64-bit MacBook Pro notebooks may take up to 16GB of RAM

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Date: Wednesday, October 26th, 2011, 06:12
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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In a somewhat surprising discovery, the cool cats at CNET, have discovered that despite the specified amount of RAM your MacBook Pro can max out at, the machine will still recognize and use more RAM if it’s available. With that in mind, the article recommends using the System Profile utility.

It gets interesting from there:

“These days all of Apple’s Macs are 64-bit machines, which means that theoretically they can access terabytes upon terabytes of memory; however, despite this there is a physical hardware limit on the amount of RAM a system can contain. This is true both in terms of physical capability but also in a built-in limit in the system’s memory controllers on how much RAM it can recognize. As a result, despite having 64-bit capability, many systems are built with limitations that allow them to hold a maximum of 4 or 8GB of RAM.

Even though they are 64-bit capable, Apple’s MacBook Pro systems have been offered with 8GB RAM as the maximum configuration. More recent models, including those released in 2011, have been built with a higher RAM limit, so even though Apple only offers 8GB RAM and mentions this as the maximum amount of RAM the systems can hold, in reality they can recognize up to 16GB if you add it.

These systems are the ones with the model number series of MacBookPro8,x or later, which include the following:
– MacBook Pro 13-inch 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

– MacBook Pro 13-inch 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

– MacBook Pro 13-inch 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 13-inch 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 17-inch 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 17-inch 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 17-inch 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

– MacBook Pro 17-inch 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

If you have one of these systems, then you should be able to install up to 16GB of RAM if needed, which can be purchased from vendors such as Crucial or Other World Computing.”

While this upgrade is possible, do keep in mind that it will not be cheap. Even though memory prices are very low these days because low PC demand has resulted in a surplus of components, the low prices are only for relatively common RAM modules, which include the 4GB and 8GB modules. The 16GB upgrades are not as common for laptop systems, so expect to pay around US$600 if you want 16GB of RAM in a laptop system.

If you’ve tried this on your MacBook Pro, please let us know how it went and how much you paid for the RAM. Beyond that, have fun and let us know what your notebook’s true maxed out RAM capacity is.

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