Is it OK to use a Mac mini as a stand for your display? [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Is it OK to use a Mac mini as a stand for your display? [Setups]

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Is it OK to rest your display on top of your Mac mini?
Is it OK to rest your display on top of your Mac mini?
Photo: techsteveo@Reddit.com

We’ve written about storing a Mac mini in an upright rather than a flat position to save space. It’s OK to do if the machine’s intake and exhaust vents are not blocked. But what about using your Mac mini as a stand for a display, as in today’s featured computer setup?

It’s not necessarily quite as cut-and-dried as the upright mini question. Whether it’s totally fine or a little risky depends a little more on the specific Mac mini and the kind of monitor you use.

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Is it OK to use an M1 Mac mini as a stand for a Studio Display?

Redditor techsteveo (“Steve”) displayed his setup in a post titled, “27” M1 iMac … [well] sort of. Mac Mini makes the perfect stand for the Studio Display!”

In the clean-looking, nearly 100% Apple setup, the new Studio Display sits right on top of the M1 Mac mini sporting 16GB of integrated memory and a 1TB solid state drive. The little bit of extra height the mini provides does indeed appear to raise up the monitor just enough. And having the computer there keeps it just that much more out of the way of other gear.

Off to the left, an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil stands at an angle. To the right, an original HomePod provides in-room sound, while at center a set of AirPods Pro sit on a small charger.  The input devices in play are a Magic Keyboard, a Magic Trackpad 2 and a Satechi M1 wireless mouse.

It’s all about monitor weight and adequate heat dissipation

Of course some commenters weighed in immediately with concerns over the Mac mini serving as a monitor stand.

“I would be worried about putting that much weight on my Mac mini,” said one.

“OP’s fine, the aluminum casing is a lot stronger than we think,” assured another, referring to the original poster, or OP, and the weight the mini’s box should be able to take.

As for Steve, he concurred. “No issues at all,” he said. “Not even a bit of flex. Thick aluminum in a small body makes it like a brick.”

“I’d be more worried about heat dissipation,” said another commenter, referring to the other issue, besides weight, that could be a problem for the Mac mini.

But as another commenter noted, the M1-powered minis provoke less worry about overheating than Intel-powered ones.

“If it’s an M1 mini (which it probably is since there isn’t a silver Intel mini that can run the new display) heat dissipation is a non-issue,” they said.

Answers found on forums like Apple Communities tend to concur. Some monitors might be too heavy, but heat dissipation shouldn’t be an issue. LCD monitors are generally lighter in weight and less heat-producing than CRT monitors, for example.

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.