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MacMini (Late 2006) able to run Lion?

16552 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Jan 5, 2013 7:19 PM by Terry Otness RSS
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kestrel9532 Calculating status...
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Jul 20, 2011 3:09 AM



I own a MacMini (Late 2006, Model-ID Macmini1,1) which originally had a 1.83 GHz CoreDuo (T2400) CPU.


Encouraged by several upgrade reports (e.g. I upgraded the Mini to a 2.16 GHz Core2Duo (T7400) CPU

and it works so far without any problems in 64bit mode, albeit with a 32bit kernel.


I tried to switch to a 64bit kernel with 'sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture x86_64', but the kernel still

boots with 32bit version.


Not really a problem, but do I have a problem running Lion? I made the upgrade exactly for the new OS!


I found (with 'ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree | grep firmware-abi') that this mini has a 32bit EFI and now I want to know:


Does LION need a 64bit CPU or a 64bit CPU *and* a 64bit EFI?



Thank's for your replies - Matthew

Macmini1.1 (Late 2006), Mac OS X (10.6.8), aluminium keyboard (with cable)
  • revillug Calculating status...
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    Jul 21, 2011 11:08 AM (in response to kestrel9532)

    Hey, same problem mate, you find an answer? or did you install it?

  • revillug Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Jul 21, 2011 12:40 PM (in response to kestrel9532)

    ahh, yeah well that was my original thought, however, if this is true and it doesnt matter about the 32-bit kernel, surely there could be a way of manipulating the type of mac, and changing it to a one thats compatible? say a 2010 mac mini?


    i have a core 2 duo 2.0ghz mac mini Early 2006, which also has 2gb of ram, it just seems silly because our macs would be capable of running lion.


    I had a look at my friends and the new features do look nice, i guess we do just wait!


    really wouldnt mind having it though!

  • revillug Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Jul 22, 2011 8:25 AM (in response to revillug)

    Hey, i finally found a fix and i now have it running on my mac mini (early 2006) core2duo



    basically follow what 4JNA says...

    what i did...


    1. bought and downloaded the retail 10.7 from the app store (11A511)


    2. saved the image to an 8gb usb drive


    3. installed 10.7 on an known supported device (MBP 2,2) on an external drive.


    4. modified the installed 10.7 on the external drive by removing /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist


    5. took the external drive and booted the mini, used superduper to image the internal drive, and it works! apps all work, app store, software update, everything. even with the sucky 950 all the animations and eye candy work, no noticeable lag.


    best of luck to all the 1,1 upgraders!





  • PeterHutnick Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Jul 23, 2011 7:18 PM (in response to revillug)

    This is great!


    It seems as if bringing up the 32-bit EFI system up in target disk mode attached to a supported Mac and running the upgrade (along with the PlatformSupport tweak) would allow a nondestructive upgrade.


    I just ordered a firewire cable, but I can't try it until next weekend.  Anyone else try this method?



  • PeterHutnick Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Jul 30, 2011 8:46 PM (in response to PeterHutnick)

    Just did this and it seems to have worked perfectly.


    So, again:


    0. Installed a 64bit CPU (Core 2 Duo 2.16GHz) in the 2006 Mini.

    1. Made a Lion install thumb drive.

    2. Booted the Mini in Target Disk Mode (hold "t" key on boot).

    3. Connected a FW400 to FW800 cable to Mini and a 2009 MacBook (MacBookPro5,3).

    4. Booted MacBook with "option" (alt) key.

    5. Selected the Mini's drive for boot.

    6. Ran "Install Mac OS X Lion" from thumb drive.

    7. After the reboot, renamed /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist to PlatformSupport.plist.JustKidding

    8. Shutdown both machines.

    9. Unplugged FireWire and booted Mini.  Saw the "question mark folder" for a moment, and then it booted Lion.


    To be clear, this allowed me to upgrade my existing Snow Leopard install on my 2006 Mini -- with an aftermarket 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo -- with 32bit EFI.  Boots right up.  No bootloaders or cloning needed.



  • click-gr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 2, 2011 6:32 AM (in response to PeterHutnick)

    That´s exactly what I was looking for! Very easy and no need for torrent downloads or to create any special drive for installation. Thanks Peter!


    P.S. Lion works perfectly now on my old macmini 1,1 with upgraded core2duo processor, however on System Software overview under system report, 64-bit Kernel and Extensions is not activated for this machine.

  • PeterHutnick Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 2, 2011 9:05 AM (in response to click-gr)

    Glad you had success!


