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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  • bob661 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    The Mac mini isn't just targeted at Mac users that's why there is a comparison with Dell. There WILL be PC users that buy this thing and at $499 people primarily at price. The $499 crowd IS NOT the techie, computer-savvy group. Most of our arguments for buying computers don't apply.
  • mickyb - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I would wait for the turbo mini. It sounds like it needs a faster drive and better video. Reply
  • Aileur - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    A thought comes to mind.
    Could apple get sued by other online music stores because osx comes with itunes preinstalled? Isnt that kind of like microsoft ie/windows?

    Oh and, i want a mac mini. I bought an ibook g3 800 a couple of months ago, on an impulse to actually try out osx. Sold my toshiba 2410 1.8GHZ (p4 not pm) and let me tell you, ive been advocating macs ever since. I believe if you're everything but a gamer, a mac is a great buy.

    On this note, let the whining begin.
  • downtowncb - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I'll never understand why people insist on comparing the Mac mini to Windows based systems from a hardware standpoint. Getting a "more powerful" CPU from a similarly priced Dell doesn't matter to the target demographic of the Mac mini. I can tell you that neither Grandma Claire nor Joe iPod-owning-college-student can tell you the speed of their hard drive and probably couldn't tell you three things about their graphics processor either. They both want a computer that works and won't break. The hardware is actually quite trivial to most of the users of this machine. Enthusiasts know they aren't buying a high-end machine, and the others don't know and/or don't care. Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Good article. Why?
    3) To the user that this type of computer is targeted at, do either numbers 1 or 2 matter? The answer is no, all that matters is price and whether or not the thing works. If that statement weren't true then you would never hear the phrase "I've had my computer for 5 years, I need a new one", instead everyone would be a performance fanatic like the rest of us and upgrade every year at worst.
  • jtntwozz - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    no.1 what are u talking about?!?!?

    nice article.. i love all 3 of ur mac articles..
  • Dranzerk - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I'll wait till you can find half a million on Ebay for $200 fully upgraded in a few months..thats the sweet spot when people say "Why did I buy this!". Reply
  • JacobAppler - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    You can also save some real money on the Mac Minis by shopping safely. Go to a comparison site like Apple Sliced.com and you won't need to worry about your Mac Mini costing too much.

    The Mac Mini can be the redheaded stepchild of Macintosh land, but it's worth looking at.

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