Ever since I upgraded my Mac Mini to Apple’s Lion operating system it’s suffered from sluggishness and crashing browsers.
After putting up with it longer than I should, I decided it was probably worth boosting the RAM (the Mini’s memory) from the default 2GB to the maximum of 8GB.
I already knew I could get the RAM online and fit it myself – mine is a 2010 model Mac Mini so it has an access hatch allowing easy upgrades – but I was interested to see what it would cost in a store.
My local Apple repair centre quoted £120 including VAT – that’s a pretty hefty markup on the cost of the RAM which you can get for around £35 (inc VAT) retail.
The store is almost guaranteed to be paying less and while I’m happy to pay for someone’s time, £90 for a job which will take even a complete novice less than 5 minutes comes close to being a rip-off.
So in the end I did it myself.
If you fancy giving this a try yourself but have never fitted RAM before, Apple publishes an easy to understand guide here. On a 2010 or 2011 model Mac Mini it’s as easy as fitting a fuse to an electrical plug, minus the need for a screwdriver or screws!
There are many brands of RAM but on the strength of a personal recommendation I opted for Crucial. You can buy their memory from a reseller or direct from their website.
In addition to being a big, trusted name, they also have an easy online tool for checking which RAM you need. They can also scan your system for you to help determine exactly what you need.
If you’re looking to upgrade a 2010 Mac Mini to 8GB, the product you want is the 8GB (4GBx2,204-pin,DDR3 PC3-8500) Kit available via Amazon.co.uk or from Crucial.com/uk. (Be sure to double check the specs for your machine before ordering)
I placed my order for an 8GB kit on a Monday afternoon, quickly got a confirmation email and later in the evening received a second email with a Royal Mail tracking reference. The package arrived the following morning, less than 24 hours after I placed the order.
Fitting the RAM was a simple case of screwing the access hatch, removing the existing two sticks and popping in two new ones and closing the hatch back up.
Typing the above paragraph took as long as the job itself. After restarting the machine I checked the system information and the new RAM was showing up as expected.
With the new RAM in place the machine is notably faster and that annoying spinning beach ball hasn’t re-appeared.
For around £40 including postage my machine has a new lease of life and I’m £80 better off than had I paid the local service centre for the exact same work.