M1 Mac Mini 8GB VS. 16GB: Which One Should I Choose?

Last Updated on August 5, 2022

If you’re in the market for a new Mac Mini, you may wonder which model is right for you. The entry-level model comes with 8GB of RAM, while the mid-range model features 16GB of RAM. So, which one should you choose?

If you are a power user looking to use the Mac mini for intense tasks, then the 16GB option is the better choice. However, if you are a more casual user who wants to use the Mac mini for general tasks and browsing the web, then the 8GB option should be sufficient.

In this article, I will try to figure out the core difference, advantages, and other features of Mac Mini 8GB vs. 16GB versions and clarify which one you should get. Keep Reading!

Mac Mini 8GB VS. 16GB

Comparison Table Of Mac Mini 8GB VS. 16GB

  Mac Mini 8GB Mac Mini 16GB
Memory 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Processor 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5000 Intel Iris Graphics
Storage 500GB Serial ATA drive 1TB Serial ATA drive
Power Consumption 30W 35W
Weight 2.6 Pound 3.6 Pound
Performance Moderate Improved

Similarities between Mac Mini 8GB & 16GB

There are several key similarities between the Mac mini 8GB and 16GB models.

  • Perhaps most notably, both devices feature the same 3.6 GHz Intel Core i3 processor. This provides users with snappy performance and excellent multitasking abilities. 
  • Additionally, both models boast the same integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630. This provides users with clear and vibrant visuals, whether working on creative projects or simply streaming content from the web.
  • Finally, both the 8GB and 16GB models come with a standard 128GB of flash storage. This should be more than enough for most users, especially given that the Mac mini is a compact and lightweight device.

Detailed Comparison Of Mac

Detailed Comparison Of Mac Mini 8GB VS. 16GB

1. Availability

Assuming that you are referring to the newest Mac mini with an M1 chip, the 8GB RAM is plenty for most users. It will allow you to open multiple apps simultaneously, edit light images and videos, and even play some games.

If you are a power user or plan on doing more intensive tasks, you might consider the M1 Mac Mini 16GB option. Keep in mind that upgrading to 16GB of RAM will add $200 to the price of the Mac mini.

2. Capacity

When it comes to the capacity difference between M1 Mac mini 8GB and 16GB RAM, most people would say there is not much difference. However, if you think about it, there is a big difference between the two capacities.

The 8GB RAM can only provide you with enough power to do basic tasks. It cannot give you the power to do anything intensive such as gaming or video editing.

The 16GB RAM, on the other hand, can provide you with enough power to do anything that you want. It can even allow you to multitask without any lag.

So, if you are looking for a powerful computer, you should opt for the 16GB RAM. It will give you the power that you need to do anything that you want.

3. Performance

When it comes to the performance of a Mac mini, the amount of RAM plays a big role. More RAM means that more programs can be run at the same time without slowing down the computer. It also allows for more complex programs to be run and can help improve overall performance.

performance of a Mac mini

So, how much difference does 8GB of RAM vs. 16GB of RAM make? In general, adding more RAM will always help improve performance. However, the difference between 8GB and 16GB may not be as noticeable as one might think.

For most users, 8GB of RAM should be plenty. It can handle multiple programs and tasks at once and will only start to slow down when running very demanding applications or games.

4. Power Consumption

The M1 Mac mini is a great little computer for those who want the power of a Mac without the price tag. But how much power does it consume?

We’ve already seen that the new 8GB RAM model of the Mac mini consumes less power than its predecessor. But how does it compare to the 16GB RAM model?

Here are the power consumption figures for both models:

Model Power Consumption
Mac Mini 8GB 30W
Mac Mini 35W

As you can see, the 8GB RAM model consumes 5W less power than the 16GB RAM model.

So, if you’re looking to save on your power bill, the 8GB RAM model is the way to go. However, if you need the extra RAM for demanding tasks, the 16GB RAM model will be worth the extra power consumption.

5. Memory 

When it comes to system memory, the 8GB and 16GB RAM models of the Mac mini offer different capabilities. The 8GB RAM model is limited to handling lower-resolution graphics and files, while the 16GB RAM model is designed for more demanding tasks like editing 4K video or working with large files.

The 8GB RAM model is also limited to running a single external display at 4K resolution. The 16GB RAM model can support up to two external displays at 4K resolution. So, if you need the extra memory and display support, the 16GB RAM model is the better choice.

6. Size & Weight

When comparing Mac Mini 8GB VS. 16GB models, there is a clear difference in size. The 8GB model is significantly smaller, measuring just 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches tall. The 16GB model, on the other hand, is 8.5 inches square and 2 inches tall.

Size & Weight

In terms of weight, the 8GB model weighs 2.6 pounds, while the 16GB model weighs 3.6 pounds. Both models have the same selection: four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and an SDXC card slot regarding ports and connections.

7. Graphics 

The 8GB RAM model of the Apple M1 Mac pro mini is significantly faster than the 16GB RAM model regarding faster graphics performance. This is because the 8GB RAM model has a faster graphics processor.

