Opening up the Mac Mini – easy when you know how

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Woohoo! 2GB RAM in my Mac for less than half the amount that Apple would have charged me (does anybody want to buy 2x256MB 667MHz DDR2 SODIMMs that have been used for just one month?).

Mac with 2GB RAM installed

Ordinarily, I’d say that upgrading the RAM in a PC is no big deal, but Mac Minis don’t have any screws to open the case; and unlike many notebook PCs, it not a case of popping open a small panel either.

Thankfully the instructional videos at the OtherWorldComputing Tech Center include a hardware upgrade tutorial for the Intel Mac Mini which showed exactly how to do it (thanks guys – if you sold memory in the UK I would have bought it from you).

So, armed with a Stanley DynaGrip 50mm filling knife that I picked from B&Q on the way home and an old plastic visitors pass (from Microsoft of all places!), I gained access to the inside of my Mac and swapped out the standard 256MB SODIMMs for two new 1GB modules from(which arrived in 24 hours with free shipping by Royal Mail Special Delivery – and there was 5% off the day I bought them, so they only came to £178.59 including VAT).

The operation wasn’t without it’s hiccups. First of all, I didn’t quite insert one of the memory modules correctly so when I booted the Mac it only saw 1GB of RAM. Then, when I reopened the computer to investigate, the knife slipped and I made a small scratch on the outside of the case (annoying, but too late to do anything about it now). I refitted the RAM, but dropped one of the screws inside the unit and the airport antenna came off whilst I was trying to locate the missing screw… that was a bit of a heart-stopper but it was easily reattached (once I worked out where to fix it). Finally, I forgot to reattach the small cable at the front of the motherboard so the fan ran continuously until I opened the Mac up for a third time and reattached the missing connector. Notwithstanding all of these errors, everything is working now and the extra memory should make everything a lot faster.

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