Memory is one of the easiest, most affordable and most effective upgrades you can perform.
Crucial (uk.crucial. com) simplifies the buying process with a free download that scans your Mac to identify what you already have and what can be added. Upgrading a late 2012 Mac mini to 16GB costs £72; 8GB will cost you just £36. The question is, how much is your time worth?
The price of SSDs is falling quickly, and you can now pick up a 120GB one for about £40, which is perfect for setting up a Fusion Drive.
We bought a Kingston Technology V300 drive of that capacity from Amazon for £39 for the workshop on page 37. SSDs are optimised to tidy themselves up when not being actively used, so performance shouldn’t degrade so quickly as a traditional hard disk will.
120GB is more than enough if all you want to do is create your own Fusion Drive, but if you’re looking to replace your primary hard disk it will quickly start to feel quite restrictive.
Look to buy a drive of at least 500GB capacity for everyday use. Samsung’s 850 EVO 500 is about £130 online and will fit a Mac mini and iMac (if you’re willing to perform the surgery).
If you’re upgrading a pre-2013 Mac Pro you’ll need a drive sled to fit a 2.5-inch drive to a 3.5-inch drive bay’s mounting points and ports.
StarTech’s SATA Aluminum Hard Drive Adapter Enclosure is £15 from Amazon and uses a sprung front door to keep the SSD in place for tool-free installation.
If you have no choice but to connect using USB, reserve those on your Mac for USB 3 devices, if possible.
If you’re using a hub, make sure it’s the fastest you can afford. TP-Link’s four-port UH400 USB 3.0 hub is £18 from Staples.