Cool the Late 2012 (Core i5 ) Mac Mini

MIKX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 16, 2004
1,757
647
Aussie in Japan
Last week here in Japan I managed to buy a cheap, in good condition Late 2012 Core i5 Mac Mini.
Since then I have upgraded it to . . .
1. 16gb RAM

2. 500gb SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD

3. Mojave 10.14.6

it runs very well but is quite hot, getting up to 70°C under light load.

My cooling cure for Japan's hot & humid summer :

i removed the ( under the Mac Mini ) rubber/metal base plate.

Then I placed rubber table leg rubber protectors.

Next i placed a rotating room fan aimed at the mac mini's underside.

Currently with some YouTube vids running along with Photoshop CS 6 running the iStats Menus temp is showing at 50 ~ 51°C.

I'm more than happy to stay with this arrangement until the end of summer.

2012 Mac i5 Mac Mini  cooling stack.JPG


All of the Mac Mini's internals seem to be a lot cooler now. Yes !
Cool 2012 i5 Mac Mini TEMP iStats Menus 02.jpg


I hope this will be useful to late 2012 Mac Mini Core i5 owners.

It would be nice to see comments from 2012 Core i7 Mac Mini owners.
 
Last edited:

tyc0746

macrumors regular
Apr 3, 2019
195
64
Liverpool, UK
Whilst you had it apart to upgrade it, did you check/replace the thermal paste on the CPU, as that can deteriorate over time and reduce the heat transfer away from the CPU, causing throttling - also, did you clear out any dust/lint that had accumulated in the fans/air channels over time?

Have you seen these btw?
 
Last edited:

MIKX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 16, 2004
1,757
647
Aussie in Japan
Yes, new thermal paste applied.

Yes, I've seen the MINI COOLING BASE. It does exactly the same as my solution except with the base cover removed my mac Mini runs cooler.

I'm quite familiar with cooling Macs.

Thanks for your input.
 
Last edited:

Kaida

macrumors regular
May 28, 2016
220
82
Singapore
I made a USB to PC fan connector and raised the mini and the fan with bumpon and use any spare PC fan lying around. Running those 12v fans at USB 5V is very quiet.

IMG_1835.jpg


IMG_1836.jpg


IMG_1834.jpg
 

Mizouse

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2014
212
271
I have a 2012 2.3ghz i7.

I bought a vertical stand off Amazon and with light loads I'm around 61ºC
I also set Macs Fan Control to keep the fans at a constant 3500rpm.

Probably need to add new thermal paste.

IMG_2055.jpg
 
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MIKX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 16, 2004
1,757
647
Aussie in Japan
EDITED

Now, you could remove the Mac Mini base plate ( assuming that removal does not interfere with your later model M.M operation ).

My Late 2012 Core i5 Mac Mini is currently at 54*C here in hot Japan.
 
Last edited:

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,668
2,126
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have the same 2012 Mini (i7 quad core 2.6Ghz server with dual SSD)
Actually, the OP states that he has an i5 Mini. :) I have a bunch of Mini's, including a 2012 2.6ghz quad like yours. Have used it heavily with Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and for web development with Javascript and webGL. Had the base i5 2012 Mini that I gave to my daughter. And a base 1.4ghz 2014 Mini that was used for several years as a media server. That one was replaced last year with a 2.8ghz 2014 i5 Mini, it runs 24/7 inside a cabinet under my stereo. Just got a maxxed out i7 2018 Mini. It gets heavy use under both MacOS and Windows 10 in Parallels, can get quite warm to the touch at times.

They all run pretty hot, but I have never installed any of those temperature monitoring/fan control apps. And I've never had a problem with any of them. So, I'm just wondering, have you had temperature-related problems or are you just concerned because of numbers that you see in these apps? My understanding is that they are designed to run hot. I wonder if using a fan to force more air through the mini might cause other problems, like additional dirt being forced into the Mini? I plan to just continue using my Mini's as they are.

I suppose there could be concern about CPU throttling as temperatures rise. I found this article about the 2018 Mini interesting

"...we're impressed with how the performance on the Mac mini held up as the job progressed and time ticked on. The clock speed averaged out at around 3.4GHz to 3.5GHz under 100 percent CPU workload with the i7 models, but at no point did it drop below the 3.2GHz base clock speed — making it a solid performer even when under load for a long time."

 

MIKX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 16, 2004
1,757
647
Aussie in Japan
Boyb01
Thanks for your input.

Hot is hot, I don't like hot . . especially in 'Hot & humid Japan'. 😇
Where I live in Japan is surrounded on three sides by mountains . . like a big ( Chinese Wok ) bowl. From late July to early September it can get up to 39°C and 40°C is not unusual.

================================================
I have since dispensed with using my room fan to cool the M.M. as now my Core i5 Mac Mini is now standing vertical with the baseplate removed and presently runs at around 53°C ~ 54°C.

With the baseplate removed it is quite easy to shut my Mac Mini down and do a thorough de-dusting with canned air once a week.

I have now also added a fine mesh air filter mesh over the backplane space. My M.M.'s fan pushes air OUT and with weekly canned air de-dusting I don't feel there is much overheating risk.

Considering that I bought this Core i5 for ¥30,000 and just added a 500Gb SanDisk Untra 3D SSD plus 16gb RAM I think I got a very useful bargain. 😄

Right now my M.M. is running some videos and a couple of apps and is sitting at 55°C. +/-

The ambient room air temperature is 30°C at 2:19 am.
=================================================

In winter I mostly run my de-dusted & cooled Mac Pro ( see my .sig below).

My next power bill will have a nice surprise for me I hope.

Still . . being so fond of Macs . .owning a Core i7 Mac Mini . .WOULD be so nice.

Again, thanks for your infomative input. You have a nice collection


Cooled Mac Mini Late 2012 Core i5.jpg
 
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MIKX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 16, 2004
1,757
647
Aussie in Japan
Right now 10:48 pm in hot, humid mid Japan room temp = 30°C

Mac Mini Core i5 at idle with base plate removed -
M.M. standing vertical
CPU Die temp 45°~46°C
( no external room fan aimed at it.)

Currently running Mojave 10.14.6 Build 18G6020

I have no intention to run Catalina.
 
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