Mac mini mod - Air inlet

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by opinio, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. opinio, Aug 20, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

    opinio macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #1
    Here is a mod I did on one of my 2011 minis (but use it now on my 2012 2.6 quads). I have some spares so I could take a risk on cutting the black base.

    It put the base on my 2012 2.6Ghz and ran HandBrake for a while on a HD mkv on AT3. It gave me about a 4-5C drop in my peak temps. Base temps appear to have dropped but that is hard to tell because it fluctuates too much.

    I basically used a box cutter (with a few spare blades), a 10mm drill bit on the corners and the edge of the blade modified in a compass to cut the curve. Just kept following the cut line. Eventually it creates a groove and its easy to cut the black plastic. Took about 30 mins to do the cutting. Then cleaned the edges and used double sided tape and some black mesh from a car window sun shade.

    EDIT: I forget to mention that I use this mod with the mini on its side in a Newer Tech alloy side stand. It wouldn't work obviously if the mini is left flat.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #2
    And the final pics.
     

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  3. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    #3
    That is pure genius. Apple should pay you for the tip. Or you should sell them on eBay. Nicely played!
     
  4. John Kotches macrumors 6502

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    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    #4
    I'd be worried about dust accumulation inhibiting air flow.
     
  5. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #5
    Yeah that could be a problem, but two things, if the vent was fully blocked then it would be no different to an unmodified base and also I can just vacuum/brush/wash the vent every few months.
     
  6. MJL, Aug 20, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

    MJL macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=13639289&highlight=drill#post13639289

    I did extensive experimentation and found the improvements to be of only minimal impact. Even replaced the thermal paste with Tuniq 4 (which did even out the temperature fluctuations since the heatsink is not closely mated to the CPU/GPU - PS Arctic Silver works best when the surfaces are closely fitting, Tuniq 4 is very good when there are gaps).

    However ..... if you really want to lower the temperatures with the least amount of effort then:

    Turn the Mac mini upside down.....

    I found this recommendation elsewhere (honestly cannot remember where) and it makes complete sense. The aluminum housing slowly heats up (it acts as a heat store) by the heat trapped in the top. Unfortunately it does not release the heat quickly enough.

    If you turn it upside down then the heat rises up to the bottom where the intake of the fan sits and it gets extracted.

    Some have reported improvement setting the Mac mini on its side - I cannot comment on that since I've never tried it.
     
  7. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #7
    I have Tuniq TX4 on my minis and MacBook Airs as well. Exceptional stuff.

    I run the mini on its side in a Newer Tech side stand with the transformer at the top (I.e. the power bottom at the top).
     
  8. SoCalReviews, Aug 20, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #8
  9. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Yeah, mine sits on its side. Otherwise if it was flat you would need spacers like you said.
     
  10. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    Nov 16, 2012
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    Northeast
    #10
    Mine is on its side in the Nexus stand with the fan cranked up to about 2600 as a baseline speed. It is still totally silent.

    I still think Apple should have erred on the side of more better airflow.

    Can you say Haswell?? Cooler is good.
     
  11. scottyd1119 macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2012
    #11
    I've been running mine in an hsquared mount with the front down and the cables sticking up. I've found it to be running 10-15 C cooler that way than sitting normally on rubber mounts to allow alittle more air underneath.
     
  12. John Kotches macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Your machine, your choice. I think it's going to allow finer dust particles in the chassis, which could have impact over time.
     
  13. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #13
    Um... there is already an unfiltered open inlet around the leading edge of the base (on any unmodified mini). It is about 3-4mm wide and 100-120mm long. I am pretty sure any fine particles that might make it through my fine 0.01mm mesh can quite easily flow through the vent already there on the unmodified mini.

    Open up the base and you will see a sealed and unsealed section. You can see soft latex (or similar) around the sealed chamber on the inside of the black base. The unsealed section (air inlet) is the area covering the antenna plate while the sealed section is the area covering the fan. That is why I have only cut the area of the unsealed section, to maintain the air intake as Apple designed. If I cut (or unsealed) the sealed section it would screw up the flow. The unsealed section's curved edge is the inlet for the air flow.

    Relevant to the size of dust particles, the air inlet on the curved edge is the size of the Grand Canyon. My filtered inlet is not going to let anything in that cannot already make its way through the main inlet.

    See the Mac mini's Cooling System on this page:

    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patent...mini-from-design-to-removable-hard-drive.html

    But anyway, your right, fine dust particles are not good for any machine.
     
  14. appleford macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2011
    Location:
    Floriduh
    #15
    opinio, brillant idea. i made a stand like newer tech out of wood, but cutting the bottom is genius. I am going out to the garage to do mine now. I hve power tools, should take about 10 mins. The screen from a window shade is good also, or fiberglass window screen if you have it. Just thinking the wife wouldn't be as mad as cutting up the kids window shade. everyone else concerned about dust, you do know that most PC s have 80 to 120 mm holes for fans in 2 or 3 locations and they run for years with much hotter components inside. No matter what, opinio, genius!!
     
  15. MJL macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 25, 2011
    #16
    I believe some of the 2012 have the drive int he upper slot rather than in the as of old lower slot.

    I am wondering aloud if this has multiple purposes: improving the airflow over the logic board and making it easier to mount a second drive in there.

    However it will also open the possibility to put an air filter between antenna grill and drive. Hmmmm... there is a thought although it will be a pain to clean....
     
  16. product26 macrumors 6502a

    product26

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    May 30, 2005
    #17
    I did something similar with my mini & an H-Squared mount.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. MJL macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 25, 2011
    #18
    That is a pretty neat solution - congrats on you. Where did you find this H-Squared mount, depending on how many $$'s to get to New Zealand I might spring for one of those.
     
  18. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    Northeast
    #19
    Very very nicely done. Apple please take notice.
     
  19. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #20
    That was my thought too, but as long as you keep on it, and since it's underneath a weekly flick with a soft brush should do the trick...NIce mod, although I have no plans to try it with my rMBP...:)
     
  20. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #21
    I like it. Perfect if you keep your mini in the conventional flat position as well.
     
  21. apomarinov macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2013
    #22
    Hey, just wanted to check my solution [rotated 90 CW], I've been using it like that for over a year.
     

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  22. haravikk macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2005
    #24
    Is that just regular double-sided tape that you've used to fix that mesh grille?
     
  23. opinio thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #25
    Yes. But not the spongy type. 3M make cello tape that is double sided.
     

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