mac mini graphics memory...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by And, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. And macrumors 6502

    And

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    #1
    This has been mentioned in another thread, but I'd like more comments on it...

    The base model has 1gb ram and 128 shared with graphics card, the premium (!) model has 2gb of ram and 256 ram shared with same graphics card. Does anyone know definitively if a base model with 2gb ram will then use 256 ram? I've asked Apple sales people and they are clueless - they think it's fixed! They even sold me it soldered on the board... I think not, but would like some other opinions. Would the 256 be allocated automatically or would it have to be configured somewhere*

    cheers, a.

    * Sorry if this is a naive question, this will be my first mac for 10 years so I'm a bit behind the times...! Not used a mac since os8!
     
  2. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #2
    Soldered to the board? Haha.

    Just goes to show Apple's sales staff are no less clueless than their Comet or PC World counterparts.
     
  3. And thread starter macrumors 6502

    And

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    #3
    ok, a second apple person has told me that the ram allocation cannot be altered. Could it be that there is a hardware thing that has been done to stop this? ...or is it that they just aren't sure how they work?
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    I'm sure it's in the firmware. Apple's way of saying "buy the more expensive Mini because we don't want you to make the entry level one better than the more expensive one."
     
  5. Durandal549 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #5
    I don't think anyone will really know until mini's are in peoples hands. It makes sense from a manufacturing standpoint to make both models as similar as possible. Let OSX figure out allocating graphics memory. Could apple lock the low end mini into 128, sure. I don't think they would but I have no way to know.

    From apple:
    Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 128MB for 1GB configuration and 256MB for 2GB configuration.

    Notice that it mentions a minimum and that it is dependent on the system ram.
     
  6. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #6
    As a Mini purchase will be my first Mac I'm not sure I want to tempt fate and mess with the innards. I'll just eat the difference and get the 256 version. Along those lines I don't think the 2.66 is worth a custom order. If I really want I can fiddle with a processor, ram, etc. upgrade in a year or two. Heck, by then perhaps I could slip in a Blu-ray drive that is supported by OSX.
     
  7. And thread starter macrumors 6502

    And

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    #7
    Well, the point is no 'innards messing' may be required, osx may be able to sort it all out, but as other posters have said people will need to have a play with them to know for sure. This is the only thing I'd like to know really before making up my mind. I too will be, effectively, a new mac purchaser having not tried osx yet. I guess a can wait a little longer...

    chers, a.
     
  8. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #8
    The memory is shared not soldered on the chip just like the older Mini's; so the only reason the higher one has 256 available is because it has 2GB of ram to start, while the other has only 1GB. From the spec page:

    "NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 128MB or 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory 2"

    "1. Actual weight varies by configuration and manufacturing process.

    2. Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 128MB for 1GB configuration and 256MB for 2GB configuration.

    3. Wireless Internet access requires a base station or other wireless access point and Internet access; fees may apply. Some ISPs are not currently compatible with AirPort.

    4. 1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less."


    So you just need to add 2GB or more to get the more VRAM usage.

    ****i pulled this from a poster on the plex forum (if you're on here thanks!)

    in short buy the cheaper model and add the ram yourself, you'll be happy that you did
    (providing you don't snap something or break something during the upgrade)
     
  9. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    #9

    If they make the syste more accessable (screws?) I'd be happy to do that since it's my understanding adding ram (to a iMac or Macbook) doesn't void the warranty.
     
  10. Shayne macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    This post needs to be updated when somebody with the base gets some extra memory in it. If this turns out to be the case it makes very little sense to get the more expensive version unless you don't want to dig into the guts.
     
  11. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #11
    well the info i copied over would lead me to believe that if you get the lower end one you can pay apple to give you the extra gig (so choose the 2 gb as bto option) and then you get the 256 video ram w/o having to either A: open the case yourself and do it, or B: buy the higher cost model
     
  12. NOD macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #12
    Yeah, I'm having some trouble figuring out who would buy the 'high-end' version.

    My plan is to just buy the lower-end version, get the full 4Gb of RAM (I don't want to bother w/ any putty knives) and get the processor upgrade.

    With that, I'll have a new HTPC for the next 5 years at least.
     
  13. sfroom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    #13
    I called today and spoke to one of Apple's "Product Engineers". He explained that while the min/max is locked, it should scale to 256 with 2 or 4 gigabytes for ram. It's limited to 128 with 1GB, because if the 9400 took 256, that would leave only 768 to run the system, which is a little light for OSX.
     
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    If vRAM does scale up, then it's a no-brainer to buy the entry level machine. You could add 4 gb of RAM and a 500 gb hard drive for less than the high-end Mini for less money - provided you're willing to crack it open.

    I'm wondering if the optical drive is SATA like the rumors have suggested. If so, I probably would get rid of it in favor of a second internal hard drive.
     
  15. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #15
    While that would be a nice option, I still like to dream about there being a slot loading Blu-Ray drive included from Apple with proper OS suport.
     
  16. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #16
    the higher end model seems just to exist to provide a slight discount on upgrades to those who want them from apple

    if you add up the upgrades on the base its a bit more expensive

    it sounds like apple may have indirectly helped those who help themselves...

    if you know what i mean :)

    so regardless of the fact that i'm sure they did it to generate more $ from purchases, thanks apple!
     
  17. penguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #17
    That's reassuring, as I just visited the Apple store in San Francisco and neither the sales rep (no surprise), nor two geniuses could answer my question. They too answered that the ram was fixed and 'dedicated', and were quite perplexed when I mentioned that the specs clearly state the memory is shared and it uses a 'minimum' of 128 or 256 depending on the ram configuration.

    fingers crossed, because I only want the base as long as it will scale.
     
  18. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #18
    take a look at the thread entitled "i just opened my new mini up" or something to that effect

    he confirms that the 256 is scaled as he had purchased the lower end model and then self upgraded the ram

    cheers!
     
  19. jhm01 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    #19
    just confirmed graphics memory expanded automatically

    I just upgraded a 2009 mac mini with the nvidia 9400m graphics chipset from 1GB to 3GB and confirmed from the nvidia control panel system information that it did reserve 256MB of dedicated video memory.
     
  20. ag55 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #20
    yes it does increase the memory when you add more ram
     
  21. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Location:
    Tulsa
  22. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #22
    Its been confirmed already, but I will again.

    My girlfriends base model mini after a memory upgrade uses 256MB of ram instead of 126MB.
     
  23. minusten macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #23
    Before discovering this thread, I called Apple and asked if the VRAM would increase if I ordered the base model with 2gb or 4gb of RAM (I'm in no rush to crack it open until SSD drive prices really drop so plan to buy base and pay Apple's OTT RAM prices).

    I was told that it would not, which made me wonder if they can lock it out if performing the RAM upgrade (to encourage sales of more expensive one). What I'm saying here is that, although lots of people have seen the jump when installing their own RAM, has anyone purchased the base model on a BTO from Apple with at least 2gb and seen the 256 VRAM appear?
     
  24. Krafty macrumors 601

    Krafty

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    La La Land
    #24
    Seems no matter how many people confirm, you guys are still set on listening to what people at the apple store say.

    If you want to believe them instead, go right ahead.
     
  25. minusten macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #25
    I think my point has been missed here - I don't doubt that those performing slef upgrades have seen the jump.

    So I'll simply pose the question again: has anyone purchased the base model (120gb HD) on a BTO from Apple with at least 2gb and found 256 VRAM in the system info?
     

Share This Page