Updating a Mac Mini is a great way to get more life or faster speed or more storage out of your Mac Mini and here’s a few suggestions to enhance your computing experience when using the Apple Mac Mini:
2014 Mac Mini
With the 2014 Mac Mini, you’re pretty much screwed when it comes to upgrades – at least internally. If you want to upgrade the ram or storage space on a 2014 Mac Mini be sure to do it at the time you order your Mac Mini or you will be stuck with the configuration for the entire time you own the 2014 model.
You can upgrade the Mac Mini externally by adding an external SSD like the Samsung T1 External SSD which will allow you to add more storage via the Mac Mini’s USB port. These are currently available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB sizes and are a cheap way to get more storage space on your Mac.
2012 Mac Mini
The 2012 Mac Mini has been one of the most popular Mac Mini models due to the fact that it’s the last upgradable Mac Mini Apple has made so you’re able to upgrade the Mac Mini RAM and the hard drive on the Mac Mini to a maximum of 16GB for the RAM and whatever size you want for the solid state storage.
If you’re looking to swap out the hard drive of the Mac Mini for faster SSD storage, the Samsung 850 Evo SSD models are a good choice and start at under $100.00 for 128GB and go up from there. If you want to max out the SSD storage on your Mac Mini to 1TB you should expect to pay about $400 or so.
And if you don’t need the fast storage space of a solid state drive for your Mac Mini then you can add more space via a traditional hard drive. The Western Digital Blue line of hard drives is an excellent choice and a 1TB drive can be had for under $50 at times.
2011 Mac Mini
The 2011 Mac Mini can be upgraded exactly the same as the 2012 mode with a few caveats: The memory you need to buy for the 201 model differs from later models and requires the use of DDR 1333Mhz sodimms vs the 1600MHz sodimms of the 2012 models.
Technically, Apple suggests just 8GB of RAM for the Mac Mini for this model year but you can squeeze 16GB into these models as well.
When it comes to hard drive upgrades on the Mac Mini for 2011, see my suggestions for the 2012 models as they apply here as well for the 2011 versions.
2010 Mac Mini
The 2010 Mac Minis max out at 8GB of RAM vs the 16GB max for later models an use slower 1066Mhz speed. The good news is even though you can only max out the memory on the 2010 models, you can get the 8GB upgrade for well under $100 and is a pretty cheap upgrade for your older aging Mac Mini that is now five years old.
2009 Mac Mini
The fact that these Mac Minis can run the latest version of the Mac OS operating system is one reason to squeeze more life out of these six year old computers from Apple. You will need to buy 8GB of 1066 DDR3 ram for the 2009 models.
Adding an internal hard drive is a bit trickier than the earlier models but it can be done.
2007 Mac Mini
The 2007 Mac Minis are definitely starting to show their age, but can still take more ram. – up to 4GB, even though the official suggestion by Apple is just 2GB. 4GB of ram is crazy cheap for these and you may want to consider buying used ram for these older models because you might even get it cheaper.
Be sure to buy DDR2 667Mhz sodimms for all 2007 Mac Mini models.
Hard Drive Upgrades are the same as the 2009 models.
2006 Mac Mini
You can squeeze 4GB of ram into a 2006 Mac Mini, which is kind of amazing considering that this computer is now closing in on a decade when it comes to age. You will need to buy DDR2 667Mhz memory for this model too – essentially all that the 2007 models require can be used here too.
2005 Mac Mini
(see upgrades for all 2006 Models)
With the 2005 Mac Mini models you’re now looking to add an upgrade to a ten year old computer and I might suggest that you add a new computer to use vs an upgrade. But, if you’re fine with the 2005 model for your needs, the 2005 model can only handle 1GB of RAM.
These PowerPC G4 Mac Minis cannot run a whole lot of software that’s current but it you do need to upgrade the ram on these models be sure to add DDR PC2700 memory upgrades for these models
A few resources you might want to check out for more info regarding Mac Mini Upgrades:
EveryMac.com – specs and stats on every mac.
Low End Mac – an excellent resource on getting more life out of your older Mac
Other World Computing – OWC offers videos and information on how to upgrade your Mac Mini – regardless of year.