The 16GB RAM model does not have a dedicated graphics processor, so it relies on the integrated graphics processor in the CPU. This is why the 16GB RAM model is slower when it comes to graphics performance.

If you are planning on using your M1 iMac mini for gaming or other graphics-intensive tasks, you should get the 8GB RAM model. However, if you need a general-purpose computer for everyday tasks, then the 16GB RAM model should be fine.


8. Storage 

The 8GB and 16GB RAM models of the Mac mini have identical storage specifications. Each model is available with either 256GB or 512GB of storage, and both models can be configured with up to 2TB of storage.

The 8GB RAM model is the more affordable option, starting at $699 for the 256GB storage option and $999 for the 512GB option. The 16GB RAM model starts at $799 for the 256GB storage option and $1,099 for the 512GB option.

The 8GB and 16GB RAM models

If you need more storage space, the 16GB RAM model is the better option. However, if you don’t need as much storage space, the 8GB RAM model will be more affordable.

9. Price

Both models are powered by an M1 processor and come with various features, including Thunderbolt 2 ports, HDMI output, and support for up to four monitors. The 8GB RAM model is more affordable, while the 16GB RAM model is slightly expensive but offers better memory.

The 8GB RAM model is powered by a 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor and has 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM. It has a 500GB hard drive and an Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPU. The 8GB RAM model is priced at around $599.

The 16GB RAM model is powered by a 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor and comes with 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM. It has a 1TB hard drive and an Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPU. The 16GB RAM model is priced at around $699.

HDMI output

So, Which One To Choose?

If you’re looking for a new Mac mini, you may wonder which model is right for you. The two main options are the 8GB and 16GB models. So, which one should you choose?

Here are some things to consider:

Your budget: The 8GB model is significantly cheaper than the 16GB model. If cost is a major factor in your decision, then the 8GB model may be the better option.

Your needs: If you think you’ll need more than 8GB of RAM, then the 16GB model may be a better choice. If you’re not sure, err on caution and choose the 16GB model.

Your usage: If you plan on using your Mac mini for resource-intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, then you’ll need the extra power that the 16GB model provides.

I recommend choosing the 16GB model if you can afford it. It’s always better to have more RAM than you think you need, just in case.

Can You Use A Mac Mini As A Server And How?

Yes, you can use a Mac mini as a server.

  • You’ll need to purchase the Server version of the Mac mini, which has more RAM and storage than the standard model.
  • Additionally, you’ll need to purchase a separate server-grade router to connect the Mac mini to the internet.
  • Finally, you’ll need to set up server software on the M1 Macbook air, which can be done using macOS Server or a third-party solution.

Despite its small form factor, the Mac mini is a powerful little machine that can handle the demands of a server. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and energy-efficient way to run a server, the Mac mini is an excellent option.

More Questions & Answers About Mac Mini

Can I use Mac Mini as Apple TV?

Yes, you can use Mac Mini as Apple TV. All you need is the right software and hardware. You’ll also need to have an Internet connection. Follow these steps, and you’ll be up and running.

Is 8GB sufficient for the Mac mini?

The 8GB model is less reliable, has more difficulties with programs stopping, and has other glitchy issues. I can completely, firmly say this. When it comes to productivity, the 16GB device appears to perform better than the 8GB model. Using the 16GB model, I haven’t had to restart it in weeks.

Do you need 16 GB of RAM?

Most individuals will require at least 16 GB of RAM to keep up with the demands of today’s applications. This is a fantastic starting point for balancing resource-intensive and stand-alone applications on your computer. For those of us who open several tabs on Google Chrome, our computers aren’t going to complain.

How will long Mac Mini M1 last?

Expect at least seven years of service from the M1 CPU in any new Macs since it’s a newer version of the previous generation. With 16GB of RAM instead of 8GB, this is especially true. What is the average lifespan of an M1 Mac? Fifteen to twenty years old.

Is the Mac mini as powerful as the iMac?

Both the M1 Ultra Mac Mini and the iMac have the same amount of processing power under the hood. Both are powered by Apple’s M1 CPU, which surpasses most laptops with Intel or AMD processors.

RAM vs. SSD: What’s the best option?

While SSDs are quicker, RAM allows you to have more applications open at one time. While an SSD will help if your computer takes forever to perform anything, a RAM increase is needed if, for example, your computer begins acting up when you open “tons of tabs” on your browser.

What are the disadvantages of a Mac mini?

A monitor, keyboard, and mouse are required for usage. In certain cases, a quicker Intel-based iMac may be more cost-effective than a traditional Mac. Opening the computer’s chassis to install new RAM, hard drive, or CPU is required.

Finally, Is Mac Mini Worth Its Value?

The Mac mini is a great value for the price. It’s a small, powerful computer that can do everything a full-sized computer can. It’s also very easy to set up and use.

The only downside of the Mac mini is its lack of a built-in monitor, keyboard, and mouse. You’ll need to buy these separately. But if you’re looking for a small, powerful computer that’s easy to use, the Mac mini is a great choice.


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