I Upgraded my Mac mini's Memory

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Hessel89, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Hessel89 macrumors regular

    Hessel89

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Location:
    Arnhem
    #1
    So I just upgraded my Mac mini's memory from 8GB to 32GB and I wouldn't expect to say this but this actually makes a HUUUUGE difference. I'm have an LG Ultrafine 5K hooked up to my Mac mini and while the graphics may still not be as smooth as on an iMac it's certainly a lot closer. The launchpad is smoother, mission control, the dock, swiping desktops, and pressing fullscreen. it's all gone up. It appears to me that MacOS isn't so much heavy on the GPU, but much more on the CPU and the memory. Funny that I'm coming to this only after 9 years of heavy Mac usage. :)
     
  2. redheeler macrumors 604

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #2
    Going from 8 GB to 16+ GB also means an increase in the VRAM available to the Intel integrated GPU. This is likely what made the most difference driving a 5K display.
     
  3. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Location:
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    #3
    So, do you need to go all the way to 32GB to get this level of performance, or is there some spot between 8 and 32 GB where the gain in performance vs. addition GB flattens out? Any tests on this out there?
     
  4. vanc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    #4
    Attach an eGPU and all the UI sluggishness would be gone.
     
  5. Boyd01 Moderator

    Boyd01

    Staff Member

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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    That also crossed my mind, but according to everymac, it doesn't matter

    https://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-i3-3.6-late-2018-specs.html

    Video Card: Intel UHD Graphics 630 VRAM Type: Integrated
    Details: This model has an Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics processor that shares memory with the system.

    Standard VRAM: 1.5 GB Maximum VRAM: 1.5 GB
    Details: The Intel UHD Graphics 630 processor in this model reserves up to 1.5 GB of system memory for video function.
     
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #6
    I think what @redheeler is saying is that if you have 8GB, and 1.5GB goes to video, that leaves 6.5GB for OS/app usage. If you're trying to use more than that, performance will be affected. Adding more RAM reduces or eliminates any contention here.

    Were you able to use Activity Monitor to see any Memory Pressure with 8GB installed?
     
  7. ktcifone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    #7
    I went with 32 out of the box. 2-3 years from now 32GB sticks will be cheap and if needed will upgrade.
    my 2018 is my 3rd mini starting with an early 2010 server.

    Took both the 2010 and 2012 apart never had a problem.

    Over time I think i spend a lot less time and money then building my own systems.

    Consumer systems start to show their age after 4+ years, so i look at it as an investment and the potential of USBc opens up the expandability for a few years keeping the compute resource segmented as you can with the mini.
    Looking forward to the potential of the pro as the mini just scratches the surface of the potential.

    9+ year Apple consumer 20+ year UNIX/Linux admin.

    I spend enough time fixing computers every day and I will say I haven't spent much time mucking with my systems over the last 9+ years.
     
  8. DomC macrumors 6502

    DomC

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    #8
    So with 32gb of RAM does video still take the 1.5 or is it somehow proportional to the installed RAM?
    And can the amount be adjusted?
     
  9. Hessel89, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    Hessel89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Hessel89

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Location:
    Arnhem
    #9
    I think it will flatten out at 16GB in normal use cases. In fact It appears as though 8Gb is actually too little for MacOS to run smoothly. I'm running nothing else besides 3 safari tabs right now and my memory usage is still 8,15 GB. When I was using 8Gb my swap was always being utilized.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 21, 2018 ---
    I got mine for only €220,- so definitely worth the ''tinkering'' as you like to call it. Besides what does it matter, You put them in once and they will remain there for years to come. :)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 21, 2018 ---
    Yes. The way I see it is more memory means that MacOS doesn't have to dynamically keep changing the amount of ''VRAM'' in exchange for other tasks that require RAM. :)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 21, 2018 ---
    I think the 1,5 GB is the maximum amount. It will fluctuate depending on other tasks that require RAM.
     

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  10. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #10
    it matters if system starts paging.
     
  11. Boyd01, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    Boyd01 Moderator

    Boyd01

    Staff Member

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #11
    Ah, I see, that could slow things down. Would it actually swap the VRAM to disk? redheeler suggested that the graphics chip would use more RAM if it were available, which is something different.

    I was thinking of the 2012 Mini, where if you had the base 4gb RAM then 512MB was allocated to VRAM. But if you increased RAM to 8gb or more, VRAM increased to 768MB.
     
  12. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #12
    I don't know, but VRAM is not the only thing necessary for smooth GUI, CPU and system RAM are also used, and if any of the components start lagging (system RAM due to paging), the UI would lag
     
  13. tedson macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #13
    I have yet to upgrade my RAM. Initially, I was thinking of putting in 32GB(2x16GB) but now I think I may just put in 16GB(2x8GB). Even with 8GB of RAM, I'm not seeing any swap space used and the memory pressure is in the green range. I have simple needs, web browsing, mail, text editing and some Xcode development. I don't do photo, audio or video editing so 32GB seems like overkill to me.
     
  14. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #14
    With the exception of text code development, perhaps even 4GB would be fine. We have a 2011 13-MBA with 4GB - running 10.13. For mail, web, and video it works fine.
     
  15. Boneheadxan macrumors regular

    Boneheadxan

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    #15
    This is great to hear! I got my mini yesterday and with 8GB RAM. I wasn't sure what was causing the sluggishness with my 4K display attached. Compared to my 2016 MBP running the 4K display I could definitely feel the lag. I will eventually get an eGPU but it's great to hear that RAM can sort this issue out.
     
  16. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #16
    it ships with 8GB minimum tho, i doubt someone will go out of their way to open it just to downgrade to 4gb.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    redheeler wrote:
    "Going from 8 GB to 16+ GB also means an increase in the VRAM available to the Intel integrated GPU."

    Ploki wrote in #10:
    "it matters if system starts paging."

    I'll reckon that THIS is "the key".
    Adding RAM doesn't increase the amount of VRAM available.
    It DOES increases the amount of system memory.

    Perhaps some of the "slowdowns" or "choppiness" some 2018 users have seen is due to system memory "swaps" due to the fact that with an 8gb Mini, only 6.5gb or so is available for system memory...
     
  18. RyanC1384 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    #18
    I just upgraded mine from 8GB to 32GB this morning and I agree it's making a HUGE difference - that said - I need help. Ever since the upgrade I can now hear a very faint (and annoying) squeal sound when something engages in the machine. Prior to the upgrade there was no noise at all coming from the Mac mini - now this sound is faint but hurting my ears.

    Any advice on what I should do??
     
  19. Kamolas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    #19
    With 16GB it increases to 1,5GB (at least on High Sierra)
    Then you should be fine with 8GB. Save your money. Upgrade later if you need and when RAM prices drop.
     
  20. anaudiopro macrumors 65816

    anaudiopro

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    #20
    That statement is blatantly false. I have a Vega 64 connected to a Core X box and it absolutely does not get rid of all UI sluggishness. There are many inherent limits of using a eGPU. Namely the fact that the horsepower cannot be fully utilized properly to drive your display.
     
  21. Hessel89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Hessel89

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Location:
    Arnhem
    #21
    exactly my point.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 22, 2018 ---
    Maybe some speck of dust or sand got in between the fan? Cos what your describing sounds exactly like my neighbor's broken airconditioner.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 22, 2018 ---
    No. maybe on Snow Leopard but not on a modern Mac with MacOS Mojave. The system alone will use more then 4GB. let alone with iCloud services running in the background.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 22, 2018 ---
    glad to see someone actually refute that. I haven't bought my eGPU yet but I highly doubted it would solve the UI sluggishness. That said an eGPU can be a great tool (if you need it).
     
  22. RyanC1384 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    #22
    It's no speck of dust or sand - it seems to be where a connection is made.
     

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