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Mac Mini Owner Reports/Upgrades/Tips/Tests
Last Updated: 6/22/2005

This page has reader feedback from users of Apple's Mac Mini. (See bottom of page for links to Apple kbase docs on the Mini and other Mini related articles.)

Reader Reports/Tips/Tests: (most recent first)
(I welcome other Mac Mini user feedback.)

(added 6/22/2005)
"1.42GHz/512 KB - PC3200U-30330, 80 GB (ST9808210A - 4200 rpm) HFS+, Apple Pro keyboard, Planar monitor - FCT1904N 1280 x 1024 - DVI, IntelliMouse, Altec sound, 'ether hub' -> router -> Internet.

Came with Panther installed and Tiger disk included. Did 'erase and install / update' and am running 10.4.1 (8B15) / Darwin 8.1.0.
I reloaded GarageBand, Nanosaur, and Marble Blast. There were no problems with install or operation (monitor and Safari rendering are clear, bright, and crisp). I have not observed any problems with any applications intended for this machine.
'All in all', a nice addition to the Mac stable and... (smile) add me to the "Very Impressed" crowd!
very best2u, curtis "

(added 6/21/2005 from 6/7 mail)
"I recently bit the bullet - sold my Quicksilver 867 on ebay for a reasonable price and ordered a 1.25 Mini (with 512mb and Combo) after seeing them 'in the flesh' at the London store. There was some unexplained and annoying delay in delivery with many calls to Apple Europe that reminded me of the bad old days but after a couple of weeks it landed. i actually had some spare change over from the upgrade (a first in my book)

I am impressed - very impressed.
I cannot believe how silent the brick is, eerily so. After the continuous roar of the 867 (which was quiet compared to my BW G3) I have to keep checking that the light is on. I have had absolutely no problems in the 3 weeks it has been tucked away in a corner of my desk - no 'dim video' with my CRT monitor (Packard Bell 17") - no coasters with external firewire DVD burner (Pioneer 105). I am so relieved that iDVD now supports external drives - makes upgrading so much easier (and cheaper)

No conflicts to wrestle with - all my external bits and pieces (Canopus A/D converter, Griffin iMic, USB 2.0 and Firewire hard drives, powered hubs etc etc) worked straight away - no patches, no fixes - all supported, i could even use my Yamaha desktop speakers without another expensive gizmo to search out and buy.

if it carries on like this I might just get very bored - or use my computer to do what I bought it for.

I can unashamedly say that it is the best and least troublesome Mac I have ever had (I have had 5 since 1993). I am touching wood!
cheers, Mike (UK) "

(added 6/21/2005 from May 17th mail)
"Mac Mini upgrade kits are for sale from expercom. The kit is $100 and adds both bluetooth and airport cards. The upgrade is not cake, but it's worth it!
-Alex J. "

(from 4/22/2005 mail)
" Hi Mike,
I just bought this little USB-keyboard:
http://www.paradigit.nl/pdf/10007347v.html which looks like a perfect companion to the Mac Mini. I tested it on my PowerBook 12", and it works like a charm immediately, including the Power/sleep and Volume Up/Down buttons. No way to assign the two other buttons (www and mail), though, and no USB-through ports. But very cheap, which is important Mini-buyers, I guess. I paid 19,95 Euro for it.
Benq markets it also, under the same part-number.
Cheers, GŽrard "

(from 4/15/2005 mail)
"I just got my Transit Audio for my Mac Mini. It was supposed to be a nice home theater system.
I tried everything I found on your site, but nothing enabled AC3/DTS passthrough over TOSLink.
-Old driver: Nope
-New 1.6 driver: Nope
-Firmware upgrade: Nope (I only found that here in one of the postings!)
-Complete driver uninstall/reinstall: Nope
-Setting system sounds to internal speaker: Nope

The only way I got an output on my system was to use Output 1&2 with 24bit sampling. But that only means PCM 2.0 sound.
Has anyone else tried to make it work on the Mac Mini?
Greetings, Stefan L. "

I asked if he had tried the later 1.6.1 driver. (See M-Audio Transit feedback/tips page here.)

(from 4/18/2005 mail)
"I recently upgraded my Mini 1.25 to 1GB of ram, with a stick from OWC. It seemed to work fine until a week ago, when KPs began to crop up like mad. So I called up the very helpful and courteous Sales Rep at OWC, and RMA'd a replacement.

Popped in the new stick and all is well. I did some digging, and discovered the problematic stick was a PC2700 CL2.5 with a speed rating of 5.5ns & 7.5ns. This stick also contributed to harddrive corruption -- RAM intensive apps like Photoshop and InDesign would cause KPs when writing changes to disk. Overclocked CPUs sometimes do when their speed/switches are not set properly.
The new, trouble free stick is a PC2700 CL2.5 rated at 6.0ns and 10.0ns.
These specs were uncovered using Apple's Hardware test CD.

I'm sending this info back to OWC next. The Mini is gaining a reputation of being incredibly finicky about which ram stick it'll accept. This could be the key issue here (ns speed)
-Ted B.
(he previously wrote)
I wrote in a few days ago about my misadventures with my 1.25 Mini and a Kingston 1gig PC2700 stick. Once installed, I got nothing but kernel panics left and right.
Sent it back and just got a stick from OWC. No problems at all. The Mini might be small, but it sure is mighty now!
The Kingston brand chips are to be avoided for the Mini. This might be a heat issue, since when I installed the Kingston and left the cover off, I was able to go for hours with no problems. But the minute the case went back on, the KPs started up again.
-Ted B.
(The stick that came with my unit is actually a PC3200/400Mhz/CL3, higher than spec.) "

(from 4/18/2005 mail)
"I recently bought myself a mac mini, well it should have been a present to my mother (struggling to learn how to use a PC on a windows machine), but in the end she will earn a better looking G4 Cube ;-).

I choose a 1.25ghz Bluetooth and airport enabled mini, and as you may imagine as soon as it was out of the box, after checking it started ok, I opened it to make some "improvements":
1) 1GB ram, no problem
2) a new 80gb 5400rpm from fujitsu, everything fine,
3) a nice dvd-rw matsushita uj-815b, I bought for my cube but never installed...
with no. 3 I have a problem,
I don't really know how but the drive seems to be someway incompatible with the mini.
After some tinkering I found that if a harddisk and the drive are connected, the system can't see any of the two and oozes in idleness; strangely if the dvd-r is connected without hd the mini boots fine. (I suspect the problem is the UJ-815B is set to Master Mode, instead of slave (or CS). I'd try jumpering the Hard drive to slave if you can.-Mike)

I think it could be something master/slave related but I don't really know how to change settings on a laptop slim drive. Maybe I'm wrong, so any help is appreciated!
Tomaso M. "

If the Fujitsu drive doesn't have the Jumper settings info on the label, I'd check their website for info on the drive model/settings. (normally notebook HD's ship with no jumpers, so you'll need to find a jumper to put on the drive pins.)

ATI Displays 4.5 Update adds Mac Mini Support

" Hi Mike.
A few new releases were posted today....

Next is (the long awaited) ATI Displays 4.5. It includes 3D Override support for all known ATI graphics products and Mac2TV controls for all desktop-based products with TV support. Yes, this means 3D Overrides and Mac2TV controls for Mac mini owners. (emphasis mine-Mike) The major feature added to this release is something called Display Scaling - it can be found in the Advanced panel next to the VersaVision tab. The feature works on all current retail products (emphasis mine-Mike) and allows the customer to scale down their desktop size while maintaining the current resolution. This means one can shrink the visible display to properly fit on an HDTV without having to make adjustments to front/back porches or create special non-standard modes. The scaling is variable and includes a preset for the most common underscan percentage.

Lastly, ATI Displays has the ability to install its own support files and checks for installation consistency each time it is launched. This means you can simply launch ATI Displays to correct problems like missing TVOut.kext or prefpane due to system upgrade or other mishap.

