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Early 2009 Mac Mini - Memory upgrade to 8GB worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by belltree, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    I have an early 2009 Mac Mini which currently has 4GB (2x2GB) of system memory which I upgraded myself when I first bought it. Now, 3 years later, the system does tend to get a little sluggish at times and I am thinking to upgrade it to 8GB (2x4GB).

    I see OWC offers an 8GB memory kit for it here for $50. I am just curious to know from others with 2009 era Mac Minis if they found great performance improvements (provided you have the necessary EFI updated)? Appreciate any feedback.

    *Note: I was planning to purchase the 2012 Mac Mini but need to hold off for a year or two so I am wondering if this will tide me over. Thanks.
  2. macrumors 6502a


    I did it last year and I only paid $40, but it was worth it. I mean, I've spent more on beer in 3 hrs... It does help a bit. For example: My mini has 2 eyetv tuners in it. I can allocate the time-shift buffer to use 2GB of ram instead of disk space, which makes it much smoother. Go for it! :D
  3. macrumors 6502

    Go into Activity Monitor and look at Page Outs and Swap Used. If they're substantial, then yes, you'll need more memory. I tend to find that Mountain Lion tends to use about 3.5-4GB, so get quite a few pageouts on my MBA (which has an SSD, reducing sluggishness).

    At under $50, it's a cheap way to improve performance.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Micky Do

    Probably...... I have an early 2009 Mac Mini, the bottom end model that came with 1 GB of Ram. I asked the shop to upgrade the RAM to 4 GB and download Mountain Lion for me (I don't have a credit card so don't have an App Store a/c). The total cost was about 4,000 Thai baht (about $US 130). To get a new Mini loaded with the same software would have cost six or seven times as much, which represents several weeks pay for me.

    They simply put 4 GB in along side the 1 GB, so now I have 5 GB in total. Along with Mountain Lion it has made a huge difference. I reckon my current Mini should be good for a few more years; I don't anticipate replacing it before the next update.
  5. macrumors regular


    I have a 2GHz 2009 Mini which I upgraded from 2Gb or ram to 8Gb a few months ago.

    On the whole, its been a good improvement for me. the last few updates had slowed my mini down a bit, and it was starting to need 1G of ram at start up which it never used to. (I did a Zap-Pram etc to check it wasn't nigly permissions etc slowing it)

    Now its a lot better with more free Ram, I have no Page Outs unless I work it really really hard, which isnt that often, and as all the programs I use fit into memory, switching between them is nice and snappy.

    If your going from 4-8Gb I dont know how much of an improvement you will see, unless you are regularly maxing out. From my point of view going to 4Gb for me would have been just as good as 8Gb, but then saving £10 for half the memory didn't seem worth it!


    PS I still think my 2009 mini is a great little machine, dont need to upgrade yet!
  6. macrumors 6502

    Thanks for your replies folks. On my mini I am seeing the following in Activity Monitor:

    Page ins: 10.34GB
    Page outs: 10.74GB

    This seems rather heavy so from that perspective I think my system would likely benefit but it would be great to hear from anyone else who had similar issues and went from 4GB to 8GB. Thanks again.
  7. macrumors regular


    I'd say go for it then, you should definitely see an improvement.

  8. macrumors 6502a

    For what it's worth, I just doubled the RAM on my 2008 iMac to 4 GB, and the improvement was absolutely worth it. For example, I can have several Safari or Opera tabs open simultaneously without the browser locking up or getting laggy. The beach ball also is now a rarity.

    I say go for it.
  9. macrumors member


    Go for it... I have my Mid-2010 unibody MacBook and Late 2009 Mini maxed out with 8GB of RAM. I use about 4GB on the macbook and 4-5GB on the mini.

    Also think about a SSD. I have an SSD in both systems and they make a WORLD of difference. My mini is mainly a media computer hooked up to my 60 inch TV :cool: With the 8GB RAM 1080p video was a slight bit laggy, with the SSD I haven't once seen it lag yet. :D
  10. macrumors 6502


    Thanks for the advice. I am trying to keep this upgrade as inexpensive as possible. I was on the fence about purchasing the new 2012 Mini or simply going with 8GB upgrade. But I think I will go for the added memory for now and stay with the Mini I have now.
  11. macrumors 6502

    If you're popping it open, think about an SSD too, such as a Samsung 830. A C2D mini with an SSD and 8GB of RAM will be as fast if not faster than a new mini with 4GB RAM and a 5400RPM HDD in most things except processor-intensive tasks...
  12. macrumors member


    I couldn't agree with you any more... I have the OCZ Vertex 3 in mine and I love it, if you watch Tiger Direct they have been having really good sales on SSD's too. I picked mine up for $89.99 about a month ago. Right now they have a Crucial v4 for $79.99. Hope this helps a little bit more
  13. macrumors member

    If you are only going to make one thing, get an SSD instead. Togetther with a fresh OS X install will make much more difference than added RAM.
    It will be a new computer.
  14. macrumors 6502


    Thanks. I had considered doing so but as I have a 750GB drive in there that is @ 80% usage I did not want to have to split things up at this point. Next year I will upgrade to a new Mini and see what's available at the time. Probably 1TB Fusion and 16GB for me at that time.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Just to update, I ended up ordering the 2x4GB modules from Crucial. They arrived today and I upgraded my Mini in about 15 minutes with no issues.

    It is back up now and the pageins/outs is no longer an issue and my Mini is flying again! A simple $50 upgrade and I am back in the fast lane! I am feeling peachy ;).

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