2011 Mac Mini - Is SSD worth it?

If I am using an external drive to store music files, what is the rationale behind upgrading the mini's internal hard drive to SSD?
Well, by getting the conventional drive out of the same box with the CPU in it, you're essentially removing all moving parts from that enclosure. With a SSD (and now that they've inexplicably excised the optical drive), suspect that there are no moving parts left at all; everything will be electronic, nothing mechanical. Hence, a more inert box.

Whether this makes a lick of difference sonically, I have no idea. But there's at least a plausible theory behind it, no?
My rationale is as follows. An SSD consumes considerably less power than a mechanical drive. In fact, in some instances it has been specified that an SSD consumes about 17% of the power that a mechanical drives does. Moreover, there isn't the big power drain with an SSD that occurs when the drive spins up. The former puts less burden on the power supply and the later leads to less noise generation. All in all, better sound.
As far as I am aware it's simply a matter of people having reported in many cases that they obtained improved sonics with an SSD, with the rationale and explanations being speculative.

In addition to the possibility of reduced vibration to which Mezmo referred, other speculative possibilities would involve differences in electrical noise within the computer, which could ultimately affect jitter and/or radiated rfi.

In referring to electrical noise I am not only referring to noise that may be generated by the drive itself, and by fluctuations in its current draw from the power supply, but also to changes in noise that may be generated by digital components such as the cpu chip, its associated "chipset," memory, etc. The timing of the activities of those other digital components will presumably change somewhat as a result of the much faster response times of an SSD compared to a mechanical drive.

Those kinds of effects will have little if any predictability, but the point is that it is conceivable that there could be a difference.

-- Al
Should speed up your boot system, program loading speeds, and system performance as well. SSD is supposed to be significantly faster than standard HDs. I don't own one, yet, so I can't comment factually. Sonically, I dunno.
I just put a SSD in my lappy and I get alot of freeze up's.
Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm going to stick with the stock drive for now, and put the money I would have spent on getting the SSD into my DAC budget (more bang for the buck there, I think). I'll probably upgrade to an SSD later on, but at the moment it seems like a "nice-to-have" option.
I didn't percieve any advantage having the music on an SSD vs HD in a PC setup; i didn't hear any in A/B testing. Having your OS drive be an SSD is where the gain is... less opportunity for jitter due to multitasking. I'd expect same in Mac environment
Well, there's this:http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/213442/solid_state_drives_no_better_than_others_survey_says.html
and this:http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/ssds-no-more-reliable-than-hard-drives/1483

I tried to find a link to a thread, here, on Audiogon, where someone who's expertise is in SSDs and the like went on to state that SSDs are not any more reliable or quieter since a HD can be insulated to where noise is not a factor.

I personally don't know what is true but would like to hear from someone who has some extensive dealings with both.

All the best,
04-06-12: Nonoise
I tried to find a link to a thread, here, on Audiogon, where someone who's expertise is in SSDs and the like went on to state that SSDs are not any more reliable or quieter since a HD can be insulated to where noise is not a factor.
As far as acoustical noise is concerned, as opposed to electrical noise which was what was addressed in the earlier posts by me and some of the others, I don't think that any meaningful generalizations can be drawn. An HDD model that is inherently quieter than average, and that has low rotational speed, and is mounted via rubber washers or other vibration absorbent means on a rigid non-resonant case structure that has minimal openings to the outside, will be pretty much totally silent. A high speed high performance HDD that is not so mounted will be noisy. An SDD will provide much higher speed than any desktop or laptop HDD while generating no acoustical noise.

Concerning reliability, the jury is probably still out on SDD's, but IMO if an HDD or an SDD contains important material it should be assumed that it can fail at any time. My practice is to back up data files daily, and to create an image of the entire operating system drive every few weeks. That avoids the necessity of having to install and set up all of the software from scratch if the drive has to be replaced.

Best regards,
-- Al

You're the voice of reason with the patience of Job. It must be trying dealing with us mere mortals:-)

All kidding aside, I'm finally getting the gist of what you're saying about all the internal noise that goes on inside anything electric. One would think that it would be one of the issues manufacturers consider and deal with but alas, building to a price point would preclude that, to a degree.

All the best,
My understanding is when using an app like Amarra, Pure Music, and Audirvana your music will be loaded into memory first, thus making the point of ssd moot (at least in regards to music playback).
This thread is a good reference,
SSD does not have mechanical parts that might fail but has one tiny reliability problem - limited number of write cycles. For that reason controller shuffles location of files to minimize number of writes to particular location. There are mostly read cycles in music server application and that is just perfect for SSD. Remember to never defragment SSD because it doesn't improve anything but uses a lot of writes.

Music is always loaded into memory since HD has no timing but perhaps certain programs put whole song into memory before playing. I don't know why this would be better but you might defeat timing problems altogether by using transfer that doesn't contain timing like wireless or Ethernet. My Airport Express is bit perfect and eliminates any need for programs other than Itunes, processor speed, memory size, HD type or interface, special power supplies, computer optimization etc. Just old Mac mini plugged into different outlet across the room. You can also use computer for other tasks and it won't change a thing. The only drawback of such setup is the fact that timing has to be recreated on the other side. Since some wireless receivers like AE produce some jitter (but not a lot) it would be even better to use reclocker or jitter suppressing DAC (that contains reclocker) like my Benchmark DAC1.