Mac Mini Cooling

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Coolcatfish, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Coolcatfish macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2007
    Hello there,

    firstly forgive me if this has been discussed before, I did use the search function to look for threads already made but couldn't find one...

    Ok so on to the thread. I have been recently moving things around in my room and my Mini was one of them. Its currently in a ventalated area on a wooden surface. Its basically on 24/7 and I switched it off so I could see what it looked like in other places.

    The underside of the mini was roasting hot. I then tried to find a cooler for the mini (something like these stands you can put laptops on with fans in) but I don't want it to be bigger than the mini itself.

    I've also looked at standing it on something smaller so that all the vents are clear. This seems to have helped a bit, I've considered making my own stand for it and trying to get hold of an external 140mm to blow air at it.

    Does anyone else know what I could do? Can I change the internal Fan? Is the HDD a but rubbish inside and thus create more heat?

    Any info would be really helpful. Thanks.

  2. ale500 macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2007

    If the inside temp does not rise too much, say at full utilization (100% of CPU) for a while, below ~75 °C, the is no too much concern. Try to rise it over its feet, so air can circulate on the back and below it, and see that it is not positioned too near a heater.

    The stands for laptop cooling are a bit too big, if you have some craftmanship, you can make yourself a small stand with plexiglass and attach a fan to it to suck air from the bottom of the mini downwards.

    There are disassemble photos in these forums, the hard disk does not seem to be ****** (bad quality), if that is what you mean. But it gets hot nonetheless. Good cooling around the mini seems the way to go, IMHO. (I have a macbook and it stands over a book, so air can flow below. It gets hot to the touch after some 8 hs, but the inner temp stays at 52..53 °C during normal operation).

    best luck
  3. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Why? Computers do get hot, even 'roasting' as you put it. You wouldn't try to cool you car engine because it was hot to the touch!

    As long as its ventilation holes are clear (compressed air is useful to clear them), you're just trying to find a solution to a problem which doesn't exist.
  4. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004

    I would suggest against sucking air from the bottom of a Mini. It fact, if anything, you want to push air up INTO the bottom.
    Hot air is expelled through the back vents in a Mini. The vents at the bottom is where cool air goes in.

    If anything, you'd want a stand with low heat resistance (use the stand as a heatsink) - you would want it to have the footprint of the base of the Mini (if you turn it upside down you'd want it to be the same size as the rubber footprint)

    This thing has been tested with higher ambient temperatures than your bedroom/office. Don't worry much about it. The Mini is a solid little machine. If anything, keep the heatsink/fan structure free from dust to keep optimum airflow across heatsinks.

  5. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
  6. Coolcatfish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2007
    Well computers do get hot yes but if they sit at a high temp for a long period of time then it will shorten the life of the components.

    Sure a car engine gets hot, thats why you have a huge fan and radiator system there to keep it as cool as possible.

    There is just no need for it to run as hot as it does given the tasks it is doing (normally web surfing).

    Edit: Thanks to everyone who has already replied by the way, its all helpful. I think its a bit of a design flaw, having the intake holes almost flat with the bottom of the machine but there we go.
  7. hydrokayak macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Lancaster, NH
    I have to agree with this one.

    I used to have issues with my router dying when it got hot -- so I decided to make a fan out of an old 120mm fan from my PC and a 12 volt power converter (the big wall-wart ones for like 20 bucks). It worked great! I just had it spin -- pointed at the router, and it effectively cooled the router.

    I imagine that this would work okay for your Mini as well -- it just might look a little less mac-worthy. Apple hardware is sleek -- i'm not sure that a PC fan will do it justice in the beauty contest... ;)
  8. j3tang macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    you could try buying one of these for $2:

    flip it over and place the mini ontop of it so that the 2 legs of that riser is supporting the 2 edges of the mini. I believe the mini is 6.5" wide, and this riser is 6.5" wide ..

    you can now have cables come out from below the mini too instead of from the sides :D
    not to mention lots of flowing air below the mini ...
  9. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Urgh...... why do some people REALLY REALLY want to cool down their Macs? With laptops I could understand (when u use it on your lap you dont want it to burn a hole in you), but with DESKTOPS???

    ALL Macs are designed so that you don't have to worry about stuff like heating. They were BUILT to run a just those temps. You should worry about it only when you a building your PC...

    Computers aren't designed to be working at the temperature that is "comfortable for your hands". They are hotter than human body, by a large margin and guess what... ITS NORMAL.
  10. dbam987 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2007
    Having a computer double as an electric heater is a good thing... save's on energy! :p
  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    It'll be really cool if someone make a clear stand for the Mini that look like that of the G4 Cube.
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Thanks for using the search feature first. I've folding@home run my Mac mini for weeks and cranked up the fan to 3000 RPM. The Mac minis bottom is going to be hot on idle or at 100% load for weeks. :rolleyes:

    Don't worry about it.
  13. FatSweatyBlldog macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    The bottom of the mac mini is also its heatsink, so of course it's going to be hot to the touch. As mentioned already, the vents on the bottom of the mini are meant to intake air, while the fan vents the air through the back.

