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Old 01-03-11, 12:04 AM   #1
monogodo
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Mac Mini RAM

I'm upgrading the RAM in my late-2009 (October 2009 build date) Mac Mini from 2GB to 4GB. I ordered a Patriot Memory 4GB (2x2GB) RAM kit from Newegg, and it arrived over the weekend.

I just installed it, and when I attempt to boot, I get three beeps, along with a corresponding flashing light on the front, and it won't boot. I powered it off and researched it and determined that the RAM banks failed the memory testing during the Power-On Self-Test. I've submitted a RMA with Newegg to get a replacement.

Any tips for me if the replacement RAM also fails?
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Old 01-03-11, 02:00 AM   #2
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I can't find RAM made by Patriot on Newegg.com that is reported to work in the Mac Mini. This is the only one I found:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820349031

Perhaps it's just the wrong kind of ram.
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Old 01-03-11, 02:41 AM   #3
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I could be wrong here, but when I tried to upgrade my current computer from 1gb to 4gb I got the same beeps. It's not a mac, but I read somewhere that you need ram modules with a voltage of 1.6 or less in order to upgrade to 4 gb. Anyone want to verify this? They could have been just faulty though.

I checked my ram and they are 1.8V. I have 2gb installed. When I tried installing 4gb, I got the beeps.

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Old 01-03-11, 06:43 AM   #4
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as far as I know 2 gigs is the max on a mini
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Old 01-03-11, 06:58 AM   #5
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RAM that requires a higher voltage to run indicates that they failed to work at the lower voltages.
Not to be confused with safe max voltage used during overclocking.

Is there any way to set RAM voltage in BIOS for a mac mini?
or is there a BIOS update that allows voltage changes?
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Old 01-03-11, 06:58 AM   #6
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From the Apple Support site (for a late 2009 Mac Mini):

Quote:
Originally Posted by In The Box
2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) or 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 4GB
It supports 4GB. Do your memory DIMMs match the specs?
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Old 01-03-11, 07:55 AM   #7
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I have an older 1.83 mac mini that I stuffed 4GB of ram into w/o issue (iOS only sees 3.3GB due to addressing limitations though).

Your Mac mini should have no problem with 4GB of ram as long as you use two 2GB SO-DIMMs of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM. Most likely you have either faulty ram or the wrong type. Check out crucial.com and see what ram they suggest based on your Mac mini model and double check it against what you have.
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Old 01-03-11, 08:24 AM   #8
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This is the RAM I got.

Quote:
Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Laptop Memory Model PSD34G1066SK
According to Mac Mini RAM Upgrade, it's what I need.
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Old 01-03-11, 03:41 PM   #9
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if it still doesn't work, consider contacting patriot directly.
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Old 01-03-11, 06:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AEO View Post
if it still doesn't work, consider contacting patriot directly.
That was going to be my next step if the replacement RAM doesn't work.
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Old 01-03-11, 11:08 PM   #11
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Wait, was this double-secret Apple-blessed memory that has been farted on by Steve Jobs, Pcad, AND aadhils? With the secret extra chip that contains the magic code that makes all Apple hardware work together magically under all possible circumstances?

Clearly not, and that is why you're getting the three beeps.
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Old 01-03-11, 11:26 PM   #12
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It should be seated into the slots properly. Also the Mac Mini supports up to 8GBs (with snow leopard) although it isn't stated.
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Old 01-04-11, 05:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
Wait, was this double-secret Apple-blessed memory that has been farted on by Steve Jobs, Pcad, AND aadhils? With the secret extra chip that contains the magic code that makes all Apple hardware work together magically under all possible circumstances?

Clearly not, and that is why you're getting the three beeps.
there's no such thing as apple blessed memory.
practically anything will work in them, but some memory chips have tighter latencies out of the box and require higher voltage to run.
The cheaper memory with lax timings and lower voltage requirements are more likely to work without errors, because you can't tweak the settings through bios.
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Old 01-04-11, 11:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
It should be seated into the slots properly. Also the Mac Mini supports up to 8GBs (with snow leopard) although it isn't stated.
So if I understand this correctly, I should be able to boost the RAM to 8GB, since I'm running Snow Leopard? Even with my Late-2009 Mini (old body style, not new body style)? Hmmmm
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Old 01-04-11, 12:25 PM   #15
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Only if you actually need 8gb RAM. Most of my machines have 2-4gb and always have free-memory available when I'm using them for normal stuff. Adding more won't help in these cases. On my video-editing machine I have a lot more to keep it from hitting the disk too often.
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Old 01-04-11, 03:51 PM   #16
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The reason I'm upping the RAM in the first place is because the Mini is our Media Center. When I'm watching streaming video on Hulu or cable channel websites, the image will freeze up. Sometimes it'll unfreeze and keep playing. Other times I have to close Hulu & reopen to get it "unstuck". It has even happened with Netflix streaming, only not as frequently. When we stream video from the same sources on the wife's iMac (4GB RAM) or my MacBook (4GB RAM), we have no problems whatsoever. My first thought was that it was a network issue, but the wife will be watching a movie with no problems while I'm taking 1.5 hours to watch a 42 minute program. I've even had the issue when the only network usage has been from the Mini (iMac & MacBook idle). The only thing that makes sense is that the 2GB RAM isn't able to handle the HD streaming signals well as our machines with 4GB RAM. I should also mention that all 3 are running Snow Leopard, and of them, the Mini is the newest (MacBook is 2.5 years old, iMac is ~1 year old, Mini is 6-8 months old).
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Old 01-04-11, 03:57 PM   #17
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I don't know if you'll ever have luck with hulu. It's all Adobe flash based and Adobe hates Mac OS (and/or vice versa). Heck even in Windows, seems like every other Flash or Firefox update will make Flash nearly inoperable.

