"Mac Mini CPU Upgrade
I just upgraded my son's 2006 mac mini from a 1.6GHz to a Core 2 Duo 2.33GHz bought on ebay, brand new for $105 and a tube of Artic Silver 5 from Ratshack ($11.99). The chips were even advertised as being for the mac mini.
The various instructions available on the web are a big help but do not adequately address a few things. The screw that holds the motherboard down in the front right corner is longer than the other three. I marked this location on the top of the cd drive with permanent marker so I wouldn't lose track.
The airport connector is on an annoyingly short cable. When re-installing connect it first before trying to replace the black plastic shroud holding the computer's guts.
When the black plastic shroud is out turn it over and check the fan for dust or problems. Spray it with a can of air to clean dust out and insure the fan spins well.
When removing the motherboard, the sticky heat transfer pad beneath the motherboard will hold the board down. Use something to gently lever the rear corners forward until they break lose and the board can be lifted out. When reinstalling make sure to wipe the bottom chip down with alcohol so it will re-stick cleanly (odds are your fingers touched it when the board was loose. Apple reccommends replacing the transfer pad but unless you have a source you won't be able and will need to reuse it.
Once the board is out, turn it over and use needle nose pliers to carefully squeeze the plastic tips, first one side then the other, while applying slight pressure to pinch the end closed and nudge it under the hole edge then the same to the other side. By doing this carefully you can pop first one of the expanded tips into the hole then the other and the spring tension will immediately pull the pin through. I read a lot of horror stories about people breaking these. They are very similar to the motherboard standoffs used in many pcs but on a much smaller scale. Being familiar with those from building many pcs, I was able to apply the same methods as removing a pc motherboard from the standoffs.
Note the position of the heat sink! If you don't, and this is not documented anywhere I saw, you can install it in the wrong orientation -there is nothing to prevent doing it- because the holes are in a square formation they fit . And because the heatsink is rectangular the black plastic shroud will not fit back over and you have to disassemble the heat sink again to correct it. The thing to remember is the heat sink has about a half inch length in one direction and this points towards the back of the case.
When reattaching the heat sink's plastic posts I placed the entire motherboard on a portion of a compartmentalized tray so that the bottom chip area was not touching the table but the board was supported. I used the same needle nose pliers with their points opened to cover most of the pin head and then to carefully push down the plastic heads until the pin clicked. After all are done, turn over the board and use a hook of some sort to wedge open the pin's legs to make sure they are locked in place. Dental tools or an A.B. Dick Stylus 470 work well. That stylus I've used for years to hook and relatch laptop key scissor mechanisms among other things.
Once the motherboard is back in the case I reconnected the power button and then connected it to power and a monitor to verify it would start (before reassembling further. Once confirmed I put it all back together and it works well.
Tomorrow I upgrade my 2008 Pro from two 2.8GHz quads to two 3.2GHz quads.