local hardware store.once my new upper cable arrives, I can complete the install.

On another note, any guidance on setup once I add the SATA ssd? There’s an OS already on the PCIe drive, but the SSD also has Monterrey along with all my files from the old Mini. Will it boot from the PCIe by default, so I can then delete the OS from the newly added drive, or will they conflict?

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Scott Exo will be eternally grateful.
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