I purchased a Late-2012 Mac Mini a few months ago for a client. These machines are in demand because they allow some freedom to upgrade both disk capacity and memory and still provide good performance. In my case, the machine I selected already had the maximum memory and an SSD installed. We decided to boost storage by adding a 2Tb hard drive. Instructions were quite straightforward but it appeared that someone had previously worked on the machine and literally hacked a section of the drive bracket out, and had possibly failed to reinstall the cowling. Fortunately, I located a supplier for the bracket and cowling at a reasonable price. . While most of the installation kits provide a cable for connecting the second drive, I opted to purchase this one with two cables included.
Disassembly of the machine was quite easy with the appropriate attention paid to the highlighted sections in the guide. It is very important to bend the new cable as instructed since it detaches easily from the connector on the logic board. When the assembly is placed in position, the cable should lay flat on the connector. The replacement cowling did not fit in the case, but was not really necessary since the air circulation appeared to be adequate without it. The hard drive was installed in the lower position and the SSD tucked in above it. There is no mention in the guide on how this drive stays in position, but it turns out that the two 6.6mm screws on the antenna plate hold the drive in place. Reassembly was quite smooth except for the power supply which requires some extra care.
The supplier had loaded Catalina (OSX 10.15) on the SSD as a courtesy to me so everything booted up as expected and the 2TB drive showed up in Disk Utility. Apple has introduced a new disk format (APFS) which utilizes the concept of containers and is optimized for flash and SSD. This new format is not backward compatible with older systems (HFS+) and may present a number of challenges if working with a mix of systems. Given this situation, it was decided to format the 2Tb disk using the older format.
The machine was fairly warm during normal operation, even before the upgrade. Since I have been working on quite a few machines with GPU issues, I have started using a utility named smcFanControl. The utility is quite effective and easy to tune for performance.So far the upgraded machine (nicknamed ‘The Beast’) has been performing quite well.