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Would a 16.0GB Memory Upgrade really speed things up?

927 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Aug 10, 2012 5:28 PM by capaho RSS
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tiggara Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 9, 2012 2:17 AM

Would a 16.0GB Memory Upgrade really speed things up?

Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.7.1), mac mini
  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)

    Unless you have a lot of apps open at once that use lots of

    memory, probably not.

     

    If you are using VMware Fusion or Parallels with Win7

    virtual machines, it may help depending on what you

    are running in the VMs and how much memory is

    allocated to the VMs.

     

    If you use Photoshop or other CS products, if the files are

    very large there will be some improvement.

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)

    Look at the Activity Monitor (on your hard drive in applications/utilities) to see if you need more memory. On the system memory tab, look at page ins and page outs. If page outs are 10% to 15% or more of page ins, more memory would help your system run better. OS X writes a page of memory to the hard drive when memory is full and needs it to use for another program. Too much of this can impact performance. In a perfect world with plenty of memory, page outs would be zero.

  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    The short answer is no.  The maximum memory for a Mac mini is 8 GB, so 16 GB is not an option.  However, it is worth it to upgrade to 8 GB if you're using memory intensive applications like Parallels, etc.

  • Andrew Campling Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Tiggarra, I agree with woodmeister50. I've got 8GB in my Mid 2011 Mac mini 2.3 Core i5 and Photoshop Extended CS6 runs lovely on it. The big speed boost will be from installing an SSD. Not that I've done that on my mini. 

     

    Capaho, I'm going to have to correct you on that one. I've got 16GB sitting in my Late 2011 17" MacBook Pro and have had no problems whatsoever. The only issue I had was 10.7.4 being a pig. 10.8, no issue at all. Ok, the offical Apple line is 8GB, however Crucial.com state 16GB is supported.

  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    Andrew Campling wrote:

     

    Capaho, I'm going to have to correct you on that one. I've got 16GB sitting in my Late 2011 17" MacBook Pro and have had no problems whatsoever. The only issue I had was 10.7.4 being a pig. 10.8, no issue at all. Ok, the offical Apple line is 8GB, however Crucial.com state 16GB is supported.

     

    Apple's tech specs for the Mac mini have it maxed out at 8 GB and I will give them credit for being the ultimate authority on their hardware.  It's likely you will have degraded performance if you try to run a mini with 16 GB of RAM, assuming it will even boot.

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)

    Apple's tech specs for the Mac mini have it maxed out at 8 GB and I will give them credit for being the ultimate authority on their hardware.  It's likely you will have degraded performance if you try to run a mini with 16 GB of RAM, assuming it will even boot.

     

    Really? OWC says 2011 mini's can support 16GB, and they have an awfully good track record pointing out where Apple specs are perhaps conservative, or where new memory options not available at product release are available now. In early 2011 8GB RAM cards were just comiing into production, so it's not surprising that the 2011 mini is only spec'd to 8GB.

  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2012 10:26 PM (in response to BGreg)

    BGreg wrote:

     

    Really? OWC says 2011 mini's can support 16GB, and they have an awfully good track record pointing out where Apple specs are perhaps conservative, or where new memory options not available at product release are available now. In early 2011 8GB RAM cards were just comiing into production, so it's not surprising that the 2011 mini is only spec'd to 8GB.

     

    Perhaps I'm being conservative as well, but in my many years of experience in the computer business I have found that pushing hardware beyond its manufacturer specs is more likely to result in new problems rather than solve old problems.  It's up to the OP to decide if he wants to gamble on the price of 16 GB worth of memory modules for his Mac mini. 

     

    The performance I get from my 2011 mini with 8 GB is quite good, even when running Windows 7 in Parallels, so I would question the value of trying to install 16 GB in one.  It would be nice to hear from someone who has actually upgraded a mini to 16 GB, if there is anyone out there who has actually done it.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,805 points)

    THe real way to tell, is if Activity Monitor shows many Pageouts, if not then it won't help, if so it will help...

     

    Open Activity Monitor in Applications>Utilities, select All Processes & sort on CPU%, any indications there?

     

    How much RAM & free space do you have also, click on the Memory & Disk Usage Tabs.

    Open Console in Utilities & see if there are any clues or repeating messages

     

    In the Memory tab, are there a lot of Pageouts?

    https://discussions.apple.com/servlet/JiveServlet/showImage/2-18729098-127219/AMPageouts.jpg

  • Andrew Campling Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2012 1:19 AM (in response to capaho)

    I've got no problem installing 16GB in my mini. At the time it came down to price. The 8GB kit I brought from Crucial for the mini was £36 ($50ish) compared to £190 ($400ish) this time last year. Apple's memory specs are far to conservative. You only need look at the Retina MBP. Same components as the standard but option to upgrade to 16GB. To be fair who would pay Apple prices for memory anyway?

     

    In all honesty unless you are running 64-bit apps there'll be no difference as they can only access 2GB anyway.

  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2012 4:01 AM (in response to capaho)

    Capaho, I am currently running 16 gig in a 2011 Mini Server

    w/Mountain Lion and the performance is terrific.

     

    Work with images pretty much of any size or layers in

    Photoshop CS6 and works great.  Any slowness encountered

    is are in instances where the HD3000 graphics gets involved

    in processing.

     

    Also, in my work, I can now with 16 gig run multiple virtual

    machines with Parallels, i..e. a 1gig XP machine and a 4 gig

    Win7 machine.

     

    The performance with working with with just one VM and OSX

    at the same time is much better than with 8 gig.

  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    woodmeister50 wrote:

     

    Capaho, I am currently running 16 gig in a 2011 Mini Server

    w/Mountain Lion and the performance is terrific.

     

    That settles that issue.  Makes me tempted to try it myself.  The big mystery is, why does Apple rate the mini's max memory at 8 GB when it can handle 16 GB?  If anyone knows the answer to that question, please let us know.

  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2012 7:43 AM (in response to capaho)

    Apple charges more (4x the cost) for RAM than OWC.  1 year ago, 16 GB RAM was $1,000+ through OWC.  One laptop system costing $1600 (middle of last year) had a $8500 option for 32 GB RAM.  Small wonder No surprise Apple did not even present it as an option.

  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2012 10:36 AM (in response to capaho)

    Capaho, it is not just the Mini that is speced like that.

    2011 Macbook Pros - spec 8 gig, happily run 16 gig.

    2011 iMacs - spec 16 gig, easily run 32 gig.

    2012 MacPros - spec 64 gig, runs up to 128 gig (if you can afford it).

     

    Why Apple specs half the RAM the machine is capable

    of using when the hardware is clearly capable is indead

    a mystery.

     

    BTW, got Corsair 2x8 gig kit at Newegg for $99.99.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,805 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2012 11:01 AM (in response to capaho)

    No mystery really, Apple tests the biggest modules available at the time for any Mac release, if bigger modules become available at a later time they do not update their testing or info.

     

    This has been going on since  at least the Beige G3, & 128 MB modules were the largest at release time, so Apple lists 384 MB as the Max for the 3 slots, 256 MB modules became available later & Beiges can all hold 768 MB of RAM.

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