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How to Upgrade CPU in Your MacBook, Mac Mini and other Models

by Fahad Saleem

How to Upgrade CPU in Your Macbook, Mac Mini and other Models

Apple recommends purchasing latest Mac versions for ensuring fast performance. If you have budget restrictions for buying the latest versions of Mac, you should look for upgrading processing power of your old Mac. Any PowerPC-based Mac can be made fast with G3 upgrade, and many of them will accept G4 upgrades also. You will explore how to upgrade CPU in your Mac here.

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Upgrading CPU in Your Mac

Is It Possible to Upgrade a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air

Unfortunately, none of the current MacBook range is upgradeable because CPUs are soldered into the motherboard. You will have to melt the connections and then remove CPU for upgrading your Mac. This policy is retained since Apple switched from previously employed PowerPC CPUs to Intel Chips. Even then some old models were soldered. It was basically a tradeoff for small devices that are easily portable.

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Is It Possible to Upgrade a Mac Mini

The latest version of Mac Mini holds a similar case. It contains many resemblances of internals as found in Macbook Air. When Mac Mini was first launched in 2006, it was upgradeable. This trend continued till 2009, when first soldered model was released. Since then, Mac Mini has stayed upgradeable in other aspects as RAM and hard disks, but CPU is out of question.

Collection of Upgradeable Macs

It is quite easy to upgrade CPU in the following Macs:

  • A Blue-and-White Power Mac G3
  • A Beige Power Macintosh G3
  • Power Computing Power Tower

Let’s see how to replace CPUs in the first two cases as examples.

Blue-and-White G3

The blue-and-white G3 and Power Mac G4 could be easily upgraded with CPU, courtesy the drop-down side door and an easily accessible processor. You need to install software required to make the updates work. Such software are generally provided in the form of an extension and control panel combination that involves the faster cache settings of processor.

If you are installing a G4 processor upgrade into your Blue-and-White Power Mac G3, you are required to apply a firmware update to your Mac. The update will overwrite the Mac’s ROM so that the motherboard becomes compatible with the new processor. Applying such updates is never a problem.

Beige G3 Tower

The ZIF slot in this Mac makes it quite easy to upgrade the processor. You must remove all the cables from Beige G3 Tower for opening it. Once you have installed the necessary software for updates, you need to remove the Mac’s side panel by pressing on the green release button (A) and pull up on the panel.

You need to touch the power supply to discharge static electricity. You must line-up the processor’s pins so that the corner of the processor that’s missing a pin (D) matches the blank spot on the ZIF slot (E).

You must have become familiar with the process related to how to upgrade CPU in your MacBook. The efficiency and performance of your Mac will improve tremendously if you use fast processors, compatible with latest standards.


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