2, 2.26, 2.53, or 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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No startup chime/audio greyed out on late 2009 Mac mini?

On my late 2009 Mac mini (Lion 10.7.4) the audio is randomly greyed out without any startup chime. In System Preferences/Sound/Output, no audio output device is shown.

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Has the unit ever been operated on?

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Yes.

Just wondering. Could it be related to overheating?

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This doesn't seem like it would be related to overheating.

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You may have a damaged or disconnected audio board. Use this guide to open the computer and get to the board. Check the ribbon cable coming from the interconnect board is connected to it. If the cables aren't the problem, you may need to replace the board itself. Here is one for sale on eBay, as iFixit does not sell them.

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If you have upgraded your OS to Lion or (especially) Mountain Lion, this can cause your problem. Look in Apples support section for details, but all I had to do was reinstall the new OS... Problem solved.

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Michele Carlo will be eternally grateful.
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