WaterCooled Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by VanCleef2012, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. VanCleef2012 macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    Hey guys I recently purchased a 2011 Mac Mini i5 with the 6630m and love it. I mostly do gaming, movies, the usual college student stuff. I've noticed when my cpu hits 90+ degrees that my fps drop, youtube vid skips a bit, etc. Recently I've fallen in love with watercooling PC's. I've recently designed and have a patent pending for a mac mini watercooling "kit". The design itself looks like something out of apples design studios, its amazing! But a big gap in the plan is whether or not the community would be interested. 2012 will be a big year of gaming for apple as blizzard will be releasing 3 big hits this year(diablo 3, starcraft xpac, and warcraft xpac). As well as steams Counter-strike:Global Offense and Dota 2. Also considered other games in bootcamp.

    So I come asking for opinions! Would anyone be somewhat interested in a watercooled mac mini setup? How does the idea sound? Any opinion at all! I know I have not supplied much information on the kit to really get an opinion. None the less please, any input is greatly appreciated. :apple:

    I know this is my first post but it is not a troll or fake thread!
  2. oGu macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
  3. will waters macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Great Britain
    I agree with OGU, seeing some pictures would be good, and i remind you that the mini is not famed for its gaming ability
  4. MacForScience macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2010
    This should set off warning bells in people's heads. A Mac Mini liquid cooling system, this idea begs so many questions. The biggest of which is why would anyone invest in a liquid cooling system, for a computer that is not designed for such high-bandwidth computational tasks?
    The next question of course is the statement "patent pending" now my guess is that this means the OP has a provisional patent. (This is meaningless being unreviewed, no evaluation or real idea required, just money and form.) This also immediately calls into question how much of a design does the OP have? Can the following be provided and answered:
    - Are there design drawings?
    - What level of design (sketch, cad, fab ready specs)?
    - Are their formal specifications for radiator, tubing, pump and fittings?
    - Where do the tubes come out of the mini? (which side)
    - What is the clearance between motherboard and inside of case?
    - What metal is the waterblock going to be fabricated from?
    - What level of heat dissipation does the system achieve?
    - How much water in units/units of time is required?
    - Is the system custom built or is it created from pre-built parts?
    - Is the external cooling system pre-assembled or custom built?
    - What is the estimated cost?
    - Has the OP made one and tested it?
    - Has the OP simulated the design?
    - Does the OP even have the money or capacity to fab the design?
    - What are the OP's qualifications for such design and fab work?

    Now we can move on to the idea of the design:
    The idea requires a custom waterblock with tubes of diameter less than 9.5mm (smallest standard water cooling tubes I am aware of). The design also calls for the tubes to feed from the side not the top, as well as, requiring some form of holes to be drilled in the mini.
    If this is a kit how does the OP deal with the case modifications? The tubes because they have to be probably half the diameter of standard tubes, means more water pressure, or more tubes; meaning more holes. If more pressure than one runs the risk of more leaks. More holes in the mini means more work, less installation friendly, further begging the question of why bother?

    With what the OP has posted so far, I would advise all to question the seriousness of this post. I would also encourage the OP to post additional detail in support of an actual design being had, as well as qualification and fab capability.

    This is the least of the problems with what you posted. Sorry to be blunt, but this sounds really suspicious.

  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It won't attract interest outside of the "hobbyist" circles. Neat idea though; not sure how you managed to squeeze in the tubing and would be interested in the footprint of all the equipment.
  6. VanCleef2012 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012

    I'll give a quick reply as its really late! But heres some answers!

    1. Drawings are done
    2. Sketches all the way up to CADs, materials for a prototype are being assembled now.
    3.Everything is custom but 2 radiators LxHxW 120x40x27mm each, tubing 1/4 ID, pump don't have on top of head.
    4.Tubes come out of the bottom
    5.Not to sure whats being asked sry :/
    6.copper waterblock
    7.prototype has not been made yet so no results
    8.refer to #7
    9.Custom parts, but the kit would be sold as plug n play as much as possible.
    10.Same as #9 as its 1 unit
    11. depends on manufacturing, aiming for $149-199, more on lower side
    12. Its a project thats coming together that will soon have results. Just got some of the parts in already. Prototype will be ready soon, I'm hoping by early april. (on a budget, but its happening).
    13. All the fab work will be done on the professional level, its just my idea and money building it :p

    To be honest I'm aiming for the best results and bringing the kit to the market as cost efficient as possible. I understand the mac mini isn't the best for gaming, but Apple is really stepping up their game in hardware, although no where near a PC level.

    I can get some pictures up of the cad design tomorrow, but I can tell you right now the Mac mini locks into the add-on just like the bottom shield locks in. Its the same size as a mac mini just a bit taller. So imagine 2 mac minis on top of each other.

    Thank you for the input! Its really nice getting opinions, negative and positive!
  7. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    I must say it sounds very interesting and im sure some people would buy it.

