Enthusiasts Detail RAM Upgrade Process for the 2018 Mac mini

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    RAM replacement guides for the new 2018 Mac mini have appeared online, detailing what's involved if users choose to go against Apple's advice and upgrade the removable memory modules themselves.


    Apple's official line is that it doesn't consider the new Space Gray Mac mini to be user-configurable, therefore the company recommends that later memory upgrades be performed by a certified Apple service provider.

    However, going down that route increases costs significantly, because users need to factor in the relatively high price of Apple-supplied RAM as well as the additional labor charge for installing said modules.

    On the other hand, while upgrading the memory yourself can save money, it also carries inherent risks.

    For one, any damage done to the Mac mini during installation isn't covered under warranty, and even if the internals remain unscathed, Apple service staff will likely refuse to repair a 2018 Mac mini under warranty if they see third-party RAM modules have been inserted.

    Having said that, experienced upgrade enthusiasts will be happy to learn that the process of opening up the 2018 Mac mini isn't too dissimilar to the 2014 Mac Mini (although that model had the much-maligned soldered-on RAM).

    YouTuber Brandon Geekabit has uploaded a video detailing the process. And with help from MacRumors forum readers, Rod Bland has posted steps of the procedure on the iFixit website, along with the recommended opening tools, which include a TR6 Torx Security screwdriver, a T9 Torx screwdriver, and a Pentalobe screwdriver (also used to open the Retina MacBook Air and Pro). The entire process is said to take between 10 and 20 minutes.


    Briefly, users must pop off the bottom cover using a plastic opening tool, then unscrew and remove the antenna plate below along with its attaching cable. Next, the fan assembly is unscrewed and removed. Then the mainboard is unscrewed so it can be slid out, after which the screws holding the RAM cage are undone to reveal the RAM modules.


    Removing the rubber stabilizers and pressing the spring clips enables careful replacement of the existing RAM modules with the new ones, after which users must work their way back through the previous steps in reverse to re-assemble the mini.


    The process allows users to install up to 64GB of RAM, using any combination of 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB DDR4-2666 SODIMM RAM modules, which are available from third-party brands like Crucial, Kingston, and Corsair at prices that significantly undercut Apple-supplied RAM.

    Ultimately, customers wanting more RAM must decide which route suits them best: upgrade the Mac mini themselves and accept the risks; avoid the hassle by paying Apple a premium to upgrade the base configuration at checkout; or upgrade at a later time through an Apple authorized service provider, at additional cost.

    Article Link: Enthusiasts Detail RAM Upgrade Process for the 2018 Mac mini
  2. Acidsplat macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2011
    It looks Apple is realizing it's cheaper to replace broken parts during warranty service than it is to replace a whole machine with all its parts soldered.
  3. Sam_S, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018 at 3:02 AM

    Sam_S macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2016
    Its great that you are able to do it yourself! I would do it through Apple if they didn't charge a ridiculous premium for their RAM upgrades...
  4. michael666 macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2003
    in front of a computer
  5. honglong1976 macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2008
    Looks quite long winded.

    I remember buying a Core Solo Mac mini. I managed to upgrade the RAM and CPU to a Core 2 Duo. Just needed a wall paper scraper.
  6. ch02ce macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Any word on the SSD yet? I believe I saw on here somewhere that it was standard PCIE now.
  7. JackLeBoul macrumors newbie


    Mar 5, 2010
    Zurich - Switzerland
    Ahhh...still unnecessary complicated/difficult to change ram on a "desktop" computer.
    Compare this to the "Cube" - beautiful design and easy access to all parts.


    Even though this is better than the last version, its not good enough.
  8. TomOSeven macrumors regular


    Jul 4, 2017
    Afaik, it is a normal PCIE one, but they solder it on anyway so you don't upgrade yourself.
  9. xylitol macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2013
    Hmmm, some people say that the RAM cage screws are pentalobe P5, others say that they are Torx T5...
  10. dannys1 macrumors 68020


    Sep 19, 2007
  11. timber macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2006
    I was quite excited during the mac mini part of the recent keynote but now ... looking at the base price, these limitations (you are risking your new quite expensive computer to upgrade RAM...) and even the extra money to expand other options (SSD, GPU) well... things don't look so nice.

