Less than a week after Apple announced the Mac mini, the folks behind iFixit have conducted a teardown of it. According to their teardown, the new Mac mini comes with soldered RAM — meaning they are not user replaceable or upgradeable.
Besides this, prying open the cover to get inside the new mini is also tougher since it does not feature a rotating bottom like its predecessor. Opening the bottom now requires a plastic opening tool — underneath which lies a solid metal cover protecting the internals of the mini. This metal cover is held in place by the smallest Torx Security screw ever seen by the iFixit team and they had to design their own screw driver to open it.
Another interesting tidbit from the Mac mini teardown is the ‘Advanced Hydraulic Bearing’ fan, which “consists of a polished steel shaft, a sintered bearing and fluid lubricant.” In this type of fan, there “is no contact between shaft and bearing” and “the bearing load is carried solely by a film of fluid lubricant.”
If the soldered RAM was not already a bummer, the new mini only comes with one SATA port making it impossible to add new secondary SATA based HDD to it. It may, however, be possible to use the empty PCIe slot for installing a “blade SSD,” but it can only be confirmed once the iFixit team gets their hands on a mini with a Fusion drive.
Overall, iFixit gives the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6 out of 10. While the team praised its design for being glue free and the dismantling being pretty straight forward, it did deduct points for the soldered CPU and RAM making it impossible to be user upgradeable.