A new ROM Xtender (required for scaling and other new properties) is included as part of the installation (this file is not included with ATI Displays nor restored by the self-repair feature described above)

ATI Displays:
https://support.ati.com/ics/support/KBAnswer.asp?questionID=1362 (Note - cookies required for ATI support pages. Here's a direct download link from the earlier news post.-Mike)
-Bruno (ATI)"

Latest info on Mac Mini Bluetooth/Airport Apple Upgrade Kits (one of the past reports here noted there was going to be kit available for those that didn't order BT/Airport originally. Also info here on part numbers required/sources for those that didn't want to wait)

" I just found out that the "Kit" to upgrade the wireless in the Mac Mini (BT & 802.11G) will be available rather shortly. My ASP is getting some in... the part number they have is M9870Z/A, but they don't know what the price is yet. The ASP that I usually go to will have them in this week - they said Apple shipped them on the 7th.
Just FYI... thanks!
Jon "

IBM Doc on Mac Mini as an embedded development platform

(added 3/28/2005)
"The Mac Mini is a small but powerful machine that comes with a high-end embedded development board. It has a broader array of connectors, a faster processor, and support for a very large amount of memory. The development kit is fairly complete, with support for AppleScript, C, C++, Objective-C, Java, Perl, Python, and Ruby programming out of the box or you can choose to use some third party Java tools such as Eclipse or Netbeans. This article takes a close look at the Mac Mini as an embedded development platform.
Kind regards, Frank

(added 3/14/2005)
"Hello again. Love the t-shirt you sent. It's at the top of my drawer so I wear it about once per week. Feels good flying some Mac colors again. Anyway, you may recall that I submitted all the photos for the iBook ram expansion and my general impressions of owning a Mac (12" iBook) again, but I am now writing to talk about my new 1.4GHz Mini. Yes, that's two new Macs in less than three months :-) . Granted I am an old school Mac user, but Apple got me back on board with some of its latest offerings after a year away from the platform.

Dim video issue: (also see the page here with Mac Mini owner reports on Analog Video/Monitors)
I have the Mini sharing a Viewsonic P815 21" 4.5 year old CRT and I am using the vga cable from it with the vga/dvi adapter from Apple. It is securely seated with no fiddling done to it at all. The P815 has dual connections, the other being BNC and it connects to a high end Athlon 64 3400 gaming rig with an ATI 9800xt 256MB video card. The Mini did "appear" to be bit subdued at first, but I ran a color profile setup on it and I'd have to say that now it seems about as equal as I can tell compared to the listed PC's output. It may be a bit dimmer, but its near impossible to tell. Nothing to cause me any worry at all. The Mini recognized the Viewsonic out of the box.
I have no means to test beyond what I see. As a side note, I have this set-up sitting next to another PC that is connected to an NEC MultiSync FE991SB (Superbright) Diamondtron 19" CRT that is only about 12 or 18 months old and the Viewsonic is noticeably dimmer even compared to normal bright mode on the NEC. They are side by side monitors. If I kick in Superbright, it's a massive difference. So my Viewsonic is just starting to fade a bit after many years of fantastic service. I have both PCs and the Mini pushing 1280x1024 resolution, highest color settings on both monitors and the Mini thus far handles it just fine.

Other thoughts:
I added a 1GB dimm of Crucial memory to the Mini but I had no spackling knife at hand so I opened the case with a thin edged wood chisel. No problems but I was a bit nervous doing it. The Ram seated and fit without any hitches. Take apart and put back together of the Mini is not hard, but I would say it would make a lot of people nervous prying on plastic versus unscrewing some screws or releasing some catches like you would find on any normal case. The 256MB dimm that came out was a Samsung pc3200. I got pc2700 from Crucial.

I have the Mini using a Logitech LX 500 wireless desktop set and though it works, I have been unable to find any Logitech drivers that allow full use of the all the special keys on the keyboard. The keyboard is not seen by the Logitech Control Panel at all and the mouse is only seen if the wireless receiver is unplugged and plugged back in..until the next reboot that is. The Control Panel reports the mouse as a Logitech Cordless Click! when it is in fact a Logitech Cordless Click! Plus. Even when recognized by the Control Panel, controlling the mouse tracking speed does not work properly. Its usable, but is way too fast for my taste. Using the normal Apple System Preference for the Mouse doesn't control it properly either.

Besides that, I am pleased with it thus far. 256MB Ram is not acceptable, even for single program use if you want my opinion of OS X. Launching even a single program after boot up is noticeably faster now that I have 1GB in place of the 256MB. Its substantially better when running 2,3, or 4 programs at the same time. I've helped several friends buy cheapie E-machine and HP budget rigs ($300-$400) over the last year and it is clear to me that XP with weak Celeron CPUs and just 256MB Ram does a better job with the most basic responsiveness of the OS and simple programs. All other peripherals I own seem to work dandy, including a MS Intellimouse Explorer 3, MS Office Keyboard, external firewire/USB 2 hard drive, external firewire DVD burner, USB 2 hub, USB 2 card reader, etc.
Thanks and keep up the great work and site!
Zupworld.com "

Mini Modem:

(added 2/24/2005)
"Hey Guys,
Just got my second Mac Mini, No I don't stack them.
Problem, being without broadband/DSL I'm relying on the modem.

Modem Information:
Driver: MotorolaSM56K.kext (v1.2.0)
Hardware Version: Version 1.0
Interface Type: I2S
Country: B5 (United States, Latin America)
Modem Model: Jump
Modulation: V.92

I find I can only get 26400 bps out of the 56k V92 modem.
My ISP claims that I'm running right into a V92 line but I get the same speed (26400bps) as the V90 line.
Do I need a different modem string?
With my Yikes and Apple modem I got 49300bps until a lighting strike. I picked up a golden village replacement and was again limited to 26400 bps. I know you broadband people might find it hard to look back into the dark ages of modem-ing but I could use your help.
Thanks, Gregg J. "

Since you're seeing low rates with other Macs, I'd not suspect the Mini's Modem as a cause. I often get a wide range of connections using a dial-up here (from 28K to 43K typically - frequently in the 40's though but it can vary. If I get a low connection I disconnect and try again).
But even the phone lines (and even jack/connection quality) can affect this. I've lived at some places that had noise on the lines (but that's usually heard even on the phone). I don't know of any modem scripts for use with OS X off-hand, but if any other mini owner has a suggestion let me know.

Follow-Up on Superdrive Burn Speed Problems:

(added 2/24/2005)
"Remember that Superdrive problem I told you about a couple of weeks ago where I couldn't burn at 4x in my Superdrive except on one brand of DVD media? (see older report below) Well, it's an even bigger mystery now. My local Apple dealer replaced the Superdrive under warranty but the new drive still has the same problem: the 4x Superdrive won't burn faster than 2x on any DVDs except for one brand: Imation. He's stumped like I am. Now that we've swamped out the mechanism, the last step is to go back to Apple and ask for a replacement mini. Strange, strange stuff.
Steve "

More on Wireless/USB Addapters: (see below for past reports on various models)

(added 2/24/2005)
I just wanted to follow up on the Netgear WG111. (a reader had previously asked about that adapter-Mike) According to their tech support: "WG111 adapter uses Prism54 chipset." The Indian tech support guy referred me to this page which has quite a wealth of information on chipsets in adapters:
As it stands now, I'm probably going to get the Dlink DWLG122 802.11G USB 2 adapter.
Regards, Paul "

See below for previous Mini owner reports on that Dlink 122 adapter.
Regarding the Prism chipset - The FAQ's Networking section here has a note from last fall about Prism drivers for OS X but I don't know if it supports the 802.11g prism chipset (it was posted in regards to 802.11b prism based adapters)
Also interesting is that according to the WG111 netgear page - if you click on support, it goes to a page mentioning 2 versions of the WG111 (with different driver downloads) - so like many PC adapters, it appears the chipset has changed between versions or revisions. (neither lists mac drivers though)
Personally, I'd choose another adapter that had mac drivers or native Airport 3.x support (i.e. Some of the others listed below, in the FAQ, etc.)

Notes on Upgraded Mini:

(added 2/24/2005 from 2/4 mail)
"I just upgraded my MacMini 1.42 with one Hitachi 7k60 (7200rpm/8MB cache) 60GB and corsair 1GB RAM. The test is really incredible, i'm so happy.
pictures and test: http://www.ortega-miranda.com
X-Bench: http://ladd.dyndns.org/xbench/merge.xhtml?doc1=94965

With some games like Indiana Jones ET, Tomb Raider AOD. I can't believe the MacMini speed.

I am testing this configuration with DIGI002r and Protools 6.7, all run very fast without bugs, without error buffer, without "lost firewire connection" (problem very frequent with this software when the mac is not fast enough) In the original configuration the Macmini had some problems like this, when you used virtual instruments.

