Major repair/upgrade this week!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by talmy, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #1
    Today one of my minis (model 3,1 and over 3 years old) used as an entertainment center locked up, won't boot and won't respond when I examine it with Disk Utility. Drive replacement time!

    Luckily I wanted a mini for upgrading to see how well I can do a repair on it myself. Found out that a putty knife in my garage will make quick work of taking the cover off, so I ordered the following from OWC:

    1. 120GB SSD hard drive (I don't need much capacity, so why not?).
    2. 4GB of RAM to upgrade the 2GB in the box. Yes, it actually has been running fine with 2GB.

    And I'll upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion while I'm at it. That's why I'm adding RAM.

    My goal this summer is to get all my minis upgraded to Mountain Lion, with my Snow Leopard Server system going to Server.app. All three systems will get a dose of RAM. By the end of the year all but the server will be on Mavericks.
     
  2. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #2
    Ah yes...the utilitarian putty knife... the spudger of yesteryear...
     
  3. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I use my 3.1 in the same way, fyi I just put 8gb ram in which is working well (machine says 4gb max but 8gb works with a firmware upgrade) Currently I am working through an issue with the 750gb hdd I bought for it

    In my fat fingered experience so far the non technical has been the most challenging, dealing with the ariels inside becoming unclipped from circuit board and a jammed screw on the hdd

    Good luck
     
  4. talmy thread starter macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    Well I'm an Electrical Engineer, not that it makes me qualified, but the videos on OWC didn't scare me away. They estimate 40 minutes (for the RAM) which seems a bit extreme.
     
  5. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Ah but you need to allow for the sweaty palms whilst trying to jam the putty knife in :) The ifixit instructions suggests creating a thinner edge to the putty knife with sandpaper by the way.

    I'd say it took me about 40 mins, quite a few fiddly bits, first time round I accidentally disconnected one of the ariels so wireless keyboard stopped working and I had to re-open it.
     
  6. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #6
    I found that a small circular (3" dia) pizza cutter worked much better than the putty knife on the older Mac Mini case. The "rolling action" seemed prone to do less damage as it worked into the latches than jamming the putty blade in.
     
  7. talmy thread starter macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    Well, mine is actually billed as a scraper and not a putty knife. It's got a sharp, wide blade (3"/7.5cm), has no trouble slipping in, and releases all the latches on the side at once, effortlessly.
     
  8. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #8
    40 minutes is extreme. It took me 30 minutes ( including re-watching the video twice, then going through the video slowly as I did the actual work ) to do this.

    As I had a spare Corsair 60Gb Disk, then swapped that over, and installed 8Gb, up from 4Gb. My mini was already updated with the firmware for this.

    Just did a clean installed of 10.8.4 afterwards ( already downloaded and created the USB Stick )

    As long a do methodically, i.e. make sure place the screws and springs in a way so obvious which way go back on and not lost then pretty straight forward. OWC do seem to make it out as harder then it really is.

    If you have built PC's before then really not that difficult, just make sure have the right tools.

    I am pretty hamfisted, but did it cleanly, and didn't have to reopen, everything works fine afterwards, including wifi an bluetooth.

    Shows as 8Gb and the SSD shows connected at the full 3.0Gb SATA connection.

    I use mine as a Elgato TV / iTunes system and is much more responsive now.

    As the warranty on my drobo runs out next may then had planned to replace mini and drobo, however after the upgrade have decided will keep the mini and start using an online backup service to backup the Drobo volume.
     
  9. talmy, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013

    talmy thread starter macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #9
    It ended up taking me 25 minutes to increase the RAM to 4GB and put in the SSD. I then booted to an external drive of the image of my other entertainment server, cloned it to the SSD, and upgraded to Mountain Lion.

    I love it! The system feels much faster and I can now log into it remotely via Screen Sharing on a separate login to work on the system while it is showing a movie. Plenty of power.

    Now I'll do RAM and OS upgrades of the other two Minis.
     
  10. talmy thread starter macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    I just finished upgrading my mini server from 4GB to 8GB and took the removed RAM to upgrade my third mini from 2GB to 4GB. Took less than a half hour total. I'm now getting to be an expert at this!

    No performance improvement noted with either system, so it was really the SSD that mattered.

    I upgraded the third mini to Mountain Lion. Next weekend I'll upgrade the server from Snow Leopard Server to Mountain Lion + Server.app. Most people consider this a downgrade, but I don't use any of the services that were deleted and I'm anxious to get some Mountain Lion features, particularly File Vault II.
     

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