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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > A Guide to MacBook RAM Upgrades

A Guide to MacBook RAM Upgrades (Page 2)
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Sep 21, 2008, 01:20 PM
 
I recently found out about this limited time offer (9/25): http://shop2.frys.com/product/5503990 . 4GB of RAM for only $35! Seems like a steal to me. Anyways, I checked all the stuff I could to verify that it would be compatible with a MacBook Pro. However, I'm still not COMPLETELY convinced that it's compatible - I don't trust myself. One problem, I don't have a MBP yet, only a MacBook. I'm looking to get one around November or December, but by then (October I'm hearing) Apple is supposedly going to announce new macbooks. Here are my various questions:
-Do you think that the RAM will still be compatible after a MBP update (I realize that there is no way to be sure)?
-Is it compatible with a MB?
-Can I use it in my MacBook until I purchase a MBP (I know that the motherboard would only recognize 3~3.5 GB, 2GB officially...) ?
-If I can use it in my MB, would it degrade in performance at all if I were to put in my MBP when I get it?
-Piggybacking on the first question: Would the MBP's stock 2GB RAM after the update still be compatible with the MB (To my knowledge, it is right now) ?

Thanks in advance!
EDIT: sorry, forgot to mention that I purchased my MB in december of 2006... so what's the codename for it?
( Last edited by zack13532; Sep 21, 2008 at 01:50 PM. )
     
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Sep 21, 2008, 02:33 PM
 
All the MacBooks and MacBook Pros so far use the same memory, and the kit you linked to will work all Core 2 Duo MB/MBPs. The Core 2 Duo MB (with 945GM chipset) was released in November 2006, so you probably have one but you may have a Core Duo if you bought a refurb or old stock.

The new MBP will almost certainly use different, incompatible memory (DDR3).
( Last edited by mduell; Sep 21, 2008 at 09:30 PM. )
     
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Sep 21, 2008, 04:25 PM
 
Yea, it's a Core 2 Duo.

The new MBP will almost certainly use different, incompatible memory (DDR3).
I guess I won't be getting this then...
     
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Sep 22, 2008, 05:54 PM
 
Maxing out the RAM on your MB will improve the resale value of the computer, improve performance, and be worth doing if you plan on keeping you MB even after you upgrade,.
17" MBP C2D 2.33/3 GB RAM/500 GB 7200 rpm/Glossy Display|-|
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Sep 23, 2008, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
It's been pointed out several times before that just because a Mac "sees" the entire 4 GB of installed RAM does not mean it can actually use the entire 4 GB. Unless you have a Crestline MacBook ("Late 2007" and newer) you cannot use the full 4 GB.

To verify that your Mac is using only 3 of your 4 GB you can look at RAM consumption (in top or AM)
Total = Free + Used
where
Used = Wired + Active + Inactive
I know... still like to have 4 GB since its my job that pays for it... =)
Once again, Thank You for Your Tutorial here!
     
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Sep 25, 2008, 08:37 PM
 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820134373

just bought this should it suffice? or is there a better brand to buy?
"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later"
     
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Sep 25, 2008, 09:20 PM
 
Transcend is a hair cheaper, but the Kingston is fine.
     
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Sep 29, 2008, 04:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by macfantn View Post
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820134373

just bought this should it suffice? or is there a better brand to buy?
When you shop at Newegg you don't have to go to the Mac memory section. As long as you get the right type of SO-DIMM (200 pin, DDR2, PC2/5300 or 5400), it should work just fine.

You can pay $74 if you really want Kingston memory. Personally I don't see any reason not to take something cheaper from Newegg that will work just as good. Like these 4 GB from Transcend for $58.
     
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Oct 12, 2008, 12:12 PM
 
Hi Experts,
I am planning to buy the following Apple MacBook MB403 ,C2D 2.4GHz/3MB/800,Intel GMA X3100 144MB,2x1Gb DDR2-667,Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard.
I ordered RAM upgrade for 2 x 2 GB but would like to know if the above mentioned model with recognize and use the full 4 GB or not?
Regards
     
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Oct 12, 2008, 12:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by aadly123 View Post
Hi Experts,
I am planning to buy the following Apple MacBook MB403 ,C2D 2.4GHz/3MB/800,Intel GMA X3100 144MB,2x1Gb DDR2-667,Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard.
I ordered RAM upgrade for 2 x 2 GB but would like to know if the above mentioned model with recognize and use the full 4 GB or not?
Yes, it will.
     
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Oct 18, 2008, 11:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
You can also use 800 MHz PC2-6400 DIMMs if you like. They will work. However they will in any case run at the memory bus clock speed of 667 MHz. There will be no performance advantage.
I have now read some reports that specifically indicate that 800 MHz PC2-6400 SODIMMs do not work in Penryn MacBook Pros. Problem with SPD RAM timing programming? There are also reports of PC2-6400 incompatibilities with Penryn MacBooks which presumably also means that there would be incompatibilities with October 2008 MacBook Whites.

I will test this out when I pick up my white MacBook. Unfortunately, I already purchased the PC2-6400 before encountering those reports. The main reason I bought the faster RAM was because it was on sale, and was cheaper than the PC2-5300 of the same brand. Ironically, that sale ended last week, and then the PC2-5300 went on sale this week... for even cheaper.
     
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Oct 19, 2008, 10:53 PM
 
Confirmed.

OCZ 800 MHz PC2-6400 (OCZ2M8004GK) does NOT work in the Penryn MacBook. I don't even get as far as the chime.

The bigger annoyance is I have to take this MacBook back. Not because of the memory. Because the touchpad button is extremely mushy. Too bad, because the Mac itself otherwise works fine.
     
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Oct 20, 2008, 10:38 PM
 
Being an overclocker-focused brand, they may not include the lower speeds in their SPD tables.
     
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Oct 21, 2008, 12:03 PM
 
An extra comment and link have been added to the original guide.
     
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Oct 21, 2008, 01:38 PM
 
Thx, Simon.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Being an overclocker-focused brand, they may not include the lower speeds in their SPD tables.
Sounds like that might be the case. If so, that's stupid, cuz I will specifically avoid OCZ memory in the future.

There is a guy on their forums that will provide SPD firmware updates for free. Of course, that requires a machine that can actually boot from the memory in the first place and it likely voids the warranty anyway.

So I'll just return it and get some Crucial of Mushkin or something. (Both are available locally.)
     
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Oct 21, 2008, 11:50 PM
 
I am LOVING this new AL Macbook and want to load up on RAM.

Which of these are compatible per Apple's specs:
SO-DIMM 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC3-8500):

This:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231213

or this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148191

Thank you!
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Oct 22, 2008, 03:39 AM
 
Both will work. But the first one is out of stock and much too expensive.

The 2x2 GB Crucial DIMM kit for $125 is good. Ironically buying the two Crucial 2GB DIMMs separately is cheaper ($122). And yet less expensive are two of these 2GB DIMMs ($118) .
     
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Oct 22, 2008, 01:01 PM
 
Thank you! I will go with the Crucial singles. Why is it cheaper to buy in singles anyway?
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Oct 22, 2008, 11:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
OCZ 800 MHz PC2-6400 (OCZ2M8004GK) does NOT work in the Penryn MacBook. I don't even get as far as the chime.

The bigger annoyance is I have to take this MacBook back. Not because of the memory. Because the touchpad button is extremely mushy. Too bad, because the Mac itself otherwise works fine.
4 GB (2x2) Crucial 667 MHz PC2-5300 (CT25664AC667) works fine in my Penryn WhiteBook.

By the way, this memory is also known as CT687600, which is Crucial's alternate part number for the Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

---

Thank you for your enquiry.

