Released on July 21, 2011. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Thunderbolt. This unit is also used to run the Mac mini Server configuration.

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How to Remove Plastic from Mac Mini Lid for Better Cooling?

WARNING: DO NOT PUNCTURE ALUMINUM PLATE; FOR INTERNAL AIR FLOW.

I was hoping the black plastic was spot glued. So I scored a 1cm square, as a test, to see if I could peel it off. Unfortunately, it seems the plastic is melted onto the aluminum plate. 100% adhesion, no gaps.

So I used a dremel tool to try to grind the plastic off. Unfortunately the plastic is very tough. By the time I had cleared a 3cm diameter patch, my brass brush wheel was near bald.

From the images below, you can see the plastic coated areas 1cm to the left & right of the bare aluminum spot, are 5°c hotter.

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From the last image above, you can see I want to remove all the plastic from the semi-circle area I scored into the lid.

WHAT'S THE EASIEST WAY TO REMOVE THE BLACK PLASTIC?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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why is it over heating?

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I don't think it's technically overheating any more than normal, under heavy load. I'm just trying to improve cooling, because it's 7 years old and I'm trying to prevent / reduce heat damage. So it will last longer.

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2 Answers

Chosen Solution

Acetone & Utility Knife.

It dissolved the glue along the edge of the aluminum patch. Slipped the blade in between and sliced through the rest of the glue. Made sure to score deeply around the area I wanted to remove, so the plastic would snap off at the edges.

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Fortunately, the aluminum base plate was strong enough that it didn't puncture, but as you can see it dented quite easily. Will clean up the edges & left over glue later. For now, here's the temperature differences. (basic load = all transformers trailers @ 1080p 2x speed; just like last time)

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Additional temperature drop of 10°c, for a total temperature drop of 15°c, at the centre spot, which was the hottest spot before I removed any plastic from the lid.

For now, I'm placing the copper heat sink & fan on top of the bare aluminum to cool it by an additional 5°c; until my 200mm case fan & 12v ac speed controller arrives. Then I'll stand the Mac Mini up vertically, apple logo facing forward with the big silent fan blowing directly on the whole bake side. Hopefully that will allow the Mini to run at 3.2Ghz for longer before thermal throttling kicks in.

Thanks for the helpful comments :)

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Removing the plastic is not a recommended action

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Most Helpful Answer

Ah! The basic question is Black or White (aluminum here) a better surface to conduct heat away. Sometimes this gets messy as depending on the heat source the answer maybe the opposite!

In fact your testing has proved that point! You noted the bare metal surface is cooler than the black surface about 45.5c Vs 40c (15c difference). The problem in your logic is the metal plate is the same underneath the black plastic as your exposed area, so black plastic is in fact sapping away 15c worth of heat. Basically, its a heat sink! As its touching a surface (desk) the heat is then transferred to the mass of the desk.

While you normally wear white cloths in the summer it only reflects the heat it does not remove it from your body. But lets look at what the Arab Bedouin wear they have dark clothing against their bodies and a white robe. The dark clothing pulls the heat away from their bodies and the White clothing shields them from the heat of the sun.

Bottomline its a good design! And you're actions will in fact make the system run hotter (force the fan to work harder)

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How about installing a good thermal sensor & fan monitoring app like this one: TG Pro it will give you the internal temps and of you think your system is overheating you should be able to identify whats in trouble. If you want post a screenshot of the main app window and paste it here for us to see maybe we can help you identify whats up.

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I've always wondered why they wear those things. but having 2 layers, wouldn't that overpower the cooling effect?

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@captainsnowball - Do some reading on the Bedouin's as well as crows and other dark colored birds.

The function here is to pull the heat not block it.

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@Dan - Thanks. I was wondering about that.

I think the aluminum spot is cooler because it's getting rid of heat faster than the plastic. Conversely I think the plastic is hotter because it's holding on to heat.

Also I've never heard of plastic heat sinks. So I think the plastic is actually working as a heat insulator, which is why I want to remove it.

Also I'm going to stand the Mac Mini vertically, so the internal fan blows the heat upward like a chimney. I'm also going to add a 200mm PC case fan to blow air on the lid side. So the airflow will have direct contact with the bare aluminum lid, which is the other reason I want to remove the plastic layer.

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The exposed area is not large enough to explain 15c difference. Besides, your non-contact thermometer is measuring the temp of the surface which is the base temp the black surfaces are really sinking the heat.

Please give TG Pro a try! I suspect you may have a bigger problem if you're overheating. 45c is not that hot! What are you running fo a app on your system? Last year I maintained 30 mini's and I've never needed to go to the level you're going to keep the systems cool.

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