Mac mini and conductonaut

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by millar876, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. millar876 macrumors 6502a

    millar876

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    #1
    My poor old Mac mini (late 2012 2.3GHz i7) is playing up! It’s taking an age to start up, and generally being (a lot) slower than it used to be. Noticed it a few months ago when I filled up my hard drive! So I had a dig around and managed to free up around 300GB by moving to externals and deleting duplicates, and it’s getting really hot doing not a lot. So, I’ve been monitoring temps, and whilst it seems to be within limits it never reaches the 3.3GHz boost. It gets to 3.0 then hits 105 deg C the fans kick in to full tilt and core speed goes down to 2.4-2.5, I know that’s still better than base. What I was thinking was, get a dual drive kit and use command line to make a fusion drive with my 1TB spinner and a 120GB SSD and whilst I’m in at the guts, replace the TIM with thermal Grizly conductonaut liquid metal. The heat sink seems to have copper pads and heat pipes with aluminium plate and fins. Should be ok to use the liquid metal if I paint a layer of insulator (clear nail polish or laqer) over the aluminium plate and keep the LM on the die. I’d love to go full SSD but can’t justify spending around £400 on one for a 6 year old Mac mini. Hopefully there’s a new one soon. I’d like thoughts on this plan? Has anyone else done similar?
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    Don't know anything about the issues you raise, but I have 2012 2.6ghz quad Mini that runs like a champ. It has the original Apple 256gb SSD as the only internal drive. When I was shopping for this machine two years ago, I chose one that only had an original Apple SSD because I thought it would be better to have more empty space inside the computer and no mechanical hard drive. I also wanted one that hadn't been opened up and messed with by a do-it-yourselfer. ;)

    I am now booting it from a 1TB external USB 3.0 Samsung T3 SSD (I still have Mountain Lion on the internal SSD). This works really well and is not a whole lot slower than the original SSD. So maybe you could remove the internal hard drive and use an external SSD? Here's what I get with the T3

    [​IMG]
     
  3. millar876 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    millar876

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    #3
    i did think of something similar but i use it as a media server so I'm using all the usb ports for the 16TB of external drive space. and theres even a fw800 drive in there as well. and I'm using the thunderbolt port to drive an ultrawide 2560x1080 display. i think i may be at peripheral saturation point with it, 3xUSB3 external drives, 3x USB2 drives, USB 3 hub, USB 2 Hub, Xrite display calibrator, 30 pin dock connector (kids iPad) lightning cable (everything else), a firewire 800 drive, a firewire isight camera, Firewire hub Mini DP and HDMI, Cat6, audio in and out all plugged in.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    LOL, I'd say that you are. You are obviously pounding on that Mini a lot harder than I do. My quad is dedicated to video/audio editing, with the external SSD, two 5tb disks, USB audio interface, a DVCAM/HDV deck on firewire and BlackMagic ultrastudio on thunderbolt, connected to a Sony production monitor. It has periods of intensive use but then might just sit, powered down for a month or more. Am hoping to keep it going like this for another year or two. I have a 2014 base mini as a media server. It runs 24/7 but the only peripherals are two 4tb drives.
     
  5. teksurv macrumors regular

    teksurv

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #5
    I prefer to use Kryonaut on these machines and have done so with great results. You might also look at the fan, it may be clogged reducing performance.
     
  6. bplein macrumors 6502a

    bplein

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX USA
    #6
    This! The system getting hot has little to do with a hard drive filling up (yes, it can work harder if it's fragmented, so there's some correlation).

    There are 2 main components that produce a fair amount of heat, the CPU and the HDD when it's busy.

    So I'd look to see if the system is using CPU when you think it is idle, and to see if the HDD is busy when you think it is idle. Activity Monitor can help but I like "iostat -w 1 -n 7" to monitor individual disk activity.

    Assuming both of those ARE idle or nearly idle, look at the fan/cooling. Is the heatsink or fan clogged?

    You can run a fan control system to boost the fan speeds but that's a bandage to cover up other issues. I use TG Pro (paid app) and it gives you great insight to the temperatures on every possible temp probe in the system... maybe that (or another tool) can pinpoint the exact component that is heating up your system abnormally.

    Good luck!
     
  7. millar876 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    millar876

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    #7
    my internal drive has the OS, apps, and iTunes and photos library,and that’s about it. It’s a very big iTunes library, and I don’t really want Apple Music, due to large local content and iTunes Match does me fine. Most is on the externals. As for the fans, I take the cover off every couple of months and give it a blast with compressed air ( aerosol can) and looks fairly clean. If Apple could kindly get their finger out and just release a new one with modern internals, that’d be great, my 2012 quad i7 out performs all the 2014 mini BTO options.
     
  8. millar876 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    millar876

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    #8
    So I’ve went from the above to a full strip and refurb. 1TB Seagate barracuda 7200rpm HDD 7mm 2.5” HDD and 120GB WD green SSD for making a fusion drive, new PRAM battery, ifixit Mac mini dual drive kit, and some new thermal paste ordered.
     
  9. millar876 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    millar876

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    #9
    Well... the upgrades are done. hardware wise, not too difficult a job. I replaced the PRAM battery, fitted a WD Green 120GB SSD and a seagate barracuda 7200rpm HDD using a dual drive kit from ifixit, gave it a good clean with an air duster, removed the rock like stock thermal paste. i only used the liquid metal on the i7, as it had a copper contact plate on the heat sync, the platform controller had an aluminium contact plate so i used Kryonaut paste for that.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 19, 2018 ---
    i had a few issues when it came to installing and restoring. the USB stick i made seemed to be missing a file required for installation. it would boot to the stick as normal but once it transferred to the fusion drive it got stuck in a loop looking for a file that was missing or corrupted, so i had to repo the kids iMac and use firewire target disk mode and its restore partition to re-install mac OS 10.13. also to restore from a time machine backup was unfeasibly long, over 30 hours, so i whipped out an old external drive caddy and restored from the original HDD (about 6 hours)
    --- Post Merged, Jun 19, 2018 ---
    IMG_1606.jpg IMG_1607.jpg IMG_1608.jpg IMG_1609.jpg IMG_1610.jpg IMG_1611.jpg IMG_1612.jpg
    --- Post Merged, Jun 19, 2018 ---
    i put sone clear nail varnish over the resisters on the CPU to protect against overspill.
    the liquid metal is definitely doing its job, it’s now hitting full boost speed and staying there at a lower temperature and lower fan speed. Fusion drive gives a noticeable bump to performance as well. Full boost maintained at 95c (fan at 90% cpu usage 100%) idle 63c (fan inaudible usage 4-8%) well within spec for that chip. Previously at 100% chip was at 105c where it would start throttling with fan at 100% i think overall power consumption has dropped but i can't remember what it was before All in all a good improvement

    full load with handbrake after about 5 mins
    full use low fan.png

    full load with handbrake for first 5 mins until heat saturation of heat sync
    full use max temp.png

    about 1 min after i stopped handbrake encode
    low use.png
     

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