There is no difference between memory part ref# CT25664AC667 and CT687600. They are the same product. CT25664AC667 is our internal material number as CT687600 is the external part number which is linked to your MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.
Both references are compatible with your MacBook.
     
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Oct 23, 2008, 03:49 AM
 
I hear you.

There has been quite some buzz about these "internal part numbers". And quite frankly I think it's bogus. I have seen the exact same memory with different part numbers. One part number was labeled "Mac compatible" the other wasn't. Needless to say the "Mac compatible" was 30% more expensive. It' ridiculous since the DIMMs were absolutely 100% identical as a company rep later confirmed.

If people just go with what Apple specifies (PC2-5300 DDR2 200 pin for Crestline, PC3-8500 DDR3 204 pin for 9400M) they'll be fine 99.99% of the time. If you buy from a good vendor they will have a decent return policy anyway.
     
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Oct 23, 2008, 09:35 AM
 
At my local shop:

Corsair laptop PC2-5300 4 GB RAM - CAD$80 (or US$63)
Corsair Mac compatible 4 GB RAM - $150 (!), or $110 after $40 mail-in rebate.

There is a difference though. The first one is 555-15 RAM. The second one is 444-12 RAM (which is faster). So, at least some vendors are giving us premium RAM for those premium prices.

-----

The RAM that came with my WhiteBook was Samsung 555-12 RAM. The Crucial RAM I bought was also 555-12 RAM.

I assume the Corsair 555-15 RAM is compatible with the MacBook line, but I'm not sure.

One last thing. Crucial RAM is Micron RAM. However, IIRC a few people who have purchased from Crucial.com have actually received Samsung RAM. It seems they sell their competitors' RAM when they run low on stock of their own.
     
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Oct 23, 2008, 12:25 PM
 
I see no problem selling faster RAM for more. But nobody should be suckered into paying more for identical RAM just because some marketing genius decided to call it "Mac compatible".
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 05:19 AM
 
[Edit: Unibody MB(P) information removed and rolled into the forst post so newcomers see all relevant information at once.]
( Last edited by Simon; Mar 22, 2009 at 06:29 AM. Reason: removed info, rolled into forst post)
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
So it's time to update this thread with information for the aluminum unibody MBs and MBPs.

Aluminum Unibody MB(P) "Late 2008": 2 SO-DIMM slots for PC3-8500 DDR3 RAM, 204 pins, 1066 MHz.

Both the MB and the MBP are specified by Apple to support up to 4 GB of RAM. The MBP however has already been shown to accept, recognize, and use 6 GB of RAM (one 2 GB and one 4 GB SO-DIMM).
Is it like 8GB where the memory above 4GB is always free or can you actually use the top 2GB? Link?
     
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Oct 31, 2008, 05:01 AM
 
No, as I already said, 6 GB works properly. All 6 GB are addressed and used. It's the 7th and 8th GB that cause problems right now.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=2465
http://www.barefeats.com/quick.html
( Last edited by Simon; Oct 31, 2008 at 05:55 AM. )
     
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Oct 31, 2008, 04:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
No, as I already said, 6 GB works properly. All 6 GB are addressed and used. It's the 7th and 8th GB that cause problems right now.
Seems strange, since people run into problems (per your links) when they use the 5th GB with 8 installed.
     
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Oct 31, 2008, 06:56 PM
 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148191

works like a charm on ALBook. LOVE the speed bump!
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Nov 1, 2008, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Seems strange, since people run into problems (per your links) when they use the 5th GB with 8 installed.
Not at all. 6GB are fine. We have confirmed that ourselves in the meantime. As everybody else is reporting, it's the 7th and 8th that are causing trouble.

More positive reports here:
http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp11.html

Also, the downside of unmatched 6 GB on the MBP is negligible compared to the advantage of having the extra memory.


