How upgradeable are the 2011 Mac Minis?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rhurst, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. rhurst macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I've been a PC user most of my life, planning to make the switch to Macs. I think the new 2011 Mac Minis are a good compromise of price and performance.

    I've built several PCs from the ground up, so I know all about upgrading them. I understand that the Mac Minis do no have the same flexibility as PCs when it comes to upgrading. What components can be upgraded? From what I've read, only the RAM and hard drives can be user upgraded, correct? What are my options in terms of hard drive upgrades?

    Thanks.
     
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    See ifixit.com. They have a complete tear down of a 2011 macmini. Although to save you time. Memory is easily upgraded. Hard drives are trickier. Otherwise, that is it. CPU is soldered to the board.
     
  3. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #3
    I was in the same boat. I built all my PC's as well before I go my first Mac.

    As said before, upgrading the memory is super easy. The hard drive takes a bit more work.

    My advice, don't worry about upgrading anything else. You don't need to. Macs run very well. You won't need to fiddle with it. Just sit back and enjoy being more productive with a home computer than you ever have before.
     
  4. rhurst thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #4
    Thanks guys. I'm tired of fiddling with PCs, which is why I'm wanting to switch to Macs...but Apple's configuration options for the Mini are a bit limiting, IMO.

    For example, I really like the new 2.5GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 model, but it nearly doubles the price tag to add Apple's 256GB SSD ($600). Is this something I can add on my own at some point?
     
  5. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #5
    Replacing the HDD is definitely something you can do on your own, especially if you're familiar with computer internals. Take a look at this thread regarding a forum member's experience upgrading to an SSD himself.
     
  6. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #6
    Well, don't forget about the future flexibility that Thunderbolt port for attaching external expansion. At some point, someone's going to make and sell an external Thunderbolt powered SSD that will perform as good as the internal ones. My recommendation is to spring for the Mini with the step-up video card (not the Intel integrated graphics with shared memory), and stay with a non-SSD hard drive. That's the $799 model.

    Planning on any gaming?
     
  7. rhurst thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #7
    Thanks for all the replies guys, I appreciate it. :)
    Nah, not really. I used to be a big PC gamer, but not so much anymore; one reason why I'm switching teams.
     
  8. Baby Mac macrumors regular

    Baby Mac

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #8
    I don't think any of the Apple upgrades are worth it. The difference in CPU speeds is negligible. You will get a lot more real-world benefit with the quickness of an SSD. Apple's prices on SSDs and RAM upgrades are pretty ridiculous, especially for someone with prior experience swapping anything out of a PC (even a DVD disc) :p
     
  9. MacHamster68, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #9
    the new mini has a thunderbold port, so no need at all to upgrade anything internal apart from the ram really , everything else can be upgraded externally via thunderbold, as thats what that port is for , a clever idea once these external components are available sometime in the future, by then there might be competition so those parts might once invented get cheaper too in the future
     
  10. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #10

    most likely the 2.5 with the gpu card is the machine to get if you game. The bump the 2.7 gives over the 2.5 is not much but the gpu is a lot better then the intel 3000

    Most likely you are correct. the promise unit with 4 bays and 4 1tb hdds is 1k. if it came empty for 300 with a cable you could drop in 4 ssd's and have a ssd raid0
    or 4 big hdds and have a 12tb time machine
    The problem is how long do I wait?
     
  11. kerplunknet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    #11
    Answer: Memory and Hard Drive are easy-ish to replace. GPU and CPU would not make sense (or really even be impossible) to upgrade.
     
  12. Tulpa macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    #12
    $600 isn't that far off the prices for most third-party SSDs of 250 or 256 GB; it looks to be about a 33% markup for installing it for you and thus having it covered by the warranty. Of course if you want a smaller SSD there are much better prices.

    I agree that the charge for RAM upgrades is indefensible (200% markup) but of course you can replace the RAM yourself without voiding the warranty.
     
  13. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #13
    Except for the gpu
     
  14. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #14
  15. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #15
    I think that's valid to a point. I opted for the 2.0 C2D and upgraded to 4GB of RAM (highest supported at that time). However, I think this computer is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. I'd like to think the next model up (I believe it was a 2.2) would give a few extra months of usage before I noticed issues. Obviously immediately needs and budget factor into the consideration as well.
     
  16. Baby Mac macrumors regular

    Baby Mac

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #16
    I think the CPU upgrade charge is the worst of all, based on the performance upgrade you get for the $. I'd have been fine opting for the slower CPU, but I've learned a thing or two on FleetwoodMacRumours.
     

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