Teardown of Apple's new Mac Mini reveals space for second hard drive

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
A teardown of Apple's just-released Mac Mini reveals a similar design to the previous generation, though with the addition of the new processor, Thunderbolt controller and Bluetooth 4.0, while the company's decision to remove the optical drive made room for a second storage drive.



Apple released the latest version of the Mac Mini on Wednesday, adding next-generation Intel processors, improved graphics for up to twice the performance, and the high-speed Thunderbolt port. The company also released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, new MacBook Airs and a Thunderbolt LED Cinema Display.



The teardown specialists at iFixit have taken apart the 2.3GHz Core i5 version of the new diminutive desktop, noting that the innards "look rather identical to the previous model."



As is often the case with the company, Apple has given and taken away. This time around, the Mac maker has made the controversial decision to remove the optical drive. But, with the centimeter and a half of extra space gained, the company has made room for a second hard drive or solid state drive.



The publication suggests that users may be able to install a second hard drive by themselves, with the only deterrent being "the availability of a second SATA hard drive-to-logic board cable." Apple does offer dual hard drive build-to-order options for its more expensive 2.5GHz i5 model and the quad-core 2.0GHz i7 server version comes standard with two 500GB HDDs, but iFixit's teardown appears to show that users can add a second drive to the low-end model on their own.







According to the report, the Mac Mini utilizes a similar Thunderbolt port controller to that found in the Early 2011 iMac. The desktop also contains the same Bluetooth 4.0 chip as the one discovered in the MacBook Air earlier
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    bsblairbsblair Posts: 11member
    Cool...Looks like this will be my next purchase. Before switching to the mac last November I had been using an HP Windows Home Server to store music, videos and pictures for our household. I've been waiting for a mac mini refresh so that I can do away with the WHS!
  • Reply 2 of 50
    res1233res1233 Posts: 18member
    Uhm... The mini has an option for two drives, at least the 2.5ghz model.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by res1233 View Post


    Uhm... The mini has an option for two drives, at least the 2.5ghz model.



    But doesn't come with the connecting cable for the second drive if you only buy it with one, is what it's saying.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    sabugasabuga Posts: 45member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by res1233 View Post


    Uhm... The mini has an option for two drives, at least the 2.5ghz model.



    You beat me to it! How is it that an article like this is published, when a simple check on the Apple Store tells you its a feature! I'm going to buy one, and add a 3rd party SSD, still cant decide if the i7 is worth the $160 NZD upgrade...
  • Reply 5 of 50
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    I'll just use the Thunderbolt/RAID option if I want more drive space.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    boogabooga Posts: 1,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sabuga View Post


    You beat me to it! How is it that an article like this is published, when a simple check on the Apple Store tells you its a feature! I'm going to buy one, and add a 3rd party SSD, still cant decide if the i7 is worth the $160 NZD upgrade...



    The article actually points out that Apple sells the mini with an option for 2 hard disks, but that the space is there in the low-end model for folks to add their own second HD.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    The article actually points out that Apple sells the mini with an option for 2 hard disks, but that the space is there in the low-end model for folks to add their own second HD.



    But the cable to do so also isn't there.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    vtrainvtrain Posts: 10member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    The article actually points out that Apple sells the mini with an option for 2 hard disks, but that the space is there in the low-end model for folks to add their own second HD.



    Yes, NOW it does. They changed the article without stating that it was changed, which is poor journalism.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    bounoubounou Posts: 12member
    Wonder if this includes the mid range version with a discrete GPU or if the space is used for the graphics card
  • Reply 10 of 50
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Apple is all over the place with Mac repairs and upgrades. You can't upgrade the hard drive in an iMac but you can screw with all the parts in the Mini.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by res1233 View Post


    Uhm... The mini has an option for two drives, at least the 2.5ghz model.



    That has been true for some time. In fact, I have a previous generation Mini Server on my desk which has 2 hard drives and no optical drive.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    But the cable to do so also isn't there.



