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Add air intake filter to Mac mini
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MJL
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:40 pm    Post subject: Add air intake filter to Mac mini Reply with quote

For years I have been using laptops (normally having two at any given moment in use) and once a year I would open them up and clean the inside form dust etc. (Mainly prevent the fan from clogging up and remove the dirt out of the cooling vanes for the CPU/GPU).

With worsening eyesight as the result of arthritis I have reverted to a desktop (larger screen) and after a long search settled on a Mac mini mid 2010 - it just meets my CPU / GPU requirements and has a small form factor and above all it is the quietest desktop that I could find in our country (New Zealand) which has repair support.

After I replaced the HDD with a SSD I decided that I would not like to have to pry apart the machine once a year for cleaning it and I made an air filter out of polyester fibre. First I put 4 feet from silentPC.com on the plastic bottom and then I cut an unused airconditioning air filter in the shape of the outline of the mini and then in the center cut a hole the size of the plastic bottom cover. Works like a charm and it will require only a once a year dunking in the kitchen sink in some soapy water to get cleaned out and now no more prying open of a computer. I reckon it is the best computer I've ever had. Next year another one will join it older "sibling" and will have the same air intake filter added.

Cannot see a way to post a pic here but you can look for me (same nick) on the rumors forum and see the pics there.
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Am Yisrael Chai!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, that looks like an awesome idea as long as it doesn't change your Mini's ability to intake cool air and shed heat effectively. What were your temps before and after your mod?
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MJL's pics



Here's a link to MJL's post on macrumors forum where you can see the larger images.
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MJL
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am Yisrael Chai! wrote:
Hey, that looks like an awesome idea as long as it doesn't change your Mini's ability to intake cool air and shed heat effectively. What were your temps before and after your mod?


As far as I can tell temperatures stayed the same (around 39 - 41 C). More importantly rpm did not change and I checked the current going to the computer and that did not change either which means no extra load on the fan. (I used to have an electronics hobby) Most of the drag is caused by the air gap between the bottom cover and the aluminium housing.
It is important to select material that has a number of PPI (Pores Per Inch) perferably between 40 and 60 (in other words something that has a free airflow and was designed for air filters).
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gigaguy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cloud computing.
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if that could be made to work with the classic mini design?

SC
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Make sure it has pins!
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macmanmacman
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok can someone say are you kidding me you have got to be kidding me right theres no vents on the 2010 mini
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MJL
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

macmanmacman wrote:
ok can someone say are you kidding me you have got to be kidding me right theres no vents on the 2010 mini


Guess you've never taken a hard look at the bottom cover. It will take the air in just around the small gap between the bottom cover and housing - it is sitting on three little "standoffs" to keep that sapce. The area around the memory etc has a rubber seal (check my postings on the rumors forum, same nick) and hte air goes in through the grille around the WiFi antenna. If you do not believe me try this: take a piece of paper and slide it between bottom cover and housing.... How do you think otherwise the vent of the back spews out the (warm) air?
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jb
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

macmanmacman wrote:
ok can someone say are you kidding me you have got to be kidding me right theres no vents on the 2010 mini

If there are no vents as you state, then where does the minis fan get its air from and how does it exhaust.
And before you make another ill-informed statement, "yes the 2010 mini does have a fan".
checkout the small black object right above the mother board.
Also read the bit about the back panel, paying special attention to the part about ventilation holes.



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Cypher
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't got one of the new mini's but why are you beating up on this guy ?? He's only posting what he did.

Air must be taken in from somewhere and then passed over the CPU etc and pushed out somewhere else. If it's venting out the back through the ventilation slot mentioned in the picture above then it has to be sucking it in from somewhere else as MJL pointed out.

MJL's fix is to prevent dust build up inside the mini, it's not to provide extra ventilation

Cheers MJL.
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MJL
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cypher wrote:
MJL's fix is to prevent dust build up inside the mini, it's not to provide extra ventilation

Cheers MJL.


