Simple Guide On Upgrading A 2006 Mac Mini Firmware To 2007 Mac Mini Firmware In Order To Add Up To 4 GB Of RAMThe Basic Idea
The purpose of this upgrade is to allow your machine to accept more than 2 GB of RAM on your 2006 Mac Mini, and to also be able to run OS X Lion. It is a very nice upgrade because if you put a cheap fast Core 2 Duo processor, max out the RAM to 4 GB, and install an SSD all for about $150.00 (as of 09/12), you'll get a computer that's faster than the late 2009 base model Mac Mini! Here is YouTube video of its performance & this is one with 2 GB of RAM. This Geekbench test with a score of 3060 just with just the T7600 2.33 Upgrade, regular HD (no SSD), and only 2 GB of RAM. With 4 GB of RAM and a SSD, the score is even higher and beats a late 2009 model!
In any case, this is a fun DIY project that will give your computers years of life to it.
Note: There should be no risks in doing this as the hardware is essentially the same between the 2006 and 2007 Mac Minis except that the 2007 Mac Mini has a Core 2 Duo Processor whereas the 2006 has a Core Duo Processor. You will need to find a Core 2 Duo Processor (a 2.33 GHz T7600 SL9SD Core 2 Duo is recommended) to do this upgrade. Also, I would strongly recommend reading this guide before doing anything, and also printing it for reference!
1) First, upgrade the CPU to the Core 2 Duo Processor (otherwise your machine cannot accept 4 GB of RAM). This is a good guide on how to do it.
At this step, do not have more than 2 GB of RAM installed, as the current firmware thinks 2 GB is all it can handle. If you don't, then your computer won't boot until you remove the excess RAM.
2) Second, upgrade macmini firmware to 2,1.
3) Third, put the new ram 2 X 2 GB in the mini. The macmini 1,1 firmware will not/is unable to boot with 4 GB. So install the RAM last!!!What You Need Before You Start
A) You will need to upgrade your Core Duo processor to a Core 2 Duo. I recommend the T7600 SL9SD 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor. They're selling on eBay for about $65 as of 09/2012 (they were originally about $500 about 4 years ago!). Keep in mind that this processor is actually more powerful than the late 2009 BASE MODEL Mac Mini's processor which is a 2.26 Ghz Core 2 Duo processor. This is the trickiest installation as it's kind of a pain in the ass. It's not difficult, but you should read some guides that are floating around on the internet in order to do it without much hassle and watch a youtube video or two. This is a good place to start
and also this page
. One major tip: Get four "4-40 X 3/4 of an inch" Nylon screws with nuts.
You will need them! They may be hard to find, but here is a seller on eBay (name is cclay1) who sells them. Here is another seller as well.
The only place that may sell them in your area/locally would be a Fastenal outlet store however keep in mind they don't carry it online and only in store.
If you can't find it in these locations, then just search on Google or Amazon, and you'll find them though you may end up getting a lot more than you really need.
Note: 4-40 is an American (inch) standard thread - size #4 w/40 threads per inch, so if you can't find this, the metric equivalent is an M3 x 20mm nylon screw.
B) 2 x 2 GB RAM Sticks. PC2-5300, unbuffered, nonparity, 200-pin, 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM is what you need. Brands that Apple has/tends to use and recommended are: Crucial, Samsung, Nanya, Hynix, Kingston but honestly as long as it meets the above requirements you should be fine. You can go with any brand, but a name brand will probably make you feel better.
I bought 2 x 2 GB Samsung RAM Modules from eBay for a total of $25.00.This is the RAM I bought - Samsung PC2-5300 RAM Model ID: M470T5663EH3-CF7
C) Snow Leopard installed with all updates applied including EFI firmware updates.
D) About 30 min - 1 hour to install the firmware upgrade.Steps
0)* You probably already had the EFI firmware update done automatically if you have Snow Leopard and have had all updates applied. To be safe, be sure that you have the latest EFI (which is like a BIOS but for Apple computers) for your Mac Mini. First check to ensure your EFI is the latest here:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1237
For some users, the EFI update never installed because of an issue with Snow Leopard 10.6.8 so, if this applies to you, first download the following file and install it:http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1512
*Note: Step 0) will probably not be needed, and odds are you won't have to do it either.
1) You download this file**:
Main Link: Mac Mini 1,1 to 2,1 Upgrade
Working As Of 09/18/2012
Alternate Link: Mac Mini 1,1 to 2,1 Upgrade
Working As Of 09/18/2012
**Attached to this post is a text document that has links for download locations as well in case the above links expire. If this is no longer up on any of the mirrors, then ask around, PM members on this forum, etc..
Ok, now you put the two files, "EFIUpdaterApp.efi" and "LOCKED_MM11_0055_08B.fd" in "/System/Library/CoreServices/Firmware Updates".
You check the permissions (if you're having trouble with this, download/just use the program BatChmod
to allow all permissions for the directory "firmware updates" for yourself and all users. Otherwise, if you're savvy with the command line, you know what to do.
2) INPUT THE FOLLOWING CODE INTO TERMINAL!
In Terminal, paste the terminal code below EXACTLY
as it is written and make sure there are no extra spaces/weird formatting when copying it: Terminal Code:
sudo bless -mount / -firmware /System/Library/CoreServices/Firmware\ Updates/EFIUpdaterApp.efi -payload /System/Library/CoreServices/Firmware\ Updates/LOCKED_MM11_0055_08B.fd -options "-x efi-apple-payload0-data" --verbose
Where it says sudo in the terminal code, I did a sudo to run it as root, but someone else did "sudo su" instead. First try "sudo" and it should work. Press enter. You will get a long string of code, and the very last lines will say:
This is a good sign.
3) Now, you turn off the computer.Now, and this is what tripped me up before as nobody was super clear on this, you HOLD the power button for a couple of seconds (about 4-5s) until the little white sleep light on the front of the mac mini (near the superdrive slot), starts quickly flickering then let go. Machine will now turn on, and a progress bar will show up. Let it take its time (took me about 7 minutes for it to flash completely).
After the Mac Mini is flashed, you may or will have an odd screen show up and the Mac Mini will probably keep on resetting. Do not worry. You then turn off the Mac Mini by pressing the power button, then turn it back on, and then quickly do a PRAM reset by holding command + option + P + R at the same time. Once it restarts one more time, let go of the buttons, and let the Mac Mini boot to OS X.
4) Finally, to check if it updated, login to your account, go to "About Mac" in your menu bar, click "More Info" and it should now say, "Model Identifier: Macmini2,1" instead of "Model Identifier: Macmini1,1."
5) You can now open your Mac Mini and add up to 4GB of RAM. Congrats!
NOTE: You gain a total of 3.3 GB of useable RAM (use 2 x 2 GB RAM Sticks) though the machine will say you have 4 GB installed. You can add a 2 GB and 1 GB stick, but it won't be as efficient because the system likes to pair equal sized RAM sticks. It's also a good reason to match the same brand of RAM too.
NOTE 2: OS X Lion does NOT install natively from the App Store. You will have to use one of the available workarounds (i.e. download and put on flash drive). But hey, at least you gained 1.3 GB RAM :-) Also, try upgrading (if haven't done already) your HD to an SSD, and also upgrade to OS X Lion. And OS X Lion runs beautifully on a T7600 SL9SD 2.33 GHz Mac Mini with 4 GB of RAM installed and if you add an SSD it will be even better. Nonetheless, even without the SSD, performance is excellent, and I was able to use the Mac Mini on a 1080i HDTV without a hitch whereas the older Core Duo processor (and even the slower Core 2 Duo processors) have too many hiccups and slowdowns rendering it unusable.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------How To Install OS X Lion
Note: Only OS X Lion 10.7 can work, but not OS X Mountain Lion 10.8, because Apple refused to write video drivers for the Intel GMA video card. Thus, unless somebody ends up making drivers for it, the chances of a stable OS X Mountain Lion modification will be slim to none. Here is a good thread detailing how to do it
I installed OS X Lion on an 8 GB USB as a bootable disk. You will first need to install it to an external hard drive/flash drive that is currently not on the Mac Mini. You can install OS X onto an external USB hard drive from another computer that has OS X Snow Leopard or Lion.
NOTE: If you have Mountain Lion installed on your other computer, because Apple are jackasses and slowly turning into the new Microsoft, they will not allow you to even RUN the OS X Lion installer on the computer with Mountain Lion because it's an "earlier version." I had a big problem with this and had to use a different computer that had OS X Lion on it.
You then modify one file called "platformsupport.plist" which is in "/System/Library/CoreServices/" (on OS X Lion partition), so that your Mac Mini can run OS X Lion. For some reason, people said to delete platformsupport.plist, but for me, I needed to keep it but add Mac Mini to it.
