To those that have added ram to Intel Mini: is it really that difficult?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by VoodooDaddy, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

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    May 14, 2003
    #1
    Looks pretty hairy to me. Pry the case open with putty knives, remove the airport antenna (and bluetooth antenna I think), remove the optical and hdd to get to ram slots underneath.

    I have built and worked on many pc's, so I'm fairly competent with computer hardware. Does it just look harder than it is? It doesn't actually look hard, just the risk looks high to break something in the process.

    There was a very detailed guide somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. Anyone have the link?

    Also, which slot is which? Is the one on top 0, or the one underneath? I was going to put in a 1gb stick while leaving in one of the 256mb sticks. And with pcs, if you had 2 sticks of different size it was common practice to always put the larger stick in slot 0. Don't know if that holds true with the mac or not though.
     
  2. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    Mar 8, 2005
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    Washington D.C
    #2
    My first one i stripped a screw in the Mini which made it hard to install RAM, and as i was installing the RAM i broke the AirPort antena, and Apple replaced it. I did it the second time and it works like a charm, i would say make sure you get the right screwdrivers
     
  3. VoodooDaddy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Wow, that doesn't boost the confidence level :)

    Is it a hex screw or just standard phillips?
     
  4. TheMac19 macrumors regular

    TheMac19

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    #4
    I just added 2 gigs to my Intel Mini this morning, and it was actually much easier than I'd thought. Despite a few of the things I've read, installing the rem into the Intel Mini seems even a bit easier than the ifixit guide's description for adding ram to the G4 mini.

    I used a small spatula in lieu of a putty knife, and it worked great. The top case actually pops off relatively easily as you work your way around. (Once you start, you can tell it's designed to come off this way without incident.)

    I was a bit worried about the whole airport antenna thing, but it's a piece of cake. Just squeeze the two black supports underneath it and it'll pop right off. (Actually, you might hold it down a bit, and mine shot right up when I squeezed the supports.)

    With the intel mini you needn't worry about unplugging the bluetooth or airport antenna cables, they're fine as is. The only thing you need to unplug is a little black plug at the front...

    With the four screws that need unscrewing, keep an eye on them as you take them out, because one of them is longer than the other three.

    Then plop the new chip(s) in and go! I was expecting it to be a much bigger project than it actually was. The only problem after getting it going again is being patient enough to let memtest run diagnostics on all the new ram before playing!

    So fear not, it's easy!
     
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #5
    Hey, TheMac19--since you just took one apart, I'm curious--the longer screw DOES go in the front to the right of the optical drive, right? I failed to pay attention to which screw was longer, but the shorter screws don't catch in that corner, so I'm assuming that's the right one.


    Regardless, I don't know what kind of computers TheMac19 has worked on in the past, but I've got a stripped-down Intel mini in front of me right now, and I can say for sure it's the most annoying computer to add RAM to since at least the 8100 or tray-loading G3 iMacs. And that's saying something.

    In fact, I'd say it's significnatly scarier than either of those, because the cables you're messing with are so delicate, whereas those two machines were just monstrous hassles to take apart to get to the RAM slots.

    Assuming you don't get squirmish with the putty knife thing, the G4 minis were REALLY easy, since the RAM slot was just sitting there exposed as soon as you got the case off. This one, you've got to pull the drive bracket of, which requires getting four fairly deeply-recessed screws out, the little temp sensor in the front unplugged, not screwing up the Airport antenna (you pretty much need to take it off to get to the screw under it, and I'd worry about the cable if I didn't), and being really careful with the flat audio board cable (either unplugging it or not screwing it up when you fold the drives over to reach the RAM). Note that if you don't get the audio board cable plugged in right, the mini will either not boot at all, or your audio may not work, depending on how close to all the way in it is.


    I admit, I'm saying this having assembled and dissassembled this Mini so many times that I've lost count, because the 2GB of DMS RAM I put in it seems to be overheating (or something...) and causing the mini to spontaneously reboot. Worse, it doesn't generally happen when I've got the thing open and running, only when I've got the case back together and think it's fine. I've literally spent the last five days staring at the guts of an Intel mini. I would hurl it out the window and stomp on the shattered remains if it were mine, but it's not, so I have to just keep at it, and it's driving me nuts.

