Can the processor be changed?
Is the processor can be changed?
it it possible to upgrade the CPU, I have seen several reports of this
for example see this article discussing the upgrade of a Core Solo machine to a Core 2 Duo CPU.
which version of Mac mini do you have?
you can also find various user reports of upgrades like this over at xlr8yourmac.com - just enter your Mac model in the top popup, and select "Intel CPU upgrade" in the 2nd popup
Yes, you can
Yes, you can upgrade the core duo or core solo processors (Checkout the iFixiT videos). Go slow because it's tricky getting the heat sink off the processor and back on with the four plastic posts and springs holding down the heat sink. It's easy to lose springs. The plastic barbs break off easily so you will want to get plastic screws and bolts ahead of time to replace the brittle posts that you break (I broke two of the four). The heat sink is also "welded" on to the old processor so be patient while you persuade the two to break apart. Also, the old thermal paste has to be worked off the new processor and heat sink a number of times using ArticClear remover and purifier. You can then add fresh thermal paste to the replacement processor (thin layer).
Check the orientation of the heat sink also because the new processor is not oriented the same way as the original and if you use the outline of the old processor on the heat sink as a guide you will have to take the heat sink back off and turn it 90 degrees so that the fins are oriented correctly. Also, if you removed the heat sensor wire so that you can clean the heat sink don't forget to plug it back in before you lock down the heat sink again.
Core 2 Duo processor
Finally the new processor does not always drop easily into the ZIF (Zero insertion force) socket as you might expect. In my case a little pressure was needed probably because some of the pins were slightly off from the time it was removed from its previous home. I installed a T7600 into a Core Duo A1176 (late 2006) Mac Mini running OS 10.6.8 which I installed before upgrading the processor.
The mini will not boot if you install 4GB RAM before updating the bios to 2.1 - this is because you will need to update to Lion before updating the bios to 2.1 so that the extra memory will be recognized. It will see 3GB of the 4GB you install. At current prices it's worth it. It's a scary moment when the Mini refuses to boot up and such a great sound after you remove one of the sticks and try again (I made this mistake).
I installed a new HD (500 GB) with OS 10.6 and 10.7 partitions, new PRAM battery, new optical drive also to extend the life of the mini for my granddaughter who wants to use it with her iPad mini. I decided that the PRAM flash was too risky after reading a few posts and having already spent good money on new components. We'll stay with 2GB RAM.
Lion OS (10.7)
If you order Lion from the Apple Store you will get two emails after about 24 hours, one with a password, the other with a content code. If you try and use the content code to download to your upgraded mac mini it will tell you that your computer does not support Lion and it will not download the software. You will need a second, supported machine and an external drive (the one you removed from the Mac mini for example) loaded with Snow Leopard (10.6.8) to download and install Lion onto.
You will need to boot up your second machine from the external drive. The installer wants to see Snow Leopard on your boot drive before it will let you download and install Lion. I used the SATA connection on my Mac Pro (the spare one for the second optical drive, another upgrade you can do) and a BlackX external drive holder (handles SATA and USB2).
Before you transfer Lion onto your Mac Mini you will need to erase a file that lists your Mini as being incompatible. The filename is platformsupport.plist. Delete this file and clone the installed OS (on the external drive) to your Mac Mini partition. Run the bios updater next if you want to use 3GB RAM (I chose not to do this). A few hoops to go through to get to the finish line! Good luck!