CONFIRMED! OWC supports 8.0GB memory in Mac mini 3,1 machines

macmini-20091020As mentioned in one of my blog posts last Friday, we’ve been busy testing the limits of the 2009 Mac mini models.  In late August, Apple released Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 which improves compatibility with the latest Apple memory kits on Mac mini computers.

It did a little more than that though.  It improved compatibility of OWC brand memory as well.  As all of our memory meets or exceeds Apple’s requirements for RAM, it’s no surprise that, yet again, OWC can support memory expansion beyond the maximum installed amount suggested by Apple.

We have fully tested all 2009 release date Mac mini computers with both Leopard and Snow Leopard and found no issues regarding which OS was used for testing a full 8.0GB of RAM installed.  Under both operating systems, the memory was fully utilized and no system detriment in speed was observed.

Keep in mind, this information is for Mac mini model identifier macmini3,1.  Intel Mac mini machines released prior to 2009 (macmini1,1 or macmini2,1) have hardware limitations that only allow those machines to max out RAM at 2.0GB and 3.0GB respectively.

Want to take your mini to the maximum? OWC has the Mac mini upgrades you need to make your machine screaming fast.


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  • hello,

    can i upgrade with 1 x 8gb stick or does it have to be 2 x 4gb?




  • Hi, Same problems as above. Can’t upgrade to the 2 x 4Gb OWC for the unit: MiniMac3,1 firmware MM31.00AD.B00, Mountain Lion 10.8.4
    1.2 Firmware updater gives the famous “This computer does not need this update.”
    I have tied all slots, just 1 x 4b, same issues. works perfectly when I go back to the 2 x 1.
    Yes I get the 3 beebs for any combination except 1 or 2 sticks of the standard RAM

    I suspect the firmware, but how to I get it to MB31.008E.B02, there is no updater in the utilities folder

    Regards
    Stagger




    • Three beeps usually indicates either a failed module or missing memory (ie. not installed fully). For troubleshooting assistance please contact our Technical Support Team by phone at 1(800)275-4576 or via email or live chat and they will be happy to help discover where the issue lies.




      • Thank you for your fast response

        Fixed!!! Your excellent Tech support very promptly replied that I should reset the SMC controller, following the Apple recommended procedure, and clean the gold connectors.
        I cleaned the connectors with DetoxIT gold and noticed that they went noticeably brighter. So I think that was it.
        Whichever of the two steps it was – it worked perfectly. I can now “see” 8Gb and feel the speed increase immediately.
        BTW Firmware was at the right level.

        Regards
        Stagger




  • I currently have a late 2009 Mac Mini w/2gigs of RAM SnowLeopard 10.6.8. Currently looking to upgrade to 8gigs for primary use with Logic Pro. Already downloaded the pkg with the firmware upgrade but it alerts me that “This computer does not need this update.”

    Previously in this tread it was mentioned anybody that had a boot ROM version: MM31.00AD.B00 needed this upgrade. The firmware pkg will not allow such an upgrade. Is my machine limited to 6gigs fully utilized or is there some alternative way of installing the firmware upgrade or due to that alert am I lead to believe that my machine already has the upgrade and is good to go?




    • The firmware update 1.2 is for the early 2009 Mac mini models. The late 2009 Mac mini models shipped with firmware (MM31.00AD.B00) that will allow 8GB already. You should be good to go!




  • got a mac mini 3,1 late 2009 model. This didn’t need the firmware update. Im running snow leopard 10.6.8. Even though apple says this machine will only take a maximum of 4GB ram, thanks to the advice from the guys at OWC i purchased the 8GB pack, installed & it works. All 8 gigs are being fully utilized!




  • Will this work on my Mac Mini (3,1) with a Boot ROM of MM31.0081.B06?




    • MM31.0081.B06 is the most current EFI Boot ROM version and will allow you to use the full 8GB of memory.




      • My MacMini3,1 reports to already have Boot ROM Version: MM31.0081.B06, but when I install 8GB of RAM I get the “BEEP BEEP BEEP” and that’s it.

        If I use one 4GB DIMM and one 2GB DIMM it happily boots and uses all 6GB.

        When I’ve tried to install Firmware Update 1.2 it reports “This computer does not need this update”

        I assume MM31.00AD.B00 is older than what I have already, so it’s not a firmware issue.

        What else could be wrong? Is there something I forgot to do?




