Adriano Chiaretta

4GB on a Mac Mini? Better than expected outcome

Recently got myself a mac mini, with 1 GB of RAM — figured to save $100 on the 2GB apple option, and instead go for 4GB at $60. I know seems nonsense how come one additional gig is $100, and 4 gigs are $60? Well that’s the strange math of the DIY world.

4 gigs GSkill memory for notebooks over at newegg for a little over $50 as of this writing. Retail package btw.

Despite reading around various blogs / howtos I had the impression the mac mini was only going to “see” a little over 3 gigs, I was plesantly surprised when the system info tool showed the whole 4 available to the operating system.

Replacing anything in a mac mini is not exactly a walk in the park. Mostly because of the really tight spaces you’ll find yourself having to deal with. But with a bit of carefulness and patience, things came apart easily, and just as easily got back together without scratches or marks on the outer casing.

Now this little toy totally flies — I can see why they often say a tweaked up mac mini can get pretty close performance-wise to entry level mac pros, at a fraction of the price.


  1. Excellent value on the ram. I can’t believe how inexpensively one can find it out there. I am also very happy with the speed of my imac upon installing 3 gigs. Speeds along just fine. Glad to hear everything went well for you.

  2. OK, you can see 4GB amount of memory on “About this Mac”.

    I´m curious about the total amount of memory you can see in Activity Monitor > System Memory

    Some technical articles talk about a Chipset mainboard limitation, the System recognizes 4GB but only 3GB are used by the system.

    Really the actual Chipset of MacMini implementation (by technical specifications) can address only 3GB of memory amount, the real advantage of the 4GB (2x2GB) matched pairs is the Dual Channel access improvement. That benefits some applications and mainly graphics performance but the limit is 3GB, the other 1GB lives on the Limbo.

    Now the enygma, the MacMini and MacBook uses the same Chipset i845 but the memory controller implementation on MacMini appear to be different on MacBook. True or not, Apple or Intel limited the memory usage by obscure firmware code or other hardware trick.

    The Fact: Current MacMini can address only 3.2GB and the MacBook can address full 4GB of memory.

    But if you can see 4GB of memory amount on Activity Monitor too, the above paragraph is a quite joke and the opinion of the many people may have no basis.


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