Mac Mini 2,1 Upgrades

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Omnius, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #1
    One of my computers is a mac mini 2,1.

    For sometime I've known the hard drive has had bad clusters or kernels or some such horrible nonsense. However, it really hasn't resulted in any real performance issues. I recently watch a video on how to replace the hard drive. I did a little reading that indicated the mac mini 2,1 could handle a much larger hard drive than 120 gb drive that it came with (an ask.com article suggests 2 TB).

    I've also come across a new problem. I decided to back up my dvd collection. Unfortunately, the mini tends to overheat and shut off if I engage in such intensive activity. Needless to say, I know this is an older computer but I do have a use for it. I know the computer IS capable of doing the work. As part of a ghetto experiment, I found an ice pack(one that doesn't get wet when it warms up) could keep the computer cool and running smoothly. I'd like to see if I can take a few steps that might take the load off and make this computer run better.

    It's my understanding that the mini fits 2.5" internal hard drives. It's my understanding that the default drives at SATA I. It's unclear whether they support SATA II or just SATA II at SATA I speeds.

    1) I am sure that power requirements are also relevant, as this is a 2,1 mini and it's not meant to be opened and fiddled with.
    2) What else do I need to consider?
    3) What drives are options?
    A) Can I use a solid state drive or am I limited to traditional disk drives?
    B) Would I be able to use a 7200 speed as opposed to the 5400 speed?

    I also know that when I open this thing up to replace the hard drive, I may as well upgrade the ram too. I have 2gb in place. The max it will take is 4gb. It will actually recognize just over 3.3gbs.

    4) What else can I do to
    a) make the 2,1 mini better? and;
    b) tackle the existing heat issue?
     
  2. macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
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    #2
    The MacMini1,1 and MacMini2,1 (while hardware-wise are the exact same, but with different firmware) have a SATA I bus. They can take a SATA II or SATA III drive, but they will be limited to SATA I speeds. They can take a 7200rpm drive or a SSD. Power requirements do not matter on Mac Minis. They come with an overly powerful power supply and use about 75% of its full potential when at maximum load.

    MacMini1/2,1 are actually one of the more upgradable Intell based Macs made. You can upgrade the CPU to a 2.33Ghz Core2Duo and the RAM to 4GB of which 3.3 will be usable. I've put a 2.33Ghz in my Core Solo 1.5Ghz MacMini1,1 and have ripped about 500 DVDs in it. Never had a heat problem. Does the fan rev up on its own? You could probably try reapplying the heatsink compound. But getting the heatsink off and back on again is slightly hard to do without damaging the logicboard or the nylon posts used to secure the heatsink.
     
  3. Omnius, Aug 15, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #3
    I know size is an issue. I've never replaced a HD before. In the past I always needed a new computer because i needed a new HD. How do I know what size HD will fit? Is it worth getting a SSD for SATA I or does it make more sense to go with 7200? How will either effect heat?
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #4
    Go with a 2.5" SSD. For random reads/writes the SSD will be several times faster than the 7200rpm drive. SSDs have no moving parts so will run cool. A 7200RPM HDD would give off more heat than a 5400RPM one.
     
  5. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    Modern 7200 drives do not give off more heat than 5400 drives. In some cases a 5400 drive will give off more heat.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #6
    Are 2.5" hard drives all really expensive for reasonable hd sizes (300gb+)? It seems like even 5400 speed hds are rather expensive in the 2.5" size.
     
  7. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
    Not really. You can get a 500GB one for about $80.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #8
    I've figured out what parts I'll be upgrading to. My next question regard backing up what is currently on the mini's existing hard drive. I apologize if this is an easier question but I'd like the actual process to be painless and without some crazy expensive mistake.

    my current 120 gb hd is partitioned. The bulk of the hd for mac osx and a small partition for windows xp/bootcamp.

    I currently have at my disposal, a 2011 mac mini if that helps. Otherwise, I lack an external hard drive or external hard drive enclosure of any kind. What are my options?

    ----------

    I found a 256gb SSD drive for about 150 that looks promising.
     
  9. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #9
    Backup Windows with WinClone. You can use CarbonCopyCloner to make a disk image of your Mini and store it on you other computer.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #10
    How would you suggest that I connect the 2 computers? firewire or can I use an ethernet cable to make some kind of temporary local network?
     
