hack your new mac

mac mini

it’s begun.  you may have seen news of the ipod shuffle disassembly on engadget earlier this week, and now the mac mini is subject to hacking as well.

to begin hacking an ipod shuffle, follow the disassembly photos here.
to begin hacking a mac mini, view how to safely open the case here.

regarding the shuffle disassembly, i’d recommend you don’t remove the navigation pad if you ever intend to reassemble the device.  as for the mac mini, supposedly opening and servicing the machine won’t void your warranty.

unless you break something.

happy hacking and make sure to send us your creations.  we’ll be posting our own, so it only seems fair.  if you can’t find the time to create, send in any ideas you have and we’ll put our team of highly skilled hackers to work.

here are some examples to get the ideas flowing:

  • mac mini media player

  • external battery pack for the shuffle

  • integrated shuffle or mac mini car audio or navigation system

  • the most mini mac mini

Comments

  1. drseatbelt says:

    idea for the mac mini:

    the mac mini cluster,5 Ghz (4*1.25) of computing for under $2000 (would require bus upgrade)

  2. nano2x says:

    Well my mac mini now has many LEDs and clear spots. Warning very small space, and cutting holes in aluminum shell is not recommended ;)

    Now someone show howto mod this into a car…

  3. CL says:

    I don’t get it…
    The idea of the ipod shuffle is to keep it tiny so you can slip it in your pocket anywhere, but then you add an external battery on it and increase the size?

  4. Bob says:

    Plus apple will be making its own external battery pack which will probably be smaller than anything someone would fabricate. Although the cost will most likely be very high.

  5. “the idea of the ipod shuffle is to keep it tiny so you can slip it in your pocket anywhere, but then you add an external battery on it and…”

    good call. we should add that to the requirements list. an external battery pack that keeps similar design values while greatly extending the runtime of the device.

    i like it.

  6. anybody says:

    The ipod shuffle charges via USB. Can you use it while it’s charging? If you can, it shouldn’t be very hard to make a battery with a USB port to plug it into that it would draw power from. I’m not any bit of an electrical wiz, so I’ll hand this one off to somebody with the skillz.

  7. patrick says:

    What i want to know (i think this will be the device to make me a switcher) is that do you have to use genuine mac ram to upgrade it, and adding your own cheeper bluetooth, like the hack with the ibook a few months back, australia is not due to get ours for another month or so, so i will be salavating on the US guys pages.

    Looking foward to it

  8. Edward Zieba says:

    Mac Mini portable:

    Build a battery pack beneath the Mini, and put a flip-up LCD screen on top (like the ones you get for the Gamecube). Bring along a foldable keyboard and pointing device of your choice (or just make the screen a touchscreen).

  9. jim says:

    does anyone know if there is a way to get iMovie to run on a pc? i tried using that PearPC thing but it wouldnt install on my computer

  10. Joshua Holbrook says:

    I thought it might make a good small home file server… but the hard drive’s a bit small for that. Maybe if you could increase its size to a few hundred gigs? But I don’t think there’s enough space for more than one HD, so…

  11. Ant says:

    There definatly isn’t, the mac mini uses a laptop size hard drive.

    I need one of these. Badly.

  12. Greg says:

    Another sad, but successful grab at money. If I were to go Mac, I’d go all out and get something bigger to start with. Seriously, PC’s are MADE to be upgradable/customizable to suit your needs. I haven’t found a good use for a Mac yet. I used to work as a typesetter, and sure the Mac version of Quark was faster… but it also was missing key feature’s like “undo” and it was A LOT less stable… Similar experiences with other software. If you’re a mac nut, and you’re looking for upgradability… upgrade your bank account and go buy a better model. Otherwise, suck it up nancy and build a PC. Wan’t cheap? Buy an XBOX and tweak it out with a new hard drive, keyboard and mouse, and some easy to find software.

