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2018 refresh of the Apple Mac mini. Processor options include 3.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i3, 3.0 GHz 6-core Intel Core i5, and 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processors.

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Does the Mac Mini 2018 support running on 1 memory DIMM

To cut costs, is it possible to use a single 16GB, or 32GB RAM DIMM for the 2018 model, and buy a matching one later, or even better buy one 16GB DIMM and use the 4GB Apple ship (to make it 20GB). Will it boot and work?

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Things work better in pairs!

Think it like this… You tie your left hand behind your back and you have this nice juicy steak in front of you, hard to cut it up in the smaller bites ;-} Even if you tied your arm to the side so you could still use your hand things are still not so easy.

While it may not seem to be the same RAM is similar! Which is one of the reasons Apple populates your system with two RAM modules and with rare exception so do other makers do as well in their newer systems.

Basically, this is how RAM memory is made to go faster! Interleaved memory.

So while your system should work in either configuration you are over stressing the one or larger DIMM and a second issue is the ability of the module to not overheat which is why two DIMM’s are also used as well.

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Wonderful explanation! You are truly the best at explaining these things. :-)


@ajcooke01 & @oldturkey03 - Thanks!


Thanks Dan, I recognise that memory Interleaving is better (like RAID striping) for performance. So to confirm, it will work with 1 stick, or 2 mismatching sticks (unlike some of the past models which seemed to need matching pairs), but that for optimal memory performance through interleaving, it needs 2 matching DIMMs


All MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac & Mac Mini systems with serviceable RAM have always allowed single module use. Only the MacPro systems where different!

With that said... I haven't tested the latest Mac mini (nor is it likely to have been tested in these configurations) so I can't verify this is the case in this exact system which is why I used the word 'should'.

Apple could have thrown us a monkey wrench here. The Apple T/N Mac mini: How to remove or install memory does not offer any guidance on the new Mac Mini. If you review the guide you'll see it does talk about mixing.


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Yes it does work with only a single stick installed. Perhaps not optimally (I didn’t test) - but it certainly boots and allows login to the desktop. That’s as far as I took the experiment.

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I upgraded mac mini 2018 from 8gb ram to 32gb ram. I was surprised to only get 1 32 gb board instead of 2 16gb. But I was able to install and the machine works fine. EXCEPT. I cannot run updates. I am now stuck on OS 11.6, the update to 11.6.1 does not work, and updating to 12.xx also does not run.

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Have you tried lowing the RAM to one 8GB SO-DIMM or what ever you have that is within 16GB of RAM. To see if that allows you to upgrade the OS.


I have not yet, but that is the plan. It is just kind of a pain, redo the ram upgrade, update, and then redo the ram upgrade. Will update once I do that.


Final update - I ended up buying another 32gb of ram to match the previous 32gb. While you apparently can mix and match ram and machine will work, my mini showed the smaller slot as empty. It also was not possible to run updates to the OS. After installing the 2nd 32GB chip, I was able to update to Monterrey. All is good. The original problem is that I used the app to tell me what ram to purchase and it pointed me to this 32gb chip. Last I checked the app was not available anymore, I dunno. But having 2 matching chips seems to still be the rule. The iFixit directions worked quite well, but after doing this 5-6 times now, I can take it apart in 5 minutes or so.


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Ross Barclay will be eternally grateful.
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