Firmware upgrade for 32GB memory?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by roxics, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. roxics macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2013
    What are the chances that Apple will update the firmware for the 2012 mac mini to support 32GB? My 2008 macbook could only support 4GB for the longest time, then in late 2010 Apple silently released a new firmware upgrade that allowed it to take advange of 8GB.

    So I gues my question is two fold:

    1. Can the hardware support 32GB?
    2. Would Apple release a firmware update for the 2012 mini to support this?

    16GB is likely to be enough for me for years to come. But with editing video, more ram is always better when you can get it. 32GB is not abnormal these days for editing rigs.
  2. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

    May 22, 2012
    OWC, Crucial and iFixit list 16gb as the max ram.
  3. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Right now there are no 16GB Sodimms available, so even if the firmware supported it, you couldn't take advantage of it. It will be interesting to see if 32GB kits become available before DDR4 becomes mainstream. In the 2011 models they only offered 8GB but people installed 16GB no problem. So the 2012 could possibly support 32GB as it is currently but since the RAM chips don't exist, I'm not sure anyone knows.
  4. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    As far as I know 16GB 204 pin SODIMMs ( 2 times for 32gb) are not available yet so where will you (or Apple) get the RAM from?
  5. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    That was kind of what I thought. Have not seen/heard of too many 16GB SoDimms.
  6. rnauman821 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2004
    16gb sticks exist in the ECC server market.

    Within a year or so they will trickle into the market.
  7. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    The CPU/memory controller support 32 GB (according to, so it will be interesting to see how it fares when 16 GB DIMMs are available and someone tests it.

    4 GB was a 32 bit boundary, I doubt apple would have hard coded 64 bit firmware with a 16 GB limit.

    But who knows until it is tested (ditto for 2011 onwards Macbook Pros).
  8. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    204 pin?
  9. rnauman821 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2004
    No, 240 pin. However, as the Non EEC desktop dimms become available, they will then become available in 204 for mobile.

    8gb sticks took about a year and a half to come to mobile.
  10. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    I would be surprised if the 16GB were actually due to firmware, rather than just the availability of chips.

    There have been plenty of Mac models in the past that actually worked with more memory than Apple officially supports.

    The reason OWC doesn't list 32GB as the limit is because they don't have any chips to test with (or to sell).
  11. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I find this posted by people who know a lot more than I do.....

    The late 2012 Mac Mini server uses an i7-3615QM (2.3GHz model, confirmed I have this one), or i7-3720QM (2.6GHz model). While the processor design itself is capable of supporting 32GB RAM (as you have seen on, this would actually require 4 memory slots.

    To see this you need to dig a little further into the data sheets from Intel which state: "1Gb, 2Gb, and 4Gb DDR3 DRAM device technologies are supported. Using 4Gb DRAM device technologies, the largest memory capacity possible is 32 GB, assuming Dual Channel Mode with four x8 dual ranked DIMM memory configuration. Note: 2 DIMMs per channel supported only in Quad-Core rPGA package only"

    Please consider the above statement carefully if you are not familiar with memory geometry and rank.

    Unfortunately the Mac Mini motherboard uses the BGA type processor package (not the rPGA socket) and only has two slots for RAM (one DIMM per channel), so you are limited to 16GB total RAM.
  12. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Shouldn't that list above include 8GB DDR3 RAM devices? 4GB x 4 is only 16GB.
  13. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    4Gb not 4GB. And since they are dual ranked x8 (which means 16 chips), that equates out to 8GB sticks if I am not mistaken.
  14. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    Aw. Bummer.

  15. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Sorry....missed the change from "B" to "b" in the original post
  16. mightymacman macrumors newbie


    Jul 26, 2017
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    •• As I key this in, it is now 2017 and I am in possession of two 16 GB DDR3L 1600 Mhz • PC3 12800 DV RAM Chips designed to fit into a Notebook or in this case a Late 2012 Mac mini (Not the Server model.).

    I am sorry to report the mini would not recognize the two chips. Upon boot up,
    I heard the slow steady beep-beep sound. After completely powering down I removed one chip. I booted back up with just one RAM module in place. ••• thinking with 16 GIG it ought boot up.••• The mini responded the same way. Slow steady beeps. Restoring the two 8 GIG RAM modules allowed the mini to once again operate normally.

    So, anyone know of a firmware update/upgrade/hack that might serve our purpose? ••

    Thanks! - Gary
  17. twalk macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2009

    There isn't any. Memory size limitations come from both the processor and motherboard chipset. In 99%+ of the DDR3 consumer level processors and boards, including the Mac Mini, you're limited to a max of a 8G unbuffered memory dimm per slot. 2 slots in the Mini means 16G max. This is a hard limit
  18. treekram, Jul 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017

    treekram macrumors 65832

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    The belief that a firmware change will allow the use of 16GB DDR3 SO-DIMM's is an urban myth. Some tech support person at either a RAM company or a RAM re-seller said this and it's been around for years but this has never been proven. There is no computer that uses a pre-Skylake non-Xeon Intel CPU that can use any current DDR3 SO-DIMM 16GB modules. I believe the reason is what's mentioned in post #13.

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