If you need to keep it, then open the 'PlatformSupport.plist' file with sudo permissions with vi editor
or Nano editor
(guides say they are more appropriate than textedit for adding strings) and add the following string:<string>Mac-F4208EC8</string>
If you're curious, "Mac-F4208EC8" is the ID number for the 2006 Mac mini, so you're essentially telling OS X Lion that your 2006 Mac Mini IS compatible with OS X Lion.
Once that's been modified, you can now take that hard drive and plug it into your Mac Mini. Boot the Mac Mini, and it should load. If not, you'll see a "Not Allowed" circular symbol at bootup. If that happens, you will have to boot into the external hard drive through target mode, or (what I did), used an old Snow Leopard install disc***, and was able to use terminal from that to modify the platformsupport.plist on OS X Lion. This shouldn't happen to you as I originally deleted platformsupport.plist.
***You can also use a Tiger installation disk too!
Other things: Mac Mini will boot up and it will run very well with 2.33 GHz, 4 GB RAM (3.3 GB Usable), and a nice fast SSD. Here is an example of a similar build but with 2 GB of RAM. Pretty fast I would say.
I recommend either a 128 GB Crucial M4 or 128 GB Samsung 830 Solid State Drive (SSD) which are about $80.00 as of 09/2012.****Of course, you can get smaller or larger as needed.
****If you want to install an SSD, which is highly recommended, don't forget/make sure you enable TRIM support for your hard drive.
Whenever you update OS X Lion to a new version (latest version is 10.7.5 as of 09/21/12), the default Apple platformsupport.plist will be restored so you will need to modify it or delete it again. Before OS X Lion asks the user to restart it in order to finish the update process, you need to modify platformsupport.plist (located in "/System/Library/CoreServices/") to include the extra string
"<string>Mac-F4208EC8</string>" (without quotes) or to delete platformsupport.plist. In my scenario, deleting it did not work, but modifying platformsupport.plist did.
If you do this, then there is no need to use Installation Disc or to switch to Target Mode. However, if you do happen to forget to modify/delete this file before restarting then you will have to modify it again through Installation Disc terminal or through target mode.
This happened to me actually, and I used an Install Disc because I don't have firewire cables nor do I know any convenient places to buy them because Apple likes to be a pain in the ass. The goal will be to modify the platformsupport.plist file so that you readd this line: <string>Mac-F4208EC8</string> to platformsupport.plist. If you are familiar with the terminal, you can boot into it from an installation disc (can be a Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, etc.), change to the directory that has the platformsupport.plist (/System/Library/CoreServices), and then add that string. If this is too complicated for you then you can try booting the hard drive through target mode, and barring that, if you don't have a firewire cable, you can remove the hard drive from the Mac Mini (which is annoying and the least preferred method), put it in an external USB enclosure, and then hook it up to another Apple computer that can boot from USB and try that. Most of you probably don't have a firewire cable, so the first thing is to remember to modify the platformsupport.plist before rebooting when a new OS X Lion update occurs, and if you forget that then using the terminal from the installation disc.
Note: What I've personally done is put a copy of the modified PlatformSupport.plist (the one with the added string for 2006 Mac Mini) in my /Macintosh HD/ directory, so I can always paste it into the /System/Library/CoreServices folder in case I ever forget to modify it before installing new update or if anything random ever occurs. If you want to do it this way, make sure you make a copy of your modified PlatformSupport.plist and put it in the /Macintosh HD/ directory, and then follow the directions in the attached document or from this link. Miscellaneous
The fact that Apple blatantly disabled our computers from running OS X Lion is evidence of Apple's "planned obsolescence" model which forces users to upgrade every 2-3 years as clearly demonstrated by the latest version of OS X, "Mountain Lion."
Several computers that are more than adequate to handle OS X Mountain Lion (even computers going back only two years ago) haven't been allowed because Apple didn't want to give support for those graphics cards. Apples used to be very upgradable, and now everything is soldered onto the boards so you can't upgrade these newer computers.
I would believe Apple's official reasons for these limitations if it wasn't for the fact that they charge outrageous amounts for components, little things like batteries are no longer upgradable in newer models (i.e. Macbook Pro Retina), and they seemingly drop support every 2-4 years whereas Windows computers have support for machines from even 10 years ago!