One of the best upgrades to make is to swap out the old mechanical hard drive for an SSD. Data transfer speeds will be at least four times faster, and that will make a huge difference in the day-to-day running of your Mac Mini.
It’s also very simple to accomplish.
- Flip over the Mac Mini.
Place your thumbs in the circular divots and twist the base anti-clockwise.
- The base should simply pull away, but may need prying with a plastic tool or even a credit card.
- Grab a Torx T8 and T9 screwdriver.
Remove the screws on the wireless shroud.
- Move the shroud to one side carefully, making sure you don’t snap the cable.
- Grab a Torx T5 screwdriver.
Remove the two screws on the fan and the single screw on the black shroud.
- Pull away the black shroud and set it aside.
Carefully pull the fan away from the logic board.
- Slide a business card or something similar beneath the existing hard drive and prize it up slightly.
- Carefully detach the SATA cable for the hard drive from the logic board.
Pull the existing hard drive clear of the Mac Mini.
- Detach the Torx T8 screws from the existing hard drive.
Attach those same screws to the left-hand side of your new SSD.
- Detach the ribbon cable from the existing hard drive.
- Connect the same ribbon cable to the new SSD’s SATA connectors.
- Turn the SSD over so it’s upside down and the screws from step 15 are facing the edge of the Mac Mini.
Using a business card again for support, slide the new SSD into place until the screws lock into place on the bracket inside the Mac Mini.
- Reconnect the ribbon cable to the logic board.
- Reassemble the Mac Mini reversing the steps above, first installing the black shroud, then the fan, then the wireless shroud.
- Line the markings on the base up with the corresponding markings on the Mac Mini.
- Twist the base back into place.
One additional thing to do throughout this process is to use some canned air to blast out any dust. You’ll be surprised at how clean the inside of a computer this old is, but it never hurts to clear it out while you’re inside.