Apple's new Mac mini lacks user-replaceable memory

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 2014
An early assessment of Apple's late-2014 Mac mini found that the headless desktop does not come with user-replaceable RAM, but does include user-serviceable hard drives.




According to Mac mini-based datacenter Macminicolo, the Apple's latest mini model does not feature user-replaceable memory as it did in the previous version introduced in 2012. The firm's owner, Brian Stucki, posted his findings to Twitter and the company's blog on Friday.

It is not yet clear why Apple chose to incorporate permanently built-in RAM modules, but the new cheaper memory upgrade options may provide some respite for buyers. Apple's entry-level $499 Mac mini ships with 4GB of RAM and can be upgraded to 8GB or 16GB for an extra $100 or $300, respectively. The mid- and top-tier minis come with 8GB of memory standard, which can be configured to 16GB for $200.

Along with the memory findings, Stucki said the internal hard drive can be replaced or upgraded by the user, but believes it will void Apple's warranty. Prior to 2014, the Mac mini was offered in a two-HDD configuration that ran OS X Server. With its hardware refresh, Apple has discontinued the server option and limited internal storage to 1TB, but does include the faster Fusion Drive as a standard feature for the top-end model.

Apple unveiled the long-awaited Mac mini refresh at a special media event on Thursday, bringing faster fourth-generation Intel CPUs and a price cut to $499.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 160
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 618member
    Well, Phil Schiller did say that the Mac Mini was an entry-level Mac for switchers. This is what they planned this computer for all along but got carried away a little with the 2011 and 2012 high-end Mac Minis. They are back where they wanted Mac Mini to be.

    I'm glad I got two 2012 i7 2.6 GHz quad-core CPU Mac Minis two years ago. I will be keeping them for some time until 27" retina iMacs get under $2000.
  • Reply 2 of 160
    If you read the specs, it lists the RAM as being LPDDR3, which is what the 2013 MBA and cell phones use. There isn't a DIMM for LPDDR because the extra drive strength and signal integrity requirements would consume much more power and is unnecessary for things like phones.
  • Reply 3 of 160

    Neutering the specs might have been acceptable if they had moved to an ultra-small form factor like the NUC, but as a 2012 Mini Quad owner I have to say this is extremely disappointing. My computing needs are greater than this, but I don't want an iMac.

  • Reply 4 of 160
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    $300 to upgrade to 16 Gig of memory? I upgraded mine (prior version) from third-parties for under $100.

    Apple is getting sleazy here, putting in too little RAM (4 gig), making it not upgradable, and charging over twice the market price for that necessary upgrade.

    Do they really think we're this stupid? They shouldn't forget that, even those who're trapped in Apple's ecosystem can still get even for this by discouraging others. That's precisely what I do with AT&T.

    I can do it with Apple if it doesn't get its act together. I can also make my high-end Mac mini last long enough to make a used Mac Pro reasonable.

    And I'll spare you the contempt I have for Phil Schiller if he thinks the only options Apple ought to offer us is an underpowered Mac mini or an iMac that forces us to deal with the double-trouble woes of having the computer and display in the same device. When one fails, the other is worthless. He's rich enough not to care. I'm not.
  • Reply 5 of 160
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member

    Lower the price $100 and double the price of the RAM.

  • Reply 6 of 160

    And I was wrong, time to eat crow :-)

  • Reply 7 of 160
    This is sad, user accessibility is wanted, now you want the upgradability you pay 6 times the price, really?
  • Reply 8 of 160

    Previous version Mac mini - 2.3Ghz quad-core i7, 4GB, 1TB Fusion drive = $1000 + 16GB RAM DIY upgrade for $150 = $1150.

     

    New Mac mini - 3.0Ghz dual-core i7, 16GB, 1TB Fusion drive = $1400.

     

    You get less, and you pay more. Not good.

     

    I already have a 2012 2.6GHz quad-core i7 with Fusion drive. Very disappointed with this Mac mini refresh.

  • Reply 9 of 160
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,195member
    Meh, cue vehement screeching from a tiny minority, 95% of people won't give a shit. Really, upgrading memory is hardly done anymore and not as necessary as it used to be. Non-issue.
  • Reply 10 of 160
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,807member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    Meh, cue vehement screeching from a tiny minority, 95% of people won't give a shit. Really, upgrading memory is hardly done anymore and not as necessary as it used to be. Non-issue.



    Nonsense. It's a real issue.

     

    We've all known that the Mini is the computer Apple hates. That's fine, but what Apple's done this time is to kill the soul of the machine.

     

    The Mini is the hobbyist machine. It's the only part of the Mac line that you can modify to run billboards, in-car systems, trade show booths, security systems, concert lighting, business servers, telephone systems and whatever else your mind dreams up. It's the Hypercard of Mac hardware.

     

    Contrary to many, I'm fine with the chip. I don't expect Apple to put a top notch chip into its el cheapo machine. Ditto for graphics.

    But this is still a machine for tinkerers, and non-upgradable RAM is a poke in the eye.

     

    As Panoptician said, maybe it would be less insulting if Apple had explained the long wait to upgrade the Mini with a move to a smaller form factor.

     

    But to wait so long just to put new Airport connectivity, remove Firewire and then hardwire the RAM is abysmal.

  • Reply 11 of 160
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

    The Mini is the hobbyist machine.