    OWC has a Mac Mini base that would seem to meet your needs: Technology/MINIBASEC/

    Finally, rather than just going by touch, why don't you actually look at the internal temps using something like iStat pro. Compare those numbers (and under different loads) to the standard temp operating range of the chip in your mini (based on the chip specifications). Based on this comparison, you'll be able to tell if your mini is running an acceptable heat profile or not.

    If you want to ensure maximum cooling, and/or increase fan speed manually, you can look into SMC Fan Control.

    The comparison to a car engine is still apt. Processors and engines run hot. The question is, are they within the acceptable operating range? If they are, you won't be ruining anything. If they aren't, they can overheat and cause damage. In short, this isn't a design flaw, it's a matter of understanding what's going on in your computer. If your CPU was running dangerously hot, it would be shutting itself down, and/or behaving extremely flakey.
  14. CHAOS STEP macrumors 6502


    Nov 2, 2005
    playing tiddlywinks with Kim Jong-un
    My Mac Mini was sitting on a plastic cd drawer thing that I got at a Japanesese Store (Muji).

    I have some r@re PcEngine games and I noticed that the heat was dissipating through and inside the cd storage area.

    My fix?

    A slightly thicker than usual but standard cd 'jewel' case.

    Fine like a double cd album of a band you don't like and chuck it underneath for a slightly better air circulation and low-tech heatsink.

    Also the smaller profile of the cd case does not detract from the looks - in fact the Mini now looks like it's floating Macbook Air style.
  15. j3tang macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    this was the $2 solution:
  16. MrCrowbar macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    I want my Mac Mini to be more quiet.

    Right now I hav it on a shelf and the fan noise when running eyeTV was macking me crazy. On 100% CPU, the fan goes about 3500 rpm, but when watching TV, it goes up to 5400 rpm, probably because the GPU is working hard too. The fan noise at 5400 rpm was unbearable so I put some cardboard with foam padding to cover the shelf's outter side. Big downside: the Mac Mini isn't cooling because there's no airflow. Fans are at 3700 rpm when idling. Fan noise is bearable because my sound isolation is awesome, but it's also keeping the hot air trapped inside.

    I'm ready to take big steps to keep that fan noise down whilst keeping the thing relatively cool. The Mini is already propped up so there's sufficient intake from the bottom. Problem is, it's warm air that's taken in. I was thinking of some sort of plastic tube connected to the rear vent to transport the heat out of my shelf. Is there a cooling kit for Mac mini available somewhere? I want a metal base with the same footprint as the mini with a liquid cooling loop. The heated water would rise up, be cooled passively on top of my shelf (heat rises) and cooler water would thus be pushed down into the metal base under the Mac Mini. Anyone seen something like this?
  17. rolex54 macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    Houston, TX
    that is a very good idea, i have never seen anything like this though
  18. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    really? My Mini's very hush hush....or maybe my music is up to high!
  19. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    It's probably hard to reduce the sound if you're doing a lot of active stuff. Don't forget that the Mini is a low-end model. Don't go trying to run it as an application server feeding to 1,000 computers.

    Seriously, what you guys having problems could do would be to adjust the Energy Saver settings. Turn the optimization to Better Energy Savings. I'm not sure if it will, but it may throttle down your performance a bit. I know some older Intel CPUs would actually run at a slower clock speed to save power in laptops.
  20. ablashek macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    hi. I had a similar issues with two macs at my office, i simply placed four small aluminum tablets below the mac minis, this way air circulates below it, and the aluminum turns out to be a good conductor of heat.

    But i feel that the mini has a serious design flaw in that its base is made of rubber. I understand the need for rubber so that the mini does not slide, but i think they over did it in the name of "style" lol

    anyways, after adding aluminum tablets it works fine, there is no need to get expesive laptop stations with inbuilt fans.
  21. xmerz macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008
    Hi all,

    This is my first post here. :)

    My mini will be arriving soon. I'm just wondering if anyone has tried putting heatsinks (like these: or these: ) underneath the mini. Would this be a good idea to help mini cool down even more?

    Or would placing the mini sideways help the air circulation?
  22. betterdays macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2006
    What most of you here, seem to miss completely, is that there IS a point in cooling a Mini : while very quiet when it's moderately hot, when it gets hot (not even VERY hot) the fan noise becomes annoying, like on some laptops. That whirring noise is a pain to work with.