Mac Mini Dim Video/Low Voltage Video?
I've not seen any mention of this from owners before today (some replies to this post did mention it however - see below) and an VGA LCD user didn't mention it in the Mini review here, but there's a thread at Apple's forums where several Mini owners are reporting dim video w/VGA adapters/displays. I'm not sure if it's a uniform issue (in all Minis) or just certain builds and it wasn't mentioned in reviews that I have seen including the latest Mac Mini review at Tom's Hardware. A reader said that output video level was below 530mV - below VESA standards according to german Ct magazine tests. (I could not find that on their website today - maybe a reader from german can) and asked that any Mini owner seeing this post in the Apple forum thread above to get their attention and hopefully a fix for those seeing the problem.
If you've used a Mini with a VGA display, let me know if you've noticed dim video or not. (Include info on your display type - especially interested in CRT users.) Also note if you're using a KVM switch (if so try a direct connect).

(Note: After getting so many mails on this rather than fill this page up, I've posted a separate page on Mac Mini Analog Video reports.)

(added 2/18/2005)
"Samsung 712N, Mac Mini, VGA. Blurry text. I've done much fiddling with the Appearance settings, refresh rate 60 or 75 Hz etc. It just doesn't look as good as the output from my Dell 4600 with NVidia Geforce MX 5200. Same cables. No KVM.

Hope we can get some resolution (no pun) on this matter. I'd sure hate to have to buy a DVI screen or go back to using Windows XP.
Thanks, R. Falconer "

(added 2/18/2005)
"I wouldn't use the word dim. I would say it is lack of contrast. I am able to fix it by using the built in cal function in OS X. (Screen is a pro grade Sony 21" CRT)
-Thomas "

(added 2/18/2005)
"Hello Mike
Yes it's true. The german computer magazin CT which is probably one of the most professional PC Magazines out there tested the mac mini's VGA output and noted that it was quite bad. They said you should use DVI instead. Unfortunately their test isn't online; you have to buy the magazine.
Regards, M. Atmani
(Zurich, Switzerland) "

(added 2/18/2005)
"I see it on the main page. But it says to email if there are problems... (to clarify I wanted reports if you've seen it or not with a *VGA* (analog) display.-Mike) I have had none. I have had it hooked to a 19 inch Princeton LCD (via DVI) and have for a while had it connected to an older (5+ years) 19 inch CTX monitor (VGA only). Absolutely no problems with dim video. Just putting in my 2 cents. Oh....my girlfriend bought the mini the first day it went on sale at Tyson's Apple store.
-Asmodeus "

If possible - when using VGA (analog) displays - compare the Mini connected to the display to another Mac (or PC) connected to the same display.

(added 2/18/2005)
"I noticed this with my Mini into the VGA in on my Samsung HLN 567 television. (Port known to work with other machines.) When I plugged the same mini into the VGA on a multisync monitor I had (old Sun 17", dunno model number) picture was normal.

Mini is now working fine through the DVI input of the Samsung. I'd believe that the signal is somewhat out of spec and some monitors can't handle it well.
-Jonathan Y. "

(added 2/18/2005)
"Yes, I have had this issue with my mini.
I was using a Viewsonic P815 and even with the brightness and contrast at max, the image was dim. This monitor was taken from a PC (Radeon 9000) where the controls only had to be set at mid level to get a bright picture. I also noticed that the on-screen menus were very bright, but the background mini video was dim when both were displayed.
As mentioned on a post at Macminiforums.com, this is only seems to be a problem with the analog output, the DVI connection is OK. I recently bought a Princeton LCD 19D, 19inch LCD with a DVI connection and connected to the mini through DVI port the picture was so bright that I had to set the contrast to 50 and the brightness 15, both out of a max of 100.

No KVM switch, direct connection in both cases. I even have a high quality VGA to 5 BNC cable that is used with the Viewsonic. Also the Viewsonic needed to be toned down quite a bit when it went back to PC duty. Thanks for the great site!!
-Frank "

(added 2/18/2005)
"Yes I have the same problem
KVM switch or no KVM switch I use both and YES the screen is very Dim
what do we do?
-Elliott "

Don't know what to suggest for end users other than to try a DVI monitor if possible. (Unless Apple comes up with a rework/fix.)

(added 2/18/2005)
"I am using a 19" newish Dell VGA CRT. I have a new IOGEAR 2-way KVM that I am using it on, w/ my work PC. I immediately noticed the dimness - instantly, because when you switch back and forth with the KVM, it's easy to spot. The KVM is one of those all-in-one units with integrated cables. I swapped the cables - connecting them to the other unit and no difference resulted - still dim only on Mac. I hooked the Mac directly to the CRT and it still looks dim. I then hooked the mini and the PC to my Sony 19" CRT's dual inputs and switched between them with the front-mounted switch and the mini is still dim.
Check this post from the Apple discussion from a few hrs ago:

"I bought 4 Minis for our small ad business, to drive 4 Sony 200ES CRT monitors that still display beautifully with our old Macs. The video is uniformly dim with all workstations... in fact, the dimness makes our eyes hurt. Cranking up the brightness just washes out the screen, as the contrast is already maxed out. This is the first time I've actually seen OSX display badly, like a generic windows box with $75 monitor you'd buy from one of those traveling expos. What's the consensus? Is Apple going to do anything? Any suggestions?"

...something is not right. I definitely think Apple needs to acknowledge this and address the issue. Unfortunately it will almost certainly involve a motherboard swap which will be hard for Apple.

I am not sure if all units have this issue or not. It seems that using a DVI screen is better - but that there is still dimness there. Most pronounced on VGA CRT's tho, it seems. I sadly don't use my mini for Photoshop work because the colors look so much darker. ...and PS crashes my XP box 1 out of the launches... Seems an unacceptable situation with the mini.
-BP "

More on USB Adapters (Wireless and Bluetooth):

(added 2/11/2005 from 2/10 mail) "Earlier today I purchased I DLink DWL-G122. Prior to installation, I loaded the ralink drivers which was a simple and painless process. Upon connecting the USB device the wireless usb utility popped up and within moments of configuring the paramters the link had come up.

Interestingly it only came up at 11mpbs, and required manual 54mpbs selection when connecting to a Netgear DG834G.
Works perfectly with 128bit WEP. Gets warm though.
(he later wrote)
Hmm. Scratch the success story about the DWL-G122. When returning from sleep, or rebooting the machine the adapter dies, and it need to be removed an reinserted. Didn't test on 10.3.7, just tested on 10.3.8.
Giving up now and going back to wired access. :-(

Also would like to share that that the Integral C2 Bluetooth adapter (http://www.integralmemory.com/product_categ.aspx?prid=31) works perfectly with the mini and is one of the best due to it's microscopic size.
Scott H. "

See below for previous adapter reports.

Mac Mini freezing on wake from Sleep: (don't remember any other owners mentioning this here)

(added 2/10/2005 from 2/9 mail)
"Hey Mike,
I wanted to appeal to your reader base for reports of Mac mini problems akin to what I am experiencing. I have a 1.42GHz mini that was originally configured with 256MB RAM which I have since upgraded to 1GB, though the memory upgrade has had no efffect on what I am about to describe. Every time I put my mini to sleep, seconds after waking the CPU gets pegged by process 0 ('kernel_task') and slowly application-by-application, the entire system becomes frozen, the spinning beachball rearing it's ugly head.

I have nothing odd connected to the mini and my system log shows:

Feb 7 17:06:34 localhost kernel: AppleNMI mask NMI
Feb 8 09:30:33 localhost kernel: System Sleep
Feb 8 09:30:33 localhost kernel: System Wake
Feb 8 09:30:33 localhost kernel: Wake event 0020
Feb 8 09:30:33 localhost kernel: AppleNMI unmask NMI
Feb 8 09:30:33 localhost kernel: FWOHCI handleSelfIDInt - nodeID not valid (reset bus and retry 1)
Feb 8 09:30:33 localhost kernel: UniNEnet::monitorLinkStatus - Link is up at 100 Mbps - Full Duplex

...which, after speaking with another mini users, is apprently not out of the ordinary upon wake (the FWOHCI message appearing in his logs as well, though he has no problem). Has this been reported before? Thanks.
-B.P. "

I asked if he had installed 10.3.8 and if that helped. A Mini owner replied:

"With 10.3.7, I had a problem with the Mac mini waking up properly. It turned out that if I let it go to sleep when it was mapped to a Windows share drive, when waking up, if the share was no longer "active", the mini would become extremely frozen/slow. One time I even got the "black screen of infinite slowness" which was noted as a Powerbook G4 fix for 10.3.8. My "solution" was to disconnect my Windows shares before I sent the mini to sleep. Note that after I upgraded to 10.3.8, I have not seen this problem again, even when I don't disconnect the Windows shares.
-Michael S."