     

    Seems silly to have a hobbyist machine that can't really be tinkered with. Maybe the hobbyists should find something else. :p

     
    It's the only part of the Mac line that you can modify to run billboards, in-car systems, trade show booths, security systems, concert lighting, business servers, telephone systems and whatever else your mind dreams up. 

     

    What makes it thus? Are the others physically incapable of doing this or are you just being lazy in your description?

  • Reply 12 of 160
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    Meh, cue vehement screeching from a tiny minority, 95% of people won't give a shit. Really, upgrading memory is hardly done anymore and not as necessary as it used to be. Non-issue.

     

      I don't really have that much of a problem with soldered on RAM any more, as it's the way so much of the small profile laptops are these days.  But 4 gig of RAM with Yosemite?  There are going to be a bunch of disappointed non-computer savvy people who thought they'd be getting a typically snappy Mac.  That chintzy RAM starts caching around with THAT pokey drive?   Why even bother marketing that configuration?  Can it even run for a week without imploding?

  • Reply 13 of 160

    Looks like the Mac mini 2014 is sort of a step backwards.

    It is really sad, but this is what Apple frequently does - dribble out the barest of modernizing of a model it does not wish to be promoting.

    So, sitting in front of the new 2014 Mac mini running office software and web browsing, it seems one would not really notice much difference. Yes, $100 less, but basically, the same user experience.

    When of course, actual computer chip power is now much more powerful in the two years since the last mini rev. And most computers come with 8 GB now, not 4.  Sigh.

    Compare Mac mini 2014 vs 2012 (standard/base models):

    CPU:

     2014: 1.4/2.7GHz dual Core i5 4260U *

     2012: 2.5/3.1GHz dual Core i5 3210M **

     both are 2 core, 4 threads (hyper-threaded)

    RAM:

     Looks to be basically same 4 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz

    HD:

     Looks to be same 500 GB 5400rpm

    Graphics:

     Improved Intel HD 5000 vs 2012 HD 4000.

     

    *Likely this 4260U chip - it has exact same Intel Ark specs as Apple new Mac mini published specs, and it is the same CPU used in recent new low-end June 2014 iMac.

    **Comparing benchmark scores at Passmark and Geekbench indicate that on whole the two CPUs are comparable, in same numbers range, thus no noticeable improvement, save for graphics video.

     

     I'm not sure how and what user software would best show the improved graphics of Intel HD 5000 performance.

    But besides that, this 'new' model seems a wash.

  • Reply 14 of 160
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,807member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    What makes it thus? Are the others physically incapable of doing this or are you just being lazy in your description?


     

    Probably just me. The other parts of the line are all capable, but cost-prohibitive for many projects.

     

    Also, the cost and form factor lends itself to integrating the unit into other systems far better than an iMac or MacBook Pro would.

  • Reply 15 of 160
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    The new lower-entry price is great but with non-user-upgradable RAM I'd have to get the 16GiB to maximize longevity. I also don't care for the 1.4GHz processor. Since it'll be an Time Machine and iTunes Server (and hopefully a VPN server) I think my best longterm option for the price is a Mac mini with GigE and USB 3.0 which means I can get a Late-2012 Mac mini once Apple updates their Refurbished store.
  • Reply 16 of 160
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    What makes it thus? Are the others physically incapable of doing this or are you just being lazy in your description?


    If you are planning to run a server or a billboard, why pay for a monitor that no one will look at? Most of the cost of an iMac goes to the display.

  • Reply 17 of 160
    Well this is severely disappointing. I waited over a year for the new Mac Mini. This is NOT what I had expected from Apple. The base model is a joke. The top-tier model is a very minor spec bump from the mid-tier for $300+ more (???). if the mid-tier was a quad core with user-upgradeable RAM for the same $699 it would've been perfect. Just pop in your own extra RAM for an additional $150 and you're set. Instead... Meh! Now I'll have to get the mid-tier iMac 21" (when I already gave a monitor, keyboard and mouse) with an Apple-installed 16gb RAM and spend over $400 more than I needed to. This may be great for the bottom line (heck, I'm a very minor shareholder), but for the end-user (which I also am) this truly stinks.

    Not happy!! :no:
  • Reply 18 of 160

    Some 2014 Manual went up - but not the User Guide:

     

    http://support.apple.com/manuals/#macmini

  • Reply 19 of 160
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 898member

    We need an iMac without the built in display. MacAir? What a let down!

     

    This is the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh and this is what we get? Does anybody remember the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh? And Tim gives us an iMac with the same form factor as models from 2007 (!!) but with a Retina Display (A nice touch, but nothing to warrant what should be a big celebratory 30th Mac). Proof that Apple doesn't care about the Mac anymore. 

    iPads, iPods, and iPhones are great but they will never come close to the heart and soul of a Mac. Most people that own Apple products these days are bandwagoners many of whom haven't even touched a Mac. Since Kindergarten I've used them and it is that deep connection and personality between the Mac and the user that Apple is straying from, and it is turning into a disposable flimsy aluminum device manufacturer. Apple, get your soul back!! Perhaps Tim is the right guy to make Apple lots of money, but not the right guy to carry on Apple's great Macintosh legacy.

  • Reply 20 of 160
    Said by no one

    We need an iMac without the built in display. MacAir? What a let down!

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