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Mac Mini 2018 teardown shows swappable storage traded for memory upgrades

And the Mac Mini keeps its memory caged.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin

The orange-outlined rectangle is the SSD, soldered to the logic board.


We rejoiced when Apple's Mac Mini 2018 brought back the ability to upgrade memory, which had been soldered in its 2014 predecessor. Now iFixit's teardown shows that the storage is soldered to the logic board instead.

If it had to be one or the other, it does make more sense to solder the storage. Since Apple doesn't use M2 NVMe, an external SSD via the Thunderbolt 3 port can be faster, even without a drive that maxes out at 20Gb per second.


iFixit's Mac Mini 2018 teardown reveals that Apple keeps its memory in a cage.


Another notable takeaway from the teardown: The service-center-upgradeable memory is encased in a cage. That explains how Apple was able to use faster 2,666MHz RAM in the small space without increased interference -- mini PCs usually incorporate slower memory. And the power supply increases from 85 watts to 150w in order to support the higher-power processor and port options.

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