Mac mini 2011 uses 1333 MHz 1.5v DDR3 memory. My "new" 2012 mini uses 1600 MHz 1.35v DDR3 memory.

I'd like to reuse the slower memory in the newer mini. I'm not adverse to trying this but I'm looking for some assurance that there's minimal risk of damage.

If it doesn't work I'll just go ahead and buy new memory, but if this could work (the processor might just tap it's foot waiting around a bit longer for memory access?) I'd rather save the $$.

Thanks, Dave

  • I'm not looking for opinions--or facts--as to whether or not this will work. I want to know if there is risk of damage to the computer, hardware (voltage?) incompatibility that will smoke something. As to whether or not it will work, if there is consensus that the hardware will survive a test, I'll try it. – DaveC Dec 17 '16 at 6:28
  • FYI, the "new" 2012 mini is a 6,2 system. – DaveC Dec 17 '16 at 23:19

Generally speaking, you cannot use memory in a system that is slower than the memory that the system is designed for. If you put faster memory into a slow memory slot, the memory is supposed to run a the slower speed (I have had mixed success with this), but putting slower memory into a fast memory slot will not work because the memory will not be able to get the information to the CPU as fast as it is expected.

In your particular case, the "old" machine uses DDR3-1333 memory and the "new" machine uses the faster, lower voltage DDR3L-1600 memory. A page at Dell explains that "DDR3L is a dual voltage capable memory SoDIMM, which supports operation at both 1.5V and 1.35V." So you could use DDR3L modules in places that ask for a DDR3 module, since it can operate at 1.5V, however "DDR3 is a single voltage capable memory SoDIMM, which supports 1.5V operation only."


The macmini5,1 machine uses an Intel Mobile Core i5 "Sandy Bridge" (I5-2415M) CPU and the macmini6,1 uses an Intel Mobile Core i5 "Ivy Bridge" (I5-3210M) processor



The Intel website does indicate that the newer 3210M CPU does have support for both DDR3 and DDR3L, but I cannot tell if Apple's other systems on the MacMini motherboard would support it.

A component designed for a higher voltage seems unlikely to cause any electrical damage if put into a lower voltage system (it will draw lower current at the lower voltage, which seems unlikely to cause any damage), but running it at the "wrong" voltagae, and at a higher speed than it is designed for, seems very unlikely to be workable.

If you do try it out, let us know how it works.

  • Do you have any sources on this? I can't imagine there isn't a mechanism to handle this. It's like saying a ferrari can't go 40 km/h because it's designed to go at 250 km/h – Alexander - Reinstate Monica Dec 15 '16 at 21:37
  • Source: discussions.apple.com/thread/4637451?tstart=0. It's the same reason that the new MBPs don't support MacOS earlier than Sierra. There's no reason to build in a safeguard for a downgrade because nobody in their right mind would make that downgrade. – NoahL Dec 16 '16 at 0:32
  • @AlexanderMomchliov I have had occasions where Macs would not boot when memory that is faster then specified was used - I think it is something to do with parts of the system addressing the memory at the higher speed while other parts are not able to do so. What has worked is putting both a faster-than-spec module and an at-spec module in the machine - the slower at-spec module forces the entire memory system to run at the proper at-spec speed and the system is stable. So multiple faster modules can be spread over multiple machines as long as each has a speced module in it. – j-beda Dec 16 '16 at 17:35
  • I'm not looking for confirmation--or not--that this will work. I'm game to try it. But I am looking for some confidence that on a hardware level (one requires 1.5v, the other, 1.35v) there is minimal risk of smoking something. Then I'll just plug in the RAM and report the result. – DaveC Dec 17 '16 at 17:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .