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esata to new mac mini
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jetboat
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: esata to new mac mini Reply with quote

Has anyone removed their superdrive - hooked up a sata cord to create a esata port out the back yet? It was done on the old mini, how about the new mac mini? I'm thinking about doing this.
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

why the firewire 800 is very close to the same speed. you can run 4 1 tb drives with a kramer 800 hub and 2 sans digital 2 bay enclosures
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jetboat
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject: esata is three times as fast Reply with quote

eSATA port, up to 300MB/s
FireWire® 800 port, up to 100MB/s

But maybe when Snow Leopard comes out Firewire 3200 will increase to 320MB/s using the same connector?
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ptb
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can be done! Here's my photos of the process:

The new Mac mini has a SATA optical drive (which shouldn't be news to anyone here) but I haven't seen any pictures of that interface so here it is:



You'll need a 7-pin to 7-pin male-to-male SATA adapter from cpustuff.com:



You'll need a SATA to eSATA cable. I got mine off of a PCI slot cover. Get the shortest cable length you can.



You'll need to cut the metal where the Kensington lock hole used to be and Dremel out the plastic to fit your eSATA cable.




This is what it looked like for me once the hole was cut and the metal removed.



Thread the eSATA to SATA cable through the hole.



Make sure you remove the Kensington lock tab from the top case before re-assembling! Wink



The close up the Mini!



For those who want a Mac mini with eSATA but don't want to do all the work, my previous Mac Mini with eSATA now for sale.
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ptb
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and for those of you who are wondering why someone might want to do this it's for the speed.

This is a benchmark running on the Mac mini over eSATA. The eSATA device in question is a Wiebetech RTX400-QR with four 1.5TB Seagate drives in a RAID-5 configuration:



The Mini was then set up with Mac OS X Server as an AFP server. The client system was a Mac Pro and they were connected via gigabit Ethernet:



If you're familiar with MenuMeters, this is the throughput I was seeing in my menu bar:

Writing speeds:
Reading speeds:

- Peter
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wxca
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:56 pm    Post subject: Port Multiplier? Reply with quote

Thanks for pix and info ptb.

I did a similar hack on the previous gen mini. I was hoping to play with ZFS on an array of 5 SATA drives connected through a SATA Port Multiplier (PM). However, the SATA on the previous gen mini is not compatible with a PM. Any idea if the this one is?
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ptb
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Port Multiplier? Reply with quote

wxca wrote:
However, the SATA on the previous gen mini is not compatible with a PM. Any idea if the this one is?


I'm almost certain that it will not support port multiplication. That said, I haven't tried it myself -- I'd be very very surprised if it did.

- Peter
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CaliforniaMini
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up! Good to see another local person on here as well. Welcome ptb! Cool
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StormPCs
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Oh and for those of you who are wondering why someone might want to do this it's for the speed."

There are many downsides with this mod (No optical internally, voided warranty, loss of resale value, etc...)

This makes more sense on the older mini's, but the 09 has FW800. This mod delivers only a modest increase over FW800. Not worth it IMO.
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TonyMontana
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are impressive speeds on your menumeters read out. Congrats on a successful mod.
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ez061111
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StormPCs wrote:

There are many downsides with this mod (No optical internally, voided warranty, loss of resale value, etc...)

This makes more sense on the older mini's, but the 09 has FW800. This mod delivers only a modest increase over FW800. Not worth it IMO.


Probably not going to run out and do this mod myself, but I wouldn't characterize 20%+ increase as modest.
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CaliforniaMini
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StormPCs wrote:
"Oh and for those of you who are wondering why someone might want to do this it's for the speed."

There are many downsides with this mod (No optical internally, voided warranty, loss of resale value, etc...)

This makes more sense on the older mini's, but the 09 has FW800. This mod delivers only a modest increase over FW800. Not worth it IMO.


Of course not everyone is going to do this, but those who do most likely aren't concerned with what you consider downsides. An inexpensive USB/FW optical can easily be added. Most likely voided warranty. However if one were to do this mod and then experience problems with the Mini, they could always return the Mini to its stock condition (which is recommended anyway as Apple seems to like to replace instead of repair items under warranty) and install a different non-moded case. But that would require a good amount of work and it may just be simpler to fix whatever is wrong. Also, this isn't a simple mod (nor extremely difficult) so anyone doing this should have at least basic computer repair knowledge and may want to do their own repairs (depending on whats wrong). The above can also be true for resale value. However, this may even increase resale value if someone is looking to add esata to their Mini but unwilling or unable to do the mod themselves, they may be willing to pay a premium for that. Heck, his previous Mini sold for a good amount on eBay. Besides, I would consider the speed increase to be a bit more than just 'modest'.
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CaliforniaMini
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter - did you somehow affix the cable connector to the case (epoxy or something) or did it just pop in?
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StormPCs
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are using your Mac Mini as a very busy network file server I suppose eSATA could be of some benefit. My problem is that if you really need a high performance file server, the choice of a Mac Mini is suspect at best.

Anybody using their Mac as a desktop computer would be silly to do such a thing. The bandwidth of FW800 is much more than the bandwidth of just about any single SATA drive.

Some people just like messing and mod-ding though. In that case I don't know why anybody would use a Mac. PCs actually require lots of messing just to get them to work. To each his own.

Not exactly climbing Mt Everest, but nice pictures just the same.
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ez061111
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StormPCs wrote:
If you are using your Mac Mini as a very busy network file server I suppose eSATA could be of some benefit. My problem is that if you really need a high performance file server, the choice of a Mac Mini is suspect at best.

Anybody using their Mac as a desktop computer would be silly to do such a thing. The bandwidth of FW800 is much more than the bandwidth of just about any single SATA drive.

Some people just like messing and mod-ding though. In that case I don't know why anybody would use a Mac. PCs actually require lots of messing just to get them to work. To each his own.

Not exactly climbing Mt Everest, but nice pictures just the same.


Curious, not sure people that have purchased a Mini for a desktop realize that what they have chosen for desktop computer is not a desktop computer. FW800 is faster than eSata? Interesting.
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