    I can see MCE Tech or some other company offering their own version of such a cable in a few months, or some other retailer maybe selling Apple's part.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Apple is all over the place with Mac repairs and upgrades. You can't upgrade the hard drive in an iMac but you can screw with all the parts in the Mini.



    It's simplified, but it still takes about 5 steps to get the drive out, and 5 to get it back in again. Maybe simpler than an iMac, but not something I'd recommend for very many people. I think a lot of people can do it pretty easily if they set their mind to it, but it's still a somewhat delicate operation.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Would have liked to have seen the teardown of the model with the discrete graphics card. Specifically, is it upgradeable in the future or just a soldered on chip?
  • Reply 14 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post


    Would have liked to have seen the teardown of the model with the discrete graphics card. Specifically, is it upgradeable in the future or just a soldered on chip?



    How are you going to upgrade any laptop's GPU? Because that's what this is.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    WTF did Apple decide to put the SD card slot in the fscking rear of the Mini? Oh sure, that's where all the port h/w is already located but how the heck are we users supposed to reach around under our monitor and snake our hands between the rat's nest of cable to insert the SC card?



    This is totally ridiculous. I can see a 3rd party market for outfits like OWC, Newer, and Belkin* to make port extenders that stack under the Mini and provide a USB, FW and HD card ports in the faking front where they'll be used!



    * Like this: Belkin hub
  • Reply 16 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ecphorizer View Post


    unfamiliarity with the way Apple designs things



    You're new to this whole thing, aren't you?
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ecphorizer View Post


    WTF did Apple decide to put the SD card slot in the fscking rear of the Mini? Oh sure, that's where all the port h/w is already located but how the heck are we users supposed to reach around under our monitor and snake our hands between the rat's nest of cable to insert the SC card?



    This is totally ridiculous. I can see a 3rd party market for outfits like OWC, Newer, and Belkin* to make port extenders that stack under the Mini and provide a USB, FW and HD card ports in the faking front where they'll be used!



    You want the ports and card slot on the front? Turn it around!
  • Reply 18 of 50
    ameldrum1ameldrum1 Posts: 255member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ecphorizer View Post


    WTF did Apple decide to put the SD card slot in the fscking rear of the Mini? Oh sure, that's where all the port h/w is already located but how the heck are we users supposed to reach around under our monitor and snake our hands between the rat's nest of cable to insert the SC card?



    This is totally ridiculous. I can see a 3rd party market for outfits like OWC, Newer, and Belkin* to make port extenders that stack under the Mini and provide a USB, FW and HD card ports in the faking front where they'll be used!



    * Like this: Belkin hub



    yep, it's really dumb. it was discussed on these boards when they launched this design.



    Apple has an annoying tendency to sometime put form before function, which is of course very bad design.



    Another recent example was the original unibody MacBook Pros which had the mini displayport to the right of the USB ports because it looked better there, even though it meant that if you had a monitor plugged in it meant that the USB ports were blocked. At least they addressed this with the 2nd gen case design and swapped the ports...
  • Reply 19 of 50
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ecphorizer View Post


    WTF did Apple decide to put the SD card slot in the fscking rear of the Mini? Oh sure, that's where all the port h/w is already located but how the heck are we users supposed to reach around under our monitor and snake our hands between the rat's nest of cable to insert the SC card?



    This is totally ridiculous. I can see a 3rd party market for outfits like OWC, Newer, and Belkin* to make port extenders that stack under the Mini and provide a USB, FW and HD card ports in the faking front where they'll be used!



    * Like this: Belkin hub



    I'm going to sit my mac mini underneath my HP LP2475w and run a single cable up to the monitor. It will be 35 inches away from me. Real tough to slide in one of those cards. Of course, I have no current use for them. I'll have the RAID/Thunderbolt set up before I have a need for an SD card, but that doesn't change the fact it's painfully easy to get to it.



    Apple shouldn't care that your set up is a tangle of cables. That's your problem to resolve.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jg-in-ct View Post


    You want the ports and card slot on the front? Turn it around!



    Why should this be necessary? A card slot in the back is awkward, and having all the cables face the user is even more awkward. Your response just doesn't make any sense unless you're trying to parody an Apple apologist.
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