Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Feb 13, 2014 5:01 AM by Gary Scotland
Christian Arild Strømmen Level 1 (5 points)

Just moved to a new house and had to place my Mac Mini server in the attic. Now this is really nice and cool at this time of the year, but during summer it's going to get blistering hot up there, meaning I have to find a solution that won't kill my Mac Mini and the two WD external drives I have connected to it.

 

Is there any good reason why I couldn't just buy a mini-fridge and put them inside that? The only thing I can think of is condensation building up, but I have no idea if that will be an issue or not.

 

Something like this.

 

And yes, I'm pretty sure this is a terrible idea, but I figured it was worth mentioning here and getting some feedback.

  • Jabba the Cat Level 1 (0 points)

    You will end up with condensation inside your computer and in all probability a fatal short circuit...a remarkably dumb idea..

  • cesarpixel Level 1 (10 points)

    More than a decade ago, the machines I used were pretty expensive (SGI), and I faced a similar scenario to the one you mention: These SGIs costed a fortune, and I didn't like the idea of them being damaged in Summer because of high temperatures (just consider that SGIs had some graphics hardware that used to get really hot when doing textured real time graphics).

     

    The solution was easy: air conditioning. I installed it just because of the computers. I really didn't need it for the users (although users were more comfortable with the air conditioning, but it was installed for the computers). These machines still work today, didn't suffer any damage in Summer.

     

    But, then also consider that these machines were expensive. In the case of your Mac Mini, you'd have to decide if installing air conditioning is justified or not.

     

    HTH

  • John Lockwood Level 5 (7,661 points)

    Apple's official specs for the Mac mini state that the operating temperature allowed is "Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)".

     

    So a fridge might be too cool and summer heat too hot. Before you try it I suggest checking the specs of the fridge and see what range it can be set to.

  • RRFS Level 5 (4,490 points)

    This is just an idea:

     

    http://www.tuvie.com/search/thermo+electric+cold+plate

     

    there are other mfgs

  • Creeper74 Level 2 (360 points)

    If these are your run-of-the-mill dorm fridges, I'd worry about the buildup of ice in that pitiful freezer compartment.  The same heat you're trying to save your mini from is going to be working to kill your fridge.  If that happens, and the ice buildup melts, you're going to be worrying about more than condensation.

     

    I've not seen your new house, but the mini is the size of a couple of salad plates stacked together and the only place you could find for it was your attic?

  • Christian Arild Strømmen Level 1 (5 points)

    Yeah I figured it would be a really bad idea from the start, just thought I'd throw it out there to see if I could get any response and suggestions for what might work.

     

    It's not a matter of finding the physical space that's the problem, it's a matter of finding somewhere where it fits. We have a very minimalistic and clean aesthetic to our home, and neither of us really wants a computer and a few external hard drives sitting out in any room. And if I place it in a drawer or a cabinet I'm going to run into many of the same problems with heat build-up.

     

    Here's the listing for our place (from before we bought it a month ago): http://www.finn.no/finn/realestate/homes/object?finnkode=36909139

     

    At the moment I'm considering building an isolated box to house it in underneath the back porch.

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,227 points)

    I wonder if a Frost-Free one would cure the condensation problem?

  • RRFS Level 5 (4,490 points)

    Did you guys look at my idea? It's an electric cold plate. You can chill it right down, no frost just its very own cold place, no pumps no fans no noise, just a spot of coolness.

  • cesarpixel Level 1 (10 points)

    I don't understand why you don't consider air conditioning. It's really cheap nowadays. Cheaper than a Mac Mini, and you'll use it not only for your computer, but also for being more comfortable at your home.

  • Christian Arild Strømmen Level 1 (5 points)

    Air conditioning is not an option for several reasons.

     

    1. It's pretty expensive for air conditioning here

    2. Pretty much nobody has air conditioning in private homes here (reason for #1)

    3. The main insulation in the house is between the top floor and the attic, so to air condition the attic I would have to insulate it, and the rest of the house wouldn't benefit

     

    Insulating my attic and adding expensive air condition would be a bit of an overkill just to cool a Mac Mini.

     

    RRFS, I couldn't find the actual product from that article. However it made me search a bit and I'm now looking at these: http://www.thermoelectric.com/2010/pr/cp/lab/aircooled.htm

  • Jeckler Level 1 (5 points)

    I'd seriously re-consider the attic. Or outside for that matter. I would have to assume there's a closet with a high shelf, or perhaps under a bed, or even the couch. Looking at your house pictures, there's a spot in between the kitchen and the heat stove that another cabinet or a shelf could be installed up high where you could put this stuff. If a shelf, 3 walls would hide it. For a cabinent, build in some ventilation and you'd be set.

  • Creeper74 Level 2 (360 points)

    These cool through direct contact, but your mini is sitting on tiny feet, so there would be none.  Turning it upside down, while creating direct contact, would not solve the problem, as the mini was engineered to vent its exhaust through the bottom.  You'd be cooling the wrong part of the system, and I'd imagine the effect would be the same if you just turned it upside down and rested it on an empty box.

     

    Also, you can't disregard the fact that the heat in your attic is going to be working against any solution you devise to keep your mini running cool.  This next question should not be taken as an endorsement of your refrigerator idea, but how were you planning on getting power and network to your mini and external drives if it were housed in there?  I don't think a fridge would last very long, with heat working against it from the inside and outside.  Its compressor could concieivably never stop running, and those tiny things aren't built for that.

     

    You've put up a fantastic straw man, and I have to admit that I've enjoyed trying to come up with a creative (and affordable) solution, but I think your best course of action is to pay an electrician to run power and network to one of your closets, and set your gear up in there.  Please update this thread when you make your choice...I now have a vested interest in seeing how this turns out

  • Christian Arild Strømmen Level 1 (5 points)

    I'll keep you updated once I do something.

  • RRFS Level 5 (4,490 points)

    Those lab units look like they would be a lot more expensive than a chiller service plate.

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