    As for the new iPoo.. I mean iPod… how many itterations do we have to see with a difficult to replace battery? Why doesn’t it have a detailed display? Are we supposed to be too stupid to read it? Does it have to look like a remote contol? I’d have felt less dumb with it hanging around my neck if it looked like a “personal massager.”

    I’ve had my say :P

  13. mike schleif says:

    um upgradable mac: powermac you can add mem change video etc etc very easily go check out apple.com

    funny you should mention xbox too (power pc)

    anyway
    mac mini ideas:
    attached to gps device and add pcmcia slot for more fun, ooo and remove and replace the laptop hard drive with a 60gig ipod drive that’s like an eighth the size!!

  14. tj says:

    is there anyway to upgrade the mac mini’s hard drive at all? i mean 80 gigs gets used up pretty quickly

  15. Pgeuk says:

    Maybe there is an opening here for someone to start making after-market cases for the shuffle. That way you have options for small mods like this. If you don’t want to mod you shuffle then fine, call us back when the internal battery starts to die, otherwise I’d be interested in something in stainless steel….

  16. NoOne1 says:

    The Mac mini uses a standard notebook hard drive, thus just about any notebook hard drive will fit. The current 40 and 80 gig drives are 4200 rpm and thus are very slow.
    The ram is upgradable also.
    So, here is what you do…
    Purchase the 1.24 gig machine and upgrade the CDrom to a super drive so you can burn DVDs +$100
    Get 512 megs DDR +$65
    Get an 80 gig 7200 rpm notebook drive +$150
    Get an external firewire notebook drive sized inclosure +$50ish.

    Overclock the processor up to 1.5 or better. I am waiting for someone to figure this out before I purchase.
    Remove the slow 40 gig drive and put the faster 80 inside.
    Replace the ram with 512.
    Put the old 40 gig drive in the USB or firewire enclosure and use it for an external drive for backups, etc.
    So, for about $750 you can get a 1.5 gig (or faster, depending on how far they can be overclocked), with DVD +-rw, 512 megs ram, 80gig 7200 rpm drive and external 40 gigs of backup storage.
    The only major draw back is the video is limited to 32 megs of ram. A hack to upgrade this would be a new driver that would allow the system to use not only the included 32 megs but also a portion of the system’s ram or a means of unsoddering the current 32 meg chip and placing it with a larger (mucho risk).
    I am not a mac user, but an old time PC overclocker and hardware hack. This machine would though make a perfect system for the familty.
    noOne1

  17. Sampson says:

    “Build a battery pack beneath the Mini, and put a flip-up LCD screen on top (like the ones you get for the Gamecube). Bring along a foldable keyboard and pointing device of your choice (or just make the screen a touchscreen).”

    This is what I want.
    Someone, please do it.

  18. arron says:

    Portable mac mini – just buy an ibook, only a little more expensive than a mac mini + lcd.
    Mac mini isn’t supposed to be a performance or gaming machine it’s supposed to be a lifestyle machine. Dont bitch.

  19. Mathew says:

    mac mini into touch screen tablet

    I would like to create a mac mini tablet (portable)

    i am imagining that i would create a battery pack, with charger and monitor. the battery monitor would plug into a a usb connection, and i would have to write a driver to interact with the power management system (just as a UPS does on a g5 tower) so that
    the mini mac could display battery charge and shut down when the battery is flat

    for the screen i have been trying to find a suitable lcd touch screen,
    small but with hi-res. The touch would use up another usb port, which would use up all the usb plugs, so it would need a usb hub inside if it was going to have any ports on the outside.

    it would also be nice to be able to connect an external monitor, though i’m not sure what the best way to do that would be.

    anyone have any suggestions?

  20. Lallander says:

    I would love to see someone fit this puppy into a NES box.

    I’ve seen it done before with mini ITX parts, but how hard would it be to hack the Mac mini into one?

    The Hardest thing I can think of would be to get the power switch to work.

    Also, if your going to be changing out the entire case can you use a regular HD as opposed to a laptop one?

    I would definitely do that one hack to turn a regular NES controller into a USB one. Good stuff there.

