Opening an Apple Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A

I wanted to upgrade my old Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A. Here’s what I did. Remember that I will not be responsible for any damage to your equipment.

With most Apple computers, opening them can be trivial. The trick to opening this one is using a putty knife. There are no screws holding the case to the computer/motherboard.

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There shouldn’t be any hidden wires connecting the case and the computer itself. Once you have the case off, here’s what you’ll see.

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You will notice that the DVDRW drive is at the top, while the hard drive is right underneath. At this point, you’ll probably not see the ram. It’s underneath the hard drive. You have to remove some screws to get access to these components. You should note that there is a wire that needs to be disconnected before removing the screws.

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In the front view of the above picture, please note A. This is the wire that needs to be disconnected.

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You will need to unclip the piece marked A to gain access to one of the screws.

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The picture above shows you where each of the 4 screws are. They are black with one of them being longer than the other 3. The labels A, B, C, and D shows where the screws are located. D is the longest of the 4 screws. E just shows you I have removed the component to get access to screw C.

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Keep in mind, there is a ribbon connecting the mid layer you are about to lift and the motherboard. This is to the back of the Mac Mini. The SATA ports are joined to the motherboard by a card. Slowly lift up keeping the 2 components I just mentioned. Figure A is the ram location. You can install 2x DDR2 667. Up to 2GB (2x 1GB) are supported but 3GB can be supported according to Wikipedia. These are not desktop size ram, they are laptop size – SODIMM. Figure B is the hard drive. It is a 2.5” size. According to Wikipedia, it’s a SATA2 port that supports up to 3Gbps but it has been throttled down to 1.5Gbps.

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Figure A is the ribbon I was referring to above. You can remove it but remove the end that’s attached behind the DVDRW drive. It is a little pain to connect it back but it will make moving things around easier. It’s up to you but check out how it’s connected first so you know how to put it back later.

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Above is a picture with a closer look of the SATA card that connects the hard drive and optical drive to the motherboard. Figure A connects to Figure B. So be aware of that when lifting the middle piece off the motherboard. You should lift up.

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The 2 pictures above I labeled where the 4 screws are located to remove the hard drive. It’s fairly easy to remove from the SATA connection after the screws have been removed but putting the new hard drive can be more of a challenge. There’s a gap between the hard drive and DVDRW drive so you can’t rest the hard drive on the optical drive while connecting it to the SATA port.

If you’ve ever opened up a Macbook Pro or other laptops, you will notice the ram is place in a similar fashion. There are 2 clips on the side. Once you unclip the ram, it will pop up. The ram chips are stacked on top of each other, with their own clips.

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Above is another view of the motherboard.

That should cover how to replace the hard drive and ram for the Mac Mini. Before putting the case back, I would suggest turning it on and ensuring your new components are recognize. Just be careful when you have it running to not touch any of the components as you may damage it. Apple may have nice designs but the price of it is the difficulty of upgrading.

Upgrading my iMac MB324LL/A

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

Update: their videos on Youtube are no longer there. I’ll keep their usernames in the post just to show credit.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

So now I got the new 1TB hard drive installed. How do I get my old system on the new drive? There are 2 ways to do this. The first way is to use Time Machine (if you actually did use it). You can install a fresh copy of Leopard on the new hard drive. After installation, you get an option to use a Time Machine back up to restore. I’ve tried this but since I have over 200GB of data, my iMac ends up sleeping while trying to load the data to restore.

The second option is the image the old hard drive and restore it on the new one. This option took me about a day to complete. What you will need is an external hard drive, your old hard, and the new hard drive. If you image your old drive before installing the new one, you don’t need a second external enclosure. The first thing you’ll do is to boot your computer using the Leopard DVD. Open Disc Utility on the Leopard DVD. Do not do this while booted on the hard drive. It’s possible that it will not work because the drive you are imaging is in use. The external hard drive is where you will save the image file. Once finished, restore the image onto the new hard drive. That’s pretty much a brief summary of what I did.

I did run into some errors while formatting the new hard drive. This post helped me outhttp://macosx.com/forums/hardware-peripherals/290989-disk-utility-problem-erasing-large-external-hard-drive.html.

The image/restore process took most of the day. It may be quicker or longer for you, depending on the size of the data. Make sure you take any necessary precautions before working on your expensive Apple hardware 😉