Ideas for a 2011 mini with bad gfx?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by sevoneone, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    Picked up a mis behaving mid-2011 Mac mini for next to nothing. It is the middle 2.5GHz i5 model that had the discrete AMD 6630M which is failing. Booting any version of OS X newer than Lion results in a KP during boot and trying to do anything that uses 2D/3D acceleration in 10.7 usually ends in a KP. Apparently this is a common failure with this model.

    The machine will run if you boot in safe mode or delete the AMD graphics kexts.

    I'm thinking maybe upping the ram and either doing a headless Linux box, or ESXi install as the defective graphics should not affect these. VMWare Fusion can open consoles for VMs running on ESXi. Running VMs without having to use the resources of my home desktop would have its benefits. Not for anything serious, just for fun and testing. I have been checking out the great articles on Seems ESXi 6 installation is pretty straight forward. Curious if anyone might have any pointers.

    Only other thing I wonder about, is there a way to bypass the 6630M and switch on the HD3000 gfx built into the i5 2520M?
  2. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    There is a utility which lets you switch off the GPU - see
  3. sevoneone thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    I'm familiar with, but I didn't think these Mini's supported graphics switching like the notebooks... might be worth a try.
  4. nlistgarten macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2016
    San Mateo, California
    Depending on how much money you want to put into it, you could get a thunderbolt to PCIe box (I think ~$250) and a flashed graphics card (~70-1200, depending on how much you want to spend). Then you could have as much graphics power as you want (if you're interested in gaming on it or whatnot).

    Otherwise I'd suggest try running headless and using screen sharing to view the screen from other macs over the network.

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4 April 1, 2016