Mac With Internal Expansion?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by APlus84, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. APlus84 macrumors member


    Sep 13, 2009
    I've had Macs since 1984, Pros since 2007 - I like the internal expansion bays. Don't really need the Xeon level CPU but the less external stuff the better in my opinion. I have two optical and 4 HDs in mine.

    The desktop market is shrinking but I do wish Apple made something with the internal expansion bays of the old Mac Pro. Apple has very clever engineers, maybe they could come up with a modular Mac that allowed us to add the "internal" bays as desired.

    Maybe a modular MiniPlus?

    A base unit with ports front and rear. Add length to accommodate power, connectivity and cooling for the modules stacked on top. Might offer cooling options - up to x modules or option for up to x+ modules. Could sell the thing stand alone as a Mini with a removable top.

    For those who want expansion, there would be matching footprint modules. Would only need the surround, no bottom and top would be the one removed from the base unit. Could use the sleds from the old Pro to install reliable, inexpensive 3.5" HDs. Optical drive module would need its own carrier but not too big a deal.

    The modules would have the SATA for the installed item. Maybe Thunderbolt could be used for connecting the base up through the stack of modules. Unlikely all would be active at the same time so bus speed should be adequate.

    With the cooling fan(s) in the base unit, adjustable exhaust ports would be good for the modules. Could be passive control of these. Use the bimetallic coils like the old heating and air conditioning thermostats. Gets warm, opens the petal exhaust port more. Since extra hard drives sleep much of the time, cooling requirements would be reduced so the fan(s) in the base unit would likely work fine.

    I realize externals with multiple bays are available. Some even know when the computer is on so you don't have to turn on switches or run their fans only as needed. Still, it's not the Apple experience.

    Looking good is as important as working well ....
  2. dudedude macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2014
    I'm not trying to deny you want you want but I really don't understand the need for internal storage anymore. I agree external storage is ugly. That's why I went with a Synology NAS. It's tucked away and out of site. I get great speed being that everything is connected to a gig ethernet switch and I don't have to look at something dangling from my computer all the time.

    As for the purely external there are some companies that make usb, firewire etc solutions that match the look of the mac mini or macs in general.

    I do understand though, all of our storage needs continue to grow.
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    If you asked me to bet on whether Apple would build such a thing, I'd put my money firmly on "not." The last thing the company seems likely to do is chase a small part of a shrinking market. They seem perfectly happy to let the after-market produce this sort of thing. Something that can be big business for a smaller company, rather than something that couldn't budge the needle on Apple's bottom line.

    Apple could have started selling expansion chassis for the iMac and the Mini years ago. If they didn't do it for their mass-market products, it seems unlikely they'd do it for the much smaller Mac Pro market.
  4. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    I too prefer internal storage. Even risked opening my mini to put the previously external 1TB drive inside to join the SSD I had previously installed. It just looks better and is quieter in the Mini. Install was not for the faint of heart.

    I also have an external Thunderbolt enclosure that holds 2x 2.5" drives. Took out one of the HDDs it came with and added a SSD. Also removed the noisy fan so it's silent. It gets warm but not too terribly hot now that the second drive is a SSD.

    I think the noise from the external enclosures is the biggest downside besides the additional clutter. If someone made an external TB enclosure that was as quiet as the mini w/o me butchering it I might recommend external drives.

  5. G4er? macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    Apple seems to only understand the first part of that sentence. That's why they put something like the SD slot on the blind side of the computer so you have to fumble using it. And no ports and jacks on the front.
  6. APlus84 thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 13, 2009
    With capable "iWhatever" for mobile, a more useful Mini desktop would make reasonable Desktop product line. I see the Mini as too little, iMac too restrictive and the Pro as too much.

    As I wrote in the original post, I don't run this thing hard enough to need the Xeon but I would miss too many little things with the Mini. Lack of front ports is another reason for a bit less mini in the Mini. 3.5" hard drives and 5.25" optical are cheap and dependable. Additional stuff and connections are a bother.

    Guess I will just hang onto my old Mac Pro. After 30 years, I may have bought my last Mac ...
  7. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    What you are asking for is the much requested xMac.

    An affordable desktop computer allowing internal expansion maybe a few PCI-E slots using non-Xeon and non-ECC RAM.

    If they haven't made it yet they aren't going too. The Mass Market is going mobile whether is Laptop / Tablet or just Phone. The Market for desktops is dropping away.

    Macs have now settled down as

    1 Processor
    1 Hard Drive ( Fusion Drive is 2 disks presented a 1 volume to the Mac )
    No Slots

    The only two anomalies to this are

    Classic MacBook Pro - How much longer will this be around
    Mac Mini Server - Comes standard with 2 disks.

    Yes you can buy the DataDoubler to add the second disk into a mini, however unless you buy a Fusion Drive in an iMac then again it doesn't come with the connector for the second drive.
  8. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Disagree. My mini has Mavericks on a Crucial M500 960GB SSD. The upper bay holds the OEM 1TB HDD with Windows 8.1 on it. That works fine for casual use but connecting to my noisy OWC Rack Pros is a pain with occasional reliability issues on USB3.

    On the other hand my Mac Pro 5,1 has Mavericks on an M500 SSD, Windows 8.1 on a 2TB WD RE2 and three additional WD RE 4TB drives for photography and video. Internal storage is wonderful. The MP is very quiet and everything inside always works every time.
  9. Steve247 macrumors member


    Dec 19, 2007
    in the 'burbs of Toronto
    I've been wishing and posting about this for years - a mini tower Mac. Dan Frakes (sp?) at MacWorld has written about it over the years too. I currently have a pimped out Mac Pro3,1 - 16GB RAM, 128 GB SSD boot drive, 3 other HDs, Super Drive and Blu-Ray. I recently also upgraded the video card.

    With the next OS 10.10 (aka X.x??) my old Mac Pro will likely not make the cut. Then it's either a Mac mini with a thunderbolt chassis for an external video card, or I make a hackintosh. Hell we may have seen the last of the Mac Minis as we know them. The next Mac mini might be a smaller shorter mac cylinder.

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