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Hi all
I'm considering buying a new Mac Mini that comes with "unified memory". Is this upgradable in the future or is this memory soldered to the main board? Same with the ssd drive, upgradable?
 

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Hi all
I'm considering buying a new Mac Mini that comes with "unified memory". Is this upgradable in the future or is this memory soldered to the main board? Same with the ssd drive, upgradable?
In Apple fashion it looks like they are again taking away options for the consumer. Of course they have your best interest at heart, why would anyone want to ever upgrade their hard drive or RAM? They are saving you from making that mistake!

According to Apple Insider it is possible but I would say not for the faint of heart. Apple even warns when purchasing to upgrade your RAM to what you will need as you cannot do it later.

I will go on a rant here but Apple use to make beautiful machines that were also easy to access the basics so you could replace easily yourself. I think Apple is too busy patting themselves on the back for being so great that they have lost track of what really good engineering is, something beautiful and function and not just a cash cow for themselves to charge way more then you should ever pay for RAM and Hard Drive space.
 

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I will go on a rant here but Apple use to make beautiful machines that were also easy to access the basics so you could replace easily yourself. I think Apple is too busy patting themselves on the back for being so great that they have lost track of what really good engineering is, something beautiful and function and not just a cash cow for themselves to charge way more then you should ever pay for RAM and Hard Drive space.
Apple has become a manufacturing company, not an ideas company. There's no reason to prevent consumers from upgrading RAM and HDs except to ensure you buy overpriced Apple components. I have no problem seeing companies I support becoming profitable, but profit is now central to Apple's mission. It limits opprtunities for its customers the way its competitors once did. Tim Cook is a dud... and a bore to boot.
 

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Apple has become a manufacturing company, not an ideas company. There's no reason to prevent consumers from upgrading RAM and HDs except to ensure you buy overpriced Apple components. I have no problem seeing companies I support becoming profitable, but profit is now central to Apple's mission. It limits opprtunities for its customers the way its competitors once did. Tim Cook is a dud... and a bore to boot.
I agree complete. Apple was doing just fine profit wise before hand would continue to as well I believe if they made hard drives and ram upgradeable. I am holding on to computers much longer now as I just don't want to give more money to Apple. I am at the point when I upgrade next I may just go to Windows and fight it out there. Windows 10 has been very stable for me with my home PC I built a few years ago. I prefer Mac OS, but not enough to keep paying for the limitations Apple gives their computers... unless you want to buy a Mac Pro.
 
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Right! You now can only do with a Mac Pro what used to be upgradeable in a Mac Mini. Unless the Mini is your principal Mac, buy an older model. Mine is just a server, no need for speed. You may not even need SSD; I swapped in a 5TB Seagate Barracuda HDD. Minis are the most robust of all Macs, not much to crap out.

Apple's profits are in iPhones. I'd be interested to see a sales graph comparing Macs, iPhones & iPads. We Mac users must be a small segment. They should make us happy instead of considering drinking Bill's Kool-Aid.
 

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Hi all
I'm considering buying a new Mac Mini that comes with "unified memory". Is this upgradable in the future or is this memory soldered to the main board? Same with the ssd drive, upgradable?

I would suggest checking out the specs of any model you were considering at Mac Specs, Prices, Answers and Comparison: EveryMac.com, Est. 1996, and also check out their notes of any weakness etc each model may have, and see if it would be a concern for your use.

The number of ports or lack off seems to be quite a concern for some users these days, and something else you may want to check into.

You may need to up your budget to pay for all the adapters you may need with some of Apple's latest models... 😔

- Patrick
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Hi all
I'm considering buying a new Mac Mini that comes with "unified memory". Is this upgradable in the future or is this memory soldered to the main board? Same with the ssd drive, upgradable?
The new M1-based mini's have RAM and storage integrated into the same chip as the CPU. In fact, everything is integrated in to the one chip "package", even the GPU. So there is no more "soldered to the motherboard". The unified processor chip is attached to the motherboard, and all of the formerly separate components are part of it.

