How To: Mac Mini RAM Upgrade

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited May 2014
This tutorial will teach you how to upgrade your Memory (aka, RAM) in your Intel Mac Mini.

Note: If some of the images do not show up, try refreshing your browser.



Update:

I found out that Upgrading your RAM in your Mac Mini will not Void your Warranty unless you break something yourself. (Thanks to some of the guys hear on AI!)






Items need for upgrade:

*A putty knife (or two, if you feel you need it)

*Medium sized philips screw driver

*And a small flat head screw driver



This upgrade tutorial is for the Intel Core Solo, Core Duo and Core 2 Duo Mac Mini.

The Intel Mac Mini uses PC2-5300 200-Pin DDR2 SODIMM memory running at 667Mhz.

You can buy this type of memory on Newegg.com in the Memory section and other various sites.



In this case I am upgrading a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini 1.83Ghz which only has 1GB of RAM in it.

I will be upgrading it to 2GB of RAM from Corsair.





____________

First, lay your Mac Mini upside down.

Get your putty knife and carefully squeeze it in between the aluminum and plastic around the outer rim on the bottom of the Mini. Then bend the putty knife outward (away from the mini) until the Mini pops out a little, do this around all three sides until it looks like this:



____________

Carefully take the Mini out:



____________

Look! There's the inside of the Mini! All carefully crammed together...

So take out the screws in each corner using your Medium sized philips screw driver:



____________

Here's screw #2:



____________

Screw #3:



____________

Screw #4 is hidden under the Airport Antenna. To take that off, squeeze the two plastic pieces under it using your thumb and index finger:



____________

It should pop off, revealing the screw you can now take out:



____________

Next, in the front of the Mini, under the Optical drive and to the right of the Battery, there's a little black wire you need to unplug.

Do so by prying it up with your Small flat head screw driver:



____________

It should be out like this:





Continued in Next Post
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Comments

  • smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Part Two:



    Now, being very careful, slowly pull the top half of the mini Up then over and lean it on the Back Ports:



    __________

    Now, you have two options:

    1. You can finish the upgrade without doing the next two steps or...

    2. Continue by unhooking the orange ribbon cable that connects the Optical drive and Hard drive to the Motherboard:



    __________

    This can be done by taking out the brown plastic piece which is wedged between the orange ribbon and the white slot.

    You can use your finger nails or the Small flat head screw driver to do this.



    __________

    Look! There's RAM! It's really small...

    You can read what kind of memory it is on the label:



    __________

    Now of course, let's take them out!

    Using to fingers or your thumbs push down and out on the two silver metal brackets which hold the RAM in. This will make the first memory stick pop up, now carefully pull it "out" not up. Do this to both sticks.



    __________

    Next, put in your new Memory, making sure they are secured in each RAM slot:



    __________

    Now, reassemble your Mac Mini, simply follow the directions in reverse order.



    Once it's all packed together again turn it on and check it out:





    If you have any questions please post them! I'll be glad to help

    Hope this helped you upgrade!

    Thanks!

    Parker
  • sequitursequitur Posts: 1,877member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smee View Post


    __________

    Next, put in your new Memory, making sure they are secured in each RAM slot:



    Many thanks.
  • smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Sure.

    Let me know how it goes for you
  • sequitursequitur Posts: 1,877member
    4.0GB (2GB + 2GB Module Set) Upgrade kit with Micron devices for all Apple 'Core 2 Duo' 2.2GHz, 2.4GHz, Core ... more

    Brand: Other World Computing

    OWC Item # OWC53IM2DDR4GBK $103.99 \t



    With 4GB hovering around $100, I thought of putting 4GB in a Mac Mini. What would happen? Would it create problems or ......?
  • smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Check out this article.

    It shouldn't create any problems.
  • sequitursequitur Posts: 1,877member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smee View Post


    Check out this article.

    It shouldn't create any problems.



