How often do you clean out your Mac mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by pastrychef, May 28, 2010.

  1. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #1
    I have a Mac mini that stays on 24/7. It acts as my iTunes server, AirVideo server, file server, and few other services. The other day, I noticed that temps of my Mac mini were a bit higher than I had remembered. It had been close to a years since the last time I opened it up to do anything. So I decided to grab my can of compressed air, shut down the mini, and open it up for a bit of cleaning. I was very surprised to find the amount of dust that had found its way in there. There was enough debris in on the CPU heatsink to prevent efficient air flow.

    I also have a Mac Pro that I hit with compressed air every three or four months. But the Mac Pro also has more fans and holes for dust to get in. I didn't think that the little slits on the underside of the Mac mini would allow so much dust to get in...

    How often do you guys rip open your Mac minis for cleaning?
     
  2. belltree macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #2
    Can you detail what procedure you followed to clean your Mini? Did you remove the case lid or simply fire the compressed air into the vent?
     
  3. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #3
    Had mine since Dec. '07 and haven't opened it up or shot air into it once. But then, I don't work with lots of flour. ;)
     
  4. pastrychef thread starter macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
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    #4
    Yes, I remove the case lid then unscrew and lift the bracket that holds the optical drive and hard drive to get access to the CPU heatsink and the internal fan. Then, I use compressed air to blow out the debris on the heatsink and the fan. I also make sure the slits on the bottom of the Mac mini are free of debris.

    Since I've been in there before and I'm quite familiar with the internals, it was only about a 5 minute job. If it's your first time, I suggest you look for a guide on how to open the Mac mini from www.ifixit.com or something similar.
     
  5. pastrychef thread starter macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #5
    Wow. That's a pretty long time. But, as I said, I keep mine running 24/7... Does your Mac mini run hotter now than it did when new?
     
  6. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #6
    Can't say. Haven't ever taken it in for a physical. I shut it down every day.
     
  7. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

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    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    About every 3 months for the Mini.

    Every 6 months for the Mac Pro.

    On my Mac Pro, I installed a filter in the front which catches just about all the dust and I clean/replace that every so often.

    I may actually pop the Mini open and see if I could get one in there too, and put it on a similar cleaning cycle.
     
  8. pastrychef thread starter macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #8
    What kind of filter?? Do you have any pictures? I'm very lazy and would love to be able to do the same!!
     
  9. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    I basically found a furnace/central air filter that had a wirey porous sponge layer. I am not sure what the material is called. I will have to research that a bit.

    I am due for a cleaning, so I will get back to you sometime tomorrow with pics and a more definitive answer.
     
  10. 4JNA macrumors 68000

    4JNA

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    looking for trash files
    #10
    using a mini (core solo upgraged to T7200) for folding 24/7 at 100% cpu usage on both cores for several years, and have settled on compressed air cleaning every 90 days. 4 times a year for those without a calculator...

    any longer than that and i start to see my temps go up. no a lot, but enough to make me want to do something about it. FWIW, i'm running the fans faster than stock, so that might get me more dust inside the mini.

    to clean it out, i use an air compressor with a blow out attachment. i blow air into the bottom edge openings, then into the back outlet area, and repeat that sequence until i have no more dust coming out. plug it back in and hit the power button! best of luck.
     
  11. pastrychef thread starter macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #11
    Awesome! Thanks in advance!
     
  12. pastrychef thread starter macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #12
    I upgraded my Mac mini with a T7600. How hot does your CPU get under 100% load? My Mac mini hits as high as 185F before the fan starts to ramp up. Then, when the fan is at full speed, it settles to approx 165F. Normally, when sitting idle, I see about 138-145F.

    I tried just using the air to blow on the underside of and the rear vents, but when I opened it, there was still quite a bit of dust on the fan blades and the front of the heatsink. Perhaps the air compressor is more powerful...
     
  13. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

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    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #14
    I've gotten myself in the habit of tearing down and cleaning out all of my machines after the end of each semester - this winds up being thrice per year, and usually gets most of the nasties before they build up too much.
     
  14. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #15
    Just did that with a standard issue retail can of air. No dust came out. I'll do it again in three years, whether it needs it or not.
     
  15. belltree macrumors 6502

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    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #16
    Do you guys use a vacuum nozzle at the same time to catch all the dust particles as your are spraying the compressed air or do you do it outside? *cough, cough, wheeze....*
     
  16. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    I don't think that is a very effective method. Considering how tightly packed the Mini is, I am not surprised that no dust came out, but that doesn't mean there isn't dust inside.

    I understand not wanting to open it, but that is the best way to clean the machine.

    I see what you did there.

    I do it outside though, and I don't waste money on compressed air. I have an air compressor.
     
  17. pastrychef thread starter macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #18
    I did the Mac mini over my sink to try and contain the mess. With my Mac Pro, I just have to clean a little afterwards since it's too big and heavy to bring to the sink...
     
  18. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #19
    Yeah, I don't want to open it. I don't even see how it's done. I had a G3 beige desktop for 8 or 9 years. It was easy to pop the "shell" off of it, and I was in there for one reason or another several times. Whenever I would "blow it out" I never got much dust. The mini sits in the same spot, taking up much less space, of course. I'm not worried. Should I be?
     
  19. keekl macrumors regular

    keekl

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    PA
    #20
    Bought mine new in Nov 06 and never had it open, never blew any sort of air into it...runs 3-5 days then shut down over night.

    Sometimes wonder about how dusty it might be in there..I do clean out the PC every year or so..figure someday the mac will go in for upgrade when the PC finally dies and gets replaced this mac (and then I can get a new one;) ) but for now it's working great.
     

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