I recommend that folks read some of the technical articles about the M1 chip to learn how and why it is as it is, e.g.:

How unified memory blows the SoCs off the M1 Macs


The reason that the memory and storage in an M1-based Mac isn't upgradeable has nothing to do with anyone's conspiracy theories, and everything to do with making Macs incredibly fast and power efficient. The future is now, and this is what it looks like.

Also, while it might be technically possible to remove the memory chips from an M1 "package", it is so difficult and dangerous (i.e. possible to destroy everything) as to be impractical. No one is ever going to be doing it.

The good news is that modern Macs have extremely advanced memory management and even memory compression. Where a Windows PC might need 16GB of RAM or more, unless you are going to be doing something that is incredibly RAM intensive, the overwhelming majority of Mac users will do just fine with the base 8GB of RAM that their Mac comes with. Even if you run out of real memory in use, Macs now have integrated solid state storage that is extremely fast, which means that if your Mac is forced to use Virtual Memory the speed hit might be unnoticeable.
 

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The new M1-based mini's have RAM and storage integrated into the same chip as the CPU. In fact, everything is integrated in to the one chip "package", even the GPU. So there is no more "soldered to the motherboard". The unified processor chip is attached to the motherboard, and all of the formerly separate components are part of it.

I recommend that folks read some of the technical articles about the M1 chip to learn how and why it is as it is, e.g.:

How unified memory blows the SoCs off the M1 Macs

The future is now, and this is what it looks like.
While I must agree that, if you're going to spring for a new Mac, just spend the money to get the top specs. That will make your Mac far more sellable should you fall on hard times. 8TB, why the hell not!

A cheaper solution might be a bootable external disk with the specs you want.

The future may be now but it would look a whole lot better with some effing PORTS!
 

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What makes this obscene is that Apple is tossing up a revised OS almost annually. Typically Apple RAM is just barely sufficient for the OS which ships with the computer. And each new iteration of the OS demands more RAM.

Most of us expect 5 years out of a computer, so that means for at least three of those years we can expect all the joys of RAM starvation.
 

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Most of us expect 5 years out of a computer, so that means for at least three of those years we can expect all the joys of RAM starvation.
If one can trust and believe what Apple says, at least regarding their new apple Software M1 models, which appears to be true from users experience. they utilize the memory completely differently and much more efficiently from previous Intel Based generations.

Regardless of that fact, I don't agree or enjoy where Apple is going with some of their newer OS versions and I have basically ended up using mainly Mavericks 10.9.5 with my Mid-2011 27 inch and its 20 GB's of RAM.

It suits me just fine even though the original Seagate 1TB spinner HDD that clicked its almost last click of death on June 21, 12021. Thank Goodness for Carbon Copy Cloner clone backup which I am currently using it and booted from.
{PS: I have been able to sort of "rescue the drive" by doing a zero-out and re-format, but it is not reliable and TechTools and MacOS System says it is suffering from I-O Errors, so I shall accept the fact that it is basically kaput!!!)

The replacement 1TB SSD Is hopefully on its way even though Mac Sales (OWC) seems to be having problems with the tracking number and my order, But that drive should help me expand my usable life with such an old iMac according to so many user's standards.

I don't know at 80 If I can keep up with the new SSD installed, as the original 7200 RPM Seagate was certainly no slouch and was more than fast enough for the majority of my use.

Not bad for a 10-year-old iMac that I bought second-hand in the first place, so I'll bet that Apple does not give me any credit for being one of their Better-Paying Customers. 😉

At least with this old mid-2011 iMac, I'm still allowed and able to replace the hard drive as well as the memory, even though Apple makes the former a real pain in the butt to do. And if they were so good at design as they seem to imply and say that they are, why on earth did they not design in and create an access door In the back for the hard drive to facilitate replacement???