    Sadly thats what would stop me from buying one as I love the fact the minis are so thin and you hardly notice them on a desk. If I had cooling problems, and im loosing frames in a game then I would consider the product, or if the mini is really loud due to the fan (doesn't bother me but lets assume it does), which I have yet to experience no matter how hard I stress my minis :D
  8. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    While I can't foresee there being a lot of demand for a water-cooled mini, once you get a good prototype going, you can gauge interest by trying to get on Kickstarter or a similar site and see if enough people sign up.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    while it is a cool idea. buying this


    with this


    and this


    plus this


    cost under 90 bucks is fully reversible and looks okay when setup.

    has speed control has an air filter. the bottom mount plate is all metal and is a bit taller then the stock mini bottom. you can drill a lot of holes in it for air.
  10. sampers macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I'm actually thinking to make some sort of 'dock' with some fans.
    in particular one that serves for the intake, and another one to redirect to exhaust.
    Would there be any sort of connection possible to change fan speed with smc fan control or some sort? like thru a usb-contoller-board.

    as for water-cooling, I've no experience whatsoever. so I'm curious for shure, but to me it seems it's somewhat a more exotic solution?
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    i love the idea of a water cooler but I would be afraid of a leak and voiding the warranty.

    my setup has been built I use it with my server in a tight htpc rack it drops temp about 5c.

    I set the transformer to 11 volts so it runs constant speed of about 900 rpm.

    I can set this up in about 10 or 15 minutes and take the mini back to stock in no time at all. this can run off the firewire jack with this attachment.


    then splice it into the fan. would be a constant speed.
  12. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I don't understand this....

    The Mini can't really be overclocked, so what is the point of water cooling? Further, it uses relatively "slow" processors and GPU's, so even if you could over clock it, what will it really get you? A half dozen more FPS?
  13. VanCleef2012 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    I know apple doesn't allow for Overclocking but the fact that the mac mini slows down quit a bit when hitting 80+ degrees on the cpu and gpu and the noise of the fan spinning at 3800rpm is a bit annoying. I understand water-cooling is not mainstream and more of computer hobby. I will be updating the thread with progress of the project and design! :D I would love be gaming on the mac mini at a steady 30-40 degrees instead of 75-85 :p

    But I just wanted to get some feedback from the community, and so far what I've gotten back is..Pics or nothing, and I'll be working hard to bring the prototype to life as soon as possible. :apple:
  14. MadDragon1846 macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    I'd love my mini to run at those temps, but I hate to think how the mini would look with a load of pipes sticking out the bottom of it!. :p

    If I didn't care much about looks. Then I'd of stuck to my gaming PC. :D

    Only way you could have pipes sticking out the bottom of the mini, and still look nice, would be to get 1 of those add-ons I saw in another thread on here. (the 1 you put under the mini and it contains hard drives and a disk drive).

    You'd need to like, take out the drives, and cut into the top of that, and have the pipes hidden in there.

    1 of these add-ons http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1308357
  15. MacForScience macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2010
    I have to say with the additional information posted this sounds a lot more legitimate than it did. (Why didn't you just post more detail originally?)

    I am not convinced that you'll have much of a market. I am however intrigued to hear, how and if it works.

    Best of luck with your endeavor.

  16. VanCleef2012 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    I know exactly what you mean! And so far my design does nothing to hurt the image of the mac mini! :D No cutting, no tubes, just a mac mini add-on that the mac mini sits on! But tomorrow I'm making a few calls to get the case milled from the block of aluminum.

    This is my first time ever really posting on a public forum about it, so excuse me for leaving out any information! I'm working hard on getting the prototype working. But I can promise you that it looks apple OEM! :apple:
  17. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    If you are serious and get renders/prototype I would put it on Kickstarter.
  18. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Can someone verify that this acctually occurs? Slowing down of the Mac Mini when it hits 80+ degrees? I haven't seen any evidence of this nor have I seen any recent posts about this so I am curious if others are seeing this? I have a Base Mini so mine runs cooler than mid range or the server model.
  19. RogersDA macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2009
    Patent pending in what country/countries? Do you have an application serial #? Has your application been published?

    I'm curious - I would like to see what you've done.
  20. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    Sorry to pour cold water on your idea (sorry could not resist), but the Mini has a distinctly average GPU in it, so I can't really see a gamer wanting to invest in it to be honest.
  21. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think its a cool idea, but I agree the GPU is mediocre at best. The idea of creating a WC rig is to push the components beyond the rating. Doing this on integrated GPU won't really give you a lot of bang for your buck, nor will gamers be really interested in it
  22. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I would be more likely to just build a watercooled hackintosh mate.
  23. VanCleef2012, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012

    VanCleef2012 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    Very true for the 6630m but the way apple is headed, the mac mini keeps getting more powerful. With an i5/i7, and now actually getting a choice of the intel or ati gpu. Where as before it was integrated cpu/gpu only. A 2011 water-cooled mac mini wouldn't push thing to far, but its a start of water-cooling apple products. Maybe it will only be for apple hobbyist/fanboys but its a good start. Today I called around for a machine shop and found out my buddies parents own one. So I'm getting that setup for the case. Next is radiators being built since they're custom. Tubing and fittings are simple along with the pump. But progress is being made! I'm working on getting a site built as well, as I have a kit for the iMac, PS3 Slim, and XboX 360S, that are all designed to fit inside and not look tampered with. Altho not the iMac! That would be impossible lol!
  24. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    till you actually do it it's not done. no matter if it is drawn up fully it still needs to be built and tested. I remember these architect students brought me their chair design to cut out for them. chose the cheapest plywood and had all these small parts. they learned the lesson when they had to assemble it and what a pain it was. just because it can be drawn does not mean it will work.
  25. seong macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Just get things done and post it on Kickstarter?
    That will actually get you more attention than a thread like this on MacRumors Forums. If there are people supporting your idea, and reach the required $, then you are certain there are enough people out there for you to ship and sell this product. If it fails, then, well, change some design, better, and put it up again on Kickstarter?
    Just my opinion.

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