03-09-2006, 03:10 PM
Unless you really want to keep everything in a nice, compact package inside the Mini, spending $240+ on the hard drive isn't the best way to go. There are
good alternatives that won't ruin the Mini's aesthetics. For example, OWC offers the miniStack, which is a combination external hard drive/Firewire hub/USB hub that matches the Mini in size and looks and can be stacked underneath it. For $235, they offer a miniStack with a 320gb 7200rpm hard drive with an 8mb cache, effectively tripling the capacity of an internal 100gb 7200rpm 2.5" hard drive while keeping the speed and price. You can use this external drive as your boot drive by installing OS X on it. You can easily clone your internal drive to your external drive by using Carbon Copy Cloner,
a free tool for backing up and cloning your hard drive. You can leave the internal hard drive as-is or reformat it for use as a backup/storage drive. If you have a basic Intel Mini, this gives you a nice 60 gigabytes of storage in addition to the 320gb primary drive. The miniStack is available in capacities up to 500gb; you can also add your own drive. More information is available from OWC here.
There are some good articles on using an external Firewire hard drive as a boot drive for the Mini here
as well as a good discussion here.
Google has links to a variety of articles on performance gains as well.
I previously wrote an article for my website entitled Souping up a Mini,
which detailed the various upgrades available for the G4 Mini. At the end of the article are appendixes with links to lots of sites that you may find useful, including forums, parts/services retailers, and galleries for the Mini. For example, did you know that you can get your Mini professionally painted
or buy a decal
to spice up your desktop with? You can even turn your Mini into a set-top box to play back DVDs, TV shows, and music across your network; check out my howto here.
I hope you enjoyed this article; feedback is always welcome!