    In the end mac mini is better than before. At least now it has a real CPU instead of some sub watt gizmo that looks like an excuse to blame intel.
  12. ChrisCW11 macrumors 65816

    Jul 21, 2011
    if I were entertaining this, I would want to know how to upgrade the SSD because the 2tb SSD, Apple is charging $700 (CAD) more then Dell for the 2TB SSD option (1900 vs 1200). Not that I am going to spend $1200 on any SSD, I would just be as happy to plug in a Thunderbolt external raid for SO much cheaper, but its the same story across the entire range of option upgrades for the Mac Mini, just excessive stupid prices vs the same components options competitors are offering. And don't tell me that Apple has some special quality manufactured versions of these parts, they are raiding the same over-seas factories as ever other computer OEM these days.

    I don't care if Apple is going to charge a premium for the boxes with their logos on it, that is to be expected these days, but when Apple tries to excessively profit monger off of the same off-the-shelf parts that competitors are putting into their systems, and make it user hostile to upgrade or repair them even years later, I am sorry, Apple doesn't have a right to $700 of free profit off of someone else's component by forcing people to configure a system once only in the shopping cart.
  13. PickUrPoison macrumors 68020

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Another option would be to have a local independent shop install memory that you purchase yourself, or from them.

    For highest performance you should use matched pairs i.e. 8GB/8GB, 16/16, 32/32.
  14. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2016
    I would do it myself but I don't want a voided warranty when the t2 chip starts having issues....
  15. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    Looks nice and simple - I have various screwdrivers from a Mac Mini 2014 disassembly (plus a decent anti-static mat/strap). Might wait for local black Friday discounts before picking up an i5 Mini.
  16. japanime macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2006
    I still have mine — the user-upgraded Mac mini, and the wallpaper scraper. The mini still does duty as a print server; the scraper doesn't see much action anymore. :D
  17. obiwan macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2004
    That's a good point - I'd be interested to know how much an external Thunderbolt 3 raid would be, for a similar capacity/speed to the internal 2TB SSD.

    It seems like Apple can do what they like, it may be unethical, but as long as it's not illegal they can get away with it. They do make their own SSD controller (in the form of the T2 chip), so it's not strictly an off-the-shelf part that they are sticking in there, and marking it up. The flash storage, is just another component soldered to the logic board like, the thousands of resistors and capacitors etc. that make up the entire machine.
  18. PickUrPoison macrumors 68020

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    No, it would not be a standard PCIe card since Apple uses a custom on-the-fly encrypting SSD controller. Likely there are NVRAM chips soldered directly to the logic board, like other recent Macs.
  19. Googlyhead macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2010
    Problem is; the iFixit 'guide' is by someone without the actual 2018 MacMini, detailing the hypothetical procedure using best match images (some from the 2014 model)
  20. robjulo macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    We love our customers (especially those who pay double market price for upgrades).
  21. scottgoh macrumors member


    Oct 23, 2012
  22. corebeliefs macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2016
    How is changing RAM suddenly rocket science according to Apple? I remember earlier MBP's where you could change the HDD by going through layers of internals. It was commonly done, no problem. If a user hasn't damaged anything, refusing to service based on the mere evidence of 3rd party RAM is such a lie. How does this policy even fit a supposedly low priced machine like the Mini? (Hey Apple, the name Mini used to be a play on words, for both size and price.)
  23. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    I don't know about the US, but unlike everything Apple wants you to believe, in Germany opening the case of your computer and upgrading RAM modules would not void your warranty - that's the European law.
  24. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Nah it’s probably to simplify parts sku management.

    If the RAM was soldered, there would be 12 different logic board skus to keep in stock (3 cpu options x 4 ram options). That’s unwieldy for a product that likely isn’t going to have a huge sales volume.

    By making the RAM seperate from the logic board, the number of logic board skus is reduced to just 3 - much more manageable.
  25. czoli macrumors newbie


    Nov 16, 2017
    We love (to screw) our customers, they could have designed it differently to make it easy to upgrade.

    While I understand a CEO needs to please the investors by increasing revenues and margins the Tim Cook age seems to only be about taking advantage of the customers.

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