Testing My Apple MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM

8gbMacBookProAnyone out there have an Apple MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM?  No?  Don’t tell me you are going to let a Microsoft Windows evangelist totally beat you to the finish line on this one!!!

All kidding aside, I decided to pull the two Kingston 4GB SoDIMMs out of my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p and test it with the machines I thought could handle it.  Since nearly all of the laptops I have are Intel “Santa Rosa” PM965 or GM965 mobile chipset based machines, unless the OEM did something specifically to block it I had high confidence they would work. 

This includes the 15.4” Apple MacBook Pro I have.  Here’s a screenshot from my Mac showing it all booted up and running.  My Mac booted without issue and ran perfectly well. This is the original .tiff created by Grab.

For those of you running Parallels, Fusion or other memory hungry applications, I’m sure you’ll be interested in the implications.  Now you can run a number of virtual machines with some pretty large memory allocations.  I would imagine an application like Final Cut Studio would really dig the extra memory as well.

A couple of things that come up when I post stuff like this you can’t verify.  First, you won’t find this in the specs at apple.com.  That doesn’t mean I’m a liar or trying to pull some stunt with Photoshop.  I mean think about it, why would I do such a thing? 

Second, more memory doesn’t automatically equal more speed from the machine.  The 4GB modules are still running at the same speed as the Samsung modules that are normally in my mac.  However, because you have more capacity, you now have the ability to run certain applications in a more efficient manner.  For instance, now you could allocate considerably more memory to a Windows Vista, Windows XP or Linux virtual machine.  That is going to make them run faster.

[UPDATE for 7/6/2008] The model MacBook Pro I have is the late 2007 machine. It’s model MA896LL/A and the exact specification for it are at http://support.apple.com/kb/SP13. Your MacBook Pro will need to be this machine or later to support more than 4GB of memory.

[UPDATE for 7/7/2008]  I have had so many emails from internal and external that I have decided to do a long term test on my MacBook Pro.  Yep, I pulled the 4GB sticks back out of my ThinkPad and they’re back here in my MacBook Pro.  So I’ll run with them for a couple of weeks or longer and see if I encounter any issues. First up, run some virtual
machine testing with some large allocations…

Comments (21)

  1. hubka.net says:

    microsoft man with macbook? wow blaaaaaaaaa

  2. Andy says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for sharing. REALLY COOL!!!

    Do you plan to test these 4GBx2 SODIMMs with a Dell D630?  I have a D630 and wanted to make sure that it will work before I buy the SODIMMs.  

    I pinged Kingston and asked them if D630 was supported.  They said no.  I was a bit surprised/shocked by the response since (as I understand it) the Dell D630 is also a Santa Rosa based laptop.


  3. Keith Combs says:

    Regarding the Dell Latitude D630, I don’t have access to one so I won’t be testing.  I have a D820 that was made a couple of years ago before the Santa Rosa machines came out.  I know it won’t work.

    You could always buy the memory fron someone that has a 30 day return policy and no restocking fees (if they exist).  If they don’t work (doubtful), send them back.

  4. Robin says:

    I’ll be testing with the 630 and 830 shortly and will post my findings. 😉 Keith knows I was one of those begging to borrow his but I should have my own soon. 🙂

  5. Andy says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the follow-up.

    Hi Robin,

    Yes, let us know how it goes with D630/D830 test.  

    Can you list what your BIOS rev is at and whether you had to do any updates to make the 8GB visible?  

    Can you also let us know if your test uses same SODIMM model # as Keith’s?



  6. Brandon Paddock says:

    Cool!  Now you just need to run Windows on it so you can actually address that much memory 😉

  7. John says:

    Hi Keith,

    I have just purchased a MBP, I assume therefore that it would be able to take advantage of 8GB ? What are the dependencies in terms of the chip, should it be Penryn ?

  8. Keith Combs says:

    John, the latest and great MBP should work.  The dependencies are listed above (the intel mobile chipsets) and a 64 bit OS.

  9. Trevor says:

    > Cool!  Now you just need to run Windows on it so you can actually address that much memory 😉

    ?? Uninformed comment of the day

    OSX has supported 64-bit memory addressing for years – you could have 16 GB of RAM in a 2005 model PowerMac G5 and 32 GB in a MacPro today.  

  10. Keith Combs says:

    FYI, the memory sticks I tried are the ones at
    http://shop.kingston.com/partsinfo.asp?ktcpartno=KTL-TP667/4G.  They are back in my ThinkPad now.

  11. Robin says:

    Just got email saying my RAM was delivered by UPS and I am stuck in Houston at Microsoft WPC 🙁 I will post Tomorrow when I get home (I tried to switch to an earlier flight and get home tonight how sad it that)

  12. Keith Combs says:

    Robin, do you have a blog address?

  13. Robin says:

    Sorry for the Delay. 8 week old daughter and a lot of work has flooded me.

    My corporate Blog is supposed to come online next week 🙂

    So Far I have tested the RAM on both of my D630’s and It won’t boot with Both Dimm’s but it will boot with 6GB (@GB DImm and 4GB Dimm)

    I am using the latest A12 BIOS and that’s where it stands. I have a call in to my sources at Dell and will see if they can address it with a BIOS upgrade. Due to the chipset I would assume that with it accepting 6GB it’s possibly a BIOS issue. But you know about assuming 🙂

  14. synriga says:

    I’ve been holding off on getting a MacBook Pro because there is no 8GB mem option. My shop is a Linux/Solaris/Windows development house and I need the 8GB for running VMs simultaneously when on the road.

    If your tests are truly valid. Then I’m sold.

  15. Keith Combs says:

    Although my tests failed, it’s probably just a matter of the memory makers and Apple figuring out what is needs for things to be compatible with the current Macs.

    The future Macs will most likely be based on the Montevina chipsets and thus have quad core, 8-64GB of ram supported, etc.  

    What Apple decides to certify and sell is an entirely different matter.

  16. synriga says:

    Your tests failed?

    From your earlier posts it seemed that you had succeeded.

  17. synriga says:

    Your right. I was reading only this post. Thanks for the redirect.

    Looks like I’ll be getting a Mac Book Pro anyway, I’ll just have to live with memory starved VMs until apple offers an 8GB model.

  18. marco_bicca says:

    Hi Keith,

    I’m willing to try these out:


    I will let you know the results. Maybe different brands might have different behavior. We never know until we try.



  19. Erlend Viddal says:

    Both the Dell D630 and D830 works like a charm with 8GB of ram, so does the D531 although the BIOS reports 4GB installed and 8GB available 😉

    You need the A13 BIOS for the 630 and 830 to use 2x4GB.