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Complete! Internal SATA to external 3.5" SATA mod

 
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perle
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Joined: 14 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Complete! Internal SATA to external 3.5" SATA mod Reply with quote

Hey all,

I hacked up my new Duo to use an external 300GB 3.5" 7200 rpm SATA drive instead of the built-in 80GB 2.5" 5400 rpm one. After xbench testing it seems that the disk subsystem is almost exactly twice as fast as it used to be, and has 3.5x the capacity. Not bad for $145. Cool

The external enclosure is ugly, but not super-ugly, and I am just gonna deal because it's better than having to hack up a matched one to accept a SATA wire. Enough hacking of things already.

I am gonna explain what kind of cable you need, because the forum thread about it is the most confusing thing in the world.

A normal SATA connection has male headers on both the motherboard and the drive, meaning you need a female-to-female connecting cable. However, the Mac Mini does not use a cable; the hard drive plugs directly into the header to save space. This means that the header on the motherboard is female, not male. Because of this you need a male-to-female connecting cable.

There are two ways to get one:

1. Buy an internal SATA extension cable (best but hard to find).
2. Buy a SATA, NOT eSATA, extension bracket, and pare down the male end (a pain, but easy to find and cheaper). You can tell if it is SATA or not by looking at the jack. Regular SATA is L-shaped (what we want). eSATA is I-shaped (not what we want).

Some tips:

- Use a pizza cutter to open the casing! It's relatively painless. Slide it in on each side and bend it outwards from the case, pushing up and inward on the pins. Keep doing this bit by bit on each side, moving back and forth. Eventually you will get it. You need to push kind of hard, but not super-hard.
- Get a SATA extension cable if you can, it will save you some trouble. Otherwise hack up the bracket. Use a sharp, serrated knife, not a hacksaw.
- You don't need to glue anything inside the machine, just scotch tape the wire to the plastic that seperates the (erstwhile) hard drive from the optical drive.
- Have another computer available, so that you can browse the internet for tips, and also so that you can touch the frame of it to ground yourself.
- If you left a CD in the drive, hold down the mouse button as you start up to force it to eject (because you won't have OS X installed anymore once you swap drives!).
- The long screw goes in the corner by the power light.
- You have to disconnect the Airport assembly to get the drive assembly out.
- Don't forget to reconnect the fan wire.
- Your external enclosure must have its own power supply.
- The antenna for the Airport is the case itself, so don't be surprised if your Airport doesn't work if the case is still off. You didn't break it.

Some things I need to do still:

- Get a little fan to put in the external drive case (doesn't have one built-in, but has a header and vent for it).
- Figure out how to get the cover back on with the SATA cable dangling out. Right now the Mac is topless (children shield your eyes!) because I am unwilling to snap off part of the edge of the base, but also don't want to continue hacking away at my SATA cable for fear of damaging it.
- Figure out how the hell to get OS X to use the home/end keys in a civilized way.

Anyway... Good luck all; I will post pics whenever I get the card reader on this printer to work.

~perle


Manifest, from newegg.com:

Mapower MAP-H31SS-01 3.5" SATA to SATA Aluminum External Enclosure $29.99
KINGWIN SAC-03 SATA to External SATA Converter $4.99
SAMSUNG T133 Series HD300LJ 300GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $97.99
+ shipping


Xbench comparison; new drive on top:

SAMSUNG HD300LJ
ST98823AS

Disk Test
55.54
33.30

Sequential
83.43
59.52

Uncached Write
71.38 MB/sec [4K blocks]
39.86 MB/sec [4K blocks]

Uncached Write
62.64 MB/sec [256K blocks]
33.79 MB/sec [256K blocks]

Uncached Read
13.39 MB/sec [4K blocks]
14.75 MB/sec [4K blocks]

Uncached Read
59.41 MB/sec [256K blocks]
33.03 MB/sec [256K blocks]

Random
41.63
23.12

Uncached Write
1.56 MB/sec [4K blocks]
0.80 MB/sec [4K blocks]

Uncached Write
36.89 MB/sec [256K blocks]
21.08 MB/sec [256K blocks]

Uncached Read
0.60 MB/sec [4K blocks]
0.50 MB/sec [4K blocks]

Uncached Read
24.06 MB/sec [256K blocks]
16.57 MB/sec [256K blocks]
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gaiserrc
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Joined: 17 Apr 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet, can't wait to see some pics. Cool Cool Cool Cool
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Ernesto
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Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait for the pics. I went with a 7200rpm internal drive, but this sounds like an interesting project.
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FastEddy
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Joined: 25 May 2006
Posts: 56
Location: Sonoma County CA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't it be better to use electrical tape rather then Scotch tape? The heat will dry make the Scotch tape brittle and loose its grip in no time at all.
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kaidomac
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Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 668

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

perle, excellent write-up! Haha, nearly double the performance & over triple the capacity for less than the cost of a 100gb 7200rpm internal drive is awesome - nice work man Smile
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perle
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Joined: 14 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FastEddy wrote:
Wouldn't it be better to use electrical tape rather then Scotch tape?


Yeah it would; I didn't think of that.

Still no pics; I had a terrible time getting it partitioned the way I want for dual booting. Plus Firewire Target Disk mode kind of completely crapped out on me. However, firewire networking from XP to XP seems to be working so I can transfer my data that way instead.

You can read what I learned about partitioning here -> http://wiki.onmac.net/index.php/Triple_Boot_via_BootCamp#A_Quick_Note_on_Disk_Partitioning
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evilJazz
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Location: Oldenburg, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perle, I guess you beat me to try and refine your procedure:
http://www.123macmini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9092

I've also posted a link to a picture tutorial.

Thanks again!
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Mac Mini - Core Duo 1.66 Ghz / 2 GB / 150 GB WD Raptor 10k rpm / eSATA mod
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