How-to: Upgrade the SSD in your Dell Mini 9

It's no secret that the Dell Mini 9 is the currently the best netbook for running Mac OS X. I've had one for a month now and I find myself using it more and more all the time.

It's no secret that the Dell Mini 9 is the currently the best netbook for running Mac OS X. I've had one for a month now and I find myself using it more and more all the time. (See my previous posts about how to install OS X on it).

One of its best features (after the size and price) -- the zippy SSD -- is also one if its biggest liabilities simply because of its small capacity. I opted for the 16GB SSD because it's considered the minimum configuration for OS X, but I started filling it up pretty fast. The culprit wasn't installing too many apps (I try to do everything in a browser tab) but rather my unwieldy IMAP account.

MailSteward Pro was invaluable in helping me slim down my 6+GB mail folder and the Mini 9's included SD card slot also help but I still found myself wanting more internal space.

I decided on purchasing a larger drive and settled on a 64GB SSD from RunCore, because it's faster than the included STEC SSDs and just oh so big. The problem is that the RunCore 64GB is not available anywhere, so I instead purchased a RunCore 32GB from a seller on eBay. In addition to its speed the RunCore has a USB connector on the board which means that you can install OS X on from your Mac -- which is a huge advantage in the whole hackintosh process.

I was hoping to be able to simply attach it via USB and use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper to clone my 16GB installation to the 32GB (as recommended by forum member STiMULi) but it didn't boot. Ultimately I had to set up my new 32GB SSD from scratch, but luckily the USB connector made this much easier than having to do it inside the Mini 9. (Note to all SSD OEMs: install a USB connector on your drives!)

The trick is to install Mac OS X onto the new SSD attached to a real Mac (not a hackintosh), then set up a USB flash drive (as described in section B of the DellEFI tutorial by mechdrew), install the new SSD into the Mini 9, boot from the flash drive, then install the DellEFI drivers onto the SSD. Boom, you're done.

The MyDellMini forums are an invaluable resource in this process and I highly recommend that you read the Dell Mini 9 FAQ if you're even considering creating a hackintosh.

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