OWC SSDs Turn the 2011 Mac Mini Into a Powerhouse

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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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121 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.....
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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121 months ago
"SSD drives"? Come on MacRumors, you guys are better than that.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
121 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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