Apple could make the Mac mini, its smallest desktop, even smaller if it really wanted to. One YouTuber proved that by taking the machine’s internals and packing them into a custom shell that’s 78% more compact than the original.
It’s just as fast as an unadulterated M1 Mac mini, but looks more like an Apple TV (in size, at least) than a powerful desktop. And it has MagSafe charging!
Making the Mac mini smaller
On the outside, the M1 Mac mini is identical to its predecessors. There’s no way to tell them apart. However, on the inside, there is a significant amount of space that was freed up when Apple swapped Intel chips for its own custom silicon.
Mac mini’s circuit board is now substantially smaller, and components like RAM, which were separate (and at times replaceable) on some earlier versions of the machine, are now integrated into its M1 chipset. So, why is Mac mini so big?
Well, all of Apple’s original M1 machines – including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro – looked like previous models. Cupertino probably just didn’t get around to revamping their external hardware as well as their internals.
But Quinn Nelson of the popular Snazzy Labs channel on YouTube has proven that the Mac mini no longer needs all that space. And in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take a lot of effort to do it.
78% more compact but just as fast
Nelson took all of the M1 Mac mini’s original components and did away with anything that wasn’t completely necessary, like its fan. The newest MacBook Air and iPad Pro have proven that the M1 doesn’t require active cooling.
He then hacked together an external power supply to do away with the Mac mini’s bulky internal one – it’s a Microsoft Surface charger that’s been adapted to use MagSafe! – and rearranged all the components that are necessary.
What Nelson was left with was a surprisingly small collection of parts that could be squeezed into a custom (and incredibly impressive) resin-printed case that’s 78% smaller than the Mac mini’s original shell.
What’s really amazing about this build is that it not only proves a significantly smaller Mac mini (with MagSafe) is possible, but that it performs just as well as an original. Nelson’s machine “benchmarks just as well” inside its new case.
Will Apple make a smaller Mac mini?
Sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll see a Mac mini this small from Apple. Although it’s possible with the M1 version, the next model is expected to ship with a next-generation M2 chipset and more ports that could require more space.
Cupertino is expected to introduce a new design for the next Mac mini – and some rumors suggest it will feature MagSafe-like magnetic charging like the M1 iMac Pro. But it probably won’t be as compact as Nelson’s, unfortunately.
The good news is that if you want a tiny Mac mini of your own, Nelson has helpfully provided a build guide that you can use to put together a machine of your own just like his.
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