OWC SSDs Turn the 2011 Mac Mini Into a Powerhouse

The new Mac Minis launched last month showed significant performance gains in the benchmarks, easily outpacing the prior models. Teardowns showed how easy it would be to install a second hard drive. For $1400, owners can upgrade their Minis to 16GB of RAM.

Now, Other World Computing has installed a couple of their OWC Mercury EXTREME 6G SSD drives in their 2011 Mac Mini and achieved some significant speed boosts.

The chart above shows the average read/write speeds as reported by QuickBench in four increasingly beneficial drive configurations in our 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 Mac mini (RAID 0 configuration results obtained from a 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 Mac mini Server as that is the only machine that comes factory stock with two available drive ports.)
Here's the breakdown:
- "With the factory stock 5400RPM hard drive, which is what most people are used to computing with, the Mac mini goes pretty fast achieving read/write speeds around 86MB/s – consistently above the maximum rated 80MB/s of an external FireWire 800 connection."

- "Apple does offer their own 256GB SSD option (a $600 add-on which isn’t available on the 2.3GHz base model) which boosts the average speed to an impressive 210MB/s read and 182MB/s write."

- "There’s just no substitute for a SATA Revision 3.0 capable SSD such as the OWC Mercury EXTREME 6G SSD. The speeds are well over twice as fast boasting 506MB/s read speeds and 432MB/s write speeds from a single drive!"

- "We tested two OWC Mercury EXTREME 6G SSD in a RAID 0 configuration (on the server model of Mac mini – again we’re looking into how to get a second hard drive into the consumer model, but that will be another blog post down the road after we figure it all out) we got Thunderbolt-saturating speeds averaging 995MB/s and 994MB/s for read and write speeds respectively."
For users looking to upgrade their 2011 Mac Mini as much as possible, replacing the internal HDD with a SSD looks to be a good -- albeit not cheap -- first step.

Top Rated Comments

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42 months ago



"SSD drives"? Come on MacRumors, you guys are better than that.


Well - excuse me while I run to the ATM machine and enter my PIN number.....
Rating: 15 Votes
42 months ago

I'm becoming more and more convinced that the mini could be a viable upgrade option for me and my 2006 Mac Pro.


Go for the Quad Core Mac Mini server, with dual SSDs in RAID 0 and 8GB of RAM and you're in business.
Shame the video on the quad core is intel only though.
Rating: 8 Votes
42 months ago
I'm becoming more and more convinced that the mini could be a viable upgrade option for me and my 2006 Mac Pro.
Rating: 6 Votes
42 months ago

No TRIM support though, right? I am still not sure I understand if/when this is even a big deal...


OWC's SSDs have built-in wear levelling through the Sandforce controller - no need for TRIM.
Rating: 5 Votes
42 months ago

Does OWC pay to advertise in Mac-Rumors or something? Cause you've had quite a articles about OWC products in the past.

And I can't think of any other articles here about other companies RAM/SSD's etc put up here.


Unlike other SSD manufacturers, OWC is very Mac centric. They carry mostly Mac products and most of their marketing is targeted towards Mac users. Many of their other products are even custom tailored for the Mac. But this aside, the OWC Mercury Extreme 6G is the fastest non-PCI SSD on the market currently.
Rating: 5 Votes
42 months ago

Shame the video on the quad core is intel only though.


Hopefully in the near future that Thunderbolt port will go some way toward mitigating the GPU problem. (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/01/external-thunderbolt-pci-expansion-chassis-and-hub-in-development/)
Rating: 4 Votes
42 months ago

Or replace the 5400rpm drive with a 7200rpm 750GB drive for $99.

How often are you really accessing the hard drive after the app launches?

SSDs are great, if you have unlimited money to spend.


That's got to be one of the most factually incorrect statements I've ever read on here. Usually you guys leave pretty intelligent comments, but this isn't one of them. And just to top it off, it has a +2 ranking as I'm writing this.

Hard drive bottlenecks have been the single tightest in computers for years. A Core 2 and 2 gigs of RAM is way more than the vast majority of people will ever use, yet most new computers are shipping with quad core processors and 4+ gigs of RAM, even though 99% of users will never see any benefit in speed while they continue using platter based hard drives. What good is a V12 when all you have is an intake the size of a straw feeding it air and only a trickle of gas making it's way into the cylinders? Even a hexacore processor is worthless if you're depending on the ~50 MB/sec read rate a 7200 RPM platter based hard drive provides.

SSD's are way more than worth their cost. Unless you're only using your computer for video editing, compiling, or any other extremely processor intensive task, virtually everyone using a computer would be far better off with a system running a Core 2 and a SSD than a system running a Core i7 and a platter based drive, even 2 10,000+ RPM Raptors in RAID0.
Rating: 4 Votes
42 months ago

but seriously, SSD drive? Solid State Drive Drive? :rolleyes:


Still a whole lot better than german made "SS Drive".

Yeah, "Drive drive" is redundant, but things like that creep up in language all the time. For us tech savvy people, it sounds dumb, but for the layman, the extra "drive" will at least give them an inkling as to what we're talking about


Pick your fights, or die young with the amount of idiots in the world...

I'll go listen to music on my "iTouch"... :D
Rating: 3 Votes
42 months ago

Unlike other SSD manufacturers, OWC is very Mac centric. They carry mostly Mac products and most of their marketing is targeted towards Mac users. Many of their other products are even custom tailored for the Mac. But this aside, the OWC Mercury Extreme 6G is the fastest non-PCI SSD on the market currently.


They offer the same performance as an OCZ Vertex 3 counterpart.Comparison - anandtech (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4315/owc-mercury-extreme-pro-6g-ssd-review-120gb/2), but OCZ's drives are generally cheaper (larger market share).
Rating: 3 Votes
42 months ago

Well, the SSDs OWC sells are fast as hell..

but seriously, SSD drive? Solid State Drive Drive? :rolleyes:


Yea well this wonderful language of ours has lots of these abuses... George Carlin made millions from them.

Final Destination
Preheat the oven
Getting on the plane
Personal Belongings

Are just a few that still make me laugh...
Rating: 2 Votes

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