Another design flaw thanks to Jony Ive who was probably busy trying to screw up internal Mac access even further and get the IMac etc. even thinner. What a pathetic case he was, yet everybody seems to praise Him yet he couldn't even fit an ethernet port into the MacBook Pros because he had made them so bloody thin.

Now we got Apple expounding the virtues of their "new features" In in their latest models with things like:

  • NEW improved smoother rounded corners In windows
  • 140 NEW imojis, Oh yes, don't forget the NEW Memojis
  • A sleek design update
  • Customizable [Browser] start page,,, gheese, I've been able to do that since snow leopard for Heavens sake
and more of course... 90% of which you probably don't even need or will ever use.

But be assured, Apple will carry on in their own way regardless..,.

Now, where is my new SSD drive... I must see if I can locate its shipping location or progress...

My apologies for my long babble on... Call it a rant if you like... 😉


- Patrick
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The good news is that modern Macs have extremely advanced memory management and even memory compression. Where a Windows PC might need 16GB of RAM or more, unless you are going to be doing something that is incredibly RAM intensive, the overwhelming majority of Mac users will do just fine with the base 8GB of RAM that their Mac comes with. Even if you run out of real memory in use, Macs now have integrated solid state storage that is extremely fast, which means that if your Mac is forced to use Virtual Memory the speed hit might be unnoticeable.
Big Sur requires a minimum of 4GB of RAM to operate. Checking my current Activity Monitor, Firefox is consuming 8.3 GB of RAM (app and web content), Photoshop has got 750 MB, Finder 400 MB, MS Word 315 MB and InDesign 275 MB. 17 GB of 20 GB of physical memory are being used. That 8GB would be nothing to me, even with advanced memory management.

It isn't a conspiracy theory to believe that Apple is maximizing profits at the expense of upgradeability. Why does RAM need to be integrated, and if it's integrated why must it be sold at prices double what the market bears?
 

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That 8GB would be nothing to me, even with advanced memory management.
You don't seem to understand that your Mac is not using an integrated M1 chip, which handles memory completely differently, In fact the whole CPU and graphics and the integrated memory works completely differently from what we are used to thinking.

It isn't a conspiracy theory to believe that Apple is maximizing profits at the expense of upgradeability. Why does RAM need to be integrated, and if it's integrated why must it be sold at prices double what the market bears?
The new M1 memory Is not just a plug-in chip as we are yused to thinking, it is an integrated part of the whole chip and is basically manufactured as a whole complete unit. Think of it as an upgraded CPU/GPU Integrated chip, and yes, the extra 8GB RAM @ $200.00 does seem rather expensive, especially compared to the separate chips that one used to buy.

I think I paid just under $100.00 for two chips for an additional 16GB of memory for my 2011 iMac back when it was fairly new but also seemed rather expensive at the time.

But it does seem that new Apple M1 purchasers are being held ransom if they want the extra 8GB RAM, but those purchasers seem to be the same type of users who needed and used 32GB In their Intel Macs. Those are high-end users and not your average Mac using guy.

Have a read of some of the hits here regarding memory in the new M1 Macs and the work one normally does:


- Patrick
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I understand what it does, but then I see that Apple still recommends 4GB of RAM must be allocated to Big Sur, independent of whether the unit is an M1 or not. I checked out some real world tests and most of the people testing said the machines were not choking at 8GB, although there were also reports of browsers hogging even the memory available on the M1.

Still, the prices for SSD upgrades and RAM upgrades are not anywhere near market prices. Even with unified architecture, they are still discrete items and could have been made upgradeable. A few people have attempted to do that and succeeded, despite the difficulty Apple has placed in their way.
 

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Even with unified architecture, they are still discrete items and could have been made upgradeable. A few people have attempted to do that and succeeded, despite the difficulty Apple has placed in their way.

