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Still in testing, but 8GB may work in Mac mini too!

I really couldn’t wait on this… this news is just too juicy to bottle up for the whole weekend.

While we’re not completely finished with our compatibility testing, early signs are pointing to 8GB of memory supported in not only the new October 2009 Mac mini models, but prior generation mini models as well.  We believe we found the “secret ingredient” that makes exceeding Apple’s recommended 4GB maximum in these machines possible.

Previous testing revealed prior generations of the Mac mini were able to boot with 8GB of memory, but sadly either did not utilize the extra memory installed or – even worse – made the entire machine slower when accessing more than 4GB of memory at a time.  In Late August, Apple released Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 and this allowed these generations to boot without kernel panic. However, we still found that most systems slowed to a crawl when exceeding 4GB of memory in the system.

So far, here’s what we recently found though: our OWC 8GB Upgrade Kit works in the latest Mac mini 2.26 and 2.53 machines and are consistently and completely utilized by the machines.  We then tested these same modules on the prior generation Mac mini (early 2009)… and found them to work consistently as well! All units tested were running Snow Leopard.

We do have more testing to do using the same memory modules with prior Mac mini generation models running OS X 10.5. We also need to do performance tests to make sure that the additional memory actually gives a solid performance boost when more than 4GB is installed. But at this point, we’re feeling pretty confident that our “secret ingredient”…namely the quality of OWC brand memory… delivers the reliability you desire.

Be sure to check back Monday as we’re hoping to complete our testing at that time and be able to confirm that we will support over 4GB of memory in the Mac mini, or if my excitement got the better of me.

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  • Hey,
    I ordered the 8GB of RAM for my Late 2009 Mac Mini 3,1 from OWC. Still waiting for it to come, but wondering whether I should get a local computer dealer to install it for me or have my more technical/mechanically skilled father to help me. I have watched the video for installing it and it doesnt seem that complicated. I am just afraid of static electricity, which someone warned me about. Would working on a wooden table with a hardwood floor underneath and not wearing any socks or wool sweaters help?

    • Actually, with the 2009 Mac mini, the toghest part is opening the case. You said you watched our video and it didn’t seem that bad and that your concerns were over static electricity. The things you mentioned all help reduce the amount of static electricity generated, though you should still make sure that you discharge any static from yourself before performing the installation.

      I recommend you read OWC Michael’s article on static electricity and follow the advice there.

    • Hi Brandon…believe this is the install video you need:

      I see that it’s ranked as an Advanced skill level and that we recommend professional assistance. I’d suggest watching the video with your father and determine if you both have the skills and tools to do the install. Most of the time…a lot of time and patience can overcome a lot of challenges.

  • Hi,

    I was wondering. I have a Mac Mini, early 2009, 2.0 ghz model with 1GB. I’m still running OS X which I’m planning to upgrade to Snow Leopard. I also want to upgrade the memory but I’m not sure how much. 4GB seems enough, but I don’t know what I’d gain if I’d choose 8GB. I mainly use it to play a popular MMORPG, but at 1GB it is slow a lot of the time. I’d like to know what everyone here thinks about this and what would be best.

    • To see what benefits adding memory to your Mac mini will get you, you may want to check out our Memory Benchmark page. While it may not be the same game, the HALO results may prove helpful.

      As for how much memory to buy, I will give you the same answer I always give: Buy as much as you can reasonably afford.

      Memory is still – dollar for dollar – the best overall system upgrade you can buy.

  • Are you saying more than 2GB in the 1.66 CD as well?
    That would be fantastic.
    I was just about to upgrade the hd, but now I will wait to hear what you guys have to say. No need to open the mini twice.
    Crossing my fingers

    • The model identifier of the machines we’re testing is macmini3,1. The macmini2,1 and macmini1,1 have hardware limitations that keep their maximum installed RAM at 3.0GB and 2.0GB respectively.

  • I’ve just looked at your new offering for memory upgrades for the iMac (October 2009 models) and I am surprised that the only configuration you offer for 8 GB is 2 x 4GB and not 4 x 2GB which would be cheaper I think. The new iMacs have 4 memory slots, why not use them all for a cheaper upgrade?