( Last edited by Simon; Nov 1, 2008 at 02:10 PM. )
     
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Nov 1, 2008, 04:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Not at all. 6GB are fine. We have confirmed that ourselves in the meantime. As everybody else is reporting, it's the 7th and 8th that are causing trouble.
"On the other hand, 8GB (4GB + 4GB) will NOT work very well. The MBP will see and use all 8GB for apps, but goes into molasses mode when you exceed 4GB of real memory usage. And it won't release the memory when you quit the "greedy" app."

That's the 5th causing issues when used.
     
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Nov 1, 2008, 04:54 PM
 
No, it's the fact that there's 8 GB in there. 6 GB is a totally different story. The problem is allocation and addressing space, not the 4 GB DIMM. If you go to 8GB everything beyond 4 GB will become shaky. As long as you only have 6 GB in there the 5th will work just fine.

Honestly, you'd know these things if you actually tried this stuff out. Instead you prefer to write forum posts about your notions based on hearsay. This thread is about RAM upgrade facts, not notions. Fact is the max stable RAM upgrade is 6GB. I suggest you reply once you have any new and verified facts to add. Everything else is just noise.
( Last edited by Simon; Nov 1, 2008 at 05:00 PM. )
     
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Nov 2, 2008, 01:39 AM
 
Man, pull the burr out of your butt.

I said it's strange that the 5th GB doesn't work with 8 installed, but works fine with 6 installed. That's like the 3rd GB working with 3 installed but not with 4 installed in the older laptops (which is not the case). If the addressing works up to 6, it should work up to 6 regardless of having more memory installed.
     
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Nov 2, 2008, 06:35 AM
 
For the sake of this thread, I'll disregard the profanity.

You're final conclusion is flawed. We don't know how the firmware and OS handle addressing on the 9400M G chipset. What we do know is that depending on the total amount of installed RAM the addressing can change and consequently the allocation of memory to apps and the subsequent retrieval. Although we do not know the underlying details we have enough empirical reports (several consistent reports on the web which I have also been able to verify myself) to know what the results are. Which brings us back to the actual purpose of this thread: what is the max RAM upgrade you can put into a certain MB(P).

A new unibody MB(P) can stably use up to 6 GB of RAM. Currently it cannot handle 8 GB stably. That is all that is certain right now.
( Last edited by Simon; Nov 2, 2008 at 06:52 AM. )
     
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Nov 2, 2008, 10:36 AM
 
1) "Butt" isn't particularly profane in any setting.

2) mduell brings up a very interesting point about addressing, including the THEORETICAL issue that 6GB of address space should be 6GB no matter what. This is very sound from a hardware and OS design perspective.

3) Simon is right in that, lacking real insider data on the 9400GM chipset, we don't know how it really does the addressing.

4) At the moment, all we know is that there is an anomaly in how the newest Mac notebooks handle 6GB of RAM in different configurations, and it doesn't matter if we discuss it to death in terms of angels dancing on the head of metric or Imperial pins.

5) If anyone has REAL information on how the chipset and/or the OS manage RAM addressing, please post it.

In the meantime, let's settle down and discuss brands and their track records instead of whether one theoretical product works better than another theoretical product in a brand new product.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Nov 9, 2008, 04:08 AM
 
Since there have been numerous reports of success and a couple of manufacturers have started selling 6 GB kits for all Crestline MBP generations ("Mid/Late 2007", "Early 2008", I've added this information to the non-unibody MBP entry in this thread.

On a side note, it's funny Apple uses different labels (Mid and Late) for the 2007 MBPs when all they actually did was to change the BTO options in Nov 2007. The MBP itself stayed the same from June 2007 until February 2008.
( Last edited by Simon; Nov 9, 2008 at 04:15 AM. )
     
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Mar 22, 2009, 06:31 AM
 
First post updated to display all RAM update information.
     
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Mar 26, 2009, 07:23 PM
 
Apple has started offering an 8GB kit for the 2.66/2.93 GHz 15" MBP. They do not offer it for the 2.4 GHz 15". There is no mention if it works in the previous 2.53 GHz 15" either.
     
