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Mac Mini (late 2014) heatsink making noise in vertical position

Hi there,

Hope you are fine.

Please, check this video: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/VAdzQVJH6...

I want to setup my Mac Mini in vertical position. There are three options: (1) wires at the left and Apple logo turned 90 degrees to the left, (2) wires at the top and logo in standard position and (3) wires at the right and logo 90 degrees to the right.

For positions (2) and (3) everything works fine. However, when using position (1) I started to hear a metallic weird noise. My first thought was it is the fan but to my surprise it was not: removed the fan and still the noise, I figured out it is the heatsink: if I remove it, there is no noise.

The heatsink itself looks to me as a really solid and compact piece, I don't see where the noise could be coming from. I cleaned and removed everything that can be cleaned and removed, but still getting the noise.

Any thoughts or help? I can quickly share a video if needed.

Thank you very much for your help. I am going nuts.

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Hi

Would you say that the noise sounds like a vibration?

If so you could use some rubber strips to stabilise it and minimise the vibration

A bit like a shock absorber:-)

@hellomacos Hi there, thanks for the response!

No, it is not a vibration, i would say is more like two pieces of metal fighting. Same sound like when you are frying an egg.

I am working directly on the board, so no that much space to add any rubber strips :D

Thanks for the help!

@juan2022

I don’t recommend doing this for long but if you remove the heat sink does the sound go away

I’m wondering this because you described it as like when you are frying a egg

There is some fluid is heatsink’s and I suspect that the heatsink may be on its way out if that’s the case:-)

Yeap, when the heatsink is removed, the sound goes away. Do you know any place I can get a new heatsink? Can't find a model for Mac Mini late 2014

Thank you!

@juan2022

Just done some looking around and I found this one

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154709331824?...

Hopefully it’s in your region:-)

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Is your Mac mini one with an HDD or a Fusion style drive? I am wondering if the vibration is the heat sink vibrating because of the hard drive, since there wouldn't be any other moving components in the device without the fan.

The heat sink should be mounted quite solidly to the board both by the screws around the CPU and another screw at the end of the heat sink. I would see about running it with the bottom panel off just to see if you can isolate where exactly the noise is coming from. Make sure screws are tightened appropriately since a loose screw could be allowing wiggle room for the heat sink.

Alternatively, you could nix the hard drive, if that's what is causing the underlying vibration and replace it with an SSD instead.

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Hi Alisha, thanks for your response.

My apologies I did not add a really important detail. I have no HDD, only 1 SSD. You are right, after the fan there are no moving components, that is what surprises me.

I have already removed the heat sink and the noise disappear. The noise comes from the heat sink, I am sure of it. I will share a video in a moment. Thanks

Please, check this less than 1 minute video :D https://www.youtube.com/shorts/VAdzQVJH6...

@juan2022 I see what you mean. And no, that doesn't sound like the fan. If it's the heat sink, it could be a few things. I would triple check all the mounting screws for the CPU. Because a spring is included as part of the mounting mechanism, the spring could be causing the clicking noise as part of thermal expansion, because of vibrations from the fan, or both.

There could be one of the mounting holes that's stripped a little, or was cross threaded or something, or maybe one of the springs is missing, or damaged causing an uneven mount.

It could also be that that orientation is revealing a flaw in the heatsink. It may be worth replacing it if you don't find a loose mounting screw. Even if it's just to know that you tried it.

Hi Alisha, thanks for your response.

Removed both the screws and springs and the noise is still there. Noise only goes away when the heatsink is removed. I think it has something to do with physics, something related with the flaw as you say, but it is kind of weird that it only happen in a certain degree. Well, weird because I don't know what is going on. My last move will be to replace the thermal paste, but with almost null expectations.

Things are getting worst when I try to get a replacement, I can't find it. Do you know any place?

Thank you very much.

@juan2022 Oof. That's a good question. None of usual spots seem to have them in stock. But I did find some on eBay. It's just less reliable than a trusted vendor.

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