  11. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #11
    If you have a FireWire cable, put the older Mini in Target Disk Mode and use WinClone and CarbonCopyCloner on the newer Mini to make the images.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #12
    thank you so much.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #13
    I purchased a Kingston 256gb SSD that was very much on sale and a ram upgrade since I'll already be there.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #14
    I got the hardware in the mail today and opened up the mini.

    I've never seen so much dust accumulate in a computer before.... It was disgusting. I've had macs with big nasty fans that could accumulate dust in the vent but this was literally everywhere. I'm certain my fan is pretty much broken from it. It has occurred to me that I feel like I never heard it because it was so choked up with dust.

    Going forward. I backed up the Mac partition. I could not get the windows partition backed up, even with an older version of winclone that was compatible with tiger.

    I'm going to install the mac partition onto the new solid state drive tonight while I sleep. I did notice one odd thing. When I checked "about this mac", the computer apparently recognized all 4gbs of ram that I had installed.
     
  15. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #15
    It can see that 4GB or ram is installed, but the system will only be able to address an utilize 3.3GB of it due to the hardware only supporting 32-bit memory addressing.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #16
    Okay, it was previously my understanding that it would only display the 3.3

    ----------

    Any thoughts on a free way to transfer over my windows partition?
     
  17. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #17
    WinClone is of course the best, but you say that isn't working for you. Other I don't know of any others, but I'm sure they exist. Maybe some Windows based one will work.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #18
    It was winclone 2.2. While it should have worked fine on the older mini running tiger, there was an error half way through. It's possible the bad clusters in the old hard drive are to blame. I'd hate to have to do everything manually as I'm more than certain I've long since lost my win xp serial. I got it from an old hard drive from a friend throwing the computer away. I was able to move that partition around once or twice in the past with winclone 2.2 but it appears that I may no longer be able to use XP.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    El Burro

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #19
    Whatever you do with the new HD, do a fresh install of OS X and Windows and transfer your files from the old hard drives manually. It will save yourself a lot of headaches.

    Also, upgrade your processor to either a T7200 or T7600. It's an easy upgrade. Refer to my other thread that you posted to for some info.
     
  20. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #20
    Intell, what temps are you getting with yours? I did the same with my 1,1 but settled for a 2.0Ghz C2D to try to keep the temps down. I am more worried about my hard drive as temps drift over 50ºC for the HD as reported by iStat, which is not good.
     
  21. macrumors regular

    El Burro

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #21
    Supposedly, if you don't use the nylon spring screws that came with the mac mini (that connect the heat sink to the cpu), and use 4-40 nylon screws with nuts (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mac-Mini-In...s_Heatsinks&hash=item2c674776da#ht_500wt_1201), that will help with any CPU related temperature issues.

    Also, make sure there is no dust in the mac mini if you haven't already. If it's the processor, maybe reapplying thermal paste may help? Maybe the heat sink wasn't installed efficiently?

    Not sure about the hard drive though. What model/brand are you using?
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #22
    Here's the first issue I've arrived at. The mini freezes after its been on for a few minutes.

    Ram?
     
  23. macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
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    #23
    Mine are the same as before. It doesn't get much hotter than 190F, which is within Intell's specifications for this chip, at maximum for extended periods of time.

    I want to say bad disk or installation. But putting the old ram back in would be a good start.
     
  24. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #24
    Thanks for the tip about the screws. I broke one of the pins and used a plastic cable tie to secure the final corner. It is sitting flat and the heat has not stretched it at all, but the screws look like a better bet. I used Arctic Silver 5 and applied it as finely as advised and of course gave the innards a good dusting.

    The drive is the original one.


    I'm not so much worried about the chip itself but the hard drive which sits above. 50ºC from the HD sensor is already a tad too warm for my liking and I run the risk of data loss at the very least.


    The unit itself won't upgrade past Lion and since one of the DIMM banks gave up the ghost I can't install more than 2GB of ram in it without spending more than I should on something I am only keeping hold of for sentimental reasons. I don't really care for the the Alu-Mini redesign.
     
  25. macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
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    #25
    There is lots of airflow over and around the hard drive due to how Apple designed it. I've had the same 7200rpm 500GB hard drive in my 2.33Ghz for a few years now and it has lived through months of non-stop 100% CPU usage with the fan being automatically controlled. Still hasn't died or shown any signs of a problem.
     

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