New Mac Mini – DIY memory-upgrade + 3x 4K screens

After year of reliable service, it was time for a new Mac Mini. The 2020 edition is the same as the 2018 edition,
except that it comes with double the storage space.
Because RAM memory is expensive in those Apple devices, I decided to buy a machine with the top-notch processor,
but with a minimum of memory.
So, I bought the 6-core I7 machine, with only 8GB of RAM.

On the Apple website, it is stated that you can’t upgrade the memory yourself,
according this article: 
This statement is simply not true ! If you are not affraid to openup your (brand new) Mac Mini, and if you have the right tools and the guts, you can do this actually yourself !
I did have a look at the RAM upgrade guide for the Mac Mini 2018/2020
on iFixit:

So, when I ordered my Mac Mini, I also order 2x 16GB DDR4 Sodimm 2666 Mhz memory (in my case, from Crucial)
Make sure when you put everything back together, that the 2-wire connector (for the power-LED), the pin-connector,
the connector for the cooling-fan, and finally, the Wifi antenna connector, are firmly and correctly attached.
Furthermore, in the description of iFixit, you can find all the necassary tools (mostly torx screwdrivers) …
Don’t forget to take the old memory out, and the new in, before you put everything back together 🙂

I did have a 50″ 4K monitor, because I used my previous Mac mainly to do CAD drawings.
This large screen is moved to my second desk, which is used as a workplace to work from home. Lenove T495 supports 4K nicely.
I also have a 27″ ambilight FullHD monitor at this desk, connected to an AppleTV and Harman Cardon Soundsticks III,
for some background music during work.
Because this Mac will be used in my future music studio,  I don’t need this “big” screen real-estate,
what I needed was a “large” screen real-estate. So, I bought 3 extra 4K monitors, this gives me a total resolution
of 11520 x 2160 pixels …
The current Mac Mini can control upto 3 screens. 1 via HDMI (supports 4K-60Hz) and 2 via the thunderbolt3 connectors.
My new screens do have HDMI and displayport connectors. I ordered 2 thunderbolt3 to HDMI converters,
So I could connect 2 extra 4K screens (also running at 60Hz)
There are 4 USB-C connectors at the back of the Mac Mini. The first 2 do use bus 0, the last 2 use bus 1.
Make sure you don’t connect your screens to the same bus !

Apple also claims that you can only connect 3 displays, but also this is not true ! I have an Akai MPC Live, and the screen actually
show up as an extra screen (as a displaylink device) And you can also connect an extra screen via AirPlay !
(but you will have a very small “lag” when you do this)
So, a default Mac Mini can actually control 5 screens. (And I think if you use non-4K screens, this may be even more)
When you connect a eGPU and a decent graphics card, you can connect upto 9 displays ! (google it !)

I got a lot of questions, asking how I managed to put Ableton Live onto 3 screens within MacOS,
standard Ableton Live only supports 2 screens. However, you don’t need to be a wizard to do this little fix.
1. OpenUp “System preferences”, and open “Mission Control”.
2. “uncheck” the option to have your screens have separate spaces.
3. Close “System preferences”.
5. in Ableton Live, in “2 monitor mode”, simply drag the side of your window “over” the border between your screens.
6. Also do this for the other window.

If you look closely to my screenshots, you will see that the “file management” (which is part of window 1) is dragged onto screen 2.
The border of the second windows, is span across the border of the File Management and the rest of screen 2 and 3.

So, this is my temporary new music workspace.
I did have to put most of my music-gear into boxes, Only my Yamaha ModX, 16 channel mixing panel, Akai MPC Live, Ableton Push 2, some headpones, 2 electric guitars and electric drumset can be used for the moment. OOh well, I hope my new music studio comes together just fine, so I can use all my gear again 🙂


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