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2011 Mini Owners: Elevate your mini!

KyleAwesome

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 1, 2009
31
0
The temps I've been getting with my mini have been entirely unacceptable, and before anyone comes in saying that "the chips supplied to apple have a higher thermal envelope than the consumer chips so dont worry about it" let me explain my concerns. While the proc may be designed to operate in this environment, the other components such as the capacitors, north/south bridge, WLAN/bluethooth chips, the solder and even the PCB substrate more than likely arent. I run an IT startup out of Portland OR and currently we are the only shop in town (that we are aware of) that offers hot air and IR rework of circuit boards, and as such I've seen hundreds of machines come through with thermal damage. Most notably the machines running the nvidia chips from a few years back.

So I began my quest for a cool mini. I installed smcfancontrol however I didnt like not having heat thresholds, so I ditched SMC and went to good old fancontrol. I set my minimum fan speed to 2500rpms (I figure the fan has a max RPM of 6,XXX, so setting it 200rpms above the mini servers default wouldnt cause any real undo stress, plus the cost of the fan is far less than a new logic board) and had it spin the fans up higher after 73*c. This lowered my temps a bit, but they were still outside of my comfort zone.

I flipped my mini over to inspect the air intake and noticed there were only a few millimeters between the glass desk my mini was sitting on and the intake vents. I went out into the garage, cut off an inch long piece of 3" round PVC and made a little pedestal for the machine. Fired it up and immediately noticed the temps were cooler, I have dropped my temps approx 6*c. My idle temp is now rock solid at 58*c and my full load fluctuates between 72-75*c.

I may still end up disassembling the machine and lapping the heatsink to give it a nice mirror finish, I just dont know if I'll get the time to do so soon.

So everyone out there with a new mini, record your average temps then put some sort of stand underneath (be careful not to block the air intake) and see how your temps fare.
 

Rapscallion

macrumors regular
Sep 28, 2010
130
0
Good idea on the pedestal.

I think I can picture what you have done easy enough, but do you think you could take a pic and post it?
 

indg

macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2007
456
8
i have my mini server upside down sitting on some foam padding (to absorb some of the vibration) in a mini cabinet a few feet from my desk. these are the temps in the morning before i start working on it:


at the moment as i'm writing this post with a dozen apps open and cpu at 3% utilization, cpu temp is 49C. my custom fan control settings usually kick in when cpu temp start to go above 54C.
 

MJL

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2011
845
1
Four small pieces of stiff rubber foam (like used on truck doors and car boots) under each corner. Always done this with my laptops as well (but it were two strips, one along the front and one along the back). Stops also mechanical noise transferring to a desk.

PS it also prevents the Mac mini from sliding on the desk (because of wires hanging over the edge).
 

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TheAnalogue

macrumors member
May 12, 2011
56
0
Clearwater, Fl
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

I have a i7 mini-non server with 8GB of RAM and a 7200 RPM drive and it idles at about 120 F and goes up to about 160 under load. Now I haven't tried running it at 100% for hours on end but this machine seems to be running much cooler than many of my other machines.
 

belltree

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2008
395
60
Tokyo, Japan
I must say that the design of the Mini base cover is horrendous. First it is a slippery smooth plastic which could make for a horrible slide off the desk accident. Secondly the air flow sucks. I would have thought that by the second generation of this new body style they would have improved it to rubber like exterior cover with better flow.

What would be a cool option is if they also made a vertical stand for it.
 

lilsoccakid74

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2010
282
0
I kinda like the idea of my mini being upside down, i feel like it would stay much cleaner inside this way as well. Im going to try this for a while.
 

MJL

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2011
845
1

imahawki

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2011
612
8
I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but I love how everyone thinks they know more about heat management than Apple engineers. For every person on this forum who elevates their mini there will be 200 people out in the wild who plop it on their desk and use as intended with no problems.
 
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Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
1,992
1,492
You can pick these up at your local dollar store. Rubber jar openers. They fit the base of the mini perfectly, stop it from sliding, and reduce noise from vibration .

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I'm sure I'll get flamed for thi
s but I love how everyone thinks they know more about heat management than Apple engineers. For every person on this forum who elevates their mini there will be 200 people out in the wild who plop it on their desk and use as intended with no problems.

I agree. I'm sure Apple have been testing these for months. It's like the warrenty on a new car. Apple already knows how and when the units will fail, and it won't be in the first 3 years under normal (recommended) operational condiions
 

indg

macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2007
456
8
@toss002, i like my mini medium-rare. too funny!

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I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but I love how everyone thinks they know more about heat management than Apple engineers. For every person on this forum who elevates their mini there will be 200 people out in the wild who plop it on their desk and use as intended with no problems.

you're right, most mini users won't need to do this or worry about heat management beyond apple's default settings. but for those who run their minis hard, have had logic board/gpu failures in previous macs, and don't buy applecare, taking proactive measures to keep your mini running cooler offers some peace of mind.
 
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OTACORB

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2009
1,529
1,019
Central, Louisiana
I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but I love how everyone thinks they know more about heat management than Apple engineers. For every person on this forum who elevates their mini there will be 200 people out in the wild who plop it on their desk and use as intended with no problems.

It is about peace of mind for those that choose to do it, which is seems clear to me most that have done this have basically said. I don't think it is at all about thinking anyone knows more than Apple, but why would someone care if a person elevates there mini anyway? If ripping DVD's back to back for hours and elevating it makes it run a tad bit cooler why the hell not?
 

Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
1,992
1,492
It is about peace of mind for those that choose to do it, which is seems clear to me most that have done this have basically said. I don't think it is at all about thinking anyone knows more than Apple, but why would someone care if a person elevates there mini anyway? If ripping DVD's back to back for hours and elevating it makes it run a tad bit cooler why the hell not?

I must have done 200+ disks on my 2006 mini, countless hours of use. And even used it as a mine craft server 24/7 for many months. It still works to this day. I'm sure the new minis will hold up just fine.
 

OTACORB

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2009
1,529
1,019
Central, Louisiana
I must have done 200+ disks on my 2006 mini, countless hours of use. And even used it as a mine craft server 24/7 for many months. It still works to this day. I'm sure the new minis will hold up just fine.

Again peace of mind, I don't have mine elevated either, but I don't see the big issue for those who wish too. This is an individual decision and no one should be chastised for making it.
 

Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
1,992
1,492
Again peace of mind, I don't have mine elevated either, but I don't see the big issue for those who wish too. This is an individual decision and no one should be chastised for making it.

chastised? I think you are reading way too much into the comments made by imahawki, myself or any one else in this thread.
 

OTACORB

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2009
1,529
1,019
Central, Louisiana
chastised? I think you are reading way too much into the comments made by imahawki, myself or any one else in this thread.

Maybe so, but it boils down to you use your mini the way you wish too and I use mine the way I wish too. Anyway.. lets no get bogged down into this as it is really a moot issue cause no one really cares if someone chooses to elevate there mini do they? LOL
 

Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
1,992
1,492
Maybe so, but it boils down to you use your mini the way you wish too and I use mine the way I wish too. Anyway.. lets no get bogged down into this as it is really a moot issue cause no one really cares if someone chooses to elevate there mini do they? LOL

I won't be able to sleep at night knowing dozens of hapless minis are suspended in the air... That said other Apple hardware runs quite hot. My 27" Cinema display is often a little too hot to touch. And my G1 Mac book air is far from being a laptop once fit starts to heat up.

I would be interested in knowing what ever ones ambient temperatures were in the household.
 

Mr.C

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2011
4,651
719
London, UK.
I won't be able to sleep at night knowing dozens of hapless minis are suspended in the air... That said other Apple hardware runs quite hot. My 27" Cinema display is often a little too hot to touch. And my G1 Mac book air is far from being a laptop once fit starts to heat up.

I would be interested in knowing what ever ones ambient temperatures were in the household.

Same here with my 1st generation MacBook Air. Mind you my 2009 Mini never got as hot as my 2011 does. I'm constantly running a portable fan to help keep it cool. I'm thinking of getting something to elevate it. That said it's been pretty hot weather wise here over the last few weeks so maybe that also contributes to the temperature level of the Mini.
 

OTACORB

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2009
1,529
1,019
Central, Louisiana
Same here with my 1st generation MacBook Air. Mind you my 2009 Mini never got as hot as my 2011 does. I'm constantly running a portable fan to help keep it cool. I'm thinking of getting something to elevate it. That said it's been pretty hot weather wise here over the last few weeks so maybe that also contributes to the temperature level of the Mini.

LOL, I agree with the difference in temps between the older models and 2011.

I keep my home 72 degrees during ripping the mini gets to 200 and slightly above. Fan is ripping! 2009 model NEVER got that hot ever!
 

MJL

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2011
845
1
I think you missed the point of that the base of the unibody Mac mini is very smooth and when on a varnished desk it slides around a lot unlike the older models. That is the main reason.

Further: Every 10 degrees increase in temperature will half the life expectancy of certain components inside your computer. Foremost is the battery and secondly are the capacitors.

The i5 CPU has 35 Watt dissipation unlike the older P8600 / P8800 models which are 25 Watt. Add the faster GPU and you have got more heat production inside the same enclosure.

I've found every time that when a laptop model got upgraded with a faster CPU the fan ran faster and more often. (At one stage I had a Thinkpad Z61M with a core duo T2400 which I upgraded to a T7700, same thermal design but it ran a lot hotter and the fan was noisier, I reverted after about a month)
 
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