Mac Mini owner reports on USB Wireless Adapters:
In reply to a reader request in the 2/8/2005 news page. (Broadcom 802.11g adapters usually work PNP with Airport 3.x and there's drivers for other wireless chipsets linked in our FAQ's Networking section.)

(added 2/10/2005, from 2/9 email)
"Hi Mike, because my English is not so good, I'll keep it short.

In the new edition of german c't magazine ( http://www.heise.de/ct/ ) is a test of 16 USB2-WLAN-Sticks. Some of them have the Ralink RT2500 Chipset and this Sticks do support MacOS X. (RA2500 OS X driver linked in the FAQ's networking section last year and again in reports below)

Asus WL-167g
They don't note Mac support at the product page, but there is a driver in the download section.

Conceptronic C54RU
Driver via Ralink

Driver from ralink:

I have no WLAN, but some of your readers may find it useful. Thanks for your good work Greetings from Black Forest.
Thomas "

More comments on the D-Link DWL-122 802.11b thumbdrive size adapter (see below for links/notes on an 802.11G version)

(added 2/10/2005 from 2/9 email)
"Hey Mike, Not a MacMini guy myself, but I can confirm that the Dlink DWL-122 (USB to802.11b adapter) does indeed work - and much better under the latest drivers. It's in use on an iBook we have and works well, though a combination of waking from sleep under battery power with a flash drive and the DWL-122 can induce a kernel panic (pretty specific, but it happens)

Further to that, the chipset in the 122 is a Prism2 set, and taking apart the driver reveals a longer list of supported devices, including:

DLink DWL-122
LinkSys Instant Wireless USB Network Adapter ver 2.5
LinkSys Instant Wireless USB Network Adapter ver 2.6
LinkSys Instant Wireless USB Network Adapter ver 2.7
Linksys Compact Wireless USB Adapter (WUSB12)
Microsoft USB
Netgear MA111
Sagem 802.11b USB Dongle

There are references in the XML portion of the driver's plist to these, and I can confirm from first hand experience that the Netgear MA111 can be made to work with the driver. I know exactly what you read there, that's copied directly out of the .plist file, so what MicroSoft dongle, I know not.

I went a step further and tried to use a generic Prism2 based USB/802.11b device I found at Fry's... simply entering all the manufacturer ID information from System Profiler into the .plist file in the same format as the others - but I couldn't make that one work at all.

The only 802.11g hacks I've managed were based on Broadcom based PCMCIA-format cards in PowerBooks - never a USB version. (many broadcom chip based adapters are natively Airport 3.x compatible (see past reports in the FAQ's networking section, including notes on cards I've used. Only the Microsoft card I tried required editing the plist so i'd avoid it and they've stopped making the card.)-Mike)
Hope all's setting down there and is well with you,
Charlie "

Another comment on the D-Link DWL-G122 (802.11G thumbdrive size adapter mentioned in an earlier report below)

(added 2/10/2005, from 2/9 email)
"Spotted your post earlier about the DWL-G122 report. Interestingly, DLink Australia have OSX 10.2 or greater listed in their manual for the device. Here's the link:

A reader mail in reply to a previous post/list of components:

(added 2/10/2005, from 2/9 email)
"Just a note for your readers, If you were going to order all of the separate components through an Apple Authorized Service provider, the cost would far exceed the upgrade cost through Apple CTO. We have been told that Apple will be providing the service providers a communications kit that will include the mezzanine card and antennae for the bluetooth and airport cards at some point this quarter. It is supposed to bring the price on the install on par with what Apple charges as a CTO. And yes, we love the vagueness of the time frame too, welcome to the world of the Apple Specialist.
-Jon D.
General Manager
MacMechanic "

A reader sent a note about a 54G rated D-link thumb drive size adapter that uses the RA2500 chipset (which has drivers for OS X)

(added 2/9/2005)
"I have a D-Link DWL-G122 at home. It's hooked to the PC of my son. I just got an info that it's a Ralink based hardware.

There is a link to Ralink driver software

I installed it on the Mac Mini, rebooted the UC, and plugged the G122 at the rear (need some ground clearance).

There is a nifty app showing the network wifi link as soon as the key is plugged.

I just had to go in the network pref panel and connect via Wifi to my local network (DSL with Trendnet TEW-435BRM router).
Hope this helps you.
Regards, Marc B. "

(added 2/9/2005)
"How about the Linksys Ethernet base? The WET 11 Ethernet bridge requires no drivers and runs 802.11b. (this was one of the options listed in the FAQ's networking sections in the past. A reader below mentioned a WET54G model.-Mike) It connects through the Ethernet port on any computer. The list is higher than a USB unit, but the street price is pretty close. The great advantage is that no drivers are needed- it can be configured through a browser.
I have one of these, but have not yet tried it with my Mac mini. I'm going to give it a shot this weekend.
David G. "

(added 2/9/2005)
"Mike... I know of no direct USB 802.11g wireless adapters for the Mac.
The only thing that I know of that fits the bill is the DLink DWL-122 - it works GREAT but is 802.11b

Another solution I came up with is using an ethernet to USB adapter then using one of the RJ45 based 802.11g adapters for Xbox or Playstation. This is a rather awkward solution but would yield much better signal than even a built in Airport Extreme card would.
www.adzoox.com "

The reader that sent the request mentioned the D-Link DWL-122, but said he would prefer an 802.11g adapter.

Several other readers wrote about the D-Link DWL-122 also:

(added 2/9/2005)
"Hi, Mike
I don't have an Mini Mac (okay Mac Mini just doesn't have the same zing to me as the other way around) but my wife uses a 700Mhz iMac G4 in our Master Bedroom that I set up with a D-Link DWL-122 (using 1.47 drivers under OS X.3.7 found on MacUpdate but not on D-Link's site: http://www.macupdate.com/download.php/15997/DWL-122_MAC_OSX.zip) networked to a Netgear WGR614 v4 802.11g wired/wireless router directly downstairs in the den. Signal strength is excellent and gets a maximum 11Mbps.
I had a mental lapse and mistakenly plugged it into the keyboard instead of the powered conn. on the back of the iMac. OS X now has multiple lines stating that "localhost kernel: Hub in Apple Extended USB Keyboard: family specific matching fails" as well as a few other lines (I'd list the rest here but I'm typing this from memory on my Gigabit G4 downstairs and can't remember the rest). It also will sometimes fail to load on a warm re-boots and only shows the antenna menubar meter for the first user to log in only. I've set it up for WEP as it doesn't offer (or doesn't work with) WPA that the router.
Let me know if this helps and/or you need more info.
Sincerely, Phill B. "

(added 2/9/2005)
"Mike, It is not a 'g' adapter but I have used a D-Link DWL-122 'b' adapter. Initially the drivers were next to useless and the GUI would continually freeze. Others have reported similar problems (hopefully the link will work).
(Apple discussion forums thread)
D-Link have been next to useless trying to solve the problem but someone has managed to get v 1.4.7 of their drivers and now it works ok. Others have suggested something like the Linksys WET54G which connects via the Ethernet port, it is a little more expensive but may prove a more reliable solution.
Daryl "

(added 2/9/2005)
"Just glanced at your news story asking about USB wireless adapters for the Mac mini. I've got a D-link DWL-122 running with my 1.42GHz mini. It works flawlessly with my Snow AirPort basestation and other wireless machines on my network. A mixture of PCs (D-link and Linksys wireless) and Macs (D-link, Classic AirPort, and AirPort Extreme).
I would be sure to update the driver immediately after installing the drivers that come on the included CD. The driver included on the CD is an old version (1.3.1 if I recall) and had some known issues such as difficulty waking from sleep, dropping connections, etc. The newest driver is 1.4.7 and can be found on the D-link site, MacUpdate, or VersionTracker. (see above for d/l link)
My stock mini has been up and running with it for over a week without a hiccup. Chicken of the VNC and OSXvnc 1.5 have the mini going as a headless server. Thanks for the great site! Keep up the good work!
Cheers, Christian B. "

Another note on the D-link DWL-G122:

(added 2/9/2005)
"The below listed sites show a thumb drive type of 802.1x compatible device (from D-Link) and the company that makes the actual chipset provides an OS X driver (RALINK). I saw this info recently on MacOSHints at the following link:
http://www.macosxhints.com/index.php?page=3 (scroll down to Feb 2nd item)
(Dlink DWL-G122)
-Mark F. "

Mac Mini to PC Case Conversion

(added 2/9/2005)
" yep knew someone would do it sooner or later.
He dropped a mini into a PC case and attached two 250G HDs
Interesting thing is he said nothing about installing the high capacity HD drivers so maybe the mini supports 48bit addressing natively, previous reports said that its hardware would only support 120GB.
-Tim R "

I not surprised the Mini has native big drive/48bit addressing support since eMacs, iMac G4s and G5s and even some Quicksilver models do. (Without it HD formatted capacity is limited to appx 128GB.)