    Any other suggestions?

  21. Trevor says:

    “The Mac mini uses a standard notebook hard drive, thus just about any notebook hard drive will fit. The current 40 and 80 gig drives are 4200 rpm and thus are very slow.
    The ram is upgradable also.
    So, here is what you do…
    Purchase the 1.24 gig machine and upgrade the CDrom to a super drive so you can burn DVDs +$100
    Get 512 megs DDR +$65
    Get an 80 gig 7200 rpm notebook drive +$150
    Get an external firewire notebook drive sized inclosure +$50ish.

    Overclock the processor up to 1.5 or better. I am waiting for someone to figure this out before I purchase.
    Remove the slow 40 gig drive and put the faster 80 inside.
    Replace the ram with 512.
    Put the old 40 gig drive in the USB or firewire enclosure and use it for an external drive for backups, etc.
    So, for about $750 you can get a 1.5 gig (or faster, depending on how far they can be overclocked), with DVD +-rw, 512 megs ram, 80gig 7200 rpm drive and external 40 gigs of backup storage.
    The only major draw back is the video is limited to 32 megs of ram. A hack to upgrade this would be a new driver that would allow the system to use not only the included 32 megs but also a portion of the system’s ram or a means of unsoddering the current 32 meg chip and placing it with a larger (mucho risk).
    I am not a mac user, but an old time PC overclocker and hardware hack. This machine would though make a perfect system for the familty.
    noOne1″

    ….why even buy the mac mini, all you are using it for is the case basically. just get a G5, the mac mini is useless.

  22. retrolove says:

    The mac mini would fit easily into a nes box. I’ve built a mini-itx nes pc, and from what i know of the mini-itx dimensions, you could probably just put the top half of a nes box over a mini and shield it completely, although i dont kow who would want to do that, a nes box is much bigger than the mini, an easy enclosure would be just to cut out the holes in the back of the nes box to fit the mini’s and then use the flip up front of the nes to access the cd drive. The mini-itx nes pcs are cool because they fit the powersupply into the nes itself, having an external power supply is “cheating,” so if you wanted your mac mini in a nes box, buy one and put it in there. would take five minutes heh. I would be interested to see some way of using my mac mini in an airport, maybe when that laser-pen keyboard comes out you could use that and a usb laptop mouse for portability. I’d like to use my mini as a portable hard drive with pc abilities. I have a tower I’d keep but for the summer when not attending school I would leave my tower in Colorado and go home with my mini mac, and all my files. now i just need a small portable monitor

  23. noone1 says:

    From an above post…
    “….why even buy the mac mini, all you are using it for is the case basically. just get a G5, the mac mini is useless.”

    It is about the hack, pushing the limits, making it unique… Ive been hardware hacking for over a decade, overclocked my AMD DX4-100 way back when and my 496 DX2-50 before that.
    Both the 1.25 and 1.45 gig mac mini machines, I am sure, have the exact same processor, it is just the multiplier that is different. So we can infer that the processor and design is capable of supporting a clock rate of 1.5 gigs. You would be MUCH better off dumping in half a gig of PC3500 DDR and see if you can push the front side bus from 167 up to 200 Mhz by changing the boards crystal oscillator or possible other methods (bios hacks, resistor replacement, etc). This increased bus speed will also increase memory access, etc. It would be a massive boost to the system.
    Why not buy a G5?
    1. A G5 system, bare spec new is over $1300++. My mods total $750 when all is said and done.
    2. This base is small, perfect for a family PC in the living room.
    3. It is quiet, the G5 machines have so many fans it sounds like a jet engine (at least the ones I have seen)
    4. The mac mini perfomed quite well against the G5 http://www.barefeats.com/mini01.html and http://www.macintouch.com/perfpack/comparison.html

    If I can over clock it at the front side bus, and replace the ultra slow hard drives it ships with, it will be one decent little machine.

