MacMini Cooling

Status
Not open for further replies.

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
4,892
Location
Far NW Valley
I have had a 2018 MacMini for about a year and a half now and it has worked great. It is fully tricked out and it works great for programming radios (Parallels and Windows 10), my work from home job, web browsing and watching streaming. I run 3 32-inch HD displays and the little thing just plain works.

My only complaints have been thermal. It gets HOT! The top of the computer runs so hot one cannot keep his hand on the case. This makes a good heat spreader I guess but that cannot be good for long-term viability.

The Apple fan profile is set for silence and allows thermal throttling but will not run the fan at full speed even when the temp is maxed out. I do have the Satechi fan-hub base that adds airflow to the bottom as well as USB and SD slots but it really does not cool the computer much. I have considered replacing the thermal compound to see if a better transfer would help but then figured since hte case top is so hot the transfer must be pretty good.

I downloaded Macs Fan Control (Macs Fan Control - control fans on Apple computers, also on Windows via Boot Camp) and set the fan to run full blast all the time. Now the case barely gets warm to the touch even driving all three monitors with Netflix and Youtube etc. I can barely hear the fans over my tinnitus and age-related hearing loss as well as the other ambient noise in the office.

I wish I found this 18 months ago! I am using the free version right now but will likely get the $15 Pro version to allow me to tailor the fan profile to my liking. I might still replace the thermal compound at some point but for now I think I will hold off.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
12,466
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I'm not familiar with the Mac Mini but that is a boat load of stuff in a small box and its going to get hot. For radios and other projects I've added rubber feet to a quiet 4" muffin fan, placed a resistor in the power leads to slow it down some and have a silent cooling solution that will probably work great on the Mac Mini.

I started with an extremely quiet, nearly silent Silenx brand fan, then put a finger guard on one side and in this case rubber feet on both sides since this fan usually sits underneath a mobile radio with the heat sinks aimed at the fan. You initially use a high power potentiometer or resistor substitution box to find the perfect value of series resistor for the power lead that runs the fan at a silent speed while still moving a lot of air.

If the bottom of the Mac Mini is also part of the heatsink you could use this fan under it and if not stick it on top. Its not pretty but will probably extend the life of the equipment.

fan.JPG

I have had a 2018 MacMini for about a year and a half now and it has worked great. It is fully tricked out and it works great for programming radios (Parallels and Windows 10), my work from home job, web browsing and watching streaming. I run 3 32-inch HD displays and the little thing just plain works.

My only complaints have been thermal. It gets HOT! The top of the computer runs so hot one cannot keep his hand on the case. This makes a good heat spreader I guess but that cannot be good for long-term viability.

The Apple fan profile is set for silence and allows thermal throttling but will not run the fan at full speed even when the temp is maxed out. I do have the Satechi fan-hub base that adds airflow to the bottom as well as USB and SD slots but it really does not cool the computer much. I have considered replacing the thermal compound to see if a better transfer would help but then figured since hte case top is so hot the transfer must be pretty good.

I downloaded Macs Fan Control (Macs Fan Control - control fans on Apple computers, also on Windows via Boot Camp) and set the fan to run full blast all the time. Now the case barely gets warm to the touch even driving all three monitors with Netflix and Youtube etc. I can barely hear the fans over my tinnitus and age-related hearing loss as well as the other ambient noise in the office.

I wish I found this 18 months ago! I am using the free version right now but will likely get the $15 Pro version to allow me to tailor the fan profile to my liking. I might still replace the thermal compound at some point but for now I think I will hold off.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
4,892
Location
Far NW Valley
From looking at the internal pictures and specs it appears the top case is used as a heatsink but without allowing the fans to ramp up the computer thermal throttles since it cannot dissipate enough heat. Using this application to force the fans to run at full speed the heatsink can dispense of more heat and reduce or eliminate throttling.

So far my computer has not throttled so I am happy.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top