    Let me tell you a story. I got my mom a Mini back when her monitor was a 19 incher, running 1280x1024. Pretty commonplace. Easy job for a GMA950 GPU. The fan never went above 2500 RPM or so. It was a pleasure, you rarely heard the fan.

    Then I went berserk and got her a 24" Dell, fullHD etc... from then on, I began to see the Mini's shortcomings. Even when the CPU is doing nothing (1 to 2% usage), the GPU is already well sollicited and you can guess why : enormous amounts of pixels to move for such a modest GPU.

    When you consider that the GPU heatsink doesn't get ANY air from the main fan (everything goes through the CPU heatsink), you understand why just yesterday, with the hot summer weather, SmcMonitor was showing the fan running at no less than a healthy 5200 RPM. The fan noise was horrible yet the CPU was around 30%, and something like 55 degrees Celsius. But the GPU was dying for air because she was watching TV in fullscreen.

    So please stop repeating that "cooling a Mac is a nonsense" or that "cooling a laptop makes sense but why cool a Mini?"

    Fan noise, people. Fan noise. Try running a Mini in fullHD and you'll go to bed smarter.

    Right now the Mini is open and I'm about to cut holes in the plastic inside to let some air circulate a bit. I didn't buy a Mini for it to be noisier than my crappy ACER laptop with a desktop Pentium-4 inside... (and trust me it was already something you had to hear to believe).
  23. rw3 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2008
    DFW, TX
    Try using smcFanControl. By upping the fan to 2000RPM all the time, the temp will drop. When I encode mkv's at night, I up to 4500RPM and the temp never goes above 60C with my 2.33Ghz T7600.
  24. korgri macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Macs and heat, minis, what have you

    Yes, all computers get hot..and probably the number one enemy of electronic components is heat. Ever see how fast some of these CPU hobbyists can get their Pentium 4s with custom cooling? Not to mention IBM who tout their Power cpus running at 4+Ghz..but they have elaborate cooling methods that weren't in use on models under these speeds. Shoot, look at the cooling needed for a 2.5Ghz it needs liquid cooling...that leaks?
    If I bought a mac mini the first thing I would do is take it out of it's case and find/build a case similar to a Cube. Cube's cooling layout is pretty good..even better if you add fans. Simple fact: the cooler the components, the longer those components will last. Manufacturers know this..and they also know if you computer dies after two years you can buy another one...from them. However, that same computer could last four years..if anyone knows what I am alluding to...not wanting to appear to be pointing a finger. Manufacturers survive by selling computers..they are good computers, better than most..but they still need you to buy another. See?
    If I bought a mac mini - take it apart and separate the components (not disconnect) so that the heat has a clear upward path (heat rises!) that dvd burner covers should be vertical (like the Cube). The hard drive should be vertical (like the Cube)..and the logic board should be vertical..(like the Cube) But I would build a little case..and keep the hotter components separate from each other, by at least 4-5cm; using interconnect extensions if necessary...or making new ones.
    Got a G4 digital audio model..7 years old...1.3Ghz OWC upgrade. Added an extra fan and the heat sink never gets 'blazing' or even close to that, even at extended full load.
    I don't stack the hard drives one on top of another, even though you can. I run it with the door propped open about 1", with protection from splashed liquids, whatever. And do periodic dust cleaning.
    All other things being equal, the mac mini with the mods above will be the one that lasts longer, I would bet on it. May not be as elegant looking, but (if it really is so important) you could just prop a dummy case on top of your desk..maybe wire the on/off and dvd drive into it, but put the guts underneath in yer custom box.
    Would be really great if you could have the mac mini's board et al and somehow mod it so you can run a video card and it doesn't have to share the memory. Shoot...add some PCI slots and there you have the wishlist sub$1M desktop...
    But then, I'm someone who wishlists Apple would sell PowerPC computers in addition to Intels, even if just in the Pro desktop product line. I would gladly pay $500 more for a G6..think about all the serious MUG nuts who would have a model from both lines...sitting at those trade show 'chapels'(?) that are set up so people can sit several rows of pews (I mean 'seats')..and watch TV ads, Hodgman and Long; Intel this and that; girl throwing the hammer if the supplicants get really lucky.
    True believers; will buy several computers, just give them the slightest provocation that can be justified into a reason. Hey, we're bringing back the G-series for all those serious media/publishing folks who have been clamoring for it. Universal binary made simpler, we got a custom compiler been working on for years in secret for all you
    developers, etc.
    Well. it's fun to think about..I mean, are there any serious disadvantages that anyone has noticed with Intel that wouldn't be there had they stuck with PPC?
  25. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    wow if you're so paranoid, why get a Mac mini in the first place?

    And about Intel vs PPC: With current software optimization Intels are roughly 2x as fast on the same clock speed and number of cores, while running A LOT cooler. I can't think of a certain advantage of PPC that would compensate for this.

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