Mac Mini Late 2012 Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Apple is shrinking! No, not in the AAPL stock way (that's high as ever), but in the 'Let's name everything Mini' way. Along with the announcement of the iPad Mini on October 23rd (teardown coming soon; we promise) came the new and improved Mac Mini, the 2012 iteration of the optical-drive-less Mini from last year. With the current trend, we look forward to maybe one day tearing down a smaller version of the Mac Mini: the Mac Mini Mini. But until then, we content ourselves with tearing into the Mac Mini Late 2012.

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Relevant Parts
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Edit Step 1 Mac Mini Late 2012 Teardown  ¶ 

  • Good things come in mini packages. This Mini is packing:

    • 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

    • 500 GB hard drive or 1 TB hard drive configurable to a 1 TB Fusion Drive or 256 GB solid-state drive—upgradable with an extra hard drive or SSD using our dual hard drive kit

    • 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB of DDR3 SDRAM

    • Intel HD Graphics 4000

    • Thunderbolt and HDMI ports

    • SDXC card slot

  • This Mini lacks an optical drive, just like its predecessor.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • It's beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. The same model number (A1347) has graced the 2011 and 2010 Minis.

  • The port layout is consistent with last year's model:

    • 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet

    • FireWire 800

    • HDMI (HDMI to DVI adapter included)

    • Thunderbolt (supports high-speed I/O and Mini DisplayPort)

    • Four USB 3.0 ports (an upgrade from last year's 2.0)

    • SDXC card reader

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Twist and shout!

  • A simple twist of the bottom cover and we're in. That is plus one for repairability.

  • Upgradeable RAM!! Oh, how we've missed you!

  • The 2012 iteration of the Mac Mini is equipped with PC3-12800 DDR3 RAM.

  • It's refreshing to see an Apple product with user replaceable/upgradeable RAM.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • We're fans of easily removable fans.

  • Easily accessible fans mean soot sprites better run for cover, because cleaning dirty fans is no problem.

    • Need to clean your fan? Directions can be found here.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • We remove the fan cowling, eager to get at the Wi-Fi antenna plate.

  • We are really starting to suspect that Dr. Emmett Brown had something to do with this Mini as the antenna board and grille look identical to the last two renditions.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Here we find the legendary Mac Mini logic board removal tool in its natural habitat.

    • Note the ease of use as the tool swoops in to release the logic board of the Mini.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • The first component off the logic board assembly is the speaker assembly.

  • The speaker cable was arranged in a twisted pair, probably to reduce EMI that could distort the sweet, iconic tones of the Apple startup sound.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • The Wi-Fi board, labeled BCM94331PCIEBT3B, stands no chance against our spudger as we make it truly wireless.

  • Removing the EMI shields allows us to peek at the ICs on the communications board:

    • Broadcom BCM4331 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi chip

    • Broadcom BCM20702 Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter

    • SiGe 5503A 2304A Dual Band 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Front End

    • SiGe 2598L

    • P2303A TUB2P

    • 7871 1228 C6050

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • The heat sink is next to go.

  • Apple has really keyed in on their boomerang-style heat sink abilities—and for that, we applaud them. We know boomerangs can be tough to master.

  • Similar, again! We have not tried installing old 2011 Mini parts in the 2012 Mini, but we are certainly not ruling out the possibility!

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • A series of screws and tightly wrapped antenna cables secure the rear I/O panel shield to the logic board.

  • A few twists of our precision aluminum driver with a T6 Torx bit and some cable de-routing is all it takes to remove the shield.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Some mini players on the top of the not-so-mini logic board:

    • Cirrus Logic 4206B Audio Controller

    • SMSC USB2512B USB Hub Controller

    • Broadcom BCM57765 gigabit ethernet and memory card controller

    • Intel L232TB45 Thunderbolt Port Controller

    • LSI L-FW643E-2

    • AELTA 8904C-F

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • The rear side of the logic board:

    • Intel E224B809 platform controller hub

    • Intel V227C254 2.5 GHz dual-core i5

    • SMSC 1428-7 system management bus temperature sensor

    • Parade PS8401A HDMI/DVI level shifter

    • AELTA 8904C-F

    • LM4FS1AH

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Tucked away neatly near the rear of the Mini is the hard drive.

  • Our model came with a 500 GB Hitatchi hard drive.

  • The Mini is one of the Macs launched with the Fusion Drive.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Next up, we displace the power of the Mini.