Using bamboo chopsticks as Mac Mini opener: (from a reader mail)

" Hi Mike, I've just read an article which shows me how to use tailor-made bamboo chopsticks as Mac Mini opener. The author claims it will never damage the Mini.
The interesting website (http://www.pconline.com.cn/market/hk/daogou/0502/552885.html) contains both of pictures and english translation
regards, Ronny "

(added 2/8/2005)
"hello all!
I have finally received my BTO mini (1.25Ghz,80GB HD) and after setting it up for my girlfriend I decided that 256MB of RAM are not enough,even for Office and Web apps. (I guess one tends to forget how much OS X "loves" Ram when working on a dual G5 with 2gigs :) ) Having a spare 512MB Corsair unit I promptly set about to upgrade the machine.
I had to use very small screwdrivers and some plastic coating since I couldn't get a putty knife and was too impatient to wait. Boy, what a pain; one of the reasons I made a complete switch is the troubles one runs into when building Wintel boxes...but I digress.
Ok, with the Ram upgraded the mini is definitely faster and now works the way I had hoped. A faster HD might be interesting, though it's not necessary for the usual apps a non-pro user needs.
One more thing: When I attached my EyeTV USB to one of the Mini's USB ports most apps randomly crashed, so if you intend to use any power hungry though passive USB devices, attach them to an active (ie has its own power supply) USB hub.
hope this helps, Oliver "

(added 2/8/2005)
"Hey Mike, I popped a TDK DVD+R 4x disc into my mini's SuperDrive, and Toast said it could record at 2x and 4x for the disc (DVD+R). It didn't offer simulation mode, so I didn't test it. Here's the drive's specs:
Model: MatshitaDVD-R UJ-835F
Revision: GGN7
Cache : 2MB
Scott C. "

That's the same model and firmware version other Mini BTO owners reported (see below for their earlier reports on tests)

Mac Mini Airport/Bluetooth Part Numbers (from a reader mail)

(added 2/7/2005)
"Here are the Apple service numbers for the AirPort/Bluetooth adapter card and antennas...
-Jon B.

To install an airport card in a Mac Mini:

922-6671              Board, Mezzanine
922-6673              Antenna, AirPort
922-6680              Screw, M2x3, Package of 5
AirPort Extreme Card (Retail)

To install Bluetooth:

922-6671              Board, Mezzanine
922-6530              Card, Bluetooth
922-6674              Antenna, Bluetooth
922-6680              Screw, M2x3, Package of 5

To install both AirPort and Bluetooth:

922-6671              Board, Mezzanine
922-6530              Card, Bluetooth
922-6673              Antenna, AirPort
922-6674              Antenna, Bluetooth
922-6680              Screw, M2x3, Package of 5
AirPort Extreme Card (Retail)

A reader replied to this post:

" Hey Mike,
One thing not listed and VERY important to have is the Kapton Tape (922-1731). This is the tape you will need to remove/use to secure the ribbon and antenna cables. You could be careful and reuse the existing tape but you need to tape the bluetooth antenna, the powerbutton cable wire, the extreme card to the mezz board, and the airport antenna.

Another part number is for the Thermal Pad (922-6749) that IF you remove the motherboard or remove the bottom housing, you need to replace this.

I've gotten my mini (last week) and will upgrade it when I get back from San Antonio trip. I have the Seagate Momentus 100G 5400RPM drive (5 year warranty), a Pioneer DVR-K04L (native burn support in 10.3.7 and later), Gig ram from Crucial and may attempt the resistor change (up to 1.4ghz) as mine is the 1.25Ghz model. If anyone wants details, I can plan to shoot the whole thing for instruction? (though I've heard the MacMini.pdf is circulating the net)
'Best! -Ed. "

A he'd said bought a G5 bluetooth module and antenna from cgnusa.com. A reader sent a note they also sell airport and bluetooth parts for the Mini:

" http://www.cgnusa.com is selling the mezzanine board and antennas for the mini's airport and bluetooth. Not cheap, but if you gotta have it, they have them in stock. They even have the screw kits listed in your part list.
-felix "

More on Mac Mini Superdrive Speeds: (follow-up to an earlier post)

(added 2/4/2005)
A quick follow up to my recent notes regarding the Superdrive on my Mac mini...

My Superdrive (Matchita UJ-835F), you may remember, is supposed to be a 4x DVD burner, but it refuses to burn DVDs at 4x regardless of media type or application. The fastest speed any application offers to burn is 2x. Apple tried to diagnosis the problem, and eventually they concluded that they would need to replace the Superdrive. I hadn't had the chance to take my mini to the repair shop yet, so I continued to experiment with it hoping there was something else to blame (especially since the drive recorded fine at the slower speeds and recorded CDs good at full speed).

Just for fun, I bought a few more DVD media brands hoping that one of them might work with this drive. Sure enough, when I stuck an Imation 8x DVD+R disk in the Superdrive, it offered to burn at 4x! Finally! Then I tried an Imation 8x DVD-R, and it also reported 4x capable. Next I tried one of the earlier brands (an Apple 4x DVD-R), but it reported a top speed of only 2x just as before.

Apparently, this little bugger is super sensitive to media brands. So far, the only brand I have found that allows burning at speeds higher than 2x is Imation. I have a few more brands to try, but the fact that there are so many name brands that won't burn at 4x is a bit irritating, to say the least. I still may take Apple up on the offer to replace the drive, but I intend to wait a bit to see if this problem is widespread. Otherwise, I may just end up with another finicky Superdrive.
Thanks, Steve "

Yesterday's main site news page had a iMac G5 slotted superdrive owner report on widely varying burn rates depending on media used. (I wrote to ask him if his drive was a Matshita 825 or 835 but no reply yet.) See below for Steve's earlier report and a report from a Mini owner that did his own DVD burner upgrade using a Pioneer K04L drive (which has native burn support in 10.3.7 and later per drive db reports).

(added 2/4/2005)
"Mike, Love your site, so I thought I would contribute to the community.
I found a mac mini 1.42ghz at J&R and put in a SimpleTech 1gb 2700 RAM stick. I would say that opening up the mini is a little more tricky than specified on websites you list. You really need a thin putty knife and you should sand down so you get a very thin tapered edge. The ideal tool would have a thickness of an Xacto knife blade because the space between the top housing and the bottom is quite tight. Replacing the RAM was easy once the mini was open. Closing up, it took me several tries to get it to snap together successfully.

The mini is beautiful, small, and quiet. The powerbrick is nearly half the size of the cpu. It's two downsides are the paltry RAM and the slow internal drive--4200RPM. I ran xbench comparing the internal drive and booting off of a firewire 400 drive with a cloned system from my powerbook:

1) Internal 80gb 4200 rpm (ST9808210A): 113.93
Disk test: 46.94

2) External Firewire WD Caviar 7200rpm 200Gb with 8mb cache (WDC WD20 00JB-00EVA0): 132.76
Disk test: 77.57

OSX, with its thousands of small system files, is happier with more RAM and faster hard drives. While it would be nice to have a faster internal hard drive, it is far cheaper to just hook up a big, fast external firewire drive to use as a boot.
Regards, Paul T. "

Blake sent a link to his Mac Mini Photo gallery.

First report on Mac Mini Overclocking (1.25GHz at 1.42GHz)

(added 2/2/2005)
" The first reported case of Mac mini overclocking! The author got his 1.25GHz mini to run at 1.42GHz. Higher speeds were unstable.
Thanks, Kevin B. "

Mac Mini Mini-Review: A Mac Mini owner sent some photos and a long writeup comparing the mini to a PC and his Powerbook G4 that I've posted a separate page.

(added 2/2/2005 from 2/1 mail)
"finally shipped to munich, bto with dvd-rw, airport und bluetooth.
unpacking and 1. contact with our sony aibo:
greetings, christian "

(added 1/31/2005 from 1/28 mail)
"Last Friday (January 21) I also dissected my Mac mini (1.25 GHz) which I ordered from Apple with 512 MB RAM and the Bluetooth option. Here are the pictures:
(see bottom of page here for link to take-apart video)
This weekend I'm upgrading to a Hitachi 60GB 7200 rpm hard drive. I've also ordered a Pioneer DVR-K04L Superdrive and the AirPort antenna (which I'm going to install along with a spare AirPort Extreme card I've got floating around).

