Apple’s Mac mini may be a masterpiece of origami, but that hasn’t stopped the teardown merchants from unleashing their screwdriver sets on the compact desktop. The tinkerers at iFixit have pinned down the new late-2012 model, announced earlier this week, and yanked out its silicon guts to see how flexible it might me. Despite the small size, however, the score is pretty good: 8 out of 10 for repairability.
The Mac mini gets credit for not using proprietary screws, unlike the pentalobes found on the Retina-class MacBook Pro, and there’s no glue holding down anything inside. iFixit also likes the fact that the RAM and hard-drive aren’t soldered in, which means they’re easily replaced by the user, and you can also add in a second drive (as Apple does by default for the server version of the mini).
Of course, there are always going to be some compromises with a small-form-factor chassis, and the Mac mini is no different. The fact that the CPU is soldered to the logic board and so can’t be replaced by the user is probably the biggest drawback, though iFixit also mentions the trickiness of actually unpacking and replacing all of the components involved.
The updated mini kicks off at $599 for the 2.5GHz dualcore Core i5 model with 4GB of RAM and 500GB of storage; it has Intel HD Graphics 4000 as standard. The server version, with a pair of 1TB drives and a quadcore Core i7 chip is $999.