Anyone ever tried opening a Mac mini?

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Anyone ever tried opening a Mac mini?

Postby Dave » Tue 16 Jun 2009 14:24

We bought a Mac mini about three years ago because we managed to persuade each other it was necessary for cross-browser compatibility testing for our various websites. :lol:

Mac minis are sold on the basis of BYODKM (Bring your own display, keyboard and mouse) so we got a nice big 23" monitor as well. (The monitor cost rather more than the computer, as it turned out.) Great for doing all sorts of work on multiple windows and, er, watching streamed videos...

Anyway, just a couple of weeks ago the sound died. A bit of research suggested that the ribbon cable between the motherboard and the audio board was prone to poor connections, so the answer was to open up the Mac mini and reseat the ribbon cable.

Hmm... there are no screws on the outside of the Mac mini. Which is rather odd, because normally Macs are (or were) wonderfully easy to open up and shove upgraded hardware into - easier than most PCs. But not the Mac mini.

So put away those screwdrivers - you won't be needing them. Not initially, anyway.

No, to open a Mac mini you need the following specialist tools:
    A Stanley knife blade
    A putty knife or paint/wallpaper scraper


Basically, you turn the Mac mini upside-down and lever the plastic base (onto which the motherboard and other workings are fixed) away from the aluminium casing. The Stanley knife blade is to wedge between the base and the casing, so that you can make the gap just wide enough to get your putty knife in.

And in case you find this rather far-fetched, here's a video:

YouTube: How to remove the top case of your Mac mini and replace it

The good news is that I did it today and managed to get the sound working again without destroying the blessed thing.

However, since I've gone to all that effort, I'm now considering whether it might not be a good idea to stick in a memory upgrade while I've got it open. When we bought it, it had two 256MB DDR2 SO-DIMM cards, and it can sometimes seem a bit sluggish.

We happened to have a compatible 512MB card I took out of our laptop when we upgraded that from 512MB to 4GB a couple of months back (it flies now!), so I substituted that for one of the existing cards today. Not recommended practice, I know - it's preferable to have two of the same size. But I've already noticed an improvement in speed. So while the box is open, it seems daft not to spend the extra few quid to get it upgraded... doesn't it?
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Postby Martin Pickering » Thu 20 Aug 2009 16:09

I have several G4 Mac Minis and I've upgraded them all with a 1GB memory card (the max for a G4) and a Superdrive optical drive that reads/writes CDs and DVDs. Also replaced all the HDDs with 120GB (the max for a G4). I also own a couple of Intel Mac Minis and I've opened them up, too!

The tools I use are a penknife and a #0 Pozidriv magnetised screwdriver.
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Postby gozomark » Thu 20 Aug 2009 17:38

I always do, as I hate girkins
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