Mac Mini A1176: To buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by hsehsa, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. hsehsa macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2014

    I've come across a seller of a Mac Mini that is A1176, which is quite old, but she is selling it for quite cheap: €100, which is roughly $112. I've been interested in buying a Mac Mini to set up as a home server on which I can;
    • Share files
    • Compile some Java (which can at times be heavy)
    • Run a MySQL database
    I'm not sure if a Mac Mini of this era is going to be powerful enough to handle all I'm looking for. The seller claims that the machine has been upgraded from 1GB RAM to 2GB, and the hard drive is upgraded to 150GB. While storage wise it sounds fine, I'm not too sure about the RAM. Can the RAM be upgraded on a Mini? (I have spare 4GB DDR3 RAM from my Macbook Pro.)

    Does this sound like a good deal? Or will I regret buying an outdated machine?

  2. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    Do you know what CPU it has? They used Core2Duo T series if I'm not mistaken.

    It won't work with DDR3 RAM as they used DDR2 back in those days.

    I suspect it would work fine with Java works and sharing files, but not sure about the MySQL database. It depends on the performance you need, really.

    If I had to guess, I'd say it'd probably be fine. It might benefit a lot from an SSD upgrade (though I don't know about compatibility). My biggest concern would be some software limitations as those A1176 run mostly Snow Leopard AFAIK.

    It doesn't seem to be a bad price for what it is, and you aren't too far in the hole if it ends up not being to your standard and you could probably resell it. Just be realistic with your expectations of a 7 year computer that was effectively a laptop in its day.

    Truth be told, my only laptop is from 2008 and has a T570 C2D in it (similar to what's in the Mini from that time). I put an SSD in it and it has 3GB of RAM, but it runs Windows 7 quite quickly and does Java work just like my desktop with i7 4790K.:cool:
  3. hsehsa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2014
    Thanks for replying, Altis. It has the Core2Duo T series indeed. Processor wise, it looks decent since I'm not expecting super performance from it, I just need it running in the background somewhere in my apartment. That's it.

    What I'm concerned about is the RAM. First of all its DDR2, and I'll need to upgrade it to at least 4GB, or even 8GB to make it run fast enough and have enough memory to compile large Java projects (I'm a programmer).

    Most of the computer's tasks will be that of running through the terminal and then running some services, like I said. It'll also be a basic test server – things I wouldn't like running on my Macbook Pro overnight.

    The seller has also agreed to pay for the shipping since she lives in a different part of Belgium from mine. So lets see.
  4. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    DDR2 isn't all too bad, and the hard drive will be the speed bottleneck. Just keep in mind that the A1176 has a 3GB max RAM, so 4 and 8 won't be usable.

    It's cheaper to get one stick of 2GB and have a 2-1. A 2-2 pair would cost a lot more but technically could be slightly faster. DDR2 RAM isn't as cheap as you might expect, so you may want to price that out ahead of the purchase.

    A small SSD would probably also do wonders for it. Just make sure it's compatible and that you can get a fresh copy of Snow Leopard to install - not sure it's available.

    It's a tough decision. You don't want to spend so much on an old one that you may as well have bought a new one (or newer), but you need the performance to be acceptable.

    Good luck!
  5. hsehsa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2014
    Thanks again, Altis. Your reply does clear up quite a few things for me. I'm guessing the Mini will cost me an extra 50-150€ to get up and running to good standards. On the other hand, I'm also getting offers to buy old but much more powerful HP Proliant servers which cost about 200€ but come with the upgrades I'll need with the Mini. The only downside is that they might consume more power, and be a little more noisy.

    If I evaluate both options, I can run Unix/Linux on the server as well and it will solve my problems in one shot.

    But thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, you've been very helpful. I'll check out the servers this weekend and see if they fit my needs.
  6. bigbaba macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2015
    I have this model set up as a htpc and it runs Lion fine with 2 gigs of ram.
  7. JMGonzales macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2015
    Just purchased one

    I purchased a mac mini from a pawn shop, with the intention of turning it into an entertainment module.
    I purchased an Intel T7200 2.0ghz 667mhz
    Kingston 2gb/1gb combo kit
    BCM70015 HD decoder
    250gb ssd

    What should i have done/ need to do, to get my mac mini to boot up?

    I think i missed a step in installing something from the old HDD.

    Any viable information will greatly be appreciated.
  8. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    What do you mean "to get my mac mini to boot up?"....

    Is it not working?

    Was it working when you bought it?

    What did you do? Did you tear it apart?

    Did you tear it back apart and make sure you hooked everything up?

    Seriously, I'm not even sure what you are asking..... More info please.
  9. JMGonzales macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2015
    Ah sorry, im at work and reading what i wrote, i see its not leading anywhere.

    I upgraded my mac mini, didn't turn it on when i first bought.

    Is it not working?

    I havent turned it on

    Was it working when you bought it?

    I turned it on to see if it would at least light up, it did, but I didn't connect it to a monitor/screen.

    What did you do? Did you tear it apart?

    Followed the iFixit guide to upgrade RAM/Processor/HDD to SSD/ also converted the video card.

    Did you tear it back apart and make sure you hooked everything up?
    No, i haven't tried turning it on AFTER doing the upgrade.

    Seriously, I'm not even sure what you are asking..... More info please.

    I apologize again, what I am trying to figure out is, after doing my upgrades, what or where do i need to go to upgrade my 1,1 to 2,0?

    AM i better off buying a snow leopard retail disc to install on my new SSD?

    I searched the forums, but i cannot find direct links to files/software changes i need to do.

    I am stuck on where to go next. Thank you, and apologies again.
  10. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    If you still have the OS on the original drive, just put it in a USB enclosure and boot from it. OSX doesn't care if the drive is internal or external (unlike Windows). Then you can use CarbonCopy or SuperDuper! (I use SuperDuper!) and make a straight copy of the External drive to the SSD. Once the cloning is complete, then you just need to tell OSX to use the SSD as the boot drive rather than the external USB.

    There are a lot of walk thrus on how to boot from USB.

    As far as flashing from 1,1 to 2,1, do a search for my name with Flash from 1,1 to 2,1. I did an extensive tutorial awhile back. My two 1,1's upgraded to 2,1's are sitting on a shelf anymore, so it's been awhile since I did all those upgrades.
  11. JMGonzales macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2015

    In case I don't am, I safe buying a retail disk for mac mini to install the osx?
  12. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Yes in that case you will want to buy a Snow Leopard Disk to install the OS.
  13. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    A couple years ago I upgraded from that machine to a mid 09 mini and the difference was startling. I put 8gb an sshd in it and it is running Yosemite like a champ. For the price of the ram you would need for this machine you might be able to get into the much nicer 09 model.
  14. ragu macrumors member


    Sep 8, 2009
    Funny I upgraded a 1.83 from 1gig to 4gig no problem saw memory fine

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