  • It is beginning to feel repetitive to say how repetitive Apple is in the design of the Mini; nonetheless, the power supply appears identical to last year's model.

    • In this case, we have to say that repetition is a good thing, as the Mini continues to be one of the most repairable devices that Apple produces.

  • Just like last year, the power supply provides 85 watts to the Mac Mini—that's the same kind of electric juice as the AC adapter for a 15" or 17" MacBook Pro.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • We were especially curious to see if this new Mac Mini is still compatible with our dual hard drive upgrade kit, so we got to testing it!

  • Following along with our own guide for the 2011 model was a snap, and everything fit perfectly.

  • After a quick reassembly, we booted this guy up for the first time—with 50% extra storage. Success!

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Mac Mini Mid 2012 Repairability: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • No proprietary screws are found within the device.

    • You can easily upgrade your RAM and hard drive, as well as add a secondary drive.

    • There's no glue anywhere inside that needs to be removed while disassembling the Mini.

    • The CPU is soldered to the logic board and not user-upgradeable.

    • While not difficult to do, you still have to remove almost all the internals in order to replace the power supply.

Required Tools

TR8 Torx Security Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 30 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

Mac Mini Dual Drive Kit

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

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iFixit Lock Pick Set

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Inspection Scope

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Frictionless Ratchet

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Portable Anti-Static Mat

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Hello,

I see that Mac mini Late 2012 have a Hitachi HTS545050A7E362 HDD

What kind of SATA connection have that Hitachi HDD?

And what kind of SATA connection have Mac mini Late 2012? SATA II or SATA III?

Regards

nickeditor, · Reply

Can you add in an SSD with your dual drive kit to see if Fusion turns on somehow?

Below, · Reply

Can you confirm that you can add a second hard drive if you choose the fusion drive option? I believe Apple have used that extra space in the mac mini to pack in the 128GB SSD for the fusion drive.

Roy, · Reply

when reinstalling the heatsink did you notice the heatsink does not 100% connect to the platform hub?

even when screwed down tight and new thermal paste applied there is still a paper thin gap between heatsink and platform controller hub

can anyone else confirm this???

thanks

kevin

beanieboy182@hotmail.com

kevin, · Reply

Thank you very much for all the outstanding articles. I am trying to get a very neat and clean HTPC and I wander if the Mac Mini 2012 logical board and ac adapter will fit in the Mac Mini 2010 case in order to have Core i5 or Core i7 with an optical drive.

miyoshis, · Reply

Macbooks and iMacs are always easy to upgrade for memory..

Theun Evers, · Reply

Why exactly are you fans of "upgradable fans"? Is there a need or benefit to "upgrading" the Mac mini fan. Isn't the included fan more than sufficient to the task?

ktbeatty, · Reply

SiGe 2598L - SE2598L 2.4 GHz Power Amplifier with Power Detector

hardegor, · Reply

Hi everybody :)

Does anybody knows the exact specs of the L232TB45 TB controller?`

Thx beforhand

Killy

Killy, · Reply

Hello,

Intel E224B809 platform controller hub

Intel V227C254 2.5 GHz dual-core i5

are not comercial names, what are the comercial names of that Intel chipset and Intel processor?

Regards

nickeditor, · Reply

The Mac Mini uses somewhat custom parts, they don't have direct counterparts in Intel's main OEM and retail lines.

Rich Mingin,

If you wanted to know what is kind of close, the CPU is very similar to, but not identical to a i5-3210M.

The chipset is much harder to classify, since it doesn't have a lot distinctive features to differentiate it. It's probably similar to the Mobile Intel® HM76 Express Chipset (Intel® BD82HM76 PCH).

Rich Mingin,

Wheres the ssd?It that a non fusion drive model, or it is build into the hard drive?

Honam1021, · Reply

Can you verify the data rate of the I/O is it SATA-3?

Dan, · Reply

Based on the spec of Mac mini 2012, looks like 500GB is not fusion drive, I think.

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/sh...

Liang Qi, · Reply

What is the maximum hard drive height if one is looking for a replacement? I see the drive you have is 7mm, but is there any wiggle room to go higher?

Jeradw, · Reply

MacRumors: Apple's New Fusion Drive Works on Older Macs

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/10/31/appl...

Liang Qi, · Reply

2012, not 2011

"Mac Mini Mid 2011 Repairability: 8 out of 10"

Paul, · Reply

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