Puzzle solved: A faster Mac mini server
But yesterday, with the puzzle cleared away, it was time for me to do my puzzle—namely, disassemble the mid Mac mini I use as a server, add a speedy flash drive, and reassemble it. The little rpm spinning disc inside the Mac mini was making it painful to use for just about anything—every act, from launching apps to opening Finder windows, was torture. The iFixit kit supplies the hard drive cable, grommets, and mounting screws required to add the flash drive alongside the existing drive.
This was not an upgrade for the timid. It took a couple of hours of work, and along the way I made a few missteps that slowed me down—the wrong screw here, improperly reading the instructions about where to tuck some power cables there. By the time I went to bed last night, the server was up and running.
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That made it an easy choice to go with FireWire , which maxes out at a raw rate of megabits per second Mbps. There are cheaper options for the same capacity with a single interface. Initialize the external SSD.
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See this tutorial. The copying rate was roughly 40GB per hour, which is fairly slow, but not unexpected. Because I was using my computer during the clone, I know I missed some changed data.
After the first clone was completed, I quit all active programs and shut down several services, and did another pass. This one took only about 40 minutes to complete. I renamed the startup volume to a different name, and renamed the external SSD exactly as the startup disk was originally named.
Everything else worked without any fuss.
The FireWire bus is clearly fast enough to make the difference for the kind of reading and writing that was occurring. Restarting the first time, in which OS X was clearly engaged in some cleanup and caching, took about six minutes. Subsequent restarts are in the two- to three-minute range. The maximum tops out at just above 11GB, when it used to approach 15GB or more.
This is inexplicable and counter-intuitive. Why would faster storage result in more unused RAM? Other World Computing.
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I had to figure it out, because I increasingly found myself wasting time and waiting. Carbon Copy Cloner can create the same Recovery partition that my Mac's internal drive has. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission.