CPU Upgrade Options for 2006 and 2007 Mac minis

The first three generations of Intel-based Mac minis used the same Socket M to mount the CPU on a 667 MHz system bus. The CPU is not soldered in place, allowing the Early 2006, Late 2006, and Mid 2007 models to take the same CPU upgrades, bringing speeds as high as 2.33 GHz.

The Mac Mini such as this 2009 model is far from obsolete, but can be obtained for a reasonable price on the used market, making it an excellent and diverse choice as a media server.

Original speeds for the 2006 and 2007 Mac minis were:

Upgrade Options

It’s possible to upgrade these with up to a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo Merom CPU. These are your Core 2 Duo CPU upgrade options:

  • 1.83 GHz Intel T5600, 2 MB cache
  • 2.0 GHz Intel T7200, 4 MB cache, about $3 on eBay
  • 2.16 GHz Intel T7400, 4 MB cache, about $9 on eBay
  • 2.33 GHz Intel T7600, 4 MB cache, $26 and up on eBay

The T5600 sells for more on eBay than the T7200, so there’s no sense buying the T5600. If you have a pulled T5600, you can upgrade any Core Solo or Core Duo to 1.83 GHz and Core 2 Duo for free. If you’re spending money, at the very least pick the 8% faster 2.0 GHz T7200. With its larger cache, it will give a significant performance boost, and it typically sells for under $3 shipped. Be sure to get good thermal paste, such as Arctic Silver.

For a real boost on the cheap, the 2.16 GHz T7400 provides 8% more speed than the T7200, and you should be able to find one for under $9 shipped on eBay. Definitely worth it for 1.83 GHz and slower models – probably not worth the effort on a 2.0 GHz Mac mini, since the Geekbench score is only about 5% higher. For the 1.5 GHz Core Solo model, it will nearly double your power.

For the ultimate in speed, you’re looking at the 2.33 GHz T7600, which provides a 16% speed boost for the 2.0 GHz model, 25% higher than 1.83 GHz, 40% more than 1.66 GHz, and 55% higher than the 1.5 GHz Core Solo – plus a second core, the improved Core 2 Duo architecture, and a twice-as-large cache. It’s crazy how much faster this will make the pokey 1.5 GHz Core Solo model!

Geekbench 2 Scores

These are rough averages under Geekbench 2. The amount of installed memory makes a difference in Geekbench scores – more RAM will give you a higher score.

  • 1.5 GHz Core Solo, 1500
  • 1.66 GHz Core Duo, 2150
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo, 2350
  • 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2550
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2750
  • 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2900
  • 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3150

Note that upgrading a Core Solo or Core Duo Mac mini with a Core 2 Duo CPU does not allow it to use more than 2 GB of RAM or install Mac OS X 10.7 Lion unless you update the EFI firmware to version 2,1. Be sure to install the Core 2 Duo CPU before performing the firmware update, which makes it the equivalent of a 2007 Mini, so you can install 3 GB of memory and/or OS X Lion.

Keywords: #early2006macmini #late2006macmini #mid2007macmini #socketm #cpuupgrade #macminicoresolo #macminicoreduo

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