See below for earlier reports on the same HD and DVD burner drive upgrades.

Apple says 8x BTO DVD Burner was a Typo: A Mac Mini owner (thanks Holland) sent a copy of an email from Apple on the (short lived) 8x BTO Superdrive option. Here's a clip from the mail he sent:

"To Our Valued Apple Customer:
Thank you for your recent order!
Apple is very excited about the popularity of the new Mac mini and we want every customer who ordered one to be absolutely satisfied.

We want to clarify some confusion regarding the speed of the SuperDrive that comes with your computer. For a short time, the Apple Store online incorrectly referenced a SuperDrive burning speed of 8x. The actual recording speed is up to 4x for supported DVD recordable media on Mac mini. The drive writes to CD-R at 16x and CD-RW at 8x.

Please contact us at the number below if you have any questions or concerns:
1-800-676-2775 Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. central time and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. central time.

If, as a result of this information, you wish to cancel or return your order, please let our representative know when you call.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Apple Customer Support"

Mac Mini Superdrive Burn Rate Notes:

(added 1/28/2005)
" I burned an image of the iLife 05 DVD (created in Disc Utility) to a Maxell 8x DVD-R.. Toast reported speeds of 4x, 2x and 1x. I chose 'Best' and it burned the 4350.3MB image file in 13:43 minutes. I am assuming this is 4x speed, but didn't want to specify 4x as I was hoping the drive would do 8x if I chose 'Best'.
Apple System Profiler shows the drive to be a Matshita UJ-835F.
I'll be doing the same thing with a DVD+R media to see if the burn is any faster.. if so, I'll follow up.
One additional thing; iDVD 05 sees my external Pioneer DVR-108 as-is, without using a hack.
Mike F.
(he later wrote)
(UJ-835F) GGN7 firmware..
It was my assumption that if you had multiple burners, you needed the easter egg to target the INTERNAL drive.. (no, an internal DVD burner drive is normally the default drive, the easter egg trick was used to target the external drive.) I am using no Patchburn, no Pfurz, etc. NO hacks at all. If I keep the external off, I can burn to the internal. If I have the external on, I can burn to it; it just works. A further clarification, I am using Toast LITE, version 6.0.6... LOVE reading your site. Have read it for a very long time...!
Mike "

The iLife 05 reports page here noted external burner support (used by default if no internal DVD burner was present), but if there was an internal DVD burner the easter egg trick was still used to target the external drive as far as I know. (Since the DVR-108 has no native burn support as of 10.3.7, I asked if he had installed a patchburn3 profile, which also installs the easter egg files if you choose to use that trick (control+burn button brings up dialog to allow selecting an external burner).

This following reader ordered just before the (short lived) 8x BTO option was listed. His ASP report shows the drive is a Matshita UJ-835F, firmware version GGN7. (So far all BTO DVD Burner owners have reported the drive was the UJ-835F but most forget to include firmware version in their mails - ASP reports that as the drive 'revision' and toast lists it in the recorder info.)

(added 1/28/2005 - several mails combined)
"Mike, Here's something strange...
I placed a 8x blank DVD-R in the mini and both Toast and the Finder report that the fastest burn speed available is 2x. I then put a 4x blank DVD-R in the drive and again both Toast and the Finder report only 2x speed. What's up with that? Is this Superdrive only a 2x burner???

I will try to burn something to find out for sure. I KNOW my 4x discs are truly 4x, because they burn that speed in my G5. I have no way to test the 8x, although I have no reason to think they are not 8x.

(he later wrote)
I've tried a number of things to get my Mac mini to write DVDs at 4x, but no luck. I even tried some Apple-brand 4x DVD-R media, and still the mini won't give me the option to write any faster than 2x. This is true in the Finder, iTunes, iDVD and Toast. Those same media burn just fine at 4x in my G5.

Either the Superdrive in my mini is defective or the I was mistakenly given a 2x Superdrive.

I'm talking with Apple Tech Support now to see what they will do. More to come...

(he later wrote)
After an hour long conversation with Apple technical support, it seems that I have them stumped. They can't figure out why my Superdrive won't write faster than 2x. We tried a bunch of different things (e.g., different media, different apps, different login accounts, etc.). We never could get the mini to offer to burn DVDs faster than 2x. The obvious conclusion is either the drive is defective, or this particular model Superdrive cannot write faster than 2x despite what Apple claims in their tech specs. Interestingly, the drive does burn CDs at its rated speed (16x) and seems to perform perfectly normally otherwise, except that the burn speed for DVDs is capped at 2x.

The Apple rep said Apple would need to "consult" with their engineers on what to do, and they will call me back in a couple of days with some answers. The rep I spoke with acknowledged the possibility that the problem I have with my Superdrive might extend beyond simply my mini and could be indicative of a larger issue that is only now coming to light. Perhaps Apple is shipping the wrong drive or Matshita is supplying a drive with the wrong firmware, etc. The obvious question I have to you is has anyone else actually tried to write a DVD at 4x on a mini?
I'll let you know what I find out.
Steve "

Here's another Mini Superdrive report:

(added 1/28/2005)
"I've tried both DVD+R and DVD-R media in the Mac mini super drive (UJ-835F) and Toast reports burn speeds up to 4x only. (I asked if he used 8x rated media and what brand. Also asked if he was using Toast 6.0.7-Mike)
I tried finding another firmware for the drive that might have 8x, but no luck so far in locating one. If I have any more info, I'll let you know.
Holland R.
(I asked if his receipt noted a 4x or 8x model and what ASP reports for the firmware version.)
That's the correct firmware version (GGN7) and Toast (6.0.7) version. The media was some generic brand, RiData I think, some +R and some -R both 8x rated. My invoice did not list any speed, but listed the same part number as your other reader (Optical Drive 065-5635 Superdrive (CD-RW/DVD±RW))
... one last note. The media I tried burning in the Mac mini at 8x (but would only go at 4x) burns at 16x with no problem in my G5 (with the DVR-117D firmware patched to a 108), so I know the media can do 8x and beyond."

But I've seen even firmware changes on the same drive show different max burn rate selections with the same media (sometimes firmware updates fix bugs/improve media compatibility). I guess the apple OEM 835F isn't the equivalent of the standard OEM UJ-835S models. (Deja Vu)

BTW I've also updated the previous post below from a reader that did his own Mac Mini superdrive upgrade using a Pioneer K04L drive to include his later comments on burn speed tests. (Updated several times)

If any other Mac Mini owner has a suggestion or superdrive report, send it in. Thanks.

Mac Mini Hard Drive Upgrade/Trade-In Service After getting the mail on their Mac Mini HD Upgrade performance tests (see previous post below), I asked OWC if they'd considered a Mac Mini Hard Drive Upgrade service for owners that didn't feel comfortable doing it themselves and didn't select a larger drive at BTO. (Or wanted a larger/faster drive than Apple offers as a BTO Option.) Larry of OWC replied:

" $99 including return freight. We will install memory and/or hard drive purchased from OWC.
We install memory & drive, test, install OS X. For an additional $49, can have old drive in an external Mercury Express 2.5" Enclosure or $69 for Mercury On-The-Go. Price includes installation into enclosure.
Or - Trade In... (credit on new drive)
Apple 40GB 4200RPM - $40.00
Apple 80GB 4200RPM - $70.00
We are on this. :)
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing "

Mac Mini Xbench disk performance comparisons with HD Upgrades Jamie Dresser of OWC sent a link to their page with Xbench disk test results comparing these drives in a Mac Mini:

  • Stock 40GB 4200RPM Seagate Momentus 42
  • 60GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache Hitachi Travelstar
  • 80GB 5400RPM 8MB Cache Hitachi Travelstar
  • 80GB 5400RPM 16MB Cache Toshiba
  • 100GB 5400RPM 8MB Cache Seagate Momentus 5400.2

(Seeing this I asked OWC if they'd considered a Mac Mini HD Upgrade service for owners that didn't feel comfortable doing it themselves. See above for their reply/pricing.)

Notes on Price Protection on Mac Mini Orders before BTO price cuts (from the Jan 27th, 2005 news page)

" Hi Mike,
Called Apple for price protection on my mac mini due to seeing on your site that they lowered some option prices. (post in Tuesday's news page on BTO price cuts on options like Airport/Bluetooth, 1GB Memory, etc.) Received a credit after some phone tree kung-fu. All mini *pre-orders* like mine are facing a deadline to ask for credit. From Apple Store web page;

    " Should Apple reduce its price on any shipped product within 10 calendar days of shipment, you may contact Apple Sales Support at 1-800-676-2775 to request a refund or credit of the difference between the price you were charged and the current selling price. To receive the refund or credit you must contact Apple within 14 business days of shipment."

