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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mac Mini: Snow Leopard & New Hard Drive

Yesterday I was reading through the number of success stories and performance upgrades that lots of users are experiencing with the Snow Leopard OS X 10.6 upgrade from Leopard 10.5. I quickly started lamenting the fact that I did not have it -- I inexplicably forgot to pre-order it and will be waiting a few more days for it to arrive in the mail. I was too lazy to call around to the various Apple stores and try to find one with Snow Leopard in stock. So, I'll just wait for the hopeful performance upgrades -- although in some reports, graphics don't perform quite as well.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Box Shot for $29

In addition to the performance enhancement expected by Snow Leopard in 10.6, I have one huge hope that I am holding onto. That the 4GB of memory in my Mac Mini would still be addressable. As I covered during my Mac Mini memory upgrade, even though I installed 4GB of RAM and the OS recognized, only 3GB were addressable in the Mac Mini. (more on the memory here) Still, I have heard no reports either way, so I can still hold out hope awhile longer.

In some ways, having to wait is a good thing because as I was trying to process some videos from our recent trip to Spain and all 80GB of the hard disk are filled up. Which, if you haven't filled up a drive on your Mac before -- I don't really recommend it. It's not as dreadful an experience once you cross the threshold in Windows, but still it is pretty bad.

Which means, I need to kill two birds with one stone. One, I decided to upgrade to a new internal hard drive -- this time with a 7200 RPM 2.5-inch SATA drive from (you can get one here: 320GB 7200-RPM SATA Drive). Unfortunately, the biggest size I could find at a reasonable (< $100) price in the 2.5-inch Mac Mini size was a 320GB drive by Western Digital.

Western Digital's Scorpio 7200-rpm 2.5-inch 320GB drive for upgrade hard drive for mac mini

The Western Digital Scorpio Drive.

I figured that would buy me a good amount of time and performance as well as buy me some time until I need an external drive for the Mac specifically.

With luck, both of my upgrades will be here before the end of the week. Which brings me to my next question, any recommendations on the best way to upgrade and copy the drive?

The way I look at it, there are two options:

1. Clone the current hard drive over to the new drive.
2. Do a fresh installation and then restore Time Machine back over the new installation.

Any thoughts on which might be the quickest and easiest path? In either case, I am planning on upgrading my Mac Mini to Snow Leopard before transfering between drives.