I will admit that Apple certainly has managed their designs and their purse strings exceedingly well, at least to keep their profit margins at the top of the world, and I guess it's part of the price one has to pay to use their hardware and software.

I haven't come across any articles of anyone being successful in modifying or upgrading any of their M1 chips, but then again I haven't been looking.

For that matter, I don't even recall seeing a close-up or examination or pictures of such chips and how they might be assembled if it's even possible to show. The technology has just changed so much with Apple's own manufacturing, and I guess that is going to put quite a dent into Intel's Hardware pocket, but I haven't seen them doing much in the way of innovation lately but maybe they can't as they don't have much if any control over the OS that their chips can use.


- Patrick
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Just some quick replies.

The reason that Apple needs to have a unified processor is, once again, a huge increase in speed, efficiency, and power management. Please read the link that I gave for how Apple's new M1 chip is strikingly more advanced than any personal computer processor that has come before it. Their unified processor isn't a plot against you, it is the future of computing.

Second, you can't use Activity Monitor to tell how much RAM a particular version of the OS uses, or how much RAM a particular app uses in all (and maybe not most) cases, because the OS and many apps cache all sorts of stuff in RAM (to benefit performance), but they only do so when the extra RAM is available. So the RAM used by the OS in a 8GB Mac, with several apps running, will show as a very different amount than the RAM used by the OS, for instance, in a 16GB Mac with no apps running. The proper way to tell how much RAM a particular version of the Mac OS needs is by running it on an 8GB Mac with a couple of apps open and seeing if it constantly needs to dip into virtual memory.

Lots of folks go around saying that with each new version of the Mac OS, that the OS needs/uses vastly more RAM. This may be true for Windows. But it hasn't been true for the Mac OS for many years now. In fact, a couple of years back Apple had models that only came with 8GB of RAM and there was no upgrade path whatsoever, and they still ran completely fine. As I said, the Mac uses very advanced memory management and memory compression. Please don't go around saying things that you think are likely true, but aren't.

Lastly...can we give the conspiracy thing a rest? It's really getting old. Conspiracy theories make those who expose them look like old curmudgeons who in their spare time are outside yelling at kids to stay off their lawn. Apple makes plenty of money. They don't have to nickel and dime us. They also are acutely aware of how important their public relations status is. Apple isn't coming out with wildly advanced chip designs just to screw you. Apple isn't leaving old technology behind as part of some nefarious plot to cheat all of its users. If you want old Intel processors, that run slower, there are plenty of other brands of personal computer that you can go out and buy instead of a Mac. Apple knows that as soon as their Mac computers stop pushing the envelope technologically, that it's over for them. Apple knows that the overwhelming number of Mac users want the best, most advanced, computer. And that's what Apple endeavors to give their users. If that's not what you want, then you are invested in the wrong brand.
 

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This thread started about Mac Minis. Buy the M1 Mini if this will be your principal computer & you need the speed. For servers & video servers, older is fine.

The screwing is not about Mac computer,s except for price gouging, of course. Macs are overpriced by any standard because we'll pay! We make some noises about going Chromebook but, in the end, it's a Mac.

We got screwed because we users were forced to buy, and carry with us, a suitcase full or dongles & adapters. What the heck, if we can afford a new Mac, we should be able to toss our old peripherals on the slag heap & buy new ones to fit Apple's version of the future.

Apple has never created a transparent system for user feedback. A trillion dollar company should have an entire unit in place to sift & winnow feedback from loyal users. Ya see, not everybody wants to join The Convergence. I just want a solid MacOS where my files are safe.
 

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Apple has never created a transparent system for user feedback. A trillion dollar company should have an entire unit in place to sift & winnow feedback from loyal users.
And they have just that:




The issue with ports is a simple one. Apple's research has shown that consumers really want extremely thin, light, and simple computers. Providing only one type of port for all uses, and not a lot of ports, is consistent with that. Apple's research has shown that the overwhelming number of users never have a need for more than two ports in a Mac.

