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Mac mini teardown shows potential upgrade paths

updated 11:45 am EST, Fri March 6, 2009

New Mac mini teardown

Owners of the new Mac mini may find both promise and disappointment in terms of do-it-yourself upgrade possibilities, according to iFixit. In a teardown of the computer, the company notes that the RAM and hard drive in the Mini are "easily upgradable," at least once the upper case has been removed. The process requires tools such as a putty knife and a Philips screwdriver.

There is in fact said to be little reason to buy the high-end $799 Mini when a user is technically savvy. The system costs $200 more than the base model, yet only adds an extra 1GB of RAM and 200GB of hard drive space. Installed using DIY techniques, it may cost as little as $70 to achieve the same upgrade. The optical drive can also be replaced with a second hard disk, and adding the extra RAM is said to automatically expand available video memory to 256MB.

Users may be forced to pay Apple for a CPU upgrade however, as the processor is now soldered to the logic board. Some owners of previous Minis are said to have kept systems current by swapping in new CPUs.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    with the putty knife design. I guess putting a couple of screws on the bottom would just be so ugly for those people who put their minis on a glass-top desk and people sitting underneath them.

  1. RiquiScott

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Second HDD

    Is there a bracket that you can use to neatly/cleanly replace the optical drive with a second hard drive, or do you just kind of "stuff it in there" and button everything up?

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The easy way

    Mine should be here on Tuesday. I sprung for the 2GB upgrade and bent over for the extra $$ that Apple charges.

    Although I do computer repair/support for a living, I just didn't want to mess with a putty knife taking the thing apart.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple surely doesn't

    want any serious tampering with the MacMini by getting rid of the processor socket. That was the one thing MacMini owners had a chance of bringing the MacMini up to spec by putting in a faster processor. I know that the way it is is probably just right for it's intended use, but as low-power processors became available and as processor prices drop a swap would have really been nice. What a shame. A 2.4 GHz processor would have been really sweet with the upgraded graphics. It still will make a fine low-power server. I guess I'll move up to an iMac for my next general purpose machine.

    This is how Apple manages to keep profit margins higher by eliminating every little extra piece.

  1. Kohlerslave

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple wants to make a profit? Those b*******! If you people hate their products so much, why buy them?

    Testudo, yes, Apple is concerned with some little screws on the bottom. If they weren't concerned, they'd be there. I'm sure there is a group of engineers at Apple just trying to figure ways to s**** over their customers. Wish I could get on that crew.

    Guest, get a clue. Repeating yourself over and over does not make it true.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Gosh

    Apple wants to make a profit? Those b*******! If you people hate their products so much, why buy them?

    No one said we hated their products. That's the problem. We like the products, but the cost apple throws on them is ridiculous.

    And can you imagine the mocking people would have at Dell if they had released the 'mini', and it didn't come with a keyboard or mouse. But it's Apple, and it's supposed to be towards switchers, so let's take out some parts so we can make sure they still make 30% margins.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Because what everyone needs is yet another keyboard and mouse to add to their collection of hardware c***?

    Making the keyboard and mouse an optional buy makes sense, especially now that there are, what, six options available? Think green.

  1. Old Stuff

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Interesting idea about the keyboard being optional. Since most Mac buyers already have one, does that mean that the iMac and Mac Pro should not come with a keyboard or mouse?

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