My technique to open a Mac Mini. Yes that is a large Pizza Cutter! I find the dual putty knife technique inflicts more damage. Simply push the cutter down all the way for maximum girth and wiggle the handle, the plastic tabs will start to unlock. Next work on the front side and the cover should pop right out. (Look, like anything it takes practice, you may inflict a little damage to the case but thats a small price to pay for the upgrade)
2009 Mac Mini with the cover off. Notice the plastic tabs that must be compressed to release the lid. You can also see the 3 spring loaded wifi antenna's, They simply pull up and out to remove, mind the wires which stay attached.
Here we see the Slim Sata connector that is exposed when the optical drive is removed.
This is a Sata to chassis ESata cable that I will modify to fit the Slim Sata connector.
Here I removed the chassis mounting plate from the cable and am placing it near the area I will cut out.
Here I cut off the inboard locking leg from the SATA end of the cable, now it will plug into the Slim SATA jack underneath. I use clear silicone to make sure the plug does not come disconnected. (I yet to find a Slim Sata to eSATA chassis connector)
This is the saw I used to cut of the rubber legs from the eSATA plug.
Here the rubber legs are cut off the eSATA plug.
Here I cut out the Kensington Lock and modified the mini case to fit the eSata plug. Notice how the flanges are external and the plug is flush with the top of the case. When you snap the top cover back in the new eSATA plug is secured nice and solid.
Here we see the ugly details of the case modifications. With limited real estate, this is the only place the eSata plug will fit on the back of the Mini. Notice how I bent the black metal plate backwards with duck billed plyers to support the eSATA plug. I have since gotten much better at this mod but i wanted everyone to see what a first attempt looks like. Using this as a template you should be able do as good or even neater job.
Everything is in place to snap the top cover back on. Notice the Super Talent SSD. Nice!
Another look at the new eSATA cable mouned inside the Mini.
Here is my Mac Mini all put back together with the the new eSata plug. I sure wish Apple would offer eSATA but until then this is a proven technique that works. Yea you loose the internal Optical Drive but no great loss as it's a poor quality CD ripper IMO.
I have high hopes that this device will make a great CD ripper and SSD in one.
I use a 2TB My Book Studio Edition II hooked up via an eSata cable in Raid 1 for my music storage. It also visually matches the Mac Mini.