More RAM for Mini?

Gregg2

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May 22, 2008
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Model Name: Mac mini
Model Identifier: Macmini2,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 1.83 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 2 MB
Memory: 1 GB
Bus Speed: 667 MHz

Apple's site says I need 2GB of RAM to run Lion. I don't know how to find out if I can double my Memory. I tried to search for the Mini 2,1 but only got links to newer ones. How do I find out about this?
 

Intell

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Jan 24, 2010
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You can put a maximum of 4Gb in that machine. But it is limited by its hardware to using only 3.3Gb of it.
 
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wannabee

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Feb 24, 2011
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Yep. I tried that. 2 + 2 = 3 on my Mac mini. Lion runs OK but I've only been using it to for entertainment. It's connected to the TV.
 
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CausticPuppy

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May 1, 2012
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You could just go 2 + 1 = 3 too. No discernible performance difference although having a matched pair of sticks will benchmark slightly faster since dual-channel will be enabled. But for that machine, it would be diminishing returns-- put the leftover cash toward an SSD.

FWIW my older Mac Mini is the same model, with 3GB (2+1) and a 60GB SSD and it's very snappy (I'm running Snow Leopard on that box).
 
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Gregg2

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Thanks for the replies. But in the info I posted, it says Memory 1 GB. So if I do 1 +1 will that run Lion ok?

Plus, is there someplace on the computer that tells me the maximum amount of RAM that can be installed?
 
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Intell

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Jan 24, 2010
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There is currently two sticks of 512MB in your Mini. You need two 1GB sticks. Lion will run on 2GB, but it won't multitask very well.

There is nowhere on Snow Leopard that will tell you the maximum ram your compute can take. There is on Lion, but It doesn't show the true maximums. Ie, Apple's 2GB limit as opposed to your Mini's actual 3.3GB limit.
 
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paulrbeers

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Dec 17, 2009
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As stated, you have 2 - 512mb sticks in your Mini. You could get 1 - 2GB stick and end up with 2.5GB of RAM. That would get you over the magical 2GB mark. My two Mac Mini's with 1.83ghz Core2duo's run 3GB of RAM with 1 - 2GB stick and 1 - 1GB stick. Won't get you dual channel memory, but their age is a bigger drawback than the small loss in processing power due to single channel memory.
 
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mtreys

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May 22, 2012
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Go to the Crucial website (crucial.com) and you can select your model Mini and it will tell you exactly how much RAM you can max out at. It will also tell you what type, etc. you need.
 
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Intell

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Go to the Crucial website (crucial.com) and you can select your model Mini and it will tell you exactly how much RAM you can max out at. It will also tell you what type, etc. you need.
Crucial.com says 2Gb. Just like Apple.
 
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Intell

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Then that means that the 2GB is the max that you can install in your Mini. If you were to upgrade to 2GB then you would be able to run Lion. It might not run that well, but it would meet the minimum requirements.
The MacMini2,1 can actually take 3.3GB of ram. Apple has commonly understated the maximum amount of ram their machines can take.
 
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Gregg2

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As stated, you have 2 - 512mb sticks in your Mini. You could get 1 - 2GB stick and end up with 2.5GB of RAM. That would get you over the magical 2GB mark.
Based on the posts from other contributors, this sounds like the most economical plan. (Thanks to everyone!) I don't want to spend any more than necessary. It's a 4-1/2 year old machine. I don't know how much longer it will last. But, I'm reluctant to purchase a new Mac when the hardware I have can continue to work for me if I upgrade the OS. I should have asked more about the RAM when I bought it. Strange that they would provide 2 ".5GB" sticks instead of a 1GB and a space.
 
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paulrbeers

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Dec 17, 2009
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I should have asked more about the RAM when I bought it. Strange that they would provide 2 ".5GB" sticks instead of a 1GB and a space.
Not really strange at all. 1. RAM is usually cheapest in the smaller sizes per MB/GB. Meaning 2 - 512mb sticks were probably cheaper than 1 - 1GB stick. and 2. By having like memory sticks, the computer will run the memory in "dual Channel" which provides allows for twice the bandwidth for the CPU to access the main system memory giving you gains in overall system speed/output. In practice, single vs dual channel memory equates to about 5-10% increase overall. In high memory bandwidth situations you might see as much as 20% increase but in normal day to day stuff you might not see any advantage.

Basically, at this point 5% loss in speed is going to be offset by the additional RAM in the system. 2GB stick should only cost you around $25 and if that gets you another year or two out of your mini it will be totally worth it. Worst case, you find that 2.5GB isn't enough and you buy another 2GB stick to get to 3.3GB worth of usable memory.
 
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mtreys

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May 22, 2012
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Not really strange at all. 1. RAM is usually cheapest in the smaller sizes per MB/GB. Meaning 2 - 512mb sticks were probably cheaper than 1 - 1GB stick. and 2. By having like memory sticks, the computer will run the memory in "dual Channel" which provides allows for twice the bandwidth for the CPU to access the main system memory giving you gains in overall system speed/output. In practice, single vs dual channel memory equates to about 5-10% increase overall. In high memory bandwidth situations you might see as much as 20% increase but in normal day to day stuff you might not see any advantage.

Basically, at this point 5% loss in speed is going to be offset by the additional RAM in the system. 2GB stick should only cost you around $25 and if that gets you another year or two out of your mini it will be totally worth it. Worst case, you find that 2.5GB isn't enough and you buy another 2GB stick to get to 3.3GB worth of usable memory.
I knew that I had heard before that it was better to fill both slots of RAM rather than a single one but now I remember why. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it preferred to fill both slots with equal amounts of RAM? Rather than a 2GB and .5GB isn't it better to have both slots filled with 2GB? You clearly have more of a better understanding so I defer to you, but I thought I remembered reading it that way. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though.
 
