How I miss the A1176 Mac Mini's

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by paulrbeers, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Before I continue, let me say the GPU was terrible. I get that. But man was it fun to upgrade them. I just frankensteined two broken February 2006 Mac Mini's into one working one, upgraded the processor to a Core2Duo T5600 and the memory to 2GB of RAM and I'll do the Lion Hack tomorrow night to get Lion running on it (waiting for the Firewire 400 to 800 cable to come so I can use Target Hard Drive mode from my Macbook Pro).

    Anyway, I know this thread has almost no point to it, but I'm just stating how I enjoyed the updatability of the platform. Just wish my 2011 Mac Mini was as upgradable. Probably rip the sad 2.3ghz i5 out of it, and drop in a 2.5ghz quad core i7 (2860QM), but alas those days are past us.
  2. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    to the average Joe, the new ones are way easier to upgrade (ram) with the little door.
  3. paulrbeers thread starter macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Yes but beyond RAM, the new ones aren't any easier to upgrade (motherboard has to be "sorta" removed just to upgrade the hard drive) and some parts (i.e. the processor) are now soldered on so they can't be upgraded at all. That's my point. Really the 2005-2009 Mac Mini's really weren't all that bad to tear apart. I have a pizza cutter that works perfectly for undoing the clips and then it is really just 4 screws to get to the memory/hard drive mount/etc. Have you seen the effort it takes in the 2010-2011's to get to the hard drive?
  4. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    It's really not that hard.
  5. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Well I'm happy to hear you say it's easy, I have one the needs ram at a minimum! And I've been afraid to attempt it!

    What kind of pizza cutter do you use?
  6. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Anything thin and flexible will a butter knife or a thin, sharpened edge putty knife (that's what I use)
  7. maril1111 macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2010
  8. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    2GB, why not 3? :)

    I hear you though, upgradability is always a good thing. I'll be picking up a 1,1 at some point to replace my Apple TV. I'll upgrade the RAM and transplant my Broadcom CrystalHD so I'll have an HTPC for <£200 that can decode anything you can throw at it. It would also make a nice home server with some external FW storage.
  9. an-other macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2011
    Fender 146 Guitar Picks

    Another option for a pizza cutter is guitar picks. I'm particularly fond of the slightly oversized 146 picks. Dunlop Tortex works well, too.
  10. paulrbeers thread starter macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    As everyone stated, anything thin and will do. I found a really wide beveled metal pizza cutter works nice because you can slide it in and it will "unhook" several at a time and it allows you to kind of pry the side open. I've never borken a hook yet, but even if you broke a couple, there should be plenty to keep it all together.


    Because the 2006's only allow you to install 2GB. It is the 2007's that allow you to install "3GB" otherwise I would. It is a firmware limitation not a hardware limitation.
  11. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    I should have been more explicit. I was just pointing out that a 1,1 can be flashed to 2,1, for the reason you mentioned.
  12. paulrbeers thread starter macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Wow, holy crap I should have clicked on the link. I asked this question awhile back asking if you could force a firmware update (like flashing a 2009 mac pro with a 2010 firmware) and got no responses.... Might have to try this out, but first I will have to pick up some 2GB sticks (or at least one) in order to get myself over 2GB of memory.
  13. jdreier macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2010
    I'm also running a 1,1 mac mini with almost every upgrade you can do to it.

    2.33 c2d cpu
    3gb ram (firmware hack as mentioned above)
    OSX Lion hack
    I also installed a newer airport "N" card for faster wireless.

    It works as a great home media server. Streams and plays all my HD movies just fine.

    I imagine i'll continue running this for some time to come.
  14. mytdogs macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2012
    Can you provide directions or a link? I had not heard of this option...I am trying to make the most of my old Mini & this would be an inexpensive upgrade.

  15. bwrairen macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2010
    The link is in post #8
  16. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    As mentioned link in #8. You'll need to sign up at netkas in order to see and download any attachments.
  17. paulrbeers thread starter macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Link is a few posts up. One tip though, if your admin account doesn't have a password, be sure to add one. I was given a 1,1 Mac Mini by a friend and they didn't have a password on the admin account and it just wouldn't work. Call it a stroke of genius (or just dumb luck), I added a password to the account and try it again and voila!

