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Mac mini 2011 teardown raises hope of DIY second hard drive

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Thu July 21, 2011

Mac mini 2011 shown easy to access for 2nd disk

A second teardown of Apple hardware took place Thursday at iFixit that showed Apple's new Mac mini might allow for a second hard drive to be added after the fact. The design for all users is fundamentally similar to the Mac mini server from last year and, on those with a single drive, leaves a completely blank space for the second disk. Apple has left it open enough that the only obstacle is finding a second SATA cable that would fit the empty but available port.

The do-it-yourself repair shop gave the small form factor desktop high marks for repairing in spite of its superficially difficult to access design. Getting access to the mainboard and other parts requires disassembly and tools like a spudger. All of the design uses standard screws, however, and nothing is glued in. The late 2010 remake had already improved the customization by letting owners upgrade the RAM themselves without having to do more than unscrew a bottom cover.

Components are what would be expected, though the mainboard now has significant blank space in the entry level version. Moving to Intel's integrated HM65 chipset and the consequent redesign has freed up enough space that Apple can fit a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6630M for graphics on the higher-end version without affecting the size.

Outside of the necessary Intel changes, many of the companion chips remain the same and suggest Apple was focused only on getting the performance upgrades.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969



    NEVER! on the new Apple.

  1. chas_m



    And yet

    you've just been proven a liar. Or did you not read this article or the one about the MBA?

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bare bones Mac mini

    This cheaper and two-drive new version has me taking a second look at the Mac minis. Unfortunately, there's still a problem. Shipping fully equipped Mac minis forces savvy customers to buy down (getting the low-end model rather than the high-end) and throw away in order to build the computer they want.

    Apple should look into selling RAM-less, HD-less versions to experienced Mac outlets such as OWC. They'd then tailor them to a customer's precise needs and take on the support obligation that they're already providing when a customer swaps what Apple ships with what he wants. It'd be win, win for everyone, particular those creating small server farms.

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