    This may just make up my mind come January. UNLESS Steve comes up with something else to attract my attention.
  • ubiquitousgeekubiquitousgeek Posts: 66member
    That was a very good How To. I'm watching out the window for the UPS truck carrying my 2GB upgrade at this very moment. Hopefully I won't screw anything up. This will be my first time cracking open a Mac. I can't wait to see how well this machine runs with 2GB of RAM. I have the first generation 1.66GHz Core Duo with 512MB of RAM running Leopard 10.5.1. So far, Leopard runs great, but it uses all of the available RAM with just Safari, Mail and Adium. I hope to see a dramatic improvement in World of Warcraft, which runs pretty well as it is, just a little laggy in spots.
  • smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Thanks!

    Lol, I like looking out the window waiting for a UPS I love there speedy service too...



    Hope all works out for you, let me know how it goes!

    Parker
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,730member, moderator
    Good guide but I wouldn't unhook the optical drive - I didn't feel it necessary to do that when upgrading the Mini Ram - I just left the top part sitting against the machine. I would recommend two putty knives though so that you can hold one side open while prizing open the other side.



    It's good that you explained about pinching the bit below the airport card. The guide I used online didn't explain this.
  • ubiquitousgeekubiquitousgeek Posts: 66member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smee View Post


    Thanks!

    Lol, I like looking out the window waiting for a UPS I love there speedy service too...



    Hope all works out for you, let me know how it goes!

    Parker



    Whoops! Instead of hitting reply, I accidentally hit report. I don't know why the hell I did that or why I didn't notice it as I was typing away. I don't want to retype all of that... In short, the upgrade when well. Leopard is much snappier now. Like the other guy said, I didn't feel the need to unhook the drives, I just flopped them out of the way. Thanks for the guide, it was much more detailed than the others.
  • lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    LOL - here's the rest of your post that got sent to me as a "Report"



    Quote:

    I had a bit of frustration getting the screws back on. All in all, it was a little more challenging than upgrading a typical PC, but well worth it. I ended up having to do the process twice because I didn't get the top chip seated correctly. It wouldn't go all the way into the slot unless it was at an angle. Anyways, thanks for the guide, it was very useful.



    For anyone interested in upgrading their mini's RAM, I will tell you want to expect performance-wise. Expect Spotlight to provide results instantly instead of lagging for a few seconds. Expect menus to pop up faster. Cover Flow will improve dramatically, as will Stacks. I haven't gotten into too much depth with it yet, but I expect GarageBand and iMovie to work much better. Hopefully it will solve some latency issues with GarageBand. iPhoto indexing seems much quicker. All in all, it's been completely worth the $55. Crucial.com has great prices.



  • smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Lol, thats funny



    I'm glad it went well for you!



    Last night I took my mini completely apart (the motherboard, hd, optical drive and everything was out of the case), I wanted to see what kind of hard drive was in there. I know I could have gone to system profiler, but I wanted it hands on

    I did this because I'm thinking of upgrading the CPU, Optical Drive, Hard Drive and RAM (to 4GB).

    I'm also looking into switching out the graphics chip to the GMA X1300, not sure if its possible though... Any ideas?



    I want to see how fast I can get this mini to go
  • messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    Wow I didn't realise that the Mac mini would recognise 4GB? I thought the memory controllers only recognised 2GB?



    4GB is great news!
  • messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    Okay, upon further investigation, it seems as though the Mac mini CANNOT support 4GB

    - it can only support 3GB.



    If you install two 2GB sticks however, it will see the first 1.5GB of each stick, and allow dual channel access, which offers some speed improvements over a single 2GB and single 1GB combo.



    But regardless of what you install, the maximum that you will ever be able to use is 3GB.
  • sequitursequitur Posts: 1,877member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Messiah View Post


    Okay, upon further investigation, it seems as though the Mac mini CANNOT support 4GB

    - it can only support 3GB.



    If you install two 2GB sticks however, it will see the first 1.5GB of each stick, and allow dual channel access, which offers some speed improvements over a single 2GB and single 1GB combo.



    But regardless of what you install, the maximum that you will ever be able to use is 3GB.



    What's the source of your info?
  • smeesmee Posts: 195member
    Sorry, I thought I already posted about this on AI.

    Guess not



    You can put in 4GB (2 x 2GB) in the mini, but it will not recognize the whole 4GB, it will recognize 3GB. But it's still faster to get 4GB rather than 2GB + 1GB.



