Taking it Apart

Taking the Mac mini apart is pretty simple once you get the case off.  An excellent video of doing just that has been circulating the net and the actual process is just as simple as the video makes it out to be. 

The mini is put together much like an iPod, with plastic latches keeping the base of the chassis locked to the outer shell.  Flip the mini over and use something like a thin putty knife to separate a few of the latches on each side, then just pull the two apart.

Once you're inside, there's still a little more work to do, but it thankfully requires no more prying, just a little unscrewing.  The slot-loading optical drive and 2.5" hard drive are contained within a single removable assembly.  There are four pegs that attach the assembly to the base of the mini, and three screws that need to be removed in order to lift it off (the fourth peg is just a peg, no screw in it).

After you unscrew those pegs, the assembly simply lifts up.  Apple employed a single PCB that interfaces with both the hard drive and the optical drive as you can see in the picture below:

You simply have to lift the connector out of its slot in order to pull up the entire assembly from the case.

The assembly also houses the only fan in the entire system, attached to a duct that helps draw air in through the inlets at the bottom of the mini:

The final member of the optical drive/hard drive assembly is the built-in speaker, which is actually pretty reasonable as an entry-level sound solution.  For someone who doesn't care about music too much, the internal speaker will suffice for whatever occasional audio that the user needs to hear:

Stability and Out-of-Box Software Completeness Taking it Apart, II


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  • elvisizer - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    also, someone needs to tall anand that you can get pictures out of iphoto via drag and drop, not just going to Share->Export. Reply
  • Saist - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Wanted to step in and comment that the Microsoft Office problem is also solved by a little application that you may or may not have heard of.

    It's called.


  • wilburpan - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link


    Not to mention the lack of a need to buy an antivirus subscription, which kicks in at $25/year for Norton's antivirus program. If you keep your Windows PC for 4 years, that's an extra $75 in software updates you'll need to buy.

  • shuttleboi - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    "The comparison above was very deliberately set up to focus on hardware alone, ignoring things like software differences and form factor differences. "

    Hello? The Mac Mini comes with over $100 worth of software. Where are you going to get a software suite on Wintel for $100? Kazaa?
  • edwardhchan - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #25: I used a Kingston ValueRAM PC2700 1GB DIMM... Works like a charm. Just a note on using as a media server: Divx and MPEG4 playback is fine with VLC. DVD is good too, but the DVD player doesn't have a very good de-interlacing algorithm. My Mini is being watched on a 43" Samsung DLP at 1280x720. Beautiful display for the compy :)
  • Eug - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Apple has just dropped pricing on some of the BTO options:

    BlueTooth/Airport Express combo now $99.
    1 GB RAM now $325.
    80 GB hard drive upgrade now $50.

    And now the SuperDrive option is 8X. Cool. :)
  • pbrice68 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Just a quick FYI:

    TextEdit does open MicroSoft Word documents. Obviously, it doesn't support all of Word's features, but it will open and display the text and try to maintain all of the formatting.

    Although you went over a great deal in iPhoto, you really didn't mention it's built in slideshow features, professionally printed books, and the ability to purchase prints directly from the application. The books really need to be seen to appreciate them.
  • Doormat - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #26: the mini takes a regular DIMM, not an SO-DIMM. 1GB PC2700 DIMM is under $200. Plus the putty knife you'll need to open and install it.

    And I was planning on getting one until I read that they had problems at 19x12. As someone who is going to hook this to a HDTV at 1920x1080, this is disappointing news. Maybe next years refresh with a 9600+ with 64MB framebuffer will do the trick.
  • barnett25 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    First I want to say that I loved the article. With that out of the way I have to ask, when you said that Pages exports well to html, what were you smoking? I just recieved iWork yesterday, I bought it becuase Pages seemed like an easy way to make good looking webpages. I saw the family newsletter template and knew my mom would love to have a webpage based around that. But try saving just the template, with no editing, to html. You get a big mess. Pages was not ready to be shipped. It's export to .doc format is messed up with the supplied templates too, but I can understand that being due to Word's lack of refinment and features. I do like pages, but it seems to only be good if you are either printing, exporting to pdf, or simply saving as a pages file. For any other kind of exporting it's next to worthless. (By the way, if you go to Apple discussions you will see dozens of people with similar compaints to mine.) Reply
  • jasonsRX7 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Apple today lowered some of the prices on the BTO Mac Minis at the Apple store.


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