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Is there any way to mount an Intel Mac mini on the bottom of a shelf in an entertainment cabinet? Could doing so harm the system?
Placing something on top of the Mac mini could reduce the signal strength of AirPort (Wireless) and Bluetooth, and potentially interfere with proper cooling.
However, provided that you leave enough of a gap between the bottom of the shelf and the top of the Mac mini to allow proper cooling, such a space-saving installation should not harm the system. In fact, there are products designed to make it easy to attach your Mac mini to the underside of a shelf.
Both have been reviewed by the excellent 123Macmini.com, and each review should be read in its entirety for the full perspective provided by the author, but in particular, the website was concerned that the original CinnaRack:
Is approximately the same height as the Mac mini. Even with the included felt risers installed, the gap between the top of the Mac mini and bottom of your desk or shelf is really small. This could possibly lead to a decrease in Airport reception in some instances, depending on the location of your wireless router.
In response to this concern, Cinnamon Peripherals redesigned the product and since then has made a variety of improvements such as an integrated USB cable that makes it easy to plug in a USB device without having to reach the back of the system and a design that enables "stacking" multiple Mac mini systems.
The only drawback mentioned for the NuShelf mini is that was "possible to push the Mac mini out of the mount if you press on it too hard" when connecting a USB device, for example.
Certainly simple but elegantly designed products. If you're not the type who would prefer to rig your own mount with a piece of plywood and a handful wood screws, you probably would find one to be worth the price.