Mac Mini Upgrade Question

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jeme, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. jeme macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2009
    Hello - I just purchased a mac mini - how difficult is it to upgrade the mac mini - say from 1 to 10.

    To give you some background on myself - I have built many PC's in the past and have upgraded the harddrive in the most recently macbook pro 13 inch.

    I formally would build Shuttle small form factor PC's. SO how hard is it to upgrade the ram and HD?

    Also - can some one tell me how to clone or copy a mac hard drive to get the new one ready? Thanks!
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    If you've been inside computer before it's 2-3 when 10 is the hardest. It's quite easy if you look instruction videos form Youtube.

    You don't have to copy your HD if you don't want to, you can install Leopard from disks that came with your Mac. If you want to copy your HD use Carbon Copy Cloner
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It's not hard but you have to buy the proper tools. You will need two thin metal puty knives. and a small towel to use as a work surface. The Mini is more like working on a notebook computer than a desktop. There is zero space betweenthe components inside. I've changed out just about every part, disk, RAM and CD drive, You need to use a small size screwdriver for the later.

    How to copy the disk. Do you have data on it? Then make two backups and place at least one of them in another room where you can mess it up. If you don't have any data on it then there is not reason to "clone it" Just re-install the software from the DVD.

    Buy a USB disk enclosure for the old disk. After you have installed Mac OS X on the new drive plug the old disk in using USB abd then copy over whatever data you need. But still do the backup thing fist if you have data you care about
  4. Jizzle032 macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2009
    don't you still have to buy iLife 09 after you install the apple recovery CDs? Just wondering because I'm thinking about doing this. However, if I use carbon copy cloner, it basically copies my entire hard drive and I burn it to CD and reinstall THAT CD to the new hard drive? thanks for the answers...
  5. Anjo206 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Mac Mini -Fedex

    I've ordered a Mac mini and it's been at ANCHORAGE, AK for 24 hours now, is this normal? or is this a problem with their network?
  6. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    It can take up to 24 hours for carrier to update their web site.
  7. statik13 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2008
    Only things to look out for is the initial opening of the case and that everything is packed in a lot tighter than a normal desktop and uses laptop style ribbon cables. I'd rate it a 5 /10 for difficulty. Just take your time and you'll be fine.

    If it is a brand new Mini that you're upgrading, I wouldn't bother with carbon cloner. iLife 09 should be included on your OS disk that came with the Mac Mini. Just re-install from scratch and make sure to say "yes" when prompted for installing iLife.
  8. arcadeforest macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2008
    No, if you bought the mini new it comes with two disks, one with the operating system and one with iLife and everything else. Just install the operating system then install iLife.

    I have to agree that I would rate it at a 2-3 out of 10 if you have any experience working inside a computer. I changed both the ram and hard drive in like 20 minutes from start to finish. Very straight forward in what you need to do.
  9. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Ive built a shuttle myself, but thats about it. I carefully watched the OWC video while doing the HD and RAM upgrade and didnt have any issues. Just take it real slow and be careful not to pinch the antenna wires and dont freak out trying to jiggle the bay back into position, it will get there eventually. I rate it a 3 out of 10 as there really isnt many things that can go wrong.

    The hardest part was actually to get the thing open with the puttyknife, i almost gave up, its way harder then what it looks on the video. I would sugest using two putty knifes on each side and not just work your way around like in the video.
  10. chas0001 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    Alicante, SPAIN
    I would give it a 3 out of 10 for the RAM and Hard Drive and a 5 for the CPU.

    I upgraded my Mac Mini's RAM, Hard Drive and CPU (from 1.66Ghz Core Duo to a 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo). I used this website to replace the CPU :
  11. Hatchet macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    Same thing happened to me. Something buggy with Fedex Mini "arrived" in Alaska then arrived in Memphis then departed Alaska all within 10 minutes of each other.

    My mini took 3 days to get here from China so expect that if you are near the east coast.

    I just got it today and it is incredible! :)
  12. rkdiddy macrumors 65816


    Mar 19, 2008
    OC Baby!

    Didn't you know some of the old out of commission SR71s for delivery.
  13. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004

    I would say about a 5/10, once you have done it. Maybe an 8 the first time.

    I upgraded my standard 599 baseline model last Friday. I got overnight deliver of a WD 500GB 5400RPM and 4GB RAM. I was going to buy the RAM from OCW aka Macsales and the HD from newegg. The next day Fedex rates of Macsales made it 15 dollars cheaper for both from them than buying separately.

    The scariest parts were the initial opening of the case, and replacing the hard drive and remounting the HD thermal sensor.

    I used the Macsales high quality video and some pictures from ifixit, although they do some things in a different order from each other.

    My first try took 40 minutes bc I was being so delicate, I had to reseat one of the RAM chips the next day, and it took 5 minutes, and that's bc my screwdriver sucks.

    If you have another computer, do yourself a favor and take multiple photos from several angles every step of the way. When I upgrade cpus, like a Powerbook G4, I draw a rough picture of the insides and tape each screw to the drawing at the place I removed it.

    The Mini is 2 basic parts that have one insertion point and one wire, once you see that, it is much easier to upgrade.

    My main problem that stumped me was the right antenna in the macsales video. It goes over the black backing of the top piece while the two left ones go under, if I recall correctly.

    Getting to the RAM is easy, the Hard drive is harder, but doable.

    Once you are done, you'll be in awe of the engineering that went into the Mini.
  14. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    Thanks guys. I myself bought a 1.83ghz C2d Mac Mini from the previous generation off of craigslist earlier this year ($375). The unit I bought had upgraded 2.5gb RAM and an upgraded 200gb 7200 rpm HDD. I wish it had the orig HD though because I don't really need the space and the newer HD makes the unit loud as hell (the seller kept telling me he'd send over the orig HD but still hasn't). I'm thinking of just finding it somewhere and putting it back in. From this thread, it seems doable.

    The original owner broke the airport/bluetooth card though (which applecare won't cover) so I'm just using ethernet - which isn't a big deal. So I probably won't be fixing that.

    I'd also like to max out the RAM (I believe the comp won't read all 4gb though) so I need one more 2gb module

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