Examining the Google Mini

The Mini itself is actually your run-of-the-mill 1U server, with the chassis painted blue.

The front of the machine features both the front mounting hardware as well as an exposed grill for ventilation.

Click to enlarge.

Although it is tough to see from the picture below, behind the grill is a fully functional CD-ROM drive that you can’t (and aren’t meant to) access without taking apart the machine:

Behind this grill is a slim-line CD-ROM drive, not meant to be used by the user.

Looking at the rear of the machine, you get a better indication of what the Google Mini actually is (hardware-wise):

You see two PS/2 ports (keyboard/mouse), two USB ports, a parallel port, a serial port, VGA output, two Ethernet ports (color-coded to match the cables) and a single slot cover.

The two Ethernet ports are color-coded to match the cables provided with the Google Mini.

Getting Inside the Mini

It’s very clear that Google doesn’t want you playing around with the innards of the Mini as most of the screws have no usable head:

The grey screw above the rightmost Ethernet port features no usable head. Luckily, removing the screw only requires a little patience and some pliers.

The screw is threaded - it just can’t be undone with a regular screwdriver.

The mounting brackets are attached to the Mini using regular screws, so those can be installed/removed without any trouble. Once you get the screws off of the back of the Mini, there’s one last step to getting inside the unit.

The top of the Mini is actually one large piece of plastic with adhesive on its back that not only makes the unit look better, but also acts as another safeguard against curious users gaining access to the internals of the machine. Peeling back the front edge of the top breaks the adhesive and allows us to slide off the front cover.

With the cover off, the internals of the Mini are no different than your standard 1U server. There are three drive bays and a large shroud channeling air to the processors underneath.

Click to enlarge.

A closer look at the fan shroud tells us the original manufacturer of the server, Gigabyte:

Removing the shroud reveals a pair of processors and the rest of the motherboard. The motherboard, like the server, is manufactured by Gigabyte:

The CPU heatsinks themselves also carry the Gigabyte brand:

The heatsinks have no fans on them. Instead, they rely on the chassis fans and the fan shroud to remove heat from them.

We were curious to see what was under those heatsinks, so of course, we pulled one off:

The Google Mini uses a pair of Pentium III-S processors running at 1.26GHz. It’s been a while since we’ve seen these used in a server, but they are most likely more than enough for the job at hand.

The motherboard features a VIA chipset, as is evident by the VIA South Bridge pictured below:

All of the drive bays in the server feature PATA interfaces and are handled directly by a Promise IDE RAID controller:

The system shipped with a single hard drive, a 120GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7.

The Google Mini ships with 2GB of PC133 SDRAM (4 x 512MB sticks); interestingly enough, the memory uses Micron chips and is labeled as Dell memory.

Powering the system up reveals a normal AMI BIOS, but of course, entering the BIOS is password protected - and you’re not given the password.

Along came Google Setting up the Google Mini


View All Comments

  • Jynx980 - Monday, September 5, 2005 - link

    Interesting read, I don't understand a lot of it, but interesting none the less. Were you nervous cracking it open? I'd be sweating like Roger Ebert if I was trying to crack open a $3000 pizza box. Reply
  • Netopia - Monday, September 5, 2005 - link

    How long before we see a big brother for it caching the forums?

  • PorBleemo - Monday, September 5, 2005 - link

    Waaaay too much information in the forums. You would max out the higher-end model easily. Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Monday, September 5, 2005 - link

    Can you just not buy the software and install on your own hardware? Heck a 686b southbridge, does VIA even make those anymore, let alone SDRAM? That box must have had a lot of dust on it. Reply
  • coomar - Monday, September 5, 2005 - link

    so searching on anandtech is going to be using google search engine

    i didn't know microsoft was responsible for the engine used right now
  • Verdant - Monday, September 5, 2005 - link

    i would hardly say microsoft was responsible... it was SQL server, but you can hardly say it is a search engine in a box Reply
  • bellwether - Thursday, November 29, 2007 - link

    Not that Google's search is much better (from a visual stand point). Heck, you had to have people develop http://www.components4asp.net/GoogleMini/">google mini add-ons so it could do things like show image previews and have a layout that doesn't look like a Google search. Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, December 21, 2007 - link

    adding an comment to this is fun when last post was like 2 half years ago heh Reply

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