Been using and playing with virtual machines a lot and it is pretty clear, you benefit from having an SSD and more memory. While the latest macbooks are faster, etc., even a five year old machine still work great. I’m amazed at the quality of the keyboard and the cases and the displays. The SSDs on the Unibody Macs are easy to replace and the back comes off with screws, so what’s the maximum RAM you can put into each machine? The good news is that many Macs can support more than what Apple says as noted by EveryMac’s very complete list:
Actual Maximum RAM of All G3 and Later Macs – Macs By Capability @ EveryMac.com
The actual maximum RAM of each recent — G3 and later — Mac is listed below. For complete specs on a particular system, click on the name of the Mac (left column).
Please note asterisks, as these indicate that particularly important details (such as a different “official” maximum RAM capacity) are provided on the complete specs page.
So here are some relevant ones for us:
- Mac Mini “Core 2 Duo” 2.4 (Mid-2010). 16GB if running OS X 10.7.5 or higher with latest EFI. Needs 16GB of PC3-8500
As an aside in looking at Newegg, there is Mac specific memory, so their 976644 is for PCs and 976644A is for Macs. I don’t quite know what the difference is, but interesting to see. After reading all the reviews, it looks like paying a little more for Kingston gets you higher quality than Mushkin or G.Skill. Both seem to have about 20% of the people who did the reviews say they were bad (the actual defect rate is probably much lower since I would guess happy people don’t post reviews, but still the price difference is $62 vs. $82 so while a huge percentage, $20 isn’t that big a deal when memory needs to so reliable :=)
Also because the PC8500 is nearly obsolete, it is actually more expensive than the faster PC12800, and apparently, this is supported but won’t run faster. From Amazon, it seems like you want the Crucial, which has a good rating and is popular:
- Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Notebook Memory Modules CT2CP51264BF160B is just $58 and runs at PC3-12800 or 1600MHz or about $20 cheaper than the slow PC3-8500 (aka 1066Mhz) memory
- Kingston Technology 8GB Kit (2×4 GB Modules) 1066MHz DDR3 SODIMM Notebook Memory for Select Apple iMac’s and Macbooks KTA-MB1066K2/8G is $78 and is PC3-8500 running at 1066MHz.
- OWC 2x4GB PC8500 DDR3 1066MHz 204 pin. If you are really concerned about compatibility, this one comes from OWC specifically for Macs. It is $83
The same is true with 2x8GB sticks needed for a Mac Mini 2010 and note as an aside that replacing these sticks will give a pair of 2x2GB sticks as spares, so looking for lowest price point of this set, we see:
- Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Memory Modules For Mac CT2C8G3S160BM is $121
- Corsair 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SODIMM Memory Kit (CMSO16GX3M2A1333C9) is $116 and runs at 1333MHz or PC3-10600 which is still way faster than the PC3-8500 needed, but is cheaper.
- OWC Memory 2x8GB PC8500 1066MHz 204 pin. I couldn’t find this on Amazon, but OWC has it for $173!
This is what eHow says as a confirmation
Difference Between Mac Memory & PC Memory | eHow
Some commercial memory may state that it is for Macs or PCs. However, all third-party memory should be compatible with both Macs and personal computers, even if the packaging does not explicitly state as much.