What to do with an Very Old Mac mini?

I have a Mac mini from 2006. Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz, 1 GB ram, 80 GB hard drive, macOS 10.6.8. Rather than send it to a landfill I was wondering what, if anything, could I use it for? For example, is there a Linux distro that would work with this hardware that I could experiment with?

And I already have plenty of doorstops. so that is not an option. :slight_smile:

All other suggestions welcome.

Thanks in advance.

how about using it as a central media & file server, running Plex, Homebridge, etc. Connect a large USB drive and make it shareable

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10.6.8 being the newest OS it can officially run really hurts it for much past basic file sharing, probably.

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Should be a good candidate for running Linux.
You could start with Kubuntu.org, or perhaps Zorin .

  • Download an iso for e.g. Kubuntu here
  • Create a bootable usb stick using balena etcher.
  • You can boot from the usb and play around before you decide whether to install it or not.

In general, you’ll find most Linux distributions run well on older hardware, and feel “snappier” and more responsive than macOS and Windows.

Here’s a link to a website that helps you select a distribution based on your wants and needs.


Thanks. I did consider this, but …

… I was worried this might be true. Especially given the minuscule amount of RAM. Although, OWC does have upgrade kits. And apparently one can even upgrade the CPU on these early Minis, albeit a non trivial task.

Thank you both.

Thank you for the informative reply. I think this will be a nice project as it starts to get colder and I’ll be looking for more indoor activities.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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FWIW, I have a 2009 Mac mini. I keep it in the basement running headless 24-7. It runs Hazel so when I scan anything with the Scansnap, it goes about renaming and filing for me. It’s a pretty cheap secretary for that.


Problem with a Mini that old as a file server is the lack of high speed ports. Might be ok for light duty use.

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Speaking of, mods, if this isn’t okay, please remove and accept my apologies

Does anyone want an old Mac Mini? I have two sitting here in my office closet and figured I’d offer them up before taking to Apple for recycling. No charge but if you wanted to cover shipping that’d be nice.

I think the RAM has been upgraded in each? If anyone wants one or both I’ll boot them up to confirm they’re working and system info.

i7 is claimed. i5 available if any takers. Otherwise I’ll recycle.

I ran Ubuntu Server on an old Mac Mini for a few years until it finally died. Was my Home Assistant server amongst other things.

Please don’t throw out or even recycle an old Mini. At worst post it on Facebook or Craigslist for free. I’m sure someone out there could use it.

The Mac Mini from 2006 should already have a Gigabit Network available, so I would have no concerns about the speed from that point of view.

There are a couple of local organizations which will take old computers and setup them up for folks that otherwise wouldn’t have access to a machine. I’ve donated a couple of old iMacs.

So that would be the fate of this machine should I not find a use for it.

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I donate computers and accessories to a local non-profit, Free Geek Vancouver. Free Geek also has locations in other cities, including Portland (OR) and Toronto. They reuse what can be reused and recycle hardware that is no longer usable.

I was referring to the USB & FireWire ports for connecting external drives.

Should be 10.7 Lion on the 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo model - doesn’t make a difference though.

USB 2.0 at almost 40 MB/s may limit throughput somewhat, but should be very usable as a file server.