[Teardown] Late 2020 Mac mini: Apple Silicon M1, Thunderbolt 4, USB4, PCIe 4.0
 
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[Teardown] Late 2020 Mac mini: Apple Silicon M1, Thunderbolt 4, USB4, PCIe 4.0  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

As soon as the M1 Mac mini arrived, I tore it down to confirm a few things Apple didn't make clear. All M1 Macs come with Thunderbolt 4 ports. I prepared my Mac mini test station with three monitors: Samsung 34-in Thunderbolt 3 ultrawide QHD, LG 27-in DisplayPort UHD, and ASUS 15-in portable USB-C FHD. This setup has been working great through RX Vega 56 Nano Gaming Box with my 2018 i5 Mac mini. The Apple integrated graphics card cannot run more than two displays at once.

Taking this Late 2020 M1 Mac mini apart is very similar to the 2018 model. Flip it upside down then pry the black plastic base cover would expose six TR6 screws. The are three antennas with separate cables going to the logic board headers, one of the antennas is mounted on the bottom metal shield. The antenna connector is secured in place with a T6 screw.

Another set of four T6 screws mount the cooling fan on top logic board. Apple could have redesigned the M1 Mac mini to be much smaller. The logic board is barely twice the size an iPhone 12 mini.

Unlike the cooling system in the Intel unit, the heatsink in this M1 Mac mini is a beefy block. In my opinion, thermal dissipation with this new system is better. On the backside of the logic board is a pair of Texas Instruments USB-C controllers [CD3218B12].

I was most interested in identifying the Thunderbolt controller/s. It's a nice surprise to see two Intel JHL8040R controllers providing dedicated connection to two Thunderbolt 4 ports. Last but not least is the power supply. Apple uses the same internal 150W (12V~12.5A) PSU as found in the 2018 Intel Mac mini.

At the moment Thunderbolt devices are working well with Apple M1 Macs. Due to no ARM drivers, Radeon graphics cards do not work and therefore eGPU is a no-go.

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

At the moment Thunderbolt devices are working well with Apple M1 Macs. Due to no ARM drivers, Radeon graphics cards do not work and therefore eGPU is a no-go.

Precisely. Seems like I was on the mark about AMD drivers not being compiled for ARM being the main reason why eGPU is not functional. Saturn Pro with Vega 64 connected to the M1 mini:

Screen Shot 2020 11 17 at 5.45.04 PM
Screen Shot 2020 11 17 at 5.48.08 PM

Also looks like your photography skills are on-point. Lovely teardown!

 

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@mac_editor, Thank you for the confirmation. I'm upgrading to Dev Beta 11.1 that came out this afternoon. We have to keep our hope up that drivers will arrive eventually. 🙂 

 

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2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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zvz
 zvz
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Hey @itsage, thanks for the teardown, was itching to see it actually.

 

Does it look like M1 SoC is just sitting on a hotglue? is there a chance it's actually socketed with some sort of micropins or I'm overthinking it?

Also, those ram chips thermal compound dots look like they wouldn't mind to have some thermal pads added (as in MBA2020/Intel cooling mods)  for better conductivity, right?

 

Now I'm super curious to see what's inside M1 MBA, seems like that odd heatsink in 2020 MBA/Intel was actually designed for m1 and just used for Intel's last gen for cost savings, I guess that explains those enormous clearances between the heatsink and the chip, hence the mods. Also makes me wonder how these same mods are going to affect m1 MBA now Smile

 

Cheers!

.


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@zvz, I don't think hot glue was all Apple uses to secure the M1. It looks too low to have a socket underneath. We could apply thermal pads on all the chips under the heatsink. I will open up the M1 MacBook Air soon to take a look.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
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2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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zvz
 zvz
(@zvz)
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Posted by: @itsage

I don't think hot glue was all Apple uses to secure the M1

Well it's also secured by the heatsink anyway, I'm just wondering why else would they use glue around the corners of the chip, I guess we'll just wait till someone tries to pry it open and see what happens Smile

Posted by: @itsage

I will open up the M1 MacBook Air soon to take a look.

Awesome, looking forward to seeing it.

 

Cheers!

.


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mar_kelp
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@itsage, any idea if a Thunderbolt hub with multiple graphic outputs can run multiple displays thus passing the two display limit? For example, two displays off a OWC Thunderbolt hub with dual HDMI off a single TB3 port and one off the Mac mini built-in HDMI? Of course, the integrated GPU would have to do all the work, but that might give a clue about future eGPU potential...

https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/docks/owc-thunderbolt-3-mini-dock

 

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itsage
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@mar_kelp, I don't know if that's possible. I tried a Thunderbolt 3 to dual DP adapter and only one DP monitor came on. It seems the second display connection is hardwired to the HDMI port. I could only get either the ASUS USB-C FHD monitor working or the TBT-dualDP adapter connected monitor at a time.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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zvz
 zvz
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@itsage could you please run an ssd speed test, if there are any working on arm?

.


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@zvz, My unit has 256GB and it's not very fast. I tested with AJA System Test and R/W was right around 2,200 MB/s. @mac_editor which drive capacity does your M1 Mac mini have and what's the speed?

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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