Mac Mini Processor Upgrade

Our Mac Mini (Intel, late 2006) is now the family computer.  That’s a big job for this little machine, which last saw an upgrade in 2008 to 2gb RAM.  However, it still poked along on the Core Solo 1.5ghz processor that it shipped with.  That was decent in 2006 but it’s slow in 2012: when your Flash games look like a slideshow, it’s time to upgrade.

Fortunately, the top end processor for this machine (Core2Duo 2.33ghz, the “T7600” model) has been out of production for some time and prices have finally fallen below $100 shipped on eBay.  I snagged one for $91 and went through with the install today.  It’s a little nerve-wracking working in such a tight space, especially since you must pry the case apart using a putty knife.  Also, I had no thermal compound… the nice guys at Luyet Computers donated the .1 gram or so that I needed at no charge (thanks!) and I was up and running shortly.  I also blew out a ton of dust and cleaned up some stickiness that appeared to be ancient Sprite spilled on the computer.

End result: well, it’s way way faster, as to be expected.  I didn’t measure temperatures before and after but (thanks to eliminating dust) it’s actually running quieter than when I took it apart.  For fun I did a before-after Geekbench scores comparison.  Click here to see the Google Docs spreadsheet.

If you have a Mac Mini, I highly highly recommend this upgrade, it’s great for the price (or you can probably do even better getting the T7200 or T7400 versions… but I was enticed by the turbo clock speed).  We should be good for the foreseeable future, until the HDD dies and I put in an SSD instead : )

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