    Apple has always disabled 64 bit kernels on 32 bit EFI systems.  I don't think there's any technical reason for this.  In any case, it isn't really worth your while to hack around this.  The 32 bit kernel doesn't preclude the use of 64 bit apps, and you can't address more than 3GB of RAM on that system regardless of the kernel.



  • pmlevere Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 9, 2011 11:33 AM (in response to PeterHutnick)

    Is thier any reason to beleive this wouldn't work on an iMac that has had an upgrade from a core duo to a core 2 duo?  I have a co-worker with a 20' iMac 2.0 core duo (T2500 Processor) and was going to install a a core 2 duo so he could run Lion, either a 2.0 (T7200), 2.16 (T7400), or 2.33 (T7600).  It seems like this would be the same as upgrading the Mini, any thoughts before i tell him to go buy a processor?

  • PeterHutnick Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 9, 2011 12:31 PM (in response to pmlevere)

    To answer your direct question, I don't have any reason to believe this wouldn't work.  But I don't have such a system, so I can't be at all certain.


    It looks like the upgrade is possible, but iFixit doesn't have instructions.


    Their instructions for CPU fan replacement are rated "difficult".  You'll need three different torx bits to do it.  Not for the faint of heart! 18-CPU-Fan/1095/1


    Finally, when I did my CPU upgrade I broke one of the barbs on one of the nylon pins that holds the heatsink under tension.  Uncharacteristically, I prepared for this by first obtaining nylon bolts, washers, and nuts.  I imagine the same ones would work on the iMac, and I have plenty of spares.  Email me if you want me to hook you up.


    Good luck!



  • mattyp101 Calculating status...
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    Aug 13, 2011 6:08 AM (in response to kestrel9532)

    Is there any chance that the fix described as the correct answer will work for a mac mini 1,1 without a cpu upgrade? Or if not can I run lion in a VM instead?



  • PeterHutnick Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 13, 2011 6:52 AM (in response to mattyp101)

    I believe that it will NOT work.  I have a device with a 32 bit CPU running Snow Leopard, and it cannot boot from this modified drive.  But this is not . . . a MacMini.


    I'm not entirely clear on which Lion components are 64 bit-only, but the evidence suggests that some important low-level userspace components are.


    That said, YMMV.  You could certainly install it on a USB (or better, firewire) drive on a supported system, make the modification to the install, and try to boot it on your Mini.  I'm sure may people would be interested in your results.


    As for running in a VM, I think this is probably a dead-end.  First, I think it is technically feasable to run 64 bit processes in a VM on a 32 bit system, but it is probably very impractical from a performance standpoint.  Second, 3GB isn't really enough RAM to run OSX on a VM in OSX.


    Might be time for a shiny new Thunderbolt Mini for you ;-)



  • Sjazbec Level 4 Level 4 (1,665 points)
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    Aug 13, 2011 3:42 PM (in response to mattyp101)

    the Mac needs to have a physical 64bit capable CPU "core2Duo" on its board in order to run the OSX GUI after the 32bit Kernel has been booted, because Finder is 64bit.


    Lions installer does some checks prior to Installation:


    • MEMORY - 2* 1024MB = 2048


    • CPU 64bit


    • Is a Server =  yes/no, if so what version and what hardware.


    • has a DVD Drive = yes/no, if so, install


    • SMBIOS revisions /Board ID s



    - first gen Mac Minis and other Mac IDs are blacklisted inside the Lion installers "distribution" file that sits packed in "OSINSTALL.MPKG". -- Xcode's "flat package editor" lets you open it, if you want to peek inside all the checks the script runs prior to installing Lion. Surely the Installer can be "modded", but what brings if the OS installs but refuses to load ?


    I am sure most of the checks that Apple has in the installer makes sense to save the users from themselves so to say.



    And there are other files that have an impact on what machine can run Lion :


    In Lions System/Library/CoreServices  we find "PlatformSupport.plist" and "InstallableMachines.plist". Both full of Machine ID's.


    Message was edited by: Sjazbec

  • pmlevere Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 16, 2011 7:46 AM (in response to Sjazbec)

    I am planning to upgrade my Core Duo iMac and install Lion following the above guidelines.  Their are a lot of Core 2 Duo processors around that are pulls from PC's, and these are much cheaper than pulls from Mac's. Below are several questions I need help with:



    Can i install a Core 2 Duo processor with the same ZIF socket from machines that are non-Mac?



    Does anyone know where i can find information on what ZIF Socket pattern my iMac uses?



    My iMac uses a 667MHz system bus, does the processor i install have to have that same rating, or will 800MHz processor run?



    My Machine:  iMac 20' 2.0 Core Duo (Early 2006 MA200LL, Processor T2500)



    Thanks for any help you can provide.

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