I have a Mac mini (Mid 2011) and I want to use an external SSD (Samsung Portable SSD T5) with it. Now the problem is that Mac mini (Mid 2011) only has:

  • Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps) (not Thunderbolt 3, perhaps Thunderbolt 2) :-(
  • Four USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)

I guess that the only way I can leverage the speed of the external SSD is by using it thru the Thunderbolt port. The external SSD is back compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. But AFAIK using it on one of the USB 2.0 ports will defeat the whole purpose of using a SSD. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

So, I tried to find a Thunderbolt 2 to USB Type-C cable, but couldn't find it anywhere. Only items which I could find are USB C to Mini Display Port Cables but they specifically state that they:

  • Supports video only (not data transfer)
  • Check for a Mini DisplayPort port (not a Thunderbolt / Thunderbolt 2 port

I also found that using these:

can (possibly) resolve the issue, but these items are super expensive. I was hoping to spend a little less on the connectors.

So, essentially I want to use a high-speed external SSD with an ancient machine. Is there any way I can do that?

  • Same problem here. I just bought the SSD thinking it was going to be fast on my Mini 2011. How did you solve it? – Wagner Meier Apr 12 '19 at 23:34
  • Well, I have not been able to solve it. :( After all apple spends (perhaps) millions of dollars to make sure that its customers can not upgrade the system in parts and have to buy new hardware, even when it is not necessary. – zeFree Apr 14 '19 at 1:49

I do not think a simple cable to going to be sufficient. The differences between Thunderbolt and USB Type-C are different enough that an adapter will be needed. One such possible adapter would be the Kanex Thunderbolt Male to USB 3.1 (G2 Type-A) Female/ eSATA Female Adapter - Black. Unfortunately, this item is more expensive than anything mentioned in your question.

Another possible way to access the speed of a SSD would be to replace your internal drive. Although, these instructions show the upgrade procedure may be difficult.

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