nav search
Data Centre Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes
BOFH
Lectures

back to article
Upgraders rejoice! The 2018 Mac Mini heralds a return to memory slots!

RachelG

it looks like the space was used instead for cooling. That "hulking great fan". That seems to be the other reason for sticking with this form-factor as opposed to going smaller (the other being easy swap-in-ability when replacing previous models in datacentres and other tight spaces). I'm hoping for a machine with the highest cpu option that won't be throttled back to oblivion if you actually ask it to do some work for more than a few seconds at a time. It's looking hopeful, but hoping for a bit more corroboration than one reviewer's informal ffmpeg test. Almost ready to fork out. It looks like the Mac I've wanted for some time.

onefang

'it looks like the space was used instead for cooling. That "hulking great fan".'

I hope that they have increased the maximum ambient temperature the thing can handle. My current Mac Mini is rated at 32 C. Summer started here not so long ago, earlier this week it hit 34 C on several days. I've seen higher temps. I have to turn off the Mac Mini (and my Asus ROG) on those days. I put a bloody great big fan in my main desktop just for that reason, so at least I still have something I can use on hot days.

malle-herbert Silver badge
Thumb Down

I really don't care that much about upgradability....

But I DO care about getting my data back after the damn thing dies !

Instead of the RAM they should have put the SSD in a socket...

RachelG

Re: I really don't care that much about upgradability....

time machine backup will be completely adequate for that, and it doesn't even have to be a *fast* external drive for that.

and that would be the main answer to whether to make RAM or SSD internally upgradable: There are plenty of options for external storage, from your basic USB attached drive to a 10Gb USB-C gen2 drive or a thunderbolt3 raid array.

But you can't do that with RAM. It has to be on the main board. So making *that* upgradable is the one that really matters, if it must be one or the other.

I do think they could have put in a M.2 socket for an NVMe card. But i can't bring myself to care all that much.

Counterpoint: My XPS 13 came with a 500GB SSD. It's split into two partitions, for Windows and Linux. Both of them are still well under half full. If/when I do buy one of these Mac Minis it's likely to be with the 256GB SSD option and that's only because I think I *might* be running VMWare Fusion on it one day.

You need to be editing 4K video in quantity to start really needing huge amounts of *really fast* storage. And in that case you'll probably want something external anyway.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: I really don't care that much about upgradability....

"You need to be editing 4K video in quantity to start really needing huge amounts of *really fast* storage. And in that case you'll probably want something external anyway."

Just don't put your cache folder on the external drive!

(ducks and runs... see recent article on Adobe class action lawsuit for reference)

Tessier-Ashpool

Re: I really don't care that much about upgradability....

Better still, don't use Adobe. Renting software is a piss-poor idea.

Sandtitz Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: I really don't care that much about upgradability....

But I DO care about getting my data back after the damn thing dies!

Of course. Just resort to your hourly backups.

But you're right, the Mac Mini could have easily housed an M2 slot for replaceable SSD. The reason for the soldering is not space saving, but because Apple can price gouge the hell out of initial buyers: the 2TB SSD upgrade costs an eye-watering / ludicrous £1440/$1600 whereas we PC users can just buy one of those state-of-the-art 2TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe drives for less than £500. (or a £100 cheaper 2TB Intel 660P)

Martin an gof Silver badge

Re: I really don't care that much about upgradability....

There are plenty of options for external storage, from your basic USB attached drive to a 10Gb USB-C gen2 drive or a thunderbolt3 raid array.

Granted, the new Mac Mini is miles better than some of their recent machines with just a couple of ports, but this sort of attitude does remind me somewhat of the 1980s.

:-)

M.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

> But I DO care about getting my data back after the damn thing dies !

>

> Instead of the RAM they should have put the SSD in a socket...

It wouldn't make a difference: the T2 chip encrypts everything going to and from SSD, using a key which is buried within the chip and can't be exported.

Backups, backups, backups. Otherwise if your machine dies, your data dies with it.

Martin an gof Silver badge

the T2 chip encrypts everything going to and from SSD

Backups, backups, backups. Otherwise if your machine dies, your data dies with it.

So if you must keep an external backup - which is likely to be unencrypted - what is the point of encrypting the internal storage?

M.

katrinab Silver badge

That makes sense for a laptop, but not so much for a desktop machine.

