Mini upgrading tips

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by marclondon, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    I posted this in a thread but reckon a few others may find it useful.


    I upgraded a new 2GHz Mini with 4GB ram and a 320GB 7200rpm drive last Saturday. Here are some tips.

    1. It took a while to work out - and get confidence - how to get the case lid off. I used two thin scraper tools of about 2.5 inches wide - one to open up a crack, the other to push in and flip the first catches - once a few come out then you work round. The catches are quite robust and they don't break easily, I think, as long as you are 'gently firm'. Make sure you work on a soft towel.

    2. You need only take off the main Airport antenna, and gently ease out the orange connector from the top assembly not the other end and make sure you tuck it away when you flip the drive assembly over.

    3. The four black screws that hold the drive assembly are fairly easy to locate but make sure you use a crosshead driver that fits properly. Also it's much easier if the screwdriver is magnetised so you can get the screws out and for when you put them back - I used another driver to do this. Having said that I couldn't wheedle the screw by the Airport out and forgot about it in my excitement - when I flipped the drive assembly the screw fell out, bounced on the desk and fell on the floor and I spent 10 mins looking for it.

    4. Another tool that's very useful is a pair of small thin tweezers (like those that come in Swiss Army knives) to rescue a screw I dropped into the main board after flipping back the assembly. You can also use tweezers to help get screws into line and to gently prise off the orange connector, and hard drive sensor and tape (if replacing the drive).

    5. The memory is fairly easy to put in but less easy to take out - you have to turn the Mini round so the back is facing you to get a good gentle purchase once you've flipped the module up.

    6. If replacing the drive the only awkward bit is slotting in the new one as it's hard to line it up with the connector and you have to flip the assembly vertical to get it in place but it's not a connection that needs much push to engage.

    That's all I found really - of course you must test it before putting the lid on. I used the Snow Leopard upgrade disk to do a new install on the new drive - you don't need a Leopard system there with the upgrade disk.

    And finally - I'm very impressed - it's my first Intel Mac and it knocks the socks off my single processor G5.

  2. ibeaver macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2009
    new hdd without formatting?

    Hi M.

    after step 6 you explain "I used the Snow Leopard upgrade disk to do a new install on the new drive - you don't need a Leopard system there with the upgrade disk. "

    I've done the same except that I don't get past the location during install that asks what hdd to install to. Its empty. Some other threads tell me this is because the hdd is not formatted...

    so can you suggest how I can do that, with this hdd already installed?
    I'm also using a PC bluetooth keyboard, as some people in other threads explain booting while holding "c" after the chimes will allow opening the utilities menu.... where I can format the hdd.

    what can you advise?

    thanks in advance,
  3. OldCorpse macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap
    I intend to buy a mini and upgrade it with 4GB RAM, a SSD drive as primary, and a 320GB 7200 RPM HDD as secondary after removing the optical drive.

    There are instructions on how to do this on iFixit. Anyhow, I do believe you have to format the drives to be able to install SL on them. Here's how I intend to do it:

    1)I have an external HDD. I will format it in GUID format - I'll copy the mini's original drive using SuperDuper onto this external HDD making it a bootable image, and I'll set the external drive to be the drive to boot from.

    *2)I'll remove the mini's original HDD, and swap in the SSD drive. Then I'll boot up using the external drive, and format the SSD drive in GUID format, and copy onto the SSD the external HDD, again as a bootable image, and I'll now set the SSD drive to be the drive to boot from.

    3)Then I'll swap out the optical drive for a 320GB 7200 RPM drive, format it, and set it to be the Time Machine.

    *The alternative is to do this:

    2)After formatting the SSD in GUID format, use the DVD drive OR an external DVD drive to install Snow Leopard from discs.

    All of this of course while the mini is open - then test it to make sure everything works before closing it again.


    It occurs to me, that perhaps I can actually skip part of step 1) above. Instead of making a bootable clone on the external hard drive, I could perhaps do the following:

    a)Select the external drive as the one to boot from
    b)Take out the original drive and put in into the external drive
    c)Put in the SSD drive, boot from external, format the SSD, clone to the SSD from the external, select the SSD as the boot drive and voila!
  4. computergek80 macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2008
    You want to choose Disk Utility from the Utilities menu, and choose your disk and partition it with GUID. Make sure your Snow Leopard partition is set to HFS+ Journaled.
    The OS X Installer should be doing this for you...

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