REM

Apple announced the release of a whole bunch of mini stuff this week, but our favorite mini in the bunch is the 2012 Mac Mini. Last year's iteration of the Mac Mini impressed us with its accessibility and upgradeability. Will the newest Mini follow suit? To the teardown-mobile, Robin! For the first time in a long time, we were able to give our plastic opening tools and pentalobe drivers a well-deserved day off. A firm grip and a good twist is all it takes to get into the 2012 Mini. Inside, we found an empty extra SATA connection on the logic board perfect for adding a secondary hard drive, replaceable RAM and hard drive, and modular components -- just like in last year's model. Kudos to the Mini for receiving an excellent 8 out of 10 repairability score, and to Apple keeping it so fix-friendly. 

Highlights:

* Users can still upgrade the base model Mini into a dual hard drive setup with a dual hard drive upgrade kit.

* Our 2012 iteration of the Mac Mini is equipped with 4 GB of PC3-12800 DD3 RAM, but can easily be upgraded to 16 GB.

* The Mini is basically unchanged internally when compared to last year, which in this case is a good thing. This machine can be upgraded, repaired, and eventually recycled with a little bit of time, and non-specialized tools.

* Removing the shielding off the Wi-Fi card reveals the following chips:

  • Broadcom BCM4331 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi chip
  • Broadcom BCM20702 Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter
  • SiGe 5503A 2304A 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Front End
  • SiGe 2598L
  • P2303A TUB2P
  • 7871 1228 C6050

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

  • Intel V227C254 2.5 GHz dual-core i5
  • Intel L232TB45 Thunderbolt Port Controller
  • Cirrus Logic 4206B Audio Controller
  • SMSC USB2512B USB Hub Controller
  • Broadcom BCM57765 gigabit ethernet and memory card controller
  • Intel E224B809 platform controller hub
  • SMSC 1428-7 system management bus temperature sensor
  • Parade PS8401A HDMI/DVI level shifter
  • LSI L-FW643E-2
  • AELTA 8904C-F
  • LM4FS1AH

For the skinny on the Mac Mini, check out the full teardown.