I run my computers 16 hours / day and over time the fan does fill up and the vanes that do the cooling clog up considerably. Some may not care since they buy every year a new computer but why would someone spend the money if the computer is capable of doing all the tasks it is required to do? In that case it is prudent to try to lenghten the life of the machine by making sure it does not have dirt buildup inside. (I normally ran them 18 months - 2 years and cleaned the inside once a year)

The dirt buildup can with the CMOS technology cause a short or alternatively the dirt can prevent proper cooling of some heat producing parts (and not only the CPU/GPU but also of the voltage regulators and power supply amongst others. I've seen power supply fans completely seized up with dirt....). What I bought is the 2010 model about a week before the 2011 model became available. Before the 2011 model was released I made some remarks that I was suspicious about the new model potentially having heat issues.

I now read about some of the 2011 models having high temperatures: up to 96-97 C. In my reasoning proper cooling becomes of prime importance in such a case. In other words - keep the machine inside clean so that the cooling parts can work at their best and no vents are clogged up and keep the vanes clean and make sure that the fan is not clogged up so that it moves the most air. I suspect that towards the second half of the lifecycle of the 2011 mini we'll start to see a lot of "unexplained" malfunctioning which will be often related to too much heat.

Another reason of attempting to keep the machine clean in this way is that due to losing mobility in my fingers I am trying to do preventive maintenance. With the overhead lighting that I have in my home office I do not even notice the air filter, it just sits in the shadow of the computer. Furthermore I am very, very pleased with the Mac mini and putting in an Intel X25M G2 80 Gb took away all noise - the fan cannot be heard under normal circumstances.

If you do not want to have an air filter then that's fine with me, I was merely passing on something which I consider an elegant solution and which is non-destructive and simple to make.

peace to all and thanks for the positive replies
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Am Yisrael Chai!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea very much and I am going to try it out. The tolerances the 2011 Mac Mini has are so tight that I agree long term dust buildup would pose serious problems. I have been contemplating how to organize my Mac Mini area for a while now. I have the Mac Mini, cable gateway, netgear wireless router, and a powered USB hub all taking up space in the corner of my desk. Literally all of the ports are occupied on the Mini and the router except for the HDMI port on the Mini. All of those boxes and the associated wires make for kind of a messy situation. I am going to try organizing it all and trying out the filter idea as well using this product.

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/48-021-194-02.jpg

It will be an inexpensive solution. Hopefully it all fits together well.
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jb
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cypher wrote:
I haven't got one of the new mini's but why are you beating up on this guy ?? He's only posting what he did.

Air must be taken in from somewhere and then passed over the CPU etc and pushed out somewhere else. If it's venting out the back through the ventilation slot mentioned in the picture above then it has to be sucking it in from somewhere else as MJL pointed out.

MJL's fix is to prevent dust build up inside the mini, it's not to provide extra ventilation

Cheers MJL.

I think you are misreading this thread, no one is beating up on the OP, there is only 1 post by macmanmacman that is not in agreement with the OPs idea.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes sorry JB I should have quoted macmanmacmans posts, my reply was meant in reply to his, not yours.
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MJL
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gents, lets all be friends here, I did not take offense to any posting. As I have indicated I am also a member of the rumors forum and I find the atmosphere here far more friendly and relaxed than over there and prefer to be here.

I am pleased that I have been able to give at least one person the idea to try this out. I did not mention this but from silentpc.com I got the smallest silicon rubber feet to absorb noise, vibration and raise the mini about 1 cm. It was only afterwards that I got the idea to use the space below the mini as a filter - initally I was thinkng about drilling holes in the bottom in the non-metal area of the bottom cover and putting a vacuum cleaner filter between the bottom cover and the antenna grille. But that's is destructive and still requires taking the bottom cover off to get at the filter to clean it. I was also worried that doing it in that way would impact the airflow.

If I only could in a years time buy a new mid 2010 server....alas I do not see that as a realistic option. I will wait how the present 2011 is going to stack up towards the end of its lifecycle and otherwise I will wait for the next iteration of the mini to see what that is going to deliver. (more than once I have bought a machine due to be phased out - it has stood me in good deed, let others cope with any hidden issues first that are undetected during acceptance testing).

Enough rambling from me, I bid you all happy computing and thanks for the healthy exchange.
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