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A YouTuber has successfully made the M1 Mac mini 78% smaller and added MagSafe in a unique DIY project, highlighting Apple's iterative approach to the current entry-level Mac mini ahead of the expected launch of a redesigned high-end model.

mac-mini-quinn-nelson.jpg

When Apple introduced the M1 Mac mini in November 2020, it retained the exact same unibody design that the company has used since 2010. Subsequent teardowns revealed that the M1 Mac mini contains a very large amount of empty space.

This is because the unibody design was conceived for Intel processors and hardware from over the past twelve years, while modern components such as the M1 chip and its unified memory system are extremely small and thermally efficient, being suitable for the likes of the thin and passively cooled MacBook Air.

Now, Quinn Nelson, the YouTuber behind the popular channel Snazzy Labs, has shrunk the M1 Mac mini as much as possible by relocating its internals and engineering a new casing.


Since most of the Mac mini's internal space is taken up by a 150W power supply, Nelson replaced it with an external 65W Microsoft Surface power supply with a retrofitted MagSafe 2 connector, which connects to a DC voltage regulator leading to the Mac mini's logic board.

Nelson created a smaller new enclosure for the Mac mini using resin 3D printing, adopting the distinctive "cheese grater" design of the 2019 Mac Pro for enhanced thermals. Nelson relocated parts such as the antennae and power button to the new enclosure and removed the Mac mini's fan. Overall, the modified device is 28% of its original volume internally.

Despite the Mac mini's logic board being in a much smaller enclosure with no fan, Nelson noticed virtually no change in performance, with the device benchmarking just as well as the original machine. Nelson has made a detailed build guide available for any skilled users who wish to undertake the project for themselves.

The Mac mini is due to get a significant overhaul this year, featuring the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips from the MacBook Pro in an all-new design. According to leaker Jon Prosser, who shared renders of the new Mac mini's alleged design last year, the new Mac mini will retain a similar form factor to the current Mac mini, but with an overall reduction in size.

The new design is purported to feature a "plexiglass-like" top, sitting above an aluminum frame, much like the first-generation Apple TV. The rear of the device is said to feature the same ports that are currently available with the high-end Intel-based Mac mini, including four Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, one Ethernet port, and one HDMI port, but will add a magnetic power connector from the 24-inch iMac.

Apple is believed to have been working on a new Mac mini for some time. Apple updated the entry-level Mac mini with the M1 chip in November 2020, but the high-end offering is still the Space Gray model with an Intel processor from 2018. It is this high-end model that is expected to be replaced this year with an Apple silicon model that features the first redesign since 2010, but an update for the entry-level M1 model to add the M2 chip also seems plausible.

Apple is reportedly planning to launch the new Mac mini at an event in the spring. For more information about what to expect from the high-end Mac mini, see our detailed guide.

Article Link: YouTuber Modifies M1 Mac Mini to Be 78% Smaller
 

BrownyQ

macrumors regular
Dec 13, 2021
114
340
There was a time where I thought Apple would take the M1, or some future chip, and shrink the Mac mini from the current size to fit into the Apple TV enclosure. Mac nano, I used to joke.

I love these kinds of DIY projects, but I'm such a mess when it comes to projects like these I've never had the guts to try it myself.
 

Pupi

macrumors 6502
Apr 12, 2015
374
708
Yeah I’m not a big fan of this. It barely looks smaller (Mac mini is already pretty small and it will fit in most places the smaller one does) and loses the internal power supply. Not to mention, it is UGLY.

However it could be useful in some extreme cases, embedded devices, robotics projects and so on.

For people at home or office just looking to use a Mac mini, nah.
 

apparatchik

macrumors 6502a
Mar 6, 2008
683
2,031
It is smaller because he took the power supply out.. wow amazing :rolleyes:. Now you just have an external power supply which is still large and taking up space...

I wouldn’t mind and actually think Apple may reuse / share the M1 iMac power supply with the expected redesigned Mini, as you can see in the video, the power supply takes most of the volume inside the enclosure…
 

Nicole1980

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2010
526
912
It is smaller because he took the power supply out.. wow amazing :rolleyes:. Now you just have an external power supply which is still large and taking up space...
Exactly. I'd rather have a somewhat larger mac mini with ALL the essentials inside the box. It's a friggin' desktop after all. So no need to chase smallness or 'thinness' (in the case of the iMac) and compromise other things.
 

iBluetooth

macrumors 6502
Mar 29, 2016
483
1,231
He removed the fan and the power supply. Replaced the internal power supply with less powered external supply and says that he tested it and that it's ok without the fan!
 
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JKAussieSkater

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2009
231
342
Tokyo, Japan
It is smaller because he took the power supply out.. wow amazing :rolleyes:. Now you just have an external power supply which is still large and taking up space...
This is actually better. Aside from a smaller design, if an electrical failure happens in the power supply, it is easily replaced for presumably under $100. Even instantly swapped out. The alternative, with a built-in power supply, is that your computer needs to be repaired and is unavailable in the meantime, and may cost more because of labour.

tl;dr External power supplies are better.
 

GreenPixel

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2014
168
1,129
I love the way the Apple Marketing Machine has done its work and people are now calling storage "unified" and not what it actually is; Non-upgradable. ??‍♂️
We all know that the unified RAM is not upgradable. Soldered RAM is nothing new--companies have been doing it for ages. But the "unified" aspect of the RAM on an M1 is a great feature. For most consumers there is nothing wrong with this setup. For prosumers and pros...hopefully they have a machine or two that is more upgradable. We'll see.
 
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