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I'm considering getting a Mini for web programming. I do a lot of text searches so I want to put a SSD in it. Does the Mini have any limitations that might effect the performance of a SSD?

I'm trying to decide if I should get a Mini Server. I'd like to be able to have two internal drives so one can be SSD for OS and the code I'm working on, and the other can be my storage drive. However, I'm not sure if I'll be using the extra functionality of the server edition OSX or not, so I'm reluctant to pay the $200 premium. In a "regular" Mini I could put the SSD internal and use an external big drive, but would the external drive be fast enough via Firewire?

Thanks in advance for any info.

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2 Answers 2

Mac OS X does not have TRIM support, so you'll be limited on the "reconditioning" part of a solid state drive unless you buy a SSD that has error handling. I personally use OWC Mercury Pro SSDs because of their reliability and warranty. Plus, they sell the best solid state drives in the industry.

I wouldn't recommend using a Mini for web programming since PHP and MySQL will most likely be serving your back-end. I'd recommend a simple Linux box (Debian) over any Mac OS X or Windows configuration. Place lighttpd, PHP and MySQL on the machine, and you'll have a machine better than any Mac can support.

Don't get the SSD unless you absolutely need it. Needing a solid state drive all depends on how much load the Mini server is getting. I still use 7.2k RPM drives to handle 580k+ monthly active users and my server handles it just fine. If you're thinking to develop large scale applications, I'd look more into adding more memory in over solid state drives.

If I'm correct, the Mini has a Firewire 800 port which has a data rating of 800Mbps. Internal drives run at SATAII, 3.0Gbps. If you're planning on using the external drive to serve content, I would not recommend it.

If you need expansion and robustness, I'd look into building your own Linux box. Not only is it cheaper, but it is more flexible to expansion and upgrades in the future. Also, if you're new to web programming to the masses, look into source version control too.

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THe only statement I disagree with is the Trim issue. OSX handles SSD's differently from other OS's and doesn't require trim. There are a few articles on the web supporting this. –  Diago Oct 21 '10 at 19:08
    
Then you'll be suffering huge speed costs over the lifespan of the drive. This is why TRIM is becoming more of a standard for OS's. –  Steven Lu Nov 3 '10 at 0:40
    
do you bhave any empirical evidence for the claim that OSX suffers without TRIM? –  Charles Stewart Nov 15 '10 at 9:37

Good detailed instructions over at iFixit on installing a second HD in your 'regular' mini:

How To Install a Second Hard Drive in the New Mac Mini

As long as you're comfortable cracking open the machine and doing surgery, this would provide better performance than a firewire external; though the firewire 800 option has pretty good throughput, significantly better than a USB box.

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