Unibody 2010 Mac mini gets iFixit teardown

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's new 2010 Mac mini is wider (7.7 inches square, just like the existing Apple TV) but significantly thinner (just 1.4 inches thick) and easier to take apart than previous models.



A teardown report by iFixit shows how Apple fit the slim system's power supply inside the unibody aluminum case and reveals a variety of new innovations.



Rather than needing an external power supply, the new unit ships with simply an AC power cable (similar to Apple TV and Time Capsule), and Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. The new model also includes a built in HDMI port for delivering audio and digital video to an HDTV display over one cable.



The new Mac Mini includes an SD Card slot just like recent MacBook Pros, and includes four USB 2.0 ports, along with the standard Gigabit Ethernet and a FireWire 800 port. After taking a new unit apart, iFixit discovered a variety of new changes:



The Mac mini's unibody top enclosure is machined from a single block of aluminum, with a twist off rubber base that exposes RAM components for easy access. "Removing the RAM is very simple this time around, requiring only the simple prying of two clips." The bottom cover also provides a radio window in the metal case for WiFi and Bluetooth.

"There are two blind holes in the case of the Mini that are meant for the ends of Apple's custom U-shaped logic board removal tool. We just used two Torx screwdrivers. We call them the 'Mac mini logic board removal tool.'"

The new Mac mini's power supply provides "a minuscule 7 Amps at 12V. Compare that to the 25.8 Amps at 12V cranked out by the 27 inch iMac, and you can understand how they fit the power supply inside the Mini."

"The fan doesn't have too much work to do, since the new Mac Mini is the most energy-efficient desktop, running on less than 10 watts at idle! In keeping with its space saving design, the fins directing air toward the vent hole are slanted to allow for better fan placement."

The fan cools the CPU and CPU via a wraparound heat sink tube that wicks heat toward the fins and blows it out the wide slot on the back panel.



iFixit notes that the Mac mini's 3/8 inch woofer dome "won't be popping ear drums anytime soon."









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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 76
    blursdblursd Posts: 123member
    Holy crap these new Mac Minis are SOOOOOOO much easier to take apart and change components than the old ones (the basic design they've been using the past several years). I used to be a tech for Apple back in the day, and all my friends that have mechanical problems or want to upgrade parts always come to me to have it done. Even something as simple as upgrading the RAM was a pain in the royal A. As soon as I heard the words "Mac Mini" I would cringe, but this new design makes everything so much simpler.



    Still ... I'm a little tweaked by the $100 jump in price ...
  • Reply 2 of 76
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blursd View Post


    Holy crap these new Mac Minis are SOOOOOOO much easier to take apart and change components than the old ones (the basic design they've been using the past several years). I used to be a tech for Apple back in the day, and all my friends that have mechanical problems or want to upgrade parts always come to me to have it done. Even something as simple as upgrading the RAM was a pain in the royal A. As soon as I heard the words "Mac Mini" I would cringe, but this new design makes everything so much simpler.



    Still ... I'm a little tweaked by the $100 jump in price ...



    I remember it taking 45 mins to switch out ram and using a putty knife to pry the case off. Sucked
  • Reply 3 of 76
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blursd View Post


    Holy crap these new Mac Minis are SOOOOOOO much easier to take apart and change components than the old ones (the basic design they've been using the past several years). I used to be a tech for Apple back in the day, and all my friends that have mechanical problems or want to upgrade parts always come to me to have it done. Even something as simple as upgrading the RAM was a pain in the royal A. As soon as I heard the words "Mac Mini" I would cringe, but this new design makes everything so much simpler.



    I'm not a 100% certain it's the case, but it looks like you need to unscrew the logic board from the case and slide the back out a little to access the HDD. It would be nice if they made it removable without taking the logic board out.



    I also wonder what the space is for the HDD. For example, Apple using 9.5mm HDDs in their Unibody MBPs but they all will take the 12.5mm HDDs just fine. If the Mac Mini does this it could mean 1TB capacity (or 2TB for the Server version).



    Quote:

    Still ... I'm a little tweaked by the $100 jump in price ...



    Looking at the engineering (or "over-engineering" as Marvin put it) I don't think it's an excessive for the product. Plus, i have to think Apple knows who's buying them more than we do.





    PS: Waiting anxiously to read replies about you can buy all these parts off the shelf and your own for a lot less.
  • Reply 4 of 76
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    looks killer outside and inside.
  • Reply 5 of 76
    hexorhexor Posts: 57member
    More interesting is whether this means an HDMI port (hopefully with HDCP!) on the next Apple display.
  • Reply 6 of 76
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member
    Pure art.



    End of story.
  • Reply 7 of 76
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MoXoM View Post


    First!!



    Please, no. Either have something to say relevant to the article or don't say it. "First" is pretty widely frowned upon on the internet, it's not a good idea to do it.
  • Reply 8 of 76
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Looking at the engineering (or "over-engineering" as Marvin put it) I don't think it's an excessive for the product. Plus, i have to think Apple knows who's buying them more than we do.



    It looks a well engineered product. I'd say represents value for money. It is the cheapest Mac. However, it is not cheap. Apple seems to be moving away from their original goal of offering a cheap entry level Mac targeting people switching from PCs.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hexor View Post


    More interesting is whether this means an HDMI port (hopefully with HDCP!) on the next Apple display.