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Mar 31, 2009, 12:23 AM
 
soooo....

i have 2x1gb in my ...MacBook Pro with Core 2 Duo and Calistoga chipset (Late 2006): 3GB / 4GB ***

will a 2x2gb (even though it will only see 3gb ) be beneficial to me or is it no worth it. I could really use more ram, as i open have a lot running at once,
C2D Blackbook Week 44
     
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Mar 31, 2009, 01:08 AM
 
Most likely not.
     
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Mar 31, 2009, 05:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Blizzake View Post
will a 2x2gb (even though it will only see 3gb ) be beneficial to me or is it no worth it. I could really use more ram, as i open have a lot running at once,
Re: your memory needs, you cannot use more than 3 GB RAM.

But, can you expect a performance advantage from two paired 2 GB DIMMs? Not really:

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
A final word on matched DIMM pairs. It is true that memory bandwidth is increased by installing matched memory modules. In actually benchmarks this is something that is most noticed in GPU-dependent tasks (like 3D games) on systems with integrated graphics (like the MacBook). The reason for this is that the GPU has to use RAM as video memory (rather than using dedicated VRAM over a dedicated bus) which means memory bandwidth can become a limitation. Therefore, if you are interested in getting the maximum possible frame rate, you would probably want to install memory in matched pairs. However, this doesn't mean that less matched memory is better than more unmatched memory! If your system is paging out to disk because not enough memory is available (this is something you can find out by looking at Activity Monitor's "System Memory" tab) this will cause a huge performance decrease. This effect is orders of magnitude larger than the slight performance reduction due to unmatched memory pairs. Therefore: If you're paging out with 2 GB of matched memory, DO NOT hesitate to upgrade to an unmatched 3 GB! Of course going to 4 GB would be even better (if your MB supports it).
You do not have integrated graphics. Chances are you will not notice increased memory bandwidth. IOW there's no point in spending more money just to match DIMMs.
     
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Apr 6, 2009, 04:06 AM
 
OreoCookie recently brought an interesting page to my attention.

Apparently Apple is offering a 8 GB kit for the 2.66 GHz 15" MBP.
http://store.apple.com/us/memorymodel/ME_15_2_66_MBP

But they are not offering anything but 4 GB as CTO options when you buy that model of the MBP.
http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MC026LL/A

So is it real or just the webmaster's mistake? Interestingly enough, their general RAM upgrade page doesn't link to that 8 GB kit page. In fact it doesn't link to the high-end 15" MBP at all. Not to the current 2.66 GHz model, not to the previous 2.53 GHz model.
http://store.apple.com/us/memoryfamily/ME_MBP

Any ideas?
     
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Apr 9, 2009, 12:28 PM
 
Apparently, I'm retarded, because I cannot find my FSB speed in the System Profiler.

I have a white MacBook [late 07/early 08] and looking through the guide, I have the GMA X3100, but I cannot find the FSB speed to confirm. Where is it?
     
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Apr 9, 2009, 12:33 PM
 
You will find it in Sys Profiler > Hardware Overview > Bus Speed.

Your MB has an 800 MHz FSB. Keep in mind you still need 667 MHz memory (mem bus speed ≠ FSB clock). PC2-5300 DDR2 SO-DIMMs is what you're looking for.
     
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May 3, 2009, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Blizzake View Post
soooo....

i have 2x1gb in my ...MacBook Pro with Core 2 Duo and Calistoga chipset (Late 2006): 3GB / 4GB ***

will a 2x2gb (even though it will only see 3gb ) be beneficial to me or is it no worth it. I could really use more ram, as i open have a lot running at once,
i have the same issue. but using a Macbook (not pro) (Late 2006), currently with 2gb RAM. im thinking about getting 2x2gb total 4gb RAM to get the 3.3gb and have matched pair.

