Mac Mini?

I am creating a small second studio for working up ideas. I was considering a new Mac Mini but then I saw it comes standard with a 5400 rpm HD. I recall that used to be considered a substandard drive…still considered to be unadvisable for a DAW? Cheers!

5400 RPM drives are no problem depending on what exactly you are doing. Apart from that - todays 5400 RPM are the same as earliers 5400 RPM, unless minutes have changed…

In any case, you should only use this drive as the system drive, so the speed may be moot.


I see that the new minis have USB 3 connections so if I used the internal 5400rpm drive only for a system drive and bought an external usb3 drive would that be a good idea? I was looking on line and I dont see the rpm rating on these external drives…do they operate differently than an internal drive? Cheers!

For an external drive you could always buy an empty enclosure with the specs you desire and use whatever hard drive you want. That way at least you know what you are dealing with.

Thanks guys. What about a thunderbolt external HD compared to a USB 3 HD? Better? Issues?


What about a thunderbolt external HD compared to a USB 3 HD? Better? Issues?

Generally speaking no. USB drives on MacOS used to perform badly, the OS did not give the priority to usb that windows does. Somewhere that’s been dealt with, we’ve tested usb3 drives on our new Mac Minis with high track counts and they perform very well IF you have a high performance usb3 interface on the drive. Thunderbolt drives and usb3 drives are still limited by the drive speed.


Thanks very much Hugh!
Last question :slight_smile:
Its $250 to up grade from a straight 5400 rpm hd to a fusion drive. Is that worth the upgrade price?


Ha! That’s a question fraught with opinions, I’ll throw mine in for no good reason. That question is really two questions - is the fusion drive worth getting, and is it worth an extra $250.

For your OS/apps drive yes it’s worth getting in a general sense. Your system will run faster and feel more responsive. Apple has seemingly done a nice job of making the concept work, reportedly better than other “combo” drives that do something similar based on independent testing reviews I’ve read. The drawback MAY be that it’s software based, the OS does the transferring back and forth between the spinner and the flash - does it interfere when you’re doing heavy audio work? I don’t know, not sure anyone’s tested that yet. Me personally, I’m staying away from them until we know more about their drawbacks under heavy audio use - I’d rather spend the extra money and buy a big flash drive for the OS/apps which is faster yet, or a 7200 spinner.

Are they good for your audio project drive? No one knows but I’m betting it depends on your project size. Our projects vary between 300GB and 600GB, so the 128GB of the flash won’t help. Additionally the OS will try and move the audio files between the spinner and the flash which I don’t want when I’m using it. If your projects are some smaller amount it will probably help but again, not sure if the OS gets in the way.

Is it worth $250? Apple’s pricing is always high - moving on. Your decision there.

For what you described - small second studio - I’m betting it’s a good addition. Your OS/apps drive will feel much faster and the OS-managed transfers supposedly will stay out of your way, so it will probably be good. Notice no commitment on my part?


Thanks so much Hugh! Great info there. I think I’ll take the leap and gve it a go. I’ll post my experiences soon.
Cheers! :slight_smile: