louisosx

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 16, 2016
7
3
Hi,

After having many issues researching to whether this would work i thought i would share my experience in turning a 2006 Mac Mini 1.1 Core Duo into a competent Plex Server.

After wanting to run a machine that performed as a headless Plex, iTunes and File server as well as a dedicated machine for downloads and uploads.
I investigated possible mac mini's / NUC's that would happily sit wired to my router and sit under the tv in view with the PS4 and Sky Box. I wanted it to look decent as it would be on show so was determined to do this with a Mac Mini, this would also mean i could serve my iTunes library to many devices and my iMac. I also wanted to do this on a relative budget which meant looking at the 2006 core duo's and upgrades.

After researching a great deal i had come up against a lot of threads and opinions that stated i would almost certainly need at least a 2010 or newer machine in order for this all to work correctly but i thought what the hell, lets give it a go.

I managed to secure a 1.66Ghz Core Duo 2006 Mac Mini for £50.00, a 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo for £6.49 and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD for £50.00 all on eBay.

After swapping out all of the hardware i installed a fresh copy of Snow Leopard 10.6 which ran great but only to find that i hadn't researched software enough to realize that i had to run a very old version of Plex Media Server which wouldn't serve media to my iPad's and iPhone's in the household as they all ran the most up to date client. With a similar issue with iTunes.

So after researching further i started the task to upgrading the Mac Mini's software. In order to upgrade to Lion a Dual Core CPU is needed - check, 2Gb RAM - check, Firmware 2.1 -no check!
Flashing the firmware was actually pretty simple, i followed the tutorial on post 3 here - http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/296034-upgraded-mac-mini-11-late-2007-with-osx-106/

This was successful however the Lion installer still would not install, saying my Mac was not supported. This seemed to contradict everything i could find online which was very odd. So in looking for a different route i found this thread, specifically post 8 - http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/296034-upgraded-mac-mini-11-late-2007-with-osx-106/

This worked a treat which meant i was now running 10.7 Lion, which ran faultlessly but i wanted more! Although i could run a newer PMS and iTunes i wanted to run the latest versions. With this machine being headless i wanted to be able to remote client to it via Chrome RCD this meant i could connect to the machine from all of my devices, Chrome RCD would not run correctly on 10.6 and as i found out 10.7.

I came across MacPostFactor (originally called MLPostFactor). This is a great piece of software which will edit and install later OSX versions onto older Mac hardware with pretty much only one or two clicks.

I first upgraded to Mountain Lion which installed successfully however there was an issue with no 64bit Kexts being available for the GMA950 on board graphics. This meant although everything ran, the screen would constantly flicker making remote connecting to the machine it was pretty tough to switch from windows and generally use the machine - there is no work around.

I thought i would give Yosemite and El Capitan a go with MacPostFactor to see whether the issue was the same, worse or better.

I started first with El Capitan 10.11 but the installation was repeatably unsuccessful, this was also the same with Mavericks 10.9 but Yosemite 10.10 installed without a hitch. Even better the graphics although not perfect were far improved, no flickering of the screen. The only issue were that animations although were not slow there werent very smooth. I could easily live with that!

So after spending £106.49 probably 10 man hours in total (most of which is research, tasks above is probably only a total of 3-4 hours) i have a 2006 Mac Mini running 10.10, with the latest version of PMS and iTunes which i can connect to via Chrome Remote Desktop perfectly.

PMS has no issue in serving 1080p files/media to any of the two TV's, three iPads, two iPhones, a PS4, ATV4 and ATV1 with OSMC in the house.

I also painted the Mac Mini's case matte black when i was performing the hardware upgrades so it looks great sitting next to the PS4.

If anyone is thinking of doing this, its simple to do for most people and with great rewards considering the limited time and money spent!

Cheers
 

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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,287
Good job! Although Yosemite on 2GB RAM/7200RPM drive and no graphics VRAM would be a horrible daily driver, it seems fine if you're just using it for a headless server. :)
 

louisosx

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 16, 2016
7
3
Good job! Although Yosemite on 2GB RAM/7200RPM drive and no graphics VRAM would be a horrible daily driver, it seems fine if you're just using it for a headless server. :)

As i say it runs fine, only difference is animations are not as smooth as they would be. If you didn't care about the apps not bouncing smoothly on the dock then you'll be fine!

Getting about 86MB/s read and write speed
 
Last edited:

Orizence

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2014
288
74
If i remember correctly, a t7400 upgraded Mac Mini can compete with a early 2009 base model mac mini so yours should not be too far behind
 

louisosx

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 16, 2016
7
3
If i remember correctly, a t7400 upgraded Mac Mini can compete with a early 2009 base model mac mini so yours should not be too far behind

Not surprised with that actually, i'm really pleased with how this has turned out.
 

003miles

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2020
1
0
I planned on trying this for ages and did in the end, including using MacPostFactor to upgrade to a slower Yosemite.

But I had issues with wifi on that version of OSX and found that running ubuntu server on the Mac mini worked far better as it didnt have the overhead of Mac OS and I was able to run the latest version of PMS without the need of upgrading to 10.10...

Now I have a PMS running silently on my Mac mini in a cupboard somewhere, with PiHole running on it as well, blocking all the ads on my wifi network.

Transmission allows me to download torrents directly into the Plex library folders, remotely from my phone or laptop,
and it's fully set up as a samba NAS for easy file transfers across the network, meaning I don't even need to view its desktop.
(In fact I fully disabled its GUI to reduce processor usage).
 
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