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View Full Version : replacing mac mini harddrive and/or graphics processor


howard
Dec 3, 2005, 11:01 AM
has anyone replaced the hard drive or the gpu in a mac mini? How did it go? Are there noticeable improvements? These two things seem like the weakest link in the mini (assuming you have the full 1gig of ram) I'm thinking about doing these improvements but was wondering how easy/worth it it is to go through with.

mrichmon
Dec 3, 2005, 11:22 AM
has anyone replaced the hard drive or the gpu in a mac mini? How did it go? Are there noticeable improvements? These two things seem like the weakest link in the mini (assuming you have the full 1gig of ram) I'm thinking about doing these improvements but was wondering how easy/worth it it is to go through with.

Replacing the GPU is not possible since it is soldered onto the motherboard. And there are no expansion options in the mini for the video system.

Replacing the harddrive is straight forward if you have a bit of patience and familiarity with working on computers. Replacing the HD is a worthwhile improvement if you have a 4200rpm drive and are bumping up to 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm. If you just want more space then an external drive gives you more space for a your money. Remember that the mini uses 2.5" notebook hard drive form factor rather than the cheaper 3.5" desktop hard drive form factor.

stevep
Dec 3, 2005, 12:19 PM
This page http://eshop.macsales.com/tech_center/index.cfm?page=Video/directory.html has a link for a video showing how to dismantle a Mini. A big download (about 200mB) unless you have broadband though.
www.pbfixit.com are also good - very clear step-by-step guides.

kwajo.com
Dec 3, 2005, 01:22 PM
if you can spare the space, go with one of the many external drives that fit under a mini and match its appearance. they'll be much larger and faster than the internal drive and be much easier to install as well as offer more bang for your buck

adk
Dec 3, 2005, 01:35 PM
Would a 7200 rpm drive bring up heat issues in a mini? there's really no space for airflow.

stevep
Dec 5, 2005, 04:36 AM
Would a 7200 rpm drive bring up heat issues in a mini? there's really no space for airflow.
Looking at the Hitachi drives, the power requirements of the 5400 and 7200 drives were similar (5.0 and 5.5 watts respectively). Since this all ends up as heat, that gives you a bit of an idea. I couldn't find anything about 4200 drives. These figures are peak, ie when the drive first spins up.
If you're worried about the heat, get an external as Kwajo suggested.

livingfortoday
Dec 5, 2005, 06:25 AM
Well, I have a 7200rpm drive in my Powerbook, upgraded from a 5400rpm, and I actually think it runs cooler than before. It's usually constantly in use because I'm downloading something or doing some sort of disk-intensive work, and it still doesn't feel like it gets as hot as the old one.

I'm not sure how it'll be in the Mini, but seeing as a Powerbook has even less space to dissipate heat in...

howard
Dec 11, 2005, 11:00 AM
I do have an external 7200rpm firewire drive.
How can I do tests to see how much faster it is to use than the mac mini's internal?

from some tests i did they seemed about the same actually, but maybe I'm not testing the right thing.

stevep
Dec 11, 2005, 11:39 AM
Do something that uses the disc. Set P/shop preferences to use the external disc as its scratch disc and then try working on a >100mB file. Or clone your OS to the external, set it as the boot disc and see if it feels faster. You'll only notice improvements on operations that rewuire a lot of disc access though, like opening big apps or paging stuff out to disc that is too big to be held in the ram.

Sweetfeld28
Dec 11, 2005, 12:22 PM
If you are looking into getting an external drive, and would like extra ports also, this could be a good solution:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ministack/

I think it would be a great addition to the mini

California
Dec 11, 2005, 12:33 PM
I could be wrong but I think I read somewhere that you lose any speed bump if you are just hooked up to an external hd, no matter how much faster that external hard drive is. (Even if using a non CPU draining firewire connection)

I think for a speed and productivity bump, you have to have the new hard drive in the mini. So if you need extra storage, i'd put the new hd in the mini and use the old hd as your external.