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Upgrading Mac Mini Memory

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One of the easiest and often cheapest ways of increasing the performance of any computer is to increase its RAM. My Mac Mini was struggling with its paltry 1GB of RAM, so I decided to buy 2 sticks of 2GB Corsair DDR3 RAM to boost it up.

Apple products are notoriously difficult to open, thanks to one-piece designs and no visible screws. The Mac Mini is no different. However thanks to this great YouTube vid opening my Mini was really easy. All I needed was a jeweller’s Philips screwdriver and an Apple ‘screwdriver’ (see above).

Before I started, I xbenched my Mac Mini to measure the performance difference. XBench runs a series of aimed as benchmarking the different parts of the hardware and gives an overall score compared to a 2004 model 2.0GHz G5 iMac.

My results before swapping the RAM:

And after:

Wow, a whole two-percent performance increase! I expected a little bit more than that. It certainly felt faster and snappier after I swapped the RAM. Was I just imagining it?

Looking more closely at the detailed results shows the real picture.

Point-for-point, the memory test gains are negated by the losses in the thread test. However, although thread performance decreased by 10%, the memory performance increased by 17%. This explains the snappiness – the Mac Mini uses shared memory for its graphics card, so the faster RAM would make a difference there. And simply having more RAM allows me to run more apps simultaneously without noticeable slowdown.

Though In the end, adding more RAM to a Mac Mini is like strapping a big exhaust to a Corolla – it accelerates more quickly, but in the end it’s still just a Corolla. Time to save up for that Ferrari …

Written by Richard

14 August, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Posted in tech

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