Was thinking about getting the Corsair low latency 2x2gb (VSA2GSDS667C4), however i've been reading their forums and it seems like many people have problems booting up.
Anyone tried the Corsair low latency on their macbooks successfully?
- if not, maybe i should just get one normal 2gb stick and have an unmatches 2gb + 1gb RAM.
     
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May 3, 2009, 10:23 AM
 
Not a single benchmark done on Macs has ever shown any substantial gains from low-latency RAM.

If you want to get a speed up you need to a) get more RAM, b) upgrade the stock HDD, and c) exchange the old 2006 MB. Going for more expensive RAM will only help the RAM manufacturer but it certainly won't help you.
     
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May 5, 2009, 06:54 AM
 
i mentioned the corsair low latency because its the cheapest option i can find (i live in australia) for a 2x 2gb, for AUD90. there is another corsair which i suppose is the normal one but only sells its single at AUD47, just a bit more when i get two of them. so im not sure which is better for my macbook, - low latency does 'sound' better and cheaper, yet their forums show some ppl having trouble installing it, but that may be a batch of defects.
The difference i can see is that the low latency specs 4-4-4-12-2T, whereas the other is 5-5-5-15-2T. i have no idea what that means. both are like AUD10 aparts so im stumped to which is better to get.

I also do plan to get a 320 7200rpm HDD, which is my main reason i wanted to also get a RAM upgrade together with it.
     
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May 6, 2009, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
**) The Calistoga chipset supports addressing of up to 3GB, but Apple limited the CD MacBook (Pro) to 2GB in firmware.
What is the possibility of someone patching the firmware of the Core Duo Macbook (Pro) to allow the installation of 3GB RAM?
     
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May 7, 2009, 03:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by firefly View Post
What is the possibility of someone patching the firmware of the Core Duo Macbook (Pro) to allow the installation of 3GB RAM?
Zero.

Apple doesn't release there firmware openly. And nobody has so far reverse engineered a firmware update. Had it been possible, it would have already been done by now.
     
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May 20, 2009, 07:26 AM
 
So i just bought Corsair 2x 2gb (4gb) RAM for my macbook and installed it.
To my surprise, when i checked the System Profile it shows it as 4gb RAM memory, rather than what websites have said that it would be only 3.3GB.

I also notice that startup took a little longer than before, but assume its the first time with new ram.
Then i ran a memory test xbench. and the results i got were much lower than my previous results with 2gb just before i upgraded. the results now 78.98 compared to previous 111.26.

For details - Xbench: Comparison then type 'BP Macbook' in search to compare with my original

1.Just why is it so much lower when i have more ram? any reasoning for this? is the ram at fault?
2. Just looking at memory test, there is an increase. but it seems to be barely much at all?
3. Why does it show 4gb? my macbook bought around dec 2006.
     
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May 20, 2009, 08:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by mojohojo View Post
To my surprise, when i checked the System Profile it shows it as 4gb RAM memory, rather than what websites have said that it would be only 3.3GB.
What web sites are telling you that a MacBook running OS X will only report 3.3GB when maxed out with 4GB of RAM?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Simon  (op)
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May 20, 2009, 09:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by mojohojo View Post
So i just bought Corsair 2x 2gb (4gb) RAM for my macbook and installed it.
To my surprise, when i checked the System Profile it shows it as 4gb RAM memory, rather than what websites have said that it would be only 3.3GB.
<snip>
Unfortunately you have not read this thread.

Had you read the thread you would have known that your MB will show 4GB memory. You would have also known that it doesn't make any sense to install more than 3GB. And finally, you would have also learned that Corsair (in this case) is an expensive and hence not very good choice.

Note also that Xbench sucks. It has a long history of being wildly inaccurate. So any 'results' you obtained with it can be discarded. The fact that your MB takes longer to boot after the RAM installation is no surprise either.
     
 
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