Mac mini (Late 2009)

Just seven months after overhauling the Mac mini, Apple made some small improvements: The base speed is now 2.26 GHz, 2 GB of RAM is the norm, and the 160 GB hard drive holds more data than the 120 GB drive found in the previous version. And for power users, there’s now a server version with a second hard drive bay in place of the optical drive.

Mac miniFor those who need more processing power, you can order the Mac mini with a 2.53 GHz or 2.66 GHz CPU.

The Intel-based Mac mini looks like previous models from the front, but the rear is different. Like the Early 2009 model, this Mini has five USB 2.0 ports (up from four on pre-2009 Intel Minis), two monitor ports, and FireWire 800.

back of 2009 Mac mini

The tiny Mac mini (6.5″ square, 2″ high, 2.9 lb.) has a minimalist design. On the front, there’s just a slot-loading optical drive (and for the first time, it’s a SATA SuperDrive) and a power light. On the rear, just enough ports to do everything important.

The Mac mini doesn’t include a keyboard or mouse. Apple says buyers can plug in their favorite USB keyboard and mouse – or buy Apple’s offerings. Mac OS X includes support for remapping the Windows alt and option keys to option and cmd respectively.

Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. PowerPC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.


  • introduced 2009.10.20 at US$599 (2.26 GHz) and US$799 (2.53 GHz), 2.66 GHz build-to-order option. 2.53 Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server, 4 GB RAM, and dual 500 GB hard drives retails at US$999. Replaced by redesigned Mid 2010 Mac mini on 2010.06.15
  • Part no.: MC238LL (2.26 GHz), MC239LL (2.53 GHz)
  • Model Identifier: Macmini3,1

Mac OS

  • shipped with OS X 10.6.1, requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 (may boot 10.5.6, which shipped with the March 2009 model) through 10.11 El Capitan, macOS Sierra via patch tool – see macOS Sierra on Low End Macs. Broadcom BCM4321 WiFi module, if present, is not supported by Sierra. macOS 10.14 Mojave and later are not supported.
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
    • Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
    • 32-bit booting only; cannot boot 64-bit OS.
    • 64-bit software is supported.
    • OpenCL is supported.
  • Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is not supported.
    • AirDrop is not supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported.

Core System

  • CPU: 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo (2.53/2.66 GHz optional)
  • L2 cache: 3 MB on CPU
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • RAM: 2 GB, expandable to 8 GB using two 1066MHz DDR3 SO-DIMMs. 256 MB of RAM set aside as video memory.


  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 9400M with resolution to 1920 x 1080 (VGA) and 1920 x 1200 (DVI).
  • VRAM: 256 MB DDR3 SDRAM (shared with main memory)
  • Video out: Mini-DVI and Mini DisplayPort, Mini-DIV-to-DVI adapter included, VGA with optional adapter


  • drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2
  • Hard drive: 2.5″ 160/320 GB 5400 rpm SATA standard
  • SuperDrive DL: SATA, writes DVD±R discs at up to 8x speed, DL at 6x; DVD±RW at 8x; reads DVDs at up to 8x; writes CD-R and CD-RW discs at up to 24x, reads CDs at up to 24x


  • USB 2.0: 5 ports
  • FireWire 400 ports: 0
  • FireWire 800 ports: 1
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR: standard
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote (optional)
  • no internal modem; external USB modem available
  • Microphone: none


  • size: 2.0 x 6.5 x 6.5 in/5.1 x 16.5 x 16.5 cm
  • Weight: 2.9 lb./1.3 kg
  • Power supply: 110W external power supply
  • PRAM battery: 3V CR2032 lithium


  • CPU can probably be replaced with a faster one.

Online Resources

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