Spazturtle Silver badge

Backups can use software encryption and be stored in a locked safe.

Rainer

TimeMachine will encrypt, too, with a password of your choosing.

IIRC, later version of iOS suggest you encrypt.

K Silver badge
Pint

Mr Cook, I will share a beer with you anytime...

Thanks to Apple for finally refreshing their products, and taking the opportunity to remind us, that whilst they are a luxury brand, they have philanthropy at their core, looking after the interests of new and existing customers - graciously raising their prices from high to ludicrous, they're indicating they want customers to explore and see what other manufacturers offer, encouraging them to realise they can save 50% and get 200% more value..

Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
Facepalm

Soldered storage?

Storage is usually the first thing needing an upgrade and the cheapest upgrade to perform. I have my doubts about longevity too. MacOS is brutal on storage with its document revision management and excessive VM swapping. Wearing out a mid-size flash drive is easier than you think. My previous NAS killed one in about 3 years.

Triumphantape

Apple doesn't "get it" any longer.

Paul

Get what? Your money?

Marty McFly
Meh

Mixed emotions....

Received my long awaited new MM on launch day. So far, it's okay. Not great, not sucky, just okay. I am very frustrated with the video. Sometimes it boots, goes to set the resolution, and then a black screen. Sometimes it registers my 4K display as 4K. Once I even had it register the 4K display as a 5K. I wish! Never had that problem with my old MM, once the resolution was set, it was consistently good.

Troubleshooting so far has been swapping cables & HDMI ports on the display. Every cable and HDMI port runs 4K just fine when it is coming from 4K Blu-ray player. However, only one cable works with the MM, and even then it is spotty on boot up. Got the 'meh from Apple support... "Boot in to safe mode once, that resets everything, you should be fine now."

The upside? When it is working, it does great.

Paul

Re: Mixed emotions....

Worth every penny to have a shiny paperweight on your desk with an apple logo on it!

Rainer

Re: Mixed emotions....

I actually have the "black screen" problem, too - but with a 2012 MacMini connected to a 30" HP LP 3065 display via a TB-to-DL-DVI adapter (it's a very old display, probably ten years old, got it as a hand-me-down from my boss when he bought a new one).

It happens very rarely, though.

Sometimes, unplugging the adapter (sometimes a few times) does work, sometimes I reboot.

User McUser

Re: Mixed emotions....

This may not be the problem you have but make sure you remove the clear plastic wrap from the thunderbolt cable. There's a chip in the connector that can overheat and cause this problem (randomly blank screens). I witnessed this problem on several dozen trashcan Mac Pros and removing the film fixed it right up.

Mayday Silver badge
Go

This is my cue

To get one with the minimum RAM.

Jo_seph_B

Old 2012 Models

I still run 3 upgraded old Mac Mini 2012 models with vSphere installed as a lab setup. Work great to this day and have been running 24/7 for 2 years without issue, even today with 6.7 installed. With CPU support dropping out of vSphere its time to upgrade Can't see me replacing them with further minis without being able to upgrade the RAM and SSD without paying the apple TAX. Time to start looking around else where. Shame as these have been rock solid devices for me. On the plus side they might still be worth a few quid with 16GB of RAM and 500GB SSD drives.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Opening

The original PowerPC Mac Mini and subsequent versions based on the same form factor had to be opened with (unless you had the official "access tool") putty knives :-)

Those were the days :-)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

All Apple kit is modular...

After two years you just buy a new one.

Wyrdness

I think that the reason that the SSD is soldered in, and not upgradable, is that it's not standard SSD.

From benchmarks I've seen:

Crucial M4 SSD - 400MB/s read, 256MB/s write

Mac Mini 2018 - 2800MB/s read, 2700MB/s write

There's always the four nice fast Thunderbolt 3 ports for external storage.

flibble

That's a SATA SSD though, and a 7 year old one at that.

Mac's use PCIe connected SSDs these days, as do most other laptops. A 480GB corsair MP510 has 3480MB/s read, 2000MB/s write, and at £118 quid (according to scan) is less than a third of the price of the 512GB *upgrade* for the Mac mini (which will set you back £360).

I'd be quite happy with a Mac mini that used a standard PCIe flash card. It's not clear why Apple feel the need to solder the flash storage to the motherboard on desktop PC's.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing