I wonder if the Mac mini 2009 needs the optical drive for work, or if I can just remove it?

I don't need it at all and have an external drive just in case. I will replace the HDD with an SSD and want to keep the Mac cool and lower the energy consumption as much as possible.

  • Just a note that if you have the Apple external drive, it will not work with a Mac which "already has" an internal drive. I think this limitation holds true, even if the internal drive is broken or removed.
    – Kent
    Jul 16 '13 at 8:24
  • Thanks. Just for the record: I now have the Mac mini 2009 and it's so quiet and uses so few power, that I'm perfectly happy with it, even with the DVD drive.
    – brainray
    Jul 16 '13 at 9:36

No it does not. Many have swapped out their internal DVD-ROMs on favor of installing another bay that can handle an HDD/SSD.

Here's an example of an optical to HDD bay: http://www.ifixit.com/Apple-Parts/12-7-mm-SATA-Optical-Bay-SATA-Hard-Drive-Enclosure/IF107-081

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