-Daniel H. "

Recent Mac Mini order still lists 8x Superdrive (from Jan. 27th, 2005 news page) Tuesday's news page had a note that the Mac Mini BTO superdrive was changed to note 8x (vs 4x originally and on the mac mini specs page) - but as I mentioned in yesterday's news - the BTO selection was changed back to 4x. However here's a mail received today from a reader that said his BTO Mac Mini order listed an 8x drive:

"My Receipt from the apple store says 8x - I ordered last night after all the spec updates.

Mac mini 1.42GHz Z0B8 3-4 weeks
256MB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 DIMM 065-5336
80GB Ultra ATA drive 065-5326
8x SuperDrive (DVDRW/CD-RW) 065-5635
Internal Bluetooth + AirPort Extreme Card 065-5390
56K v.92 Modem 065-5328
Accessory kit 065-5321
Mac OS X - U.S. English 065-5323

maybe someone knows the product code.
Sharron N."

I wonder if that will also be changed soon to show 4x. Still waiting for a Mini superdrive owner (Matshita UJ-835F per his ASP report) to test with 8x media.

Mac Mini owner notes on installing 7200rpm Travelstar Hard Drive (from a drive database report)

" Mac mini 1.42, 512MB and OSX 10.3.7.
IDE Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 (7200rpm/8MB cache)

Without providing any benchmarks I would like to report that the Mac mini 1.42GHz model takes a Travelstar 7K60 (7200rpm/8MB cache) with room to spare in the hard drive compartment. The Travelstar is a little louder to be fair. About as loud as a quiet exhale, but completely drowned out by the optical drive or the fan when it rarely comes on.

Under normal operations (Pages, Keynote, Dreamweaver MX 2004, Excel, Mail and Safari) the computer is absolutely silent and without the indicator LED, you wouldn't know it was on just by observing the mini itself.

I didn't bother benchmarking the old drive, I simply made sure the 80GB drive it came with was functioning properly before swapping it with the Travelstar 7K60 (7200rpm/8MB cache) I had in my PowerBook 12" 876MHz. My PowerBook is now much slower on disk operations, but a little quieter.

The only problem I had in simply moving the Travelstar 7K60 (7200rpm/8MB cache) into the mini from the PowerBook was that the Airport and Bluetooth icons were stuck in my menu bar and I couldn't find a way to remove them. (Check system preferences for that option, or hold down the Apple key and drag them out of the menu bar. (thanks Paul).-Mike)

Suspecting I was missing out on the improved processor features of the mini, I wiped my drive and reloaded the OS from the provided recovery DVD. My Panther disks would not run in the mini.

The mini was fairly easy to work on once it was cracked open. Use a sharp, thin 1.5 inch putty knife. Start on the left or right near the rear ports and work your way toward the front until the sides are off. You have to bend the plastic very far and it may cause breathing difficulty and sweat. You should be able to figure out the rest unless you have Airport or Bluetooth crammed in there. Wireless additions seemed to be more of an after-thought compared to the rest of the neat and compact design of the rest of the mini.

Only modify a mini with wireless if you are very familiar with working on tight electronic components. Document everything and follow the various guides that are online now. If you can't afford to break your mini, think twice before cracking it open.
Happy modding!
Scott "

If I had a Mac Mini, I'd probably choose the 100GB Seagate Momentus (5400rpm) drive. A very good performer (denser platters) and the extra storage space would be a plus for me.
(previous news pages linked to Mac Mini take-photos and a Mac Mini take-apart video.)

Mac Mini owner report on swapping Combo drive for Pioneer DVR-K04L (from a drive db report - updated to include later comments.)

" Pioneer DVR-K04L
mac mini - 1.42ghz 80gb 1gb ram
Just installed a dvr-k04L from dfwdepot.com. paid $199 for the drive. (OWC now has these for $149.99) Installed it in my mac mini that came with a combo drive. Booted up. NATIVE MAC OSX SUPPORT. (using 10.3.7 or later - not sure if older OS X versions had native support-Mike) no patch burn no nothing. burns at 8x and dual layer media at 2.4x. email me for more info..
(he later wrote)
i spoke a bit too soon about my results. i installed the drive as it came from the dealer. I booted the machine and system profiler recognized the drive. I atttached a screen shot to this email.

I loaded toast (I asked what version) and put in an 8x sony disc to burn. toast said max burn speed of 8x

(I cropped the image (blank area) a bit to reduce the height)

and i burned my first piece of media at 8x. it came out ok but it seemed a little sluggish. i tried burning a dvd-r movie after burning a data disk and it spun the drive up to full speed for about 2 minutes with 'writing lead-in'.
it then timed out with buffer underrun errors. i have 1GB of ram and was only running mail and a few other programs so i cant attribute it to lack of memory. (Not sure if he had checked/enabled the buffer underrun protection option for that burn. it's grayed out when burning DVD+Rs in Toast but from the screenshot he used a DVD-R disc.-Mike)
I reset the pmu and open firmware. now when I load toast with an 8x disk in the drive I see max burn speed of 2x. the read speed is good and works as designed. i ripped an entire 5.5GB movie and it came out perfect.

could the master/slave setting be causing the speed issue? (not normally. Your ASP report shows ID 1 (slave) for the Optical drive which is the same ID as the stock drives. From the ASP report (HD as master/Optical drive as slave) I'm assuming the Mini has one IDE bus for both HD and Optical drive.-Mike)
I tried running patchburn 3.0b8 but the program responded 'the cd/dvd writer is already supported by mac-osx' (patchburn profile not needed when drive is already natively supported)

i dont have any shots of the install as my camera was stolen on a trip over christmas. i may be taking apart the machine again soon when the bluetooth/airport upgrades come so i could take pictures then. any suggestions for this drive?
(The only thing that comes to mind is to try another brand of Media. Not sure if there are any later firmware updates for the drive - and there's no mac flasher for this drive that I know of.-Mike)
(he later wrote)

I am running toast 6.0.7 with sony 8x dvd-r media. I tried running another disk today at 8x. The drive spins up, begins to burn, and then errors out with the (buffer underrun) warning. Yes, the buffer underun was turned on. (checkbox in toast for Buffer Underrun Protection) I have tried burning directly from my 7200rpm firewire drive and also the internal 80GB 4200rpm drive. Same result both times. I also tried burning at 4x with maxell 4x disks and it completed but the disc did not work in my dvd player. (I asked what DVD player - I've had some older home/TV players not read some burned discs (certain brands) but my verbatim dvd-r discs are ok in every drive/player I have.) It would not play in my new style ps2.. which plays all burned movies.

I was able to successfully burn a cdr at 24x (took about 6 minutes).

I have a uj-845 panasonic on order and will be testing that one when it is released. The sony 8x media works great in the lacie 16x external (NEC) drive. I've found Sony to work in every drive correctly except this one. Is it possible os x 10.3.8 will include support for this? (support for what?) Sounds like a software issue right? Any other suggestions? "

I don't know what else to suggest on this problem other than what I already mentioned above. Kyle later wrote a test with Maxell 4x media failed also.
(The Mini Apple BTO superdrive is a Matshita UJ-835F which Apple shows as 4x (after a very short 8x BTO note), although they are 8x rated from other sources). See above for reports on burn rates from OEM UJ-835F owners.

Mini-review of Mac Mini w/Superdrive

" Mike,
Here's some quick impressions of the Mac mini based on about 5 days of use:

- My model is the 1.42GHz with additional RAM (512MB) and Superdrive ordered from the Apple Store the day of the keynote. It arrived on Jan 21 as promised. (I asked if he'd send the info from ASP on the superdrive model. Also asked if he had toast to check to see if 8x burn rate was shown with 8x rated media.-Mike)

- Everything you've heard is true...it's beautiful, cute, tiny, and virtually silent and leaves one with the impression of a video game console, not a computer.

-Because it's essentially a laptop without the screen, it shares some positive and negative behavior traits with laptops. It's very quiet with the fan running only as much as needed. It comes out of sleep almost instantly, making sleep an even more attractive alternative to shutting down. It's so portable, I could easily see adding additional monitors and keyboards in the house or at the office, and just moving the mini from place to place.

