Dell Mini 12 Forum for discussion on the discontinued Dell Inspiron Mini 12.

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sss5720jh sss5720jh is offline
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Default Dell Mini 12 with RunCore 32GB SSD experience - 12-21-2009, 03:59 PM

Up to a couple of months ago, I was seeing postings about upgrading to a RunCore SSD. but not a lot of info on the results. Seems they were back-ordered for quite a while.

I use my Mini 12 mainly for light stuff, like checking emails, web browsing, etc.. but it took a while to boot up, even with Windows 7 RC. Since you can't upgrade the 1GB Ram, I opted for a faster hard drive...a RunCore 32GB SSD.

Start up and shut down times are noticeably faster, as well as navigating Windows Explorer, etc. I'm very pleased with the final result, but it was a much more of an effort to upgrade than I expected.

The initial order arrived quickly, but with a poor photocopy of some very skimpy installation instructions from this product made in China. There were 3 different sizes of connecting ribbons. I tried in vain to get the hard drive recognized via the ribbon and Initio USB controller, but could only get the controller to come up. The 'D' drive would flash briefly, then disappear.

I could only get one ribbon (the medium size one) to fit. The others were too big..I could not get them seated. I sent an email to RunCore asking for help/direction, but never received any responses. Called MyDigitalDiscount and their Tech Support guy was very helpful.

He agreed the documentation was bad and that they were asking RunCore to improve it. He told me to use the middle sized one and wasn't sure why they included the other. I tried again..making sure I had the ribbons the right way up for both connections (to SSD and USB Controller). Still did not work. Returned to MyDigitalDiscount and received a 2nd SSD.

After several tries, I was able to get the smallest ribbon connected (the only one that fits inside the USB case) and the drive recognized. Taking apart the Mini to replace the hard drive is a lot more involved than I thought it would be.

I would not recommend a novice to tackle this. Many connections were very hard to unplug and put back together. Dell's instructions seem a little odd..telling you how to put things back together (separate docs), but not so much on taking it apart. PS. I earlier upgraded to an Intel 5300 Wireless N card..that was much easier.

Used the trial Acronis True Image software to clone, but did not fully complete. I think it was because my Mini went into sleep mode and the process could not recover.

Was still running Windows 7 RC and decided to install a fresh copy instead of cloning. Ended up with 2 partitions (one bad), but it works very well. Has already started the nagging Windows 7 messages, so I just purchased a copy. I'll have to do another new reinstall, but then I should be all set.
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dragonmule dragonmule is offline
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Default 12-21-2009, 06:51 PM

Thanks for the info. I didn't have the same experience, but with products like these, there is always some variance.

For taking apart the mini 12, I actually had Dell tech support walk me through that if you can believe it. Perhaps they thought I was highly technical. All I had was a question about their guides, but they seemed to understand the process fully.

Here is the short guide...

Remove the battery. Flip the unit over and hold down the power button. Now it is statically discharged.

Loosen all of the screws on the bottom. Do not unscrew them completely.

Open the monitor as far as possible (don't force it though). Pry off the cover closest to the screen (the one that says mini). Use a broad, object to pry it... e.g. not a screwdriver, this is thin plastic.

Unscrew the keyboard and carefully move it. Remove all of the little wires from the tracks and then the cords holding them by their connector and not their wire. This includes the two closest to you near where the spacebar would be. The hardest to get off are the antenna cords. Be very careful with these as you are more likely to damage the card than the connectors by being too forceful.

Very, very carefully loosen the palmrest (the silver plastic w/the touchpad) around the edges starting from the closest to the screen (and most delicate) part. Make sure this is totally disconnected before going further as this thing is very thin plastic, reminiscent of the body of other mini-laptops from the early 2000s that were easily wrecked. A new one costs $30-$40, so it is not the end of the world, but be careful anyway.

Now you should be able to disconnect the keyboard entirely and access the hard disk. Swap it out! I would personally recommend an SLC SSD such as the mtron, but I see this site is sponsored by runcore, so that should work fine. There is a speed difference, but the speed difference between a runcore and mtron is not as great as either compared to a slowpoke mechanical hard disk.

Putting it back together is pretty easy as long as you didn't go any further than swapping the disk. Take care when re-inserting the plugs and the thin plastic parts. Where plugs should go should be fairly obvious. It recommends you map everything... but you'd have to be pretty crazy not to figure out where things go. The cords are exactly the right length to go into the right cord and in the bottom part if you plug one thing in before the other, the other won't go in... so it is all pretty intuitive.

I have been using the mini 12 for quite a while and still am not disappointed with the product. I am a network administrator and programmer by trade, so I work with some pretty beefy computers. At work, my main desktop is a quad-xeon with 8gb of ram. I find it silly how kids talk about the mini 12 being too slow or not having enough support or whatever their complaint is. It gets up to 6 hours of use, has bluetooth, can play videos, even some streaming with boxee, and only costs $300-$400 depending on options... I mean, what do people want? I have no idea. They compare it to the other computer that they have... if I compared it to some of the servers I run, I could say hey the mini 12 can't serve 100 thin clients, but that is not its purpose.

Oh, and I agree that the dell guides are terse. My original question to dell was about what do they mean by x in their guide. The most difficult plugs are the wireless ones. I have a lot of practice with wireless plugs, so I'd recommend a first timer take great care with those. I was tempted to solder on screw-on/off connectors when I had the system open to avoid breaking the card.
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keptang keptang is offline
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Default 12-22-2009, 10:53 AM

I installed the 64GB version back in October, you can see a performance comparison in my post back then here:
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toogii toogii is offline
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Default 12-29-2009, 06:59 PM

Originally Posted by sss5720jh View Post
PS. I earlier upgraded to an Intel 5300 Wireless N card..that was much easier.
Could you please provide some kind of instructions as to how you put in the new wireless card?

I would love to upgrade but I don't want to figure it out by myself. I would rather have someone who has done it before give me some pointers.

Anything you can provide will be awesome! Thanks!
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