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philipma1957

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Apr 13, 2010
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I knew that I had heard before that it was better to fill both slots of RAM rather than a single one but now I remember why. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it preferred to fill both slots with equal amounts of RAM? Rather than a 2GB and .5GB isn't it better to have both slots filled with 2GB? You clearly have more of a better understanding so I defer to you, but I thought I remembered reading it that way. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though.
well 2 plus 2 is 4 and 3.1 will be used, which is better then 2 plus .5 = 2.5 .

What you are recalling was more true with older minis. Minis and many pc's were really picky with ram and perfectly matched pairs worked better. As time has moved on this is less true for many pc's and macs.

Mix and match make and size in a sandy bridge mac (2011) and it will almost always work.
 
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paulrbeers

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Dec 17, 2009
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I knew that I had heard before that it was better to fill both slots of RAM rather than a single one but now I remember why. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it preferred to fill both slots with equal amounts of RAM? Rather than a 2GB and .5GB isn't it better to have both slots filled with 2GB? You clearly have more of a better understanding so I defer to you, but I thought I remembered reading it that way. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though.
At one time 10+ years ago in the SRAM days you had to install pairs. Then we went to SDRAM and for a long time it made no difference (in fact many motherboards from the SDRAM and DDR SDRAM days had 3 memory slots). Then around the DDR2 days, they came out with "dual channel" that doubled the bandwidth of the system RAM if used like pairs. As previously stated, if you chose to use unmatched RAM it just defaulted to Single Channel which (as previously stated) will affect performance by about 5%. So no, you don't HAVE to install in pairs, you will just give up a bit of performance.

Again, I have 2 mini's with the 1.83ghz Core2Duo both with 1 - 2GB stick and 1 - 1GB stick for 3 GB (much like what you are thinking about doing just with 1 - .5GB stick). They work fine. No stability issues and the loss in memory bandwidth was made up for by moving from 512MB of total system RAM (in my case) to 3GB.
 
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Gregg2

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May 22, 2008
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I looked at the Crucial web site and the 2GB Kit (1GB X 2) is $34. They did not recommend the 2GB stick to change out one of mine, so I don't know what the cost would be. It also says:

Memory Type: DDR2 PC2-5300, DDR2 (non-ECC)
Maximum Memory: 2GB
Slots: 2
Each memory slot can hold DDR2 PC2-5300 with a maximum of 1GB per slot.
...as was stated above, the "official" line from Apple as well. There's no "more options" button! Anyway, I probably would buy from a retail store and have them install it.
 
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palmharbor

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Jul 31, 2007
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6 GB of memory

I upgraded my new mac mini to 6 Gigs....works faster now and if I had the cash I would have gone to 8 Gigs.:)
 
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Gregg2

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May 22, 2008
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Well, I stopped at Best Buy to check their RAM prices. They're having a sale right now. They guy looked up what type of RAM I need for my "late 2007 Mac Mini" and came up with DDR 3. We then looked at their stock and they had 4GB sticks for $29.99, but no 2GB ones.

Well, I came home and did some poking around, and found this in System Profiler:

Memory Slots:

ECC: Disabled

BANK 0/DIMM0:

Size: 512 MB
Type: DDR2 SDRAM
Speed: 667 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0xAD00000000000000
Part Number: 0x48594D503536345336344350362D59352020
Serial Number: 0x00003015

BANK 1/DIMM1:

Size: 512 MB
Type: DDR2 SDRAM
Speed: 667 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0xAD00000000000000
Part Number: 0x48594
03536345336344350362D59352020
Serial Number: 0xD2FA3005
So, he was wrong. They had 2GB DDR 2 sticks, but I don't remember the sale price. But I'm guessing two of those will be slightly less expensive than 1 4GB stick. The cost for them to install RAM is $39.99 for a Mini. Since I'm not sure how to open it up, I'll probably let them do it. I just don't know how long it will take. Forgot to ask.
 
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Gregg2

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May 22, 2008
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Further searching online has really muddied the water.

Crucial listed a PC2-5300 200-pin SODIMM 2GB stick

I got to OWC which listed a DDR2 SDRAM 667/PC2-5300 2X2GB kit. So that was some help. But they had another one with the same specs for less money. The pictures shown were clearly different.

I also saw listings categorized by "Memory Module" and "Motherboard".

And I saw a 800/PC2-5300, but, looking at my specs, it is 667 MHz.

Letting Crucial scan and recommend doesn't work. As I noted in a post a couple of weeks ago in this thread, it spits back a 2X1GB kit, conforming to Apple's official line of 2GB maximum, which posters here have said is a "lowball" conservative parameter.

So, I'm quite perplexed, to say the least, and wary of ordering online.
 
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Gregg2

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May 22, 2008
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I see that I didn't explicitly ask a question above. I thought the question was implied. Can anyone help me figure out what RAM sticks I need? Like most things these days, there are too many choices!
 
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Intell

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Jan 24, 2010
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Post some links from your favorite online retailers and we'll tell you if it'll work or not.
 
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Gregg2

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May 22, 2008
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yeah lions works well on the upgraded ram! try your local area retailers they will guide well!
Well, I stopped at Best Buy ... They guy looked up what type of RAM I need for my "late 2007 Mac Mini" and came up with DDR 3.
Well, I came home and did some poking around, and found this in System Profiler: [SDRAM DDR2]

So, he was wrong.
That didn't go well.

Post some links from your favorite online retailers and we'll tell you if it'll work or not.
I'll give that a try, but my "to do" list has grown quite large in the last few days.
 
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