    Process is simple:
    1. Download from page 7 above.
    2. Unpack and put into \system\library\coreservices\firmware upgrade
    3. Run command in terminal on page 8 in the link above
    4. You will need to enter in your admin password and then a bunch of text will fill the screen.
    5. Power down Mac Mini (just hold the power button down, shutting down properly didn't seem to work for me).
    6. When powering back up, hold down the power button until you see the flashing LED on the front.
    7. The Mini will restart. You will know it is working when you see a status bar run slowly across the screen.
    8. After reboot, you should get a bunch of garbage on the screen. You need to do a PRAM reset, so restart the mini then hold down ALT+Command+P+R until the Mini resets.

    After the mini reboots again, it should start up just fine. If it doesn't take, try the above process again.

    I took two 2006 Mac Mini's (one with a Core Solo and one with a Core duo 1.66ghz) and installed 1.83ghz Core2duo's in both (T5600's), and 3GB of RAM (1GB+2GB sticks). I also did the Lion install were I removed the plist file, so now my 6 year old Mac Mini's are running faster processors, 50% more RAM than they were supposed to, and an OS that isn't supposed to run on them (one even has an SSD in it). I'd say that's pretty sweet.....
  18. mytdogs macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2012

    Thanks for the tips! I'm definitely gonna try this.

    I so far have upgraded to 2MB & Snow Leopard (I want to do the Processor soon) and I am shocked at how much faster it runs.
  19. adddictedtomac macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    Mac minis should not be underestimated. They have their 'handicaps' (i.e. lack of cpu/gpu expandability) but they also have their strong points as they make great servers with very low power consumption (about 85-110 W depending on the model)!

    You can upgrade memory and HD, which is enough for a server, and firewire gives them the flexibility to expand even more.

    See here a nice example:
  20. allwood2006 macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2012
    Noob needs help plz

    i have an old 1176 and I replaced my with a 750Gig. I reinstalled OSX and everything ran fine except Itunes..
    I keep getting a Quick time error that I need Quick time 7.5.5 or later.
    I cant install it because it will not let me. I also can not update the system successfully since the install.
    If I swap my startup disk back to the old HD everything works fine except I have no more space left.
    Has anyone ever encountered this problem?
    Please let me know.
    I also would like to know any other tricks I can make this thing better with as well please. I see all these post says to hack the OS and upgrade the ram. Can I do this or is it for smartter computer people than I?
  21. Mrrtn macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2012
    A1176 still worth buying?

    Hi all, you seem very enthusiastic still about this old model and I'd love to hera your advise. I came across an A1176 in a pawnshop this week, which had one of these for sale for $200 Australian dollars. Do you think this is a good deal? I expect I'll have to tinker with it, like adding extra RAM and SSD.

    OR would you advise I'd be better off saving up for a more recent model?

    I am going to use it for basic computer work and HTPC

    Much thanks
  22. paulrbeers thread starter macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    HTPC is a little rough on these since the GPU is pretty sad really (in comparison to today's model). However, if you install a Broadcom Crystal HD PCIE into the Mac Mini (you have to give up the wifi) then it can handle 1080P H.264 just fine.

    As for whether it is worth $200 depends on a lot on which A1176 model it is. The original Early 2006 came either with a Core Solo 1.5ghz or a Core Duo 1.66ghz processor and then Apple upgraded them in late 2006 to Core Duo 1.66hz and 1.83ghz.. The 2007 models are the ones that are really worth their weight. They already come with Core2duo processors and can accept up to 4GB (3.X addressable) right out of the box. The 2006 models you can upgrade the CPU to a Core2Duo and you can flash it to allow it to take 4GB of RAM (just like the 2007 models), it just requires a bit of work on your part.

    Anyway, basically if it is a 2007 model, then totally worth it especially for as a Media server. 2006 models you will have to decide if it is worth it to you and the tinkering it will require. The 2007 models will take Lion without any issue but the 2006 requires a processor change and a bit of a hack to get it working (I have it done on both of my 2006's).

    Hope this helps!
  23. tshrimp macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2012
    Really. Apple just solders the CPU to the Motherboard. I just purchased my 1st Mac (mini 2011) and didn't even look into this as this would never have crossed my mind. Thanks for the info. Also someone told me that the Mini uses a Foxconn motherboard, as this is considered a very low end board on the PC side I wanted to see if you could verify this as you seem knowledgeable on the Mac side. Thanks
  24. philipma1957, Apr 26, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    the mobo is custom Fox Conn better quality then many worse then some.
  25. Mrrtn macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2012

    Thanks Paul, I went back to the shop to check the specs. It is the 2007 model, 1.8Ghz. The serial is YM73777BYL1

    What could I do with this model and is $200 AUD worth it? Im considering putting a SSD in it, increase the RAM and run Lion on it - should work?


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