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OWC Introduces ‘Data Doubler’ DIY Kit for Adding Second Drive to 2011 Mac mini

Friday, April 27th, 2012 | Author:

Other World Computing today introduced the OWC ‘Data Doubler’ DIY Kit for 2011 Mac mini models. The kit enables mini owners to add a second internal 9.5mm or smaller 2.5″ SATA hard drive or high-performance Solid State Drive in addition to the existing factory hard drive. Fully supported with a step-by-step ‘how-to’ video, users can add an OWC Mercury 6G SSD up to 480GB in capacity starting from $95.99 and enjoy near instantaneous booting and application launches along with an incredible boost to overall system and application performance thanks to real-world sustained data rates of up to 559MB/s. While OWC highly recommends its Mercury SSDs for the Apple mini, this kit is fully compatible with all 2.5″ Serial ATA SSDs.

OWC ‘Data Doubler’ DIY Kit for 2011 Mac mini Includes:

  • OWC 5-Piece Mini Toolkit
  • Logic Board Removal Tool
  • 4 Rubber Grommets
  • 4 Hex Screws
  • Mac mini Flex Cable
  • Installation Manual

Availability, Pricing

The OWC ‘Data Doubler’ DIY Kit for the 2011 Mac mini is available for immediate ordering at the discounted price of $49.99 direct from OWC’s ecommerce portal, www.macsales.com. OWC also offers an instant $15.00 rebate on this DIY Kit when an OWC Mercury 2.5″ SATA SSD is purchased at the same time.

Double the Factory RAM

To complement the improved drive performance that the OWC ‘Data Doubler’ DIY Kit provides, mini owners can also choose to add up to double the factory RAM with OWC’s 16GB ‘MaxRAM’ Kit. Same-sized factory memory upgrades of 4GB and 8GB are also available from OWC with savings up to 83 percent compared to factory upgrade costs and come backed by OWC’s free installation videos and lifetime warranty.

Our ‘Data Doubler’ DIY Kit is the key that lets 2011 Mac mini owners make their mini ‘less mini’ on drive capacity.” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. “With the kit, owners can add a second hard drive or SSD for higher performance, drive capacity, and/or configuration options that just aren’t possible with single drive limited factory options. Although only the Mac mini with Lion Server is offered by Apple with two drives from the factory, all current 2011 and later Mac minis can now benefit from a second drive/two-drive configurations with our new kit.”

Let the OWC Pros DIFY

If, after watching the how-to video, mini owners are not fully confident of their ability to add an SSD to their machine, they can choose to have OWC “Do It For You” via the mini Installation Service. For only $99 with shipping included, mini owners can have OWC professionally install a hard drive or SSD and memory and receive their higher-performance mini back within 72 business hours or less installation turnaround.

 

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    1. Charles says:

      Hey I’ve got a question and this might turn out to be a really great sales point for you. I know you guys like the SSDs but for big capacity it’s out of my price range. So I have an idea.

      I just bought a new Mac mini i7, I got the upgraded processor but it only has a 5400 RPM drive, it is maddeningly slow. I figured I’d upgrade to some big 7200RPM drive (I always buy upgrade drives from you guys, I’m a loyal customer). But then your new new double drive gadget was announced and I thought it might be ideal for putting in two 750Gb Seagate Momentus 7200RPM drives in a RAID 0. Then there are other 750Gb drives, like the Momentus hybrid drives, or Hitachi Travelstars. I’m not sure if a hybrid drive would be right for this config, what do you think?

      Now the big question is, would the disk controller for the mini give good performance for a RAID 0? I know that some people used to fiddle with two separate controller boards, one for each drive, so there is a separate channel for each drive to max out bandwidth for the RAID. I figure the mini’s controller will only have a single channel, it was not natively designed to take 2 drives. Will this affect performance?

      So what do you think of this idea? I could set up a dual drive 1.5Tb RAID 0 for under $350, I bet it would be way faster than just one 7200RPM drive. I would just love to see you set one of these up to benchmark it, and compare it to a single drive of the same type. Hey, I volunteer to install and benchmark it for you, if you give me this rig! Ha.

      • OWC Michael says:

        When we’ve setup a RAID 0 array in these machines we’ve just used Disk Utility to set it up as is, no fiddling with additional controller boards. You can expect to have a definite performance increase using two 7200RPM drives (or the hybrid-type drives) over the single 5400RPM drive you’re using now. To see what an SSD or two really does to the system, I suggest checking out our post “By The Numbers: What Can An OWC 6G SSD Do For Your 2011 Mac mini?”.
        That said, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is that if you are planning on using a RAID 0 array for your boot setup that you have a solid backup plan in place. In the event that something goes wrong on one drive in a RAID 0 array – you’ve lost the data on both drives.

        • Charles says:

          I’m not sure I made my question clear there. It’s pretty standard to format a RAID 0 with Disk Utility. Yes I have a backup solution in place (a couple of very nice vintage 2006 OWC Mercury Elite Pro drives with 1 and 1.5Tb). Sure there’s a performance increase with even just a single 7200RPM drive over a single 5400RPM drive. I was wondering what kind of performance increase I’d get with the RAID 0 of two 7200RPM drives vs. the performance of a single 7200RPM drive. I was more worried about saturating the onboard disk controller.

          According to the article you linked, the standard 5400RPM drive in the Mac mini only has a transfer rate of 14-16MB/sec which you describe as “abysmal.” LOL. At that rate, using two 5400RPM drives in a RAID 0 would theoretically peak out at 28-32MB/sec. I ran Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and I’m getting more like peak 38-42MB/sec with some transfers around 5-10MB/sec, which seems to agree with my performance frustration. Admittedly this app is not a very good benchmark. XBench gives performance more around those levels, except random read/write speeds at a stunningly low 0.25-0.63 MB/sec!! Now that explains some of my problems. I have to solve this.

          So what I’m really asking is, what’s the relative transfer rate performance of a Mac mini in these 3 configurations?

          1. My stock 5400RPM drive (500Mb)
          2. Replacing it with one 7200RPM drive like the Seagate Momentus 750Gb
          3. Installing two of those 7200RPM drives in a RAID 0 with your dual drive gadget.

          You could compare that to a single or dual SSD, but it’s out of my price range.

          • OWC Michael says:

            Given the same cache, areal density & SATA Revision, a 7200RPM drive by itself is going to transfer data about 30% faster than a comparable single 5400RPM drive. Putting two 7200RPM drives into a RAID 0 configuration could gain another 30% or more.
            It’s hard to talk in specifics as more cache, a higher areal density of the drive, and a higher SATA Revision can make significant gains in the speed achieved.

            • Charles says:

              OK thanks Michael, that’s the sort of general spec I was looking for. With a RAID 0 speed increase of “30% or more” I’m not sure how to optimally configure for the “or more.” I figure the absolute limit of a 2 drive RAID 0 is 2x the speed of a single drive, and no configuration will ever come close to that. I’m hoping the most realistic speed gains could be on the low end of the spec, like those horribly slow random R/W transfers I had that peaked at 0.63MB/sec. But surely an SSD would be the ultimate solution in this regard. I look forward to OWC bringing these SSDs into my price range someday soon. But in the meantime, your dual drive Mac mini rig with a RAID 0 looks like a great high capacity solution.

              Thanks again for your help.

    2. Toby says:

      LOOONG overdue, but glad it’s finally here! Hooray!

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