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

    stylex, the mini uses regular pc2700 ddr ram. nothing special about it. Reply
  • egilDOTnet - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    And one more thing - regarding Office compability - I thought that the Appleworks package still was included with the Mac mini?? Is this not so anymore, Anand, or did you just forget about that? Reply
  • elvisizer - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #16 and #12- yes, it's true that if you don't have those items already you'll have to spend money to buy them. So what? if you don't have them sitting around, then the mini isn't as good a deal for you. The point is, for the vast majority of people buying one, a mini will not end up costing $1000. it'll end up costing $499+ 1 memory upgrade.

    also, there's one error in the article- anand says that TextEdit can't open Word documents. that's not true. TextEdit has been able to open and edit Word documents since 10.3 came out.
  • egilDOTnet - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Just wanted to chime in on one thing - exporting images from iPhoto - you know that you can just select images, and then drag them out on the desktop or wherever you want them to be copied??

    Good article!
  • bupkus - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I'd like one just to take it for a ride. I wholely support the idea of SFF and this certainly takes the "S" seriously. As to using less energy, 85W is probably as good as it gets.
    This is the first I've heard of AMD's mini-itx which uses Windows CE. I wonder if that means it's much more vulnerable to malware than the "mini". Sure it costs more than something like the Biostar IDEQ 210V, but if the "mini" means less free tech support to relatives who just web surf, I'd recommend it.
  • miketheidiot - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #30 most people are still very computer illiterate. They also don't buy them because of their compatability or upgradability. They buy on cost alone and name. Apple has a name (whether a good or bad name is a matter of opinion) and now they have the price. I see no reason why these won't sell. Reply
  • bigpow - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    >2) Sure you get better graphics with the mini and a better optical drive, but you get more memory and a faster hard drive with the Dell.

    Oh yeah... riiiight!
    Better graphics because you're imagining the picture! Dell comes with 15" LCD, Mac comes with your imagination.

    Nice comparison, duh!
  • Jeff7181 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I still think these titles that suggest the MiniMac will steal marketshare from the PC is rediculous. People don't use PC's because they're they come in the smallest form factors. They use them because of their compatability, upgradability, and cost. Apple has only scratched the cost issue with the MiniMac... but most PC users will avoid a Mac simply so they don't want to learn to use a computer all over again... for some people that's not an easy thing to do. Reply
  • ehanneken - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Stylex, Crucial's Mac page is http://www.crucial.com/mac/index.asp

    You would actually pay more to buy a 512 MB DIMM from Crucial than you would to upgrade the Mac Mini to 512 MB when you purchase it. On the other hand, you would end up with two DIMMs instead of one.

  • jasonsRX7 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #23 - Nail on the head :)

    #25 - Apples prices to add ram to the mini are reasonable. $75 to upgrade to 512mb, less if you're a student.

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