I'm not sure if throwing RAM at Silverlight (Netflix) will help either. I do OK on one machine with 1 gig ram. It almost seems like Silverlight is using the vid card. I've never tried to verify that, however. Just looked up the video chip specs for new minis, and they're pretty darn weak.

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Old 01-04-11, 04:11 PM   #18
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Problems I have seen with memory changes in the past:

- Memory board not properly seated.
- Improper soldering on a 3rd party board resulting in not all pins making contact with the board.

Last edited by Shimagnolo; 01-04-11 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 01-04-11, 08:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monogodo View Post
So if I understand this correctly, I should be able to boost the RAM to 8GB, since I'm running Snow Leopard? Even with my Late-2009 Mini (old body style, not new body style)? Hmmmm
Yep. http://blog.macsales.com/2585-still-...n-mac-mini-too
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Old 01-04-11, 10:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I don't know if you'll ever have luck with hulu. It's all Adobe flash based and Adobe hates Mac OS (and/or vice versa). Heck even in Windows, seems like every other Flash or Firefox update will make Flash nearly inoperable.

I'm not sure if throwing RAM at Silverlight (Netflix) will help either. I do OK on one machine with 1 gig ram. It almost seems like Silverlight is using the vid card. I've never tried to verify that, however. Just looked up the video chip specs for new minis, and they're pretty darn weak.
What you say makes sense, except for our experience on the other machines. The wife has no issues with Netflix whatsoever on her iMac. I have very few issues with it on the Mini (I think the issues we were having recently were because of network congestion, because I was having connectivity issues in general on all devices that day).

I used the MacBook to test my theory about the RAM being the issue, since I figured the MacBook was less powerful than the Mini. The MacBook has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.4 GHz, with 4GB of RAM. The Mini also has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, but it's 2.26 GHz. When I look at the Graphics/Displays info, the MacBook lists a GMA X3100 with 144 MB of VRAM. The Mini lists a NVIDIA GeForce 9400 with 256 MB of VRAM.

So looking at the specs, the Mini has slightly more VRAM, a slightly slower processor, and half the RAM. This leads me to believe that the culprit is the RAM.

I should also mention that I mainly use Hulu Desktop, but have also experienced the freezing issue when going to hulu.com in Safari.
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Old 01-05-11, 02:38 AM   #21
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Easy test in this case is to remove 2gb RAM from the MacBook and see if Hulu still works OK. If it starts freezing like the Mini, then we can suspect RAM as being an issue. Easier to break a working machine piece-by-piece than to fix unknown problems with a non-working one.

Also you can pull up the Console and look at all the logs at around the time you experienced the freeze and see if there's anything reported.

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Old 01-05-11, 12:25 PM   #22
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Startup Activity Monitor and watch your cpu, disk, memory, and network usage. A core 2 duo with 2gb ram should be able to handle hulu and netflix. I suspect you may have other processes running that periodically spike some of your computer's resources.
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Old 01-05-11, 08:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AEO View Post
there's no such thing as apple blessed memory.
Clearly someone's sarcasm meter is broken.

I would start with checking to see if the modules were inserted correctly and then check if everything else was put back properly upon reassembly. Then check if your mini is the same year/model as the one in the article.
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Old 01-05-11, 11:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desonate View Post
Clearly someone's sarcasm meter is broken.

I would start with checking to see if the modules were inserted correctly and then check if everything else was put back properly upon reassembly. Then check if your mini is the same year/model as the one in the article.
I installed the memory multiple times, each time I got the beeping error. I even swapped slots, just to be sure. I finally went back to the original RAM, which worked just fine. Everything went back together the way it was supposed to. The Mini in the article was produced in January 2009. Mine was produced in October 2009. The specs are identical.
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Old 01-05-11, 11:23 PM   #25
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You could always try some RAM from OWC.
They are serious Mac heads there.
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