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2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Discussion of general issues, not related to a specific Mac or iDevice operating system.
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Jay Cline
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2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Jay Cline » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:18 am

I originally ordered my 2018 Mac Mini with the base 8 gigs of memory. I quickly found that editing photos was painfully slow, the spinning beach ball was getting very annoying.

Apple offered the Mini with up to 32 gigs of RAM, I chose to upgrade the RAM myself as Apple wanted $600 for the 32 gig option over the base price of the Mini.

I ordered 32 gigs of Crucial RAM for $229 and followed the very thorough instructions found here: https://youtu.be/qKyv0QP4XPQ using the iFixit tool kit with all the necessary Torx screw drivers and spudger. Total time from start to finish was less than 20 minutes. No more spinning beach balls!

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 4.21.19 PM.png
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Stephen Hart
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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:16 am

Which app were you using for photo editing? I suppose that task will always use lots of RAM.
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Jay Cline
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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Jay Cline » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:11 am

I have Photos and Lightroom CC (cloud based). I wanted to use Lightroom but it wouldn't allow me to put a Lightroom photo catalog on an external drive even though non cloud versions of CC will allow you to do that. The internal SSD on the mini is just too small to store my photos. Photos works for most of my needs and if necessary I'll use Photoshop CC if further work is required.
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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by ChrisO » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:49 pm

Jay, the Lightroom catalog itself is not very big, and could live on the internal SSD. The photos themselves could be on an external. Or am I missing something?

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Jay Cline
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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Jay Cline » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:40 am

The Lightroom CC library file grows as you add photos. I take on average 50,000 photos a year. The tiny SSD on the mini won't handle that many photos.
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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:38 am

I think the whole metaphor of an internal SSD only is intended to be used with large Thunderbolt-connected external storage. But then you have to be very careful to backup the externals. And I would be leery of using a one-enclosure RAID that duplicates files. If the enclosure dies, you're stuck, at least until you get another one. And ideally, you want some third backup (hot swapping large drives might work for that). So those fast, huge externals and multiple drives are going to add up to a lot of money.

I don't take nearly as many photos as Jay, and my Photos Library is more than 80 GB. That works fine with my 3T internal Fusion drive. (And I have dual 4T Time Machine backups.)

But my next Mac will either have to have a larger internal (and larger Time Machine drives) or I'll have to go the huge external route.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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Jay Cline
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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Jay Cline » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:41 am

The low end Mini with its small SSD and minimal RAM isn't a photographers dream machine. External hard drives need to be added and more RAM is necessary. In a year's time I'll take 50,000 photos and toss 90% of them, mostly photos of soccer and basketball games. Right now my Photos library is at 73 gigabytes, basketball season is coming to an end and soccer season is months away. I'll likely purchase another Thunderbolt drive soon. My camera will take 10 frames per second and I am of the "spray and pray" philosophy of photography. Normally I'll take a thousand photos during a 2 game day. In retrospect an iMac might have been a better choice but adding the 32 gigs of RAM to this Mini has made it into a great little photo editing machine!

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Re: 2018 Mac Mini RAM upgrade

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:08 am

I am of the "spray and pray" philosophy of photography
Another way to put this is "I shoot like a professional photographer."

National Geographic wildlife photographers may take 10,000 shots to get half a dozen in a published article. (Even in the era of film.)

My current cameras, Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 and FZ1000, both meld video with still photography, as do the latest iPhones. You can shoot stills at 30 frames per second, then pick the ones you like. The camera is just saving each single frame of 4K video. Using Final Cut Pro X, I can also extract 8 MP single frames from 4K video that's shot as video. The FZ2500 will even start saving single frames, then delete the oldest ones so as to avoid filling up a camera card. And you can also shoot full-sized 20MP Raw stills at 7 frames per second (focussing each frame) or faster, focussing once per burst.

All this means huge demands for file storage on a photographer's Mac. It also means that Apple's free photo storing, sorting and editing software, Photos, must be able to handle huge libraries, and make scanning through large numbers of very similar shots easy.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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