It's true that some folks would prefer more ports instead, but Apple has chosen the direction that they think that the most users will be happy with. Just because that direction isn't the direction that you prefer personally doesn't mean that Apple has forsaken ALL of their customers and that they want to screw them. They had to make a choice as to what would make Macs most attractive to most users, and they did.

I'm sorry to say that it looks to me as if people are bitterly complaining about things here that are basically non-issues that they could have resolved for themselves with just a few minutes worth of effort, Googling on the Web and maybe reading an article or two.

Why are you all just assuming that Apple is hostile to your needs/desires? Is it that politics have gotten so toxic in the last few years that folks are now assuming that everybody and everything in their life is part of some conspiracy against them? Chill out people.
 

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I should not have written Apple provides no avenues for feedback. Merely that those avenues are ALWAYS ignored. Step up, please, ANYONE here who ever got a responce to their feedback!

Sure, they may indeed have done "consumer research". It certainly never reached me! Did YOU get to participate???

There is NO ONE I know, of hundreds of Mac users, who cares in the least about thinner or lighter! What we want is better in every way.

Now let's look at "never need more than two ports on a Mac". That may well be true but they need to be USEFUL ports & one of them should not be employed for charging the battery. I can well imagine the current crop of teenagers whose parents spring for a Mac wouldn't know an Ethernet port if...well, I digress.

So, no, I'm not CHILL about dropping THREE GRAND for a Mac that USED TO have everything I want. Which is why I'm sticking with my 2015 and will make it last through repair hopefully as long as I do (hopefully without repair!)

To make hardware impossible to repair definitely seems to me like an EVIL PLAN, an electronic Gitmo.

Look, we're grousing for a reason. Have you had anything to do with AppleCare in, say, the last year? They've been accommodating to me forever. This time, I kept getting refusal after refusal to replace an AASP-replaced one-year old Apple battery. They were so consistent in language, I had the impression this had become an officially-sponsored script Apple required of its geniuses.

That's the level of quality we're seeing out of Cupertino today. Am I mad? FURIOUS, in fact. They cut out my heart when they started messing with Jobs vision and, instead of truth & beauty, they just want to scurry off to the bank. Macs were, indeed, insanely great, & ain't no more.

I use my Mac at least 16 hours every day, and you think I should STFU about this?!? Hmph...
 

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Just some quick replies.

The reason that Apple needs to have a unified processor is, once again, a huge increase in speed, efficiency, and power management. Please read the link that I gave for how Apple's new M1 chip is strikingly more advanced than any personal computer processor that has come before it. Their unified processor isn't a plot against you, it is the future of computing.
"Unified" does not necessarily mean "unupgradeable". Take a look at the M1 logic boards. RAM and storage drive are still discrete items.

Lots of folks go around saying that with each new version of the Mac OS, that the OS needs/uses vastly more RAM. This may be true for Windows. But it hasn't been true for the Mac OS for many years now.
I don't hear anybody saying that.

Lastly...can we give the conspiracy thing a rest? It's really getting old. Conspiracy theories make those who expose them look like old curmudgeons who in their spare time are outside yelling at kids to stay off their lawn. Apple makes plenty of money. They don't have to nickel and dime us. They also are acutely aware of how important their public relations status is. Apple isn't coming out with wildly advanced chip designs just to screw you. Apple isn't leaving old technology behind as part of some nefarious plot to cheat all of its users.
Straw man. It's not a conspiracy theory. It's just a way to drive profits. Apple doesn't just decide: "We've made enough profits." The cost of its RAM and HDs have been inflated for decades.
 

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So we may have reached the crux of this discussion. Apple had lofty principles once, to make beautiful & seamlessly useful computers to serve people's needs. Instead of such service, what we're seeing today is exploitation of a captive market in a walled garden. They know we're trapped. Capitalism sucks.
 
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