        • The three beeps on boot is usually indicative of missing or failed memory. Try re-seating both 4GB modules making sure that the contacts are completely inserted into the sockets. If you’re still having an issue – try each 4GB module by itself to see if one of the modules needs to be replaced. Please contact our Technical Support Team at 1(815)338-8685 via live chat or email and they will be more than happy to assist in further troubleshooting if both 4GB modules work or to exchange the failed module.




  • I am totally interested in the upgrade to my MacMini3,1, from 4 to 8 GB. However, I am now living in India, quite happily with my MacMini!!, and so hope you can send the upgrade by registered mail or another secure method. I have usa credit card so payment is not a problem. After installing 10.6.8 I see a definite slow down. Please reply about this.
    thanks so much. Francis




  • As of 11/2011, Apple’s EFI updater app will not let me install the 1.2 firmware in my 3,1 mini (2009). Unless there is some way to force the firmware upgrade via commands in terminal, I don’t see how it matters at this point. The two 4GB sticks OWC sold me fit the slots, but the mini only sees 4GB!




    • It is entirely possible that the EFI was already up-to-date, Software Update usually takes care of that automatically. Unfortunately, Apple’s KB page for the updater doesn’t mention what the revision numbers are, so we can’t compare to be sure.

      It is also possible that maybe one of the RAM modules themselves has an issue. Have you tried swapping which slots the modules are in? It’s a simple way of checking whether it’s a single module that’s off or possibly another problem. Check System Profiler to see which module is not being recognized. Then, switch the slots the modules are in, and check System Profiler again. If the problem follows a single module, then it may be just a matter of getting a replacement. If it’s following the slot, then there may be something else going on with your Mac mini.

      Either way, contacting our Tech Support crew will probably be your next logical step after that.




  • I am thinking about the 8gb upgrade. My mini is the Macmini3.1 with ROM MM31.00AD.B00 but after trying to apply the Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 it says the mini doesn’t need the update. Is it because the rom I have is even a later update thus doesn’t need the suggested update and I can safely buy the memories?




    • Your Boot ROM should be MB31.008E.B02 after the update.

      MM31.00AD.B00 is a prior version of the EFI firmware.

      Try installing the update again by opening the Firmware Updater application first, which is located under /Applications/Utilities.




      • Hi, I downloaded the EFI Firmware Update 1.2. opened it, clicked on the .pkg file and a few seconds later a message saying “This computer does not need this update.”. So The software did’t even install the update Firmware Updater application on the /Applications/Utilities folder for me to run it as you suggested. :(




  • I installed the OWC 4GB upgrade in a MacMini 2,1 and although it is supposedly only able to use 3GB, it shows all 4GB and all of it works fine. I think Apple must have fixed that restriction in a later update.




    • Hello Randy,

      The original issue we found with this model wasn’t that the 4GB wasn’t showing up, but that it offered no performance difference between 3GB and 4GB. When 4GB was installed, only 3GB was physically addressed in actual usage. We’ve forwarded your findings onto our product development team to test again for any changes based on your findings, but have you checked in activity monitor that the final GB of memory is actually being used?




    • Hello Randy,

      We had a chance to re-test this out and are still coming up with the same results. 4GB can be installed, but only 3GB is addressed. It does show that 4GB is installed in the machine under system profiler, but when you open Activity Monitor and go to the System Memory tab – only 3GB shows as available memory.




  • Using all 8 gigs and everything works fine and is fully used.




  • The extra 4GB of RAM is utilized without the speed detriment that we found with many memory modules prior to Apple’s release of the EFI firmware update. This is exactly why it is so exiting that OWC can now support up to 8.0GB of memory in the Mac mini.

    I encourage you to check out our benchmarks of the Mac mini, especially the “RAM Hog I Test” showing just how much quicker the additional memory can make the mini run.




  • “no system detriment in speed was observed” means no speed improvement was observed? Perhaps the extra 4 GB of RAM are not utilized?




  • Wasn’t that just a limitation of OSX at the time?
    Now it should address 4GB….

    Cheers




  • I thought the Mac mini 2007 model could use the full 4GB and wasn’t limited to just 3GB.




  • Hey,
    nice to here that! Do you happen to know whether something has change in the recent Snowy 10.6.1 or .2 and Macbook 5,1 Unibody Intel Core 2 Duo will support 8GB of RAM? I am really curious!