    “the mac mini is useless.”
    Not for the hacks.
    noone1

  24. arron says:

    anyone planning to make a “mac mini tablet” or laptop mac mini hack, is a dumbass.
    an iBook is cheaper or very similar price, more functional and weighs less. you still have to pay for an lcd, douche.
    a Mac mini tablet would just be retarded.

  25. Jorge says:

    The Mac mini uses a standard notebook hard drive, thus just about any notebook hard drive will fit. The current 40 and 80 gig drives are 4200 rpm and thus are very slow.
    The ram is upgradable also.
    So, here is what you do…
    Purchase the 1.24 gig machine and upgrade the CDrom to a super drive so you can burn DVDs +$100
    Get 512 megs DDR +$65
    Get an 80 gig 7200 rpm notebook drive +$150
    Get an external firewire notebook drive sized inclosure +$50ish.

    Overclock the processor up to 1.5 or better. I am waiting for someone to figure this out before I purchase.
    Remove the slow 40 gig drive and put the faster 80 inside.
    Replace the ram with 512.
    Put the old 40 gig drive in the USB or firewire enclosure and use it for an external drive for backups, etc.
    So, for about $750 you can get a 1.5 gig (or faster, depending on how far they can be overclocked), with DVD +-rw, 512 megs ram, 80gig 7200 rpm drive and external 40 gigs of backup storage.
    The only major draw back is the video is limited to 32 megs of ram. A hack to upgrade this would be a new driver that would allow the system to use not only the included 32 megs but also a portion of the system’s ram or a means of unsoddering the current 32 meg chip and placing it with a larger (mucho risk).
    I am not a mac user, but an old time PC overclocker and hardware hack. This machine would though make a perfect system for the familty.

    This must be genius central. You just found a way to brutalize your mini into not quite being a G5 iMac. Without the monitor, keyboard and mouse.
    Boy, are we saving money, huh?

    How about writing a really nice application or designing something that would augment the mini instead of Frankensteining it. That way more people could actually enjoy it. Hell, maybe you even come up with a machine that turns into a new industry. You could make some real money.

    A new driver for the video RAM…
    Just yank the top off the thing and glue it to a G5. It’s going to be a lot easier, a lot faster and it’ll set ya back about the same money too.

  26. s says:

    “you may have seen news of the ipod shuffle disassembly on engadget earlier this week, and now the mac mini is subject to hacking as well.”

    I don’t get it. How is taking apart either the shuffle or the mini a hack? Certainly many hacks require disassembling the case, but that itself is not the hack or the mod. That’s disassembly. It’s not the same thing.

  27. mike r says:

    so what is the deal. can u take apart the shuffle without breaking the nav pad or not? and to attatch a screen seems sort of a challenge considering (and i am not a genius so tell me if i am wrong) that there is no why to attatch one to the current shuffle mobo. u would basicly desoilder everything off of the shuffle, then make a new mobo that has a place to put a screen, then soilder everything to the new mobo and install either your own os, or the ipod mini or normal ipod os. might as well make the minty mp3 player and add a screen. saves some $$. but if u can do it other than the way i just described. i would love to see it. i would definately make one.

  28. john bradley bulsterbaum says:

    I’m not really going for the mac mini, but I’m not going to b**** about it either. So why are people complaining about it when others are just indulging their hobby? Only one thing: if your hobby is b****ing about other people’s hobbies, get a life; either way, God bless you all. (I love this site)

  29. kevin says:

    pretty crazy.

  30. innernumb says:

    The mini mac is a unique thing (i personaly think) and i’m getting one just for the fact that the endless possiblities of modding it will flood in. that and i have money to blow out of my hole..

  31. David Ray says:

    Mini mac hacks.

    I did the 1.5 GHZ overclock.

    I put in a 60 Gig Travelstar 7200 RPM drive because it is the fastest
    laptop hardisk on the market with the most cache. I wish there was an 80 gig version.

    Next, I will relocate all my usb stuff inside the mac mini case, and then will go with overclocked pc3200 400 mhz memory which can run at pc4200 speeds 533mhz.

    I would also like to get one of thos slick 7″ touch screen monitors for the system.

    I’ll have to look into changing the bus speed, and adding a thermocouple as well.

  32. mike-n-go says:

    to learn how to over clock the mac mini go to
    http://www.lbodnar.dsl.pipex.com/macmini/
    for only a little de-soldering you can get a 14%
    boost (1.25 ghz

  33. mike-n-go says:

    if you want to have gps go for somthing like this
    http://www.gpsnavx.com/

    if you want to to turn your Mac mini into a home media server (maby for tv) go to to get some links to media server freeware
    http://www.macmerc.com/articles/Freeloader_Friday_Download_of_the_Week/264

    if you want to make

  34. mike-n-go says:

    if you want to see the knock off go to
    http://news.com.com/Intel+shows+off+Mac+Mini-like+concept+PC/2100-1041_3-5596629.html?tag=mac.nn

    if you want to se some a/v stuff(cars perhaps) go to
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1514147#post1514147
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/search.php?searchid=1403239

    i found most of these by google-ing these phrases
    here are some examples to get the ideas flowing:

    mac mini media player

    external battery pack for the shuffle

    integrated shuffle or mac mini

  35. mike-n-go says:

    “31. Posted Mar 14, 2005, 11:21 AM ET by David Ray
    Mini mac hacks.”
    “I’ll have to look into changing the bus speed, and adding a thermocouple as well.”
    what would the thermocouple do?
    if moniter the temp of say(this it it on my ibook):the cpu hd, Graphics Processor Die, Battery, Power Supply/Memory Bottomside
    go here
    http://www.bresink.com/osx/TemperatureMonitor.html

    i sure hop i did not forget any thing

  36. mike-n-go says:

    oh the reason i poasted 4 of the above is becaus it would not let me when i clicked on add you comments
    it is about 250 words that i started out with i hope this will be fixed
    what is the max character limit?
    on thes forms?

  37. mike-n-go says:

    http://solutionspheres.blogspot.com/
    “Solution Spheres”

  38. mike-n-go says:

    wow the macmini is cool

  39. David Ray says:

    I was thinking of the thermocouple as additional solid state cooling. I do have the temperature monitoring applications. The 60 gig 7200 rpm travelstar does run hotter than the original had disk. If cpu temperatures after overclock have have risen, I could use a thermocouple on the cpu for additional cooling, however, I have not seen this as being an issue with the overclock.

  40. David Ray says:

    Without cutting off your power connector, the safest thing to do would be to use a cheapy 100W inverter, and some 12V lead acid batteries. (7) AH batteries should give you more than 2 hours. I know that the power brick can deliver up to 85 watts but I doubt I am drawing near that current. might do that for fun as I have the batteries and inverter. It would be interesting to see how long it will run so I have a realistic idea as to how much current my mac mini really draws.

    Then you Just stuff eveything in a case. I think the case you can buy for the Elecraft k-2 would probably be ideal for this.

    http://WWW.elecraft.com

    The case is slick and close to mac mini in side.

  41. h0mi says:

    “The ram is upgradable also.”
    I just want to know what restrictions on ram the mac mini has… can I use any pc2700 memory or is it finicky.

  42. jonty says:

    does anyone know where i can get a tiff or jep or a full working model of that sppinning rainbow that appears when your computer is locking up jontyboylees@hotmail.com

  43. george r. says:

    well y bought a tripod speaker system but when I tryed to conect it to the electicity I made a mistake and conected it in the audio hole, I also had my ipod shuffle connected, so It burned.. do you know how to repair it?

  44. jim martinen says:

    Hmmm… a Mac Mini media player… if I were to take out the CD drive, this might be a good, feasible idea. I’d also want a small screen, though.

  45. Vixy fan says:

    http://www.viddler.com/explore/BabyVixXxen/videos/3/

    object classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ width=”437″ height=”370″ id=”viddler”>

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