    Had I known this in advance, I would never have gone the DIY route to "save money", as it certainly hasn't once you factor labor in. It's just a good thing there's not something more important I need to be doing right now.


    Anyway, rant aside, it's doable, but you need to be VERY careful in the process, and you need to be pretty confident with tiny, delicate connectors. You're also almost guaranteed to nick up the underside a little getting the putty knife in, but that's not visible ordinarily. Just hope it goes unnoticed by Apple if I need to send it in under warranty.
     
  6. TheMac19 macrumors regular

    TheMac19

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    Pitt
    #6
    Ha! I think so, but I didn't notice when I took them out either. In fact when I unscrewed them, they didn't pull up and out since I wasn't using a magnetic screwdriver (just didn't sound like a good idea near all that important stuff...) So I just turned the thing upside down to get the screws out, so I'm not 100% sure where the long one began it's life... But yes, after a little trial and error I too put it into the front right, as that was the only hole where the shorter screws didn't catch.

    I never took apart a G4 mini, but had a look at that ifixit guide, which makes the G4 look more complicated than the Intel. True, it would be nice if Apple made the RAM readily accessible like it was in my old G4 AluBook, but I didn't think it was really that bad. Actually, although I was worried at first, I didn't find it any more difficult than installing RAM in my girlfriend's G4 iBook.

    As for scratching the bottom when trying to insert the putty knife: (or in my case spatula!) What I did is insert a small knife first, which opens up the seam just enough to get the spatula - ahm, I mean putty knife - in without it being too tight. From the iFixIt guide, it looks like you're really got to bend the hell out of the putty knife, but mine seemed to open up no problems.

    Considering that 2 gigs of RAM through Apple runs $300, and I paid $140, I'll gladly keep the difference in my bank account, at the cost of a little time this morning. That said, had I broken the airport antenna, I'm sure i'd be singing a different tune!

    Good luck!
     
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2001
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    #7
    The spatula didn't occurr to me, but it sounds like a really good idea--much wider than a putty knife, and at least as thin, so it'll apply more even pressure to the plastic prongs. If I was running a service shop, I might just buy a couple to use.

    Anyway, I admit that my incredibly time-consuming "upgrade" is because the RAM I'm trying to install just will not work reliably, depsite being decent stuff from DMS, a brand that ordinarily is quite trustworthy (heck, an identical stick is in my MPB right now). I'm apparently not the only person who's had this problem, though, so I do wonder if it's not that the mini is twitchy about RAM or tends to overheat it or something (though I can see no reason it would be any different than a MBP in either case). Maybe I just had bad luck this time.
     
  8. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #8
  9. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #9
    Hey, I even looked at OWC because I'd seen their nice G4 mini takeapart video, but I somehow missed the Intel mini takeapart. Shoot!

    (Not that it would have helped with my problem, but it still would have been nice to watch beforehand.)
     
  10. punkmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    #10
    ram for the mini

    pizza cutter!!!!

    You can roll it along the seam.

    I was nervous at first also, but everything worked out fine and it flies! It get a little hairy when popping the case open only because you think you are going to break something. The same feeling you get when pushing RAM into it's slot. You do have to take the Airport/bluetooth module off but I don't remember taking the HD and Optical Drive out. The whole piece sort of lifts up from what I remember.

    Good luck!
     
  11. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #11
    You frighten me. I don't even want to know what though process led to "Hey, what if I use a pizza cutter on my Mac Mini! That'll be brilliant!"
     
  12. khisayruou macrumors 6502a

    khisayruou

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #12
    I used a pizza cutter as well, it was much easier than a putty knife. As punkmac said, rolling along the edges help out since you don't have to remove and reinsert to get the edges to lift.
     
  13. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #13
    My wife actually suggested a pizza cutter, but it looked too shallow, like it wouldn't get enough purchase on the clips to do the job. But perhaps I should have tried it. Still can, sadly, since I have to dismantle this thing yet again...
     

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