Sorry, but I'm confused by your post. On one hand you ask for assistance in replacing the drive drive, but then you say that you don't need help replacing the physical drive:
not the actual, physical replacement, I'm OK with that
Can you please clarify what it is you're asking for help with?
I'm sorry if I have confused anyone - probably a result of me being confused after all the reading I've done on this and for not using the correct terminology.
What I am saying is that I have no problem with the physical removal of the current hard drive in the Mac Mini and putting two brand new drives in. That's really not an issue for me.
What concerns me, and I can't find a definitive answer to, is how to reinstal OSX 10.8 (what is on the current drive) to the brand new drive that I will be fitting to the computer as it won't have a 'recovery partition' on it.
Also, what are the software advantages / disadvantages of using RAID on these two discs - I'm aware of the physical limitations of RAID systems generally, but am not familiar with the specific nuances of RAID on a Mac. Again, my reading has confused me about bits that get left out or can't be added to the OS boot loader (or something like that).
It's answers about the software instal on new discs that I am after as well as software RAID issues.
The existing drive (which might not work reliably) should have a fresh instal on 10.8 on it and nothing else.
With one of these cables I can, after cloning the existing drive, replace the drive with two new ones, plug the adapter and cloned drive in and 'copy' the old drive image across to the new one?
This is where I get a little lost (software) as I have not done this on a Mac before and only rarely on PC's.
Any guidance of what to expect would be appreciated.
is how to reinstal OSX 10.8 (what is on the current drive) to the brand new drive that I will be fitting to the computer as it won't have a 'recovery partition' on it.
OK, thanks for the clarification. You will need to use Internet Recovery to get OS X 10.8 installed on the new drive if you want it fresh. See:
Or as suggested below you can clone the existing drive.
what are the software advantages / disadvantages of using RAID on these two discs - I'm aware of the physical limitations of RAID systems generally, but am not familiar with the specific nuances of RAID on a Mac.
If you search the web, you'll find a lot of information on RAID, but there really aren't any significant nuances as regards OS X that I'm aware of. I'm always a bit leery of any software RAID 0 (striping) since it significantly increases the likelikhood of a failure that would take down the entire system. The only software RAID I'm comfortable with, particularly when using consumer-grade drives, is RAID 1 )mirroring). You'll get slightly better read performance and, of course, a full, on-the-fly backup.
Another option is to just buy an external RAID drive set and keep the internal drive. If you get a Firewire 800 unit, it'll be almost as fast (if in some cases not more so) than the drive included in the mini.
Something is not right as I can't get Internet Recovery to work...
I've read and reread this thread: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718 and I'm trying to follow the instructions under the heading 'OS X Internet Recovery' as this applies to me (new hard discs).
Before removing the original hard drive, I checked to see if the recovery partition was there and that the EFI Firmware ROM was up to date (it was).
I created an external OS X Recovery disk (USB thumbdrive) following these instructions and download: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433 but I cannot get the computer to boot and see this recovery drive.
I've tried holding: 'R', 'Cmd - R', 'Cmd - Option - R', 'Option - R' and all end up (one way or another) with the internet recovery starting and stalling (quickly) with a 2105F error message.
I can't find out what that means and I don't know what I've done wrong.
I still have the original (working) 500Gb harddrive with OSX 10.8.2 freshly installed, so I can (I'd rather not) put that back in and start again if someone can tell me what I need to do as I am now really confused having spent two hours reading what (to me) seems like conflicting information regarding this.