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Apple Mac mini 2010 (A1347) Teardown

TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler disassembles Apple's redesigned Mac mini exposing the hardware inside the new unibody enclosure.
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Topic: Apple
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In June 2010, Apple released a redesigned Mac mini. The new model (A1347) has several improvements, such as a sleek unibody enclosure, user accessible RAM, HDMI output, and SD card slot.
To disassemble the Mac mini, you'll need a driver with T6 and T8 Torx and 2.0 mm Hex bits, plastic or metal spludger, and two small screws drivers with cylindrical shafts.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Our base model Mac Mini (A1347) cost $699 (US) and came with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU, and Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Lifting the top off the Mac mini box, we get our fist look at the A1347's aluminum unibody enclosure.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Under the Mac mini, you'll find the rest of the box contents.
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Included with the Mac mini is the power cord, HDMI to DVI adapter, documentation, and OS disc.
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The new Mac mini is significantly thinner than previous versions, and continues the line's minimalist design. The front of the computer has only the power/activity light and disc slot.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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The bottom of the Mac mini is dominated by a large, circular access plate. This plate can be removed without tools and gives the user easy access to the machine's RAM chips.
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Along the back of the Mac mini, are the power button, AC power input, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet port, Firewire 800?port, HDMI out, Mini DisplayPort four USB 2.0 ports, SD card slot, audio line in minijack, and audio line out/headphone minijack.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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The Mac mini's access plate can be easily removed by rotating it from the locked position (shown here) to the unlocked position (indicated by the open circle on the aluminum enclosure).
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You unlock the Mac mini's access plate by turning it so that the white dot on the plate aligns with the hollow black circle on the aluminum enclosure.
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The Mac mini's access plate not only allows you to open the machine's case, but serves as a non-slip surface on which to rest the computer.
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A thin metal shield is attached to the back of the Mac mini's access plate.
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With the access plate removed, we get our fist look inside the Mac mini (A1347). The RAM chips, cooling fan, and Wi-Fi antenna are clearly visible.
The access plate is a huge improvement over previous Mac mini designs as it allows users to upgrade the machine's RAM without having to "crack open" the case.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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To begin disassembling the Mac mini, I removed the three T8 Torx screws that serve as posts for the catches on the access plate. Two of these screws also hold the Wi-Fi antenna in place.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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There are two more T8 Torx screws holding the Wi-Fi antenna plate in place.
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The Mac Mini has two memory slots. Our base model came with 2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM. The two slots can support up to 8GB (two 4GB SO-DIMMs).
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Two Samsung 1GB 1Rx8 SO-DIMMs
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With the ram remove, you can let the Wi-Fi antenna plate away from the case.
Note: There is a wire connecting the antenna to the AirPort/Bluetooth board. You'll need to disconnect this wire before removing the plate.
Also, you may want to remove the cooling fan and black plastic cowling (which I do later), before removing the antenna plate. You can slide the plate past these two components, but it's a tight fit.
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With the Wi-Fi antenna plate removed, we can see the 320GB Serial ATA hard drive (glad in black plastic).
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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There are two T6 Torx screws that secure the Mac mini's cooling fan to the logic board.
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With the screws removed, you can gently lift the cooling fan away from the Mac mini's unibody enclosure. Before removing it completely, you'll need to disconnect the wire that connects the fan to the main logic board.
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The cooling fan is a welcome addition to the redesigned Mac mini A1347.
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With the fan removed, we get our first good look at Mac mini's main logic board.
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With the cooling fan removed, a single T6 Torx screw holds the cowling to the heat sink.
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You may have to wiggle the cowling to pull it free from the unibody enclosure.
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With the cowling removed, you can see the heat sink beneath.
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There are several screws and standoffs that hold the main logic board and hard drive in place. Before proceeding, I removed all of these. Just make sure you note where each screw/standoff goes and some are not interchangeable.
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One of the standoffs attached to the Mac Mini's main logic board.
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This screw holds the Mac mini's heat sink in place.
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A second screws on the Mac mini's heat sink.
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This screw holds the Mac mini's hard drive in place.
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There are a series of connectors on the Mac mini's main logic board for the optical drive, hard disk, thermal sensor, and IR senor. You will need to gently disconnect all these cables before removing the logic board from the Mac mini's unibody enclosure.
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The large connectors belong to the hard drive and optical drive.
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To the right of the drive connectors are two thermal sensor connectors (one for each drive) and the IR sensor connector.
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To remove the Mac mini's logic board, you'll need to insert two thin, cylindrical rods into these two holes and gently pry the board and attached components out the back of the unibody enclosure.
Warning: Using any other holes to pry loose the main logic board, could damage the board.
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Two small screwdrivers work well when prying loose the Mac mini's main logic board.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Once the main logic board as moved just past the end of the enclosure, you can remove the screwdrivers.
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With the main logic board shifted, we can remove the hard drive from the Mac mini.
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Our base model Mac mini came with a 320GB Toshiba HDD2H77 hard drive.
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With the hard drive removed, we can the optical drive below.
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Before removing the main logic board, I disconnected the connector to the power supply. With the cable disconnected you can pull the logic board free from the unibody enclosure.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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The heat sink, speaker and wireless card are still attached to the top of the Mac mini's main logic board.
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The Mac mini's heat sink is mounted over the Intel CPU and NVIDIA GPU, and curves around to the back of the logic board where the cooling fan can move air across it.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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The Mac mini's internal speaker and AirPort Extreme card are mounted on this small protrusion on the main logic board.
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Our Mac mini came with a Panasonic 3V BR2032 system battery.
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The Mac Mini A1347 has 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. Broadcom appears to have manufactured this card or supplied most of the chips for it as "Broadcom" is clearly marked on the underside of the card.
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At this point, a a couple of spring-loaded T8 Torx screws hold the heat sink to the main logic board.
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With all the screws removed, you can lift the heat sink away from the main logic board and the CPU and GPU.
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On the right, is the Intel P8600 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor. A 2.66GHz CPU is also available.
On the left is the NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU with 256MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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With nearly all the internal components removed, we can see the Mac mini's entire logic board.
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On the underside of the Mac mini's heat sink we find the connector for the thermal sensor, the air channels, and the plates that physically connect the heat sink to the CPU and GPU. A think layer of thermal paste is still on the contact plates.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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The main logic board removed, all the remains within the Mac mini's unibody enclosure are the optical drive and the power supply.
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Apple opted for an internal power supply with the Mac mini A1347. this design eliminates the need for an external power block common on laptops and game consoles.
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Information on the Mac mini's power supply are located on the underside labels. This unit is a Delta Electronics Model ADP-85AF S rated for 85W of total power.
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With the power supply removed, only the optical drive remains.
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The Mac mini's optical drive and plastic frame are removed as a single unit. The Mac mini contains a Hitachi-LG Data Storage Super Multi DVD rewriter -- Model: GA32N.
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With all the internal components removed, there's not much left inside the Mac mini unibody enclosure.
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The Mac mini A1347 was significantly easier to disassemble than previous versions. The addition of the bottom access plate, and standard screws make the A1347 a very serviceable, machine.
Photo credit: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic

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