Mac / Tutorials

Tune-Up Your MacBook Part I – RAM Upgrade

This is an article about my positive Mid-2010 MacBook upgrade experiences I had so far.

Earlier this year I bought 2x4GB DDR memory modules (1066 Mhz, DDR3), which really improved the performance of my “old” machine.

Since MacOS is made for multitasking, where you have many applications open at a time, it really relies on a sufficient amount of RAM. Originally, my MacBook had only 2×1 GB memory, so I went to Amazon and saw this $40 offer for good quality 2x4GB Kingston memory modules an ordered them right away. Upgrading the memory modules itself was very easy and took me not longer than 10 minutes. All you need is the right screwdriver – note that this upgrade won’t affect your warranty by the way.
After this little surgery was completed, I really noticed an increase in performance. I think the $40 was a really good investment. Unfortunately, if you order your MacBook at Apple with extra memory, it costs so much more (I think for the MacBook Pro it was ~$150 more that they wanted for a 8 GB version over the standard 4 GB), thus I think it is really worth doing it yourself.
The next thing I am planning to do is replacing my 250 GB hard disk by an SSD. I have a couple of friend who did this recently, and it will definitely speed up your machine, too. Most notably, the boot will perform within a few seconds instead of the usual ~ 2 minutes, and the computer goes to sleep almost immediately if you close the lid. Also, general writing and reading tasks of your hard drive will increase significantly. Furthermore you won’t have to worry about damaged hard disks anymore if you move your MacBook around or drop it when it is on. However, MacBook hard drives have an in-built security lock mechanism that locks the disk read/write head of the hard disk if there are shocks from the outside – this is where this clicking sound is coming from.
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12 thoughts on “Tune-Up Your MacBook Part I – RAM Upgrade

  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I believe that you could do with some pics to drive the message residence a bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. An excellent read. Ill definitely be back.

  2. I am not a tech person, so excuse the questions, however I am interested in adding more memory as the article above recommends because my MacBook runs so slow. Will I loose any data, pictures etc when I change out the modules? Is there such a thing as adding too much memory? I am currently using 2 GB 667 MHz and my capacity is 319 GB with 179 available (not sure if that is relevant). Thanks!!

    • Hey, Gary. I won’t use anything, since the hard disc where your data is stored permanently, and the RAM (Random Access Memory) are two different things. On the RAM the computer saves only the data, with which the computer is just working at the given moment. When you reboot the computer, the RAM will be emptied (because it requires voltage/current to store data).

      The 319 GB refers to your hard disk, which is your “permanent” data storage unit. If you add more memory, you are not going to touch this, and thus you won’t loose any data.

      Basically, you can’t add to much memory, since you only have to slots for memory modules in your MacBook. The size limit for your MacBook is 4 GB per module, so you can’t have more than 8 GB (2 x 4 GB). I would suggest buying 2 x 4GB RAM modules. I bought them for ~$40 last year on amazon.

      I would also suggest to run disk utility for the permission and disk repair if you haven’t done so recently. It is recommended every 2-3 months. You can find disk utility by simply typing the phrase into spotlight, but I would suggest to restart your computer, and while it is booting, hold down the keys + where you can access disk utility. Pls let me know if you have any further questions, I’d be happy to help!

      • Hi Sebastian, and thank you very much for your reply. I will go forward and purchase the memory modules as you suggest. I tried to run the disk utility and I believe I was successful with the permission side (evaluation and repair), however I tried to run the disk repair side and the computer began to repair, but then froze up (twice). I could not move the curser or do anything other than shut the computer down. If you have any suggestions regarding this problem I would appreciate it. However I will now move forward and secure the new memory modules. Thanks again!

  3. Sebastian, just wanted to let you know that I replaced the memory modules in my MacBook and I am seeing a huge difference in speed and responsiveness. Best money I have spent. Thanks again for your help!

    • sebastian: thank you for your kind advice. i recently bought 2 4gig ram on sale but only 1 will load. the top slot will not accept the 4, only the old 2. i have mid 2010 13″ mbp. any help appreciated.
      david

      • I am very sorry to hear that – I hope the RAM module is not damaged. What happens if you put the “working” 4 Gb into the top slot, and 2 GB into the bottom slot to exclude that this is a problem with the slot? And what happens if you use the 4Gb that was working in the bottom slot, into the top slot, and a 2 GB at the bottom?

        But maybe you could also try the Hardware Diagnosis (http://scientific-ocean.com/2013/01/25/1300/) with the two 4 Gb.

        PS: I also have a mid 2010 13″, everything worked perfectly fine

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