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It came with 4 GB of memory which could be upgraded up to 16 GB in seconds through a spin-off hatch on the underside.For storage it had plenty, either a 500 or 1000 GB hard disk; or optionally could be configured with a 1 TB Fusion Drive or 256 GB Flash Drive.The black plastic ‘lid’ still comes off easily enough, but behind that, instead of the inviting innards of yore, there’s now an edge-to-edge circular steel bulkhead in place, sealed down with Torx T6T security screws.Get passed these and you’ll be able to swap the internal disk for something much faster, such as a SATA Revision 3 SSD from the likes of Kingston, Crucial or Samsung.So the going third-party route saves you just £19 here.The difference becomes more troubling at the next size jump.
If you elect for the middle Mac mini model (2.6 GHz, £599) or top (2.8 GHz, £799), you’ll already find 8 GB memory soldered in place.
However even now, more than a year after Apple’s PCIe-attachment technology was introduced with 2013’s Mac Book Air, there is still no third-party manufacturer able to make a drop-in replacement to upgrade capacity.
So DIYers looking to make a dual-drive Mac mini out of a single-drive purchase will be out of luck.
Soldered memory is perhaps the cause of most anguish among users with recent Mac models, since it means you’re expected to anticipate the amount of memory you’ll need for the lifetime of the product at the time of purchase; and moreover because you have to pay Apple’s inflated prices for SDRAM.
Take the entry-level £399 Mac mini we tested here as an example.