Upgrading Oct 2009 Mac Mini RAM & Hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by monkeysarmpit, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. monkeysarmpit macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2012
    Found a great link to show me HOW to upgrade the second hand Mac mini Oct 2009 release (http://www.macworld.com/article/1143684/macmini_upragade.html) but I have a few outstanding questions.

    1) The Mac mini comes with 2GB RAM. It will support 4GB. I would like to upgrade to 4GB. Do I need to buy an additional 2GB RAM module or 2x 2GB RAM modules that are the same make etc?

    2)Any suggestions on a 7200 rpm hard drive with maximum storage capacity for this model? I live in the UK.

    3) Do I really need a drive enclosure to clone the current 160GB drive (nothing bus OS X installed) or can I insert the new drive and install OS X directly on to the drive with the software that came with the computer?

    4) Do I really need an anti-static wrist band whilst performing the upgrade?

    Thanks for any and all help.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It will support up to 8GB of RAM. It comes with 2x1GB modules. As there are only 2 RAM slots, you need to replace those with 2x2GB or 2x4GB modules. You can find specs on all Apple products, including maximum RAM:

    Here's a simple approach:
    1. Buy an external enclosure and put your old drive in it.
    2. Install your new drive in your Mac.
    3. Boot from your old (external) drive by holding the Option key on startup.
    4. Use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the old (external) drive to the new (internal) drive.
    5. Boot from the new internal drive.
    6. Your now running on your new internal drive and your old drive is now an external drive, useful for backups or additional storage.
  3. monkeysarmpit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2012
    Thanks very much.

    Is there an advantage to 1x4GB over 2x2GB RAM modules?

    Do you know where I can look for a suitable hard drive?
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  5. monkeysarmpit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2012
    SSD vs HDD

    It appears that SSD is the way forward.

    Are there any makes that are more reliable than others e.g. crucial?
  6. drlacan macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
    Hi everyone,
    I want to upgrade my Mini (late 2009), I was originally going for the full throttle (SSD+8g) but ran out of $$ so I will just add a 4g module of RAM for now. I don't wanna put 2x2 as I may need to add another module later on. And the SSD can wait a bit :) My question is if this Corsair RAM is compatible. Has anyone tried it? I found it here at a Greek retailer (no problem there for me), but although the part number is the same (CM3X4GSD1066), there it also says "Value Select" which I am not sure is the same

    And another question; does it make any sense to leave one of the two 1g modules along? So that the total adds up to 5g. I am asking because it will be a completely different module in most respects (make, size, etc).

  7. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    OWC makes very reliable and speedy, albeit fairly expensive SSDs. Many people have had great luck with Samsung and Intel SSDs; Samsung erring on the side of greater speed, Intel erring on the side of greater reliability. Personally, I have an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD that I've had no problems with, but I got it on extreme sale on Black Friday.

    So far as your original questions are concerned:

    1. As mentioned, your mini will take 8GB. This is what has been running happily in my early 2009 mini for the last several years.

    2. There is no drive size limit - buy whatever 2.5" drive your budget allows.

    3. You can either get an external enclosure for your drive and use something like Carbon Copy Cloner, or you can get an external drive and use Time Machine for your restore.

    4. I would strongly suggest having one. You can get away without having one, but there's always the risk of killing something important.

    Either way, good luck with your upgrade! The mini is a wonderful machine, and the 2009 models still have a lot of life left in them :)


    Yes, that RAM should work. Personally, I tend to avoid Corsair RAM, as I have had several friends have it fail on them. If you're looking for decent-quality cheap RAM, I've always gone with G.SKILL and have yet to have and problems with it.

    As for your question about leaving some of the old RAM in, yes, I would. There is a tiny bit of performance degradation due to the lack of matched pairs, but in most cases it will be outweighed by the advantage of simply having more RAM.
  8. drlacan macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
  9. spartacvs macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2013
    I think we have the same model of Mac Mini and I just upgraded the HDD to SSD and up the ram to 8GB.

    1.) If money isn't an issue, just get the 8GB kit for $40. If money is tight then you need 2x2= 4GB.

    2.) Just get an SSD because you'll notice the difference in boot time and opening up apps even though your mac mini only supports SATA II and not III. Mine was slow as hell before the upgrade that I was ready to buy new a Mac Mini but watched a few videos in youtube on how to do installation on ram and ssd so I replaced the ram and the stock HDD with an SSD and it was worth the $160 I spent on it.

    3.) There are other ways to do it, but I did have an enclosure and cloned my SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner. They have a free trial for 30 days so you don't have to buy it.

    4.) Not really, just don't step on a carpet while working on your mini. Touch any metal before working on your mini also.

    Just a few tips, use a magnetic screwdriver because it'll come in handy when taking and putting back the screws. I didn't have one magnetic screwdriver so I just used a tweezer to place the screws back in the holes and a flashlight. Be careful not to pull on the antenna to far though because you can disconnect it, one of my antennas came off but I was able to attach it. Take your time and don't hurry.
  10. drlacan macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
    Thought I'd give an update on the upgrade. Finally I went for the good ol' Crucial, instead of gambling with Kingston or Corsair. I managed to find the 4g module on Amazon for 16.5 pounds, not bad at all. Here's the link with the actual product. Worked like a charm on my Mini late 09. Even without the SSD upgrade, now that it has 5g RAM (4g + 1g of the original) the difference in response is significant and I am more than pleased with the buy. At this point, I am not regretting not getting the 8g, as I have tried all the apps I normally use and there is still about 3g of free ram. So saving that money for a better SSD later on seems the best solution for my needs.

    And a small tip: I followed the OWC video on youtube for opening up the mini, I think it is the best there is. Still, the actual process seemed a bit more tricky than in the video :)

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