Best system and storage management?

Hi everybody,
I can guess this it’s probably an old kind of question but I would be very interested in knowing about the best way to manage hard disk, softwares and libraries.
I’m using a late 2012 macmini (specs in the attached pic) and my main daw are Cubase 11 pro and Live 10 Standard, but I also use Sibelius and other music and photo softwares, os Mojave; I’m not planning to upgrade software and os, at the moment, for various reasons.
I have my softwares installed on the main hd (250 GB ssd) and I keep my projects on an external hd (not an ssd) and libraries are partially located on main hd an partially on the same external hd where I have projects.
I’m planning to reinstall the system from scratch because I’m having various kind of issues (high cpu use, very high cpu temperature, …) and I would like to set everything the best it’s possible.

My question are:

  • do I have to keep the main hd the more free I can? What’s the minimum free space advisable?
  • what’s the best location for sample libraries? Would it help if the hd was an ssd one?
  • what’s the best location for projects?

Thank you for helping,


Schermata 2022-03-04 alle 23.08.40

Disclaimer, I am a PC not Mac user. But the disk scenarios are not really OS dependent.

Common wisdom is to use 3 disks - one for the OS, one (or more as needed) for sample libraries and a third disk for Projects. As far as SSD goes - having it on all 3 is great. But if you can’t do that, use the order above (OS, Samples, Projects) to get the most bang out of an SSD.

In addition to too much software running in the background, high CPU temperatures could also be caused by physical problems including dusty air ducts, a fan gone bad, or even the thermal paste between CPU and cooling system having deteriorated. All of those can typically be fixed.

Thank you both,
raino and Nico5; I’m planning to reorganize my hard disk soon so I’ll definitely keep your advices in consideration.

Is there any kind of test to understand which of the three could be the issue before going to assistance? I don’t know if it could be dust because MacMini has practically no openings to the outside…

For getting a good idea how to do hardware repairs yourself (or deciding which type of repair is easy enough to do yourself vs. which one’s to give to a repair shop), the site is pretty remarkable. A good variety of articles for late 2012 Mac Mini’s can be found there:

For example to have a quick peek at the inside to check for dust, it’s trivial to remove the round bottom cover:

When the Mac Mini gets hot, the fan should come on, and you should be able to hear it. If you hear it, it’s probably not broken. :grinning:

And you would probably see it spinning, if you leave the bottom cover off while it’s running.

Figuring out if the thermal paste might need replacement seems more of a guessing game (or a lot of googling) and doing so is on the relatively more difficult side, so an experienced Mac repair shop might be a better place to do that. But

p.s. There’s a nice little utility from Intel (available for MacOS and Windows to monitor a bit more of the CPU details including current temperature and CPU frequency:

p.p.s. If it’s within your budget, getting a 2 TB SSD as your primary internal disk would probably simplify installation and management of software and libraries quite a bit compared to having to worry what goes where and configuring software where to look for sample libraries.

Thank you, Nico, for the super detailed answer! :pray:
I can hear my fans running so I hope they are not broken…
I’ll have a look at ifixit for sure! :slight_smile:

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