- Overall processor and video performance was very surprising. As the owner of a 2x2GHz G5, I expected to disappointed in the mini's speed (but this was going to be a kids' computer, so who cares). After using it most of the weekend, I haven't felt the desire to spend much time on my G5. Granted, I'm only doing routine tasks, and if I needed to do some really heavily lifting, I would go back to the G5 quickly. But the message to those considering buying the mini is simple: this machine is more powerful than you might think and well worth the money. I could have bought 5 minis for what I paid for the G5, and that's a great tradeoff. If Apple would release a consumer version of their grid computing software, I'm sure that 5 networked minis would beat my G5 easily! :-)

- Unfortunately, disk performance is also similar to to a laptop. In fact, disk performance - both hard drive and Superdrive - is the real Achilles Heel of this machine. The internal 80 GB 4200 RPM drive only achieved about 20 MBs of throughput using benchmark testing. The laptop-style Superdrive is obviously slower than most fullsize optical drives. However, firewire can fix this problem. I attached an OWC Neptune 80GB 7200 RPM hard drive and 52x CDRW to the mini via firewire and I achieved transfer rates in the 40's MBs. I then Carbon Copy Cloned the OS onto the firewire drive and booted from the external. It made the machine much snappier during disk-intensive operations, and reduced boot time by a third. So, if someone intends to use the mini for serious photo/movie editing (which is actually quite reasonable, given the overall speed of the machine), they really need to consider booting and running off a big fast firewire drive and using the internal drive as a backup, if at all.

- As any of your readers would already know, you must add additional RAM. Selling the mini with 256MB is like selling a car with three tires. After booting the mini and logging in one user (but with no apps running), the mini is using 248MB of RAM. For normal day-to-day use, 512MB is probably fine (it will be for us), but if the primary daily use of this machine will involve Photoshop or movie editing, the buyer should pay the money to buy a 1GB stick of RAM or be prepared for serious disk thrashing. And considering that the internal drive is a laptop-grade drive, I suspect that running the machine with only 256MB of RAM would not only be very painful waiting for virtual swapping, but it would shorten the life of the drive significantly.

- One other thought...if someone is prepared to open the mini to install additional RAM, I would recommend replacing the internal drive with a 5400 or 7200 laptop drive while they are there. It would dramatically improve performance, although the cost of these upgrades begs the question of whether it would be better to move up to the iMac with the money instead.

- One last thought...Apple has now incorporated a very elegant data transfer feature on new Macs. (a feature on new macs for some time now.) When you first turn the Mac on, you go through the standard registration process followed by an offer to transfer all data, settings and applications from another Mac to the mini via firewire. I hadn't expected this, but when it offered, I immediately connect the mini to my old Mac G4 in target disk mode via firewire, and the mini sucked in everything that wasn't native to the OS. Once the process was complete, the mini looked exactly like my old G4, except a lot faster. That was hands-down the easiest computer replacement I've ever done. Bravo Apple!
(He later wrote)
You are right about the drive...it's the 835. I don't have 8x media, but I'm 99% sure it's the 4x DVD writer, not the 8x writer Apple is now offering. (that 8x BTO note was short lived - it's been changed back to 4x now.) Bummer. I'm surprised that Apple change specs so quickly...why not give everyone the faster drive?
Anyway, I have an external firewire writer that's faster anyway. Still love the mini though. "

A reader that ordered the combo drive model promised to send a full review in with some apps performance comparisons to his other mac models.

More comments/info on Mac Mini 8x Superdrive (Note - the BTO "8X" Superdrive option that was part of BTO changes on Jan. 25th was changed back to 4x by Jan 26th.)

" Hi Mike, I thought you might like to know that regarding the new 8X Superdrives being listed in the BTO section of the Mac mini order page, it's still up in the air as to whether these are truly 8X Superdrives. (Update: Several reader sent a note today that the Mac Mini BTO superdrive is no longer listed as 8x, but 4x as listed on the original specs page.-Mike) Both the Mac mini tech specs page and the "Learn More" link next to the Superdrive option on the BTO page list the superdrive as 4X.
Several people that have ordered Mac minis have called about this. One person reported being told it was 4X, and another person was told it was 8X.
Your readers should know that it is possible that Apple is listing the Superdrive as an 8X drive in reference to its DVD Read speed, not its DVD Write speed. Until we get further clarification on this, I would notify your readers that they may not be getting what they think they are getting when adding this drive to the Mac mini.

Also, an interesting note is that the drive model people who have gotten their minis are reporting is UJ-835-F, which is not found on the manufacturor's website:
However, a similar model number is found: UJ-835-B, which is a true 8X Write drive. Could it be possible that even if the drives shipping with the Mac minis are 4X write, that they are actually 8X drives that have been disabled with firmware?
Thanks, Kevin B "

I don't know (some older model slotted superdrives had firmware that didn't support some features/speeds that the standard OEM models did).
If any readers buy a Mac Mini with 8x superdrive option and own Toast, let me know if it lists 8x as a burn rate option (with media rated for that).
(I had guessed the drive would be a Matshita (Panasonic) 835 - but never got an ASP report from a Mini user confirming that. A PB G3 2000 (pismo) owner report in the drive database here on the Panasonic UJ-835-B model listed 3x DVD-RAM support also. Another Pismo owner report mentioned a UJ-835S model.)

Mac Mini owner comments on end user RAM and Airport card upgrades

" Mike, Since I purchased my 1.42GHz Mac Mini at the Apple store Saturday, I've been planning the upgrades I wanted to do on it. I just finished replacing the stock 256MB RAM with a 1GB PC2700 Kingston module I just got on sale for $124 after rebate. Apple states on its site that the Mac Mini will accept PC2700 or PC3200 modules, but there is no advantage to PC3200, it will still run at PC2700 speeds. (dimm installed can't change bus speeds) Interestingly, the stock 256MB module in my Mac Mini is a PC3200 module. In any case, it's an easy upgrade and though I haven't yet had a chance to test it, one well worth it I feel.

The big upgrade I wanted was the Airport Extreme card. The Apple store currently only does RAM upgrades, so I wasn't able to get it added when I purchased my Mac Mini.
After reading articles on the disassembly, I thought I'd take a look while I had the Mac Mini open and see if it was just lacking the Airport Extreme card or if the daughtercard it goes on was also not included. Sadly, I found the daughtercard is not included in the standard configuration, so it's not possible(yet) to add an Airport Extreme card without handing it over to Apple.
I called the Apple store today and they said as of now, they still only offer the RAM upgrade, but they hope to hear word this week on when/if they will be able to do Airport/Bluetooth upgrades as well.
Andrew "

Another Mini Owner wrote regarding Airport upgrades by the dealer:

" I was reading your front page and thought I would give you some conflicting information that I received from my Apple Store in Las Vegas, Nevada. When I bought my Mac Mini on the 22nd, I asked about the Airport/Bluetooth card. After the sales person talked to the "genius", they said that they don't know when they will get the card in. However, all I need to do is bring my Mac Mini and my receipt showing that I got the Mini at the store and when I buy the Airport/Bluetooth card they will install it at the Apple Store for free.
Take care!
-lee "

Mac Mini (1.42GHz) Quake3 benchmarks/First Impressions (from reader post)

(from a reader post yesterday)

" will keep this simple.
I was at the Tyson's (Virginia) store when they opened on Saturday. There were a few people in line (I didn't count....but 30 to 50 maybe). I ran in and grabbed a Mac mini. Ended up with the 1.5 (1.42GHz) with 80GB drive and 256MB RAM.
I have been having a ball with it. Anyhow...because I have yet to see anyone else do it, here are some Quake 3 ver 1.32 timedemo results!

ALL DEFAULT SETTINGS....all I did was start and change the SYSTEM settings to the following:

  • HIGH: 95.6 FPS
  • NORM: 115.5 FPS
  • FASTEST 135.6 FPS

Nothing very technical. Just to give the people unsure of the video card an idea about how fast the Mini is.

For the record, I have an OLD PowerMac G4 (was a Sawtooth with 350MHz CPU). I have since upgraded it with a PowerLogix 1.2 GHz CPU and an ATI Radeon 8500... Framerates in Quake 3 are similar....but the drops are not as dramatic in the Mini. Needless to say I am VERY impressed...

The mini is really cool...I was hesitant....but have fallen in love with it. It is connected to a Princeton 19 inch LCD monitor. It just looks so small. It makes VERY little noise. It is so small it makes the external firewire and usb 2 enclosed HDs look HUGE!
Asmodeus "

He'll be posting other tests (as modern 3D games are more demanding than Quake3). Of course it's not the best choice for Mac gaming (wasn't designed to be), but the Mini is selling like wildfire apparently.

I welcome other feedback on the Mac Mini.

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