    Sorry for the confusment....
  • richard_hrichard_h Posts: 1member
    SMEE, thanks a ton for posting this how-to! Without it, I would have paid for Apple's RAM upgrade, and I'd be running with 2GB instead of 4GB (3.xGB, really), and paid more for it.



    Being a total Mac newbie, here are some notes from having just done this to my new 1.83GHz Mini...



    * I concur with the other poster about not removing the brown ribbon cable for the optical drive. I'm normally leery of messing with this type of connector, and you can do the job without removing the brown cable.



    * The gap in the case is pretty tight between the white base and the silver shell. I had to use a pretty slim putty knife (it'd been sharpened to a knife edge, actually, for a prior project); the first putty knife was too thick to wedge in the crack without marring the case getting it in. In a pinch, one could slide a flat chef's knife in the gap just to make the crack wide enough to get the putty knife started (don't pry with a knife).



    * I used 2 putty knives - the first one to pry the base upward (i.e., outward on the shell, as the OP described), and a second putty knife following behind it, catching notches in the side of the base to keep it from dropping back down. A flat screwdriver would work for this 2nd tool too.



    * On mine, screw #2 is an oddball with a wider head. The other 3 look interchangeable. You really need a small Philips head with these screws, and the screwdriver needs to be fairly skinny and long (a la pocket screwdriver style).



    * I put in a pair of Patriot 2GB SO-DIMMs that Frys.com is selling for $38 apiece (about $90 for 4GB with 2-day shipping). At the moment, it's $7 cheaper to buy separate 2GB sticks instead of the 4GB kit from the same manufacturer. I got part #5200767 - if somebody sees a reason this SO-DIMM module isn't correct, please let me know. So far, my Mac's still working.



    * Seating the memory DIMMs is a tight fit - while at a slight angle, they need to be pressed into the slot until the top edge of the gold contacts are barely visible; this can take a pretty firm hand. Once inserted, latch it down. If you haven't done this before, take note of how far inserted the old DIMMs are before you remove them.



    * Check the Airport antenna connector before re-assembling - it'll try to come loose from the board (seen in the background of the OP's pic with the brown ribbon connector).



    * There's a pair of wires near the mounting post by the power jack - take note of how it's routed before you disassemble. They like to get in the way during re-assembly.



    * Putting the optical drive back in is pretty snug fit. Mine had to be jostled the last little bit before the mounting posts were flush. Don't forget the little connector you unplugged.



    * Screw #1 was a challenge to get started back in the hole - I needed a magnet on the screwdriver to keep the screw attached to it. Hole #1 is an open bracket but this isn't obvious from the shadows (at least at my kitchen table, er... anti-static workbench); just dropping the screw in the "hole" won't work like it does on #3 and #4.



    * Check that the Bluetooth antenna wire is back in the clips along the side of the drive, between screws 1 and 2.



    * The case is a tight fit to close. My fit wasn't completely flush on the back near the power switch, but re-opening / checking / re-closing it doesn't look like anything's in the way, and it's fully clipped closed. I'm not sure if that's how it was from the factory. Anybody know?



    I hope these extra tips help the next newbie brave the upgrade too!



    Cheers,

    Richard
  • snottsnott Posts: 1member
    I followed the instructions (core 2 duo 1.8ghz mac mini) but now it won't boot at all, no monitor activity, no beep, but the power light comes on and lots of fan (or is it drive?) noise. I tried replacing the original memory, same thing. Lose connector? How do I troubleshoot this?



    Thanks...
  • misskittymisskitty Posts: 51member
    Quote:

    In a pinch, one could slide a flat chef's knife in the gap just to make the crack wide enough to get the putty knife started (don't pry with a knife).



    Oh how I wish I had read this guide before I did that and killed my mini.
  • adrianoadriano Posts: 1member
    thanks for this through step-by-step



    My mac mini memory upgrade went really smooth having first read this article.



    Didn't unplug the ribbon cable as I found there was enough room to work on the memory modules area without the need of taking completely off the upper portion of the components.



    - Adriano
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