    I'd guess not. Apple only recently switched to display port and besides HDMI is really a TV standard. The Mac mini has the port because many people are using them as part of their home theater set ups.
  • Reply 9 of 76
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hexor View Post


    More interesting is whether this means an HDMI port (hopefully with HDCP!) on the next Apple display.



    not happening.
  • Reply 10 of 76
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hexor View Post


    More interesting is whether this means an HDMI port (hopefully with HDCP!) on the next Apple display.



    Apple's LED Cinema Display already support HDCP and it looks like at some point Apple added HDCP support to their older ACDs.



    Since all Macs will have the better spec'd mDP and all future ACDs will also include mDP there really is no reason for it unless you hooking up a non-Mac. I wouldn't expect any Apple display to include HDMI.
  • Reply 11 of 76
    I have to say the PSU report bit is incredible. A miniscule 7A at 12V PSU. Compare that (and PS3's integrated PSU) to the new XBOX 360 Slim power brick - You know Microsoft, we don't use power bricks anymore.. if you could just go far enough you'll find the solution exists..
  • Reply 12 of 76
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    It looks a well engineered product. I'd say represents value for money. It is the cheapest Mac. However, it is not cheap. Apple seems to be moving away from their original goal of offering a cheap entry level Mac targeting people switching from PCs.



    Maybe they were getting too many switchers.

    Maybe there sales showed most opted for the $700 model anyway.

    Maybe the will lower it to $600 next year once they recoup the costs for this engineering feat.



    I'm still in awe at that case once being a block of aluminium and being part of a mass produced product. Just how far as Apple come with CNC efficiency?



    Quote:

    I'd guess not. Apple only recently switched to display port and besides HDMI is really a TV standard. The Mac mini has the port because many people are using them as part of their home theater set ups.



    And it's the same signaling as DVI, but with audio and a smaller port. They pay a very small fee for inclusion of the port per unit (3¢, I think) and an large annual fee but they are paying that now for the AppleTV so why not. On this product it makes some sense but I can't imagine paying $700+ for a media extender that has no good media extender software.
  • Reply 13 of 76
    krispiekrispie Posts: 260member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MoXoM View Post


    First!!



    Charlie Uniform November Tango.
  • Reply 13 of 76
    oskiooskio Posts: 60member
    Love It! I have a mini connected to my TV now and can't wait till I find a reason to upgrade. Only thing I wasn't happy about was the illusion (on my part, they never said it was the same size) the new unit was the same footprint as the old only shorter. I can live with it being a bigger footprint...but would have loved to just see the old one sliced in half.
  • Reply 15 of 76
    webmailwebmail Posts: 639member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hexor View Post


    More interesting is whether this means an HDMI port (hopefully with HDCP!) on the next Apple display.



    You know the mini-display port converted to HDMI supports HDCP right? Works great on itunes HD movies the require HDCP display to play with my projector and mini-display port to HDMI convert I got from monocable
  • Reply 16 of 76
    macheimachei Posts: 83member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post


    I have to say the PSU report bit is incredible. A miniscule 7A at 12V PSU. Compare that (and PS3's integrated PSU) to the new XBOX 360 Slim power brick - You know Microsoft, we don't use power bricks anymore.. if you could just go far enough you'll find the solution exists..



    What I'm worried about is how hot the thing gets ergo how much the fan needs to work ergo how much noise it makes. I may get this beast, but one of the main selling points on the old mini was that it ran pretty much dead silent, even under heavy load. I hope this one is equally as quiet.
  • Reply 17 of 76
    I just ordered one to use as a media server and I can't wait till it gets here.



    iPad + Mac mini my replacement for my dying MacBook.

    Portability with the power of a full MacOS through VNC tools.



    I can see that combo being the new norm for most families.
  • Reply 18 of 76
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member




    Anybody know if:



    1. That processor is socketed or soldered, and if the i3/i5 etc are socket compatible?



    2. That graphics chip (the 320) could be easily replaced with a 330 in a future revision if Apple chose to do so?



    If I understand it correctly, no company is allowed to pair an Intel processor newer than the Core 2 Duo with a Nvidia integrated graphics chip. Apple will eventually have to stop using Core 2 Duo's in their low end products (they should have already), and at that time they'll either be forced to include dedicated graphics in all of their Macs, or downgrade the graphics of the low-end models to Intel's flavor of integrated graphics. Yes?
  • Reply 19 of 76
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post


    Anybody know if:



    1. That processor is socketed or soldered, and if the i3/i5 etc are socket compatible?



    2. That graphics chip (the 320) could be easily replaced with a 330 in the future revision if Apple chose to do so?



    The answer to both of those questions is no. You cannot upgrade the CPU, and definitely not to a Core 2010 processor which requires a completely different Intel chipset. And the graphics chip isn't just a graphics chip, and thus cannot simply be replaced by a better one.
  • Reply 20 of 76
    cgc0202cgc0202 Posts: 624member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jacob1varghese View Post


    I just ordered one to use as a media server and I can't wait till it gets here.



    iPad + Mac mini my replacement for my dying MacBook.

    Portability with the power of a full MacOS through VNC tools.



    I can see that combo being the new norm for most families.



    If you disregard the screen, how does the Mac mini compare with the iMac in terms of its specifications, and also with the MacBook or even the entry level MacBook Pro. I am considering going to the same option that you have -- Mac mini as "desktop" and an iPad. I was hoping to wait for the next gen iPad though, but tempted. If I wait until next year for the iPad, I would need to have a notebook to replace my aging notebook.



    CGC
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