Tutorial: Swapping RAM in a Mac Mini

Tutorial: Swapping RAM in a Mac Mini
Tutorial: Swapping RAM in a Mac Mini

I’m currently rocking a mid 2010 model Mac Mini.  This was the first Mini to come in the “squat” unibody aluminum format, and the last to have a built-in optical drive.  It came with a pair of 1 GB memory modules.  I had since upgraded one of those to a 2 GB module, but I had been experiencing some odd issues with my Mini’s performance, so I decided to upgrade the memory once again.  Fortunately, upgrading the RAM in a Mac Mini is one of the cheapest and easiest upgrades you can do.

 

I had initially purchased a 2×4 GB kit – a pair of 4 GB modules, since this is the max that the Mini will support.  After installing both modules and rebooting the Mini, I was sadly greeted by some ominous beeps.  … — …  Yes, the Mini beeped “SOS” to me in Morse code!  A little chat with Uncle Google, along with swapping old and new modules between slots, told me that the problem was a bad RAM slot on the Mini!  Soooo, back to Best Buy today – a 75-minute drive each way – to swap out before the return window expired, and I’m writing this post with a single 4 GB module happily installed in the good slot.  Normally, I would wig out over a bad RAM slot, but since Santa Hubby is bringing me a new iMac for Christmas (or an IOU for a quick delivery afterwards), I’m not worrying too much.  Anyhoo, here’s how I did one of the easiest Mac upgrades you can possibly do!

 

When Apple went to the unibody aluminum design, they made the machine a lot easier to open, even if you can’t change out the hard drive any more *sniff*.  First, after shutting the machine down, I unplugged the power cord.  I then flipped the Mini over on its back to access the RAM slots.  One small twist, and the bottom cover came right off.  A whole lot easier than having to use a putty knife to crack the case on my Core Solo Mac Mini from early 2006!

Rotate the bottom cover counterclockwise just a little bit until the white dot on the cover lines up with the outlined dot on the case.

Rotate the bottom cover counterclockwise just a little bit until the white dot on the cover lines up with the outlined dot on the case.

Next, tip the Mini on edge so the cover falls off.  This opens the innards to view.

Cover off - RAM slots accessible

Cover off – RAM slots accessible

CAREFULLY pop open the metal prongs holding the RAM in place.  All it takes is a very gentle push away from the center of the RAM slot, and the module will pop up just enough for you to CAREFULLY remove the module from the slot.

The module popped up and ready to be removed

The module popped up and ready to be removed

CAREFULLY pull the module straight out from its slot.  You don’t want to scratch any of the contacts on the module or in the slot!

Ta-da!  Empty slot!

Ta-da! Empty slot!

Now, start doing these steps in reverse, like you’re rewinding a movie, but using the new RAM module.  Take the new one and CAREFULLY slide it into the slot.  If you’re wondering what way it should be put in, you’ll notice upon further examination that RAM modules and slots are “keyed”.  There is only one way that they fit together – line up the slot on the module with the “bump” in the slot.  CAREFULLY push the module into the slot until you can’t push it in any further.

New module pushed in

New module pushed in

Next, you can push the module down so it is parallel with the logic board, case, work bench, etc.  You’ll hear the snap of the retaining clips doing their job.

New RAM in place!

New RAM in place!

Put the cover back on with the white circle on the cover lined up with the outlined circle on the case.  Turn the cover clockwise until the white dot is lined up with the black dot.  Flip the Mini back over, plug the power cord back in, boot ‘er up, and congratulations, you’ve just upgraded the RAM in your Mac Mini!

Happy Mini :-)

Happy Mini :-)