Back in July 2011 one of the stock Western Digital HD’s in my 2009 Mac Mini Server went out, so I bit the bullet and purchased two new Western Digital Scopio Blacks (both 500GB), and RAID1’d them together. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, and my RAID goes offline. I run several days of block checking, and find that the upper drive has gone out (which, I’ll get replaced by WD, but at this point, I’m looking to replace both drives… and I generally don’t trust refurbished drives). Anyway, figuring two new 500GB drives would cost about $100, I started looking at alternatives, and quickly found the Crucial M500 240GB SSD for $140 through Amazon. I then wouldn’t RAID drives together, I would just put OS/Services on the SSD, then use the still functional 500GB Western Digital drive as storage for larger files (downloads, backups, etc).
Moving files over consisted of using a SSD to USB adapter on both the SSD and the temporary drive, and Superduper! to copy files. The total copy time was less than an hour for about 90GB (OS and supporting files).
Install was also easy since opening the white Mac Mini’s is pretty easy with a thin putty knife. Thankfully, the failed drive was the upper, so removing 6 screws (two on each side of the sled, and two in back holding the SATA board to the sled) allowed the drive sled to slide out and replace the drive. Then reverse the process to install.
Boot was very fast, and for some reason Dropbox wanted to be set up like new. Guessing Dropbox must rely on volume GUID which would have changed. Spotlight also re-indexed the whole drive (most definitely for the same reason).
As a bonus, the machine now has a recovery partition which doesn’t exist if you have RAID1 drives.
I’d actually highly recommend one of these drives if you have a Mac Mini server, as there appears to be some issue with software RAID in OSX, at least when it comes to the mini… since I’ve never seen any other instance of overlapping extents on any other machines.