Macbook mid 2009 and Macbook Pro mid 2010

Been using and playing with virtual machines a lot and it is pretty clear, you benefit from having an SSD and more memory. While the latest macbooks are faster, etc., even a five year old machine still work great. I’m amazed at the quality of the keyboard and the cases and the displays. The SSDs on the Unibody Macs are easy to replace and the back comes off with screws, so what’s the maximum RAM you can put into each machine? The good news is that many Macs can support more than what Apple says as noted by EveryMac’s very complete list:

Actual Maximum RAM of All G3 and Later Macs – Macs By Capability @ EveryMac.com

The actual maximum RAM of each recent — G3 and later — Mac is listed below. For complete specs on a particular system, click on the name of the Mac (left column).

Please note asterisks, as these indicate that particularly important details (such as a different “official” maximum RAM capacity) are provided on the complete specs page.

So here are some relevant ones for us:

  • MacBook “Core 2 Duo” 2.0 13″ (Unibody) 8 GB* (Apple says 4GB, but just get 2x4GB of PC3 8500 and you are set). For power geeks, the way that DDR3 SRAM is a little strange, but basically, it means it runs at 133 1/3 MHz memory clock which is 4x the internal bus clock in the chip (533 1/3 MHz) and this is run with two channels (1066 2/3 Mega-transfers per second). Each transfer is for 8 bytes Or 64 bits leading to a peak transfer rate of 8533 1/3 MBps which is why it is called PC3 8500 as well as called 1066MHz memory. In general, the MBps is 8x the MHz for DDR3 memory.
  • MacBook Pro “Core i5″ 2.4 15” Mid-2010 8 GB (Need the same sticks as above)
  • Mac Mini “Core 2 Duo” 2.4 (Mid-2010). 16GB if running OS X 10.7.5 or higher with latest EFI. Needs 16GB of PC3-8500

As an aside in looking at Newegg, there is Mac specific memory, so their 976644 is for PCs and 976644A is for Macs. I don’t quite know what the difference is, but interesting to see. After reading all the reviews, it looks like paying a little more for Kingston gets you higher quality than Mushkin or G.Skill. Both seem to have about 20% of the people who did the reviews say they were bad (the actual defect rate is probably much lower since I would guess happy people don’t post reviews, but still the price difference is $62 vs. $82 so while a huge percentage, $20 isn’t that big a deal when memory needs to so reliable :=)

Also because the PC8500 is nearly obsolete, it is actually more expensive than the faster PC12800, and apparently, this is supported but won’t run faster. From Amazon, it seems like you want the Crucial, which has a good rating and is popular:

The same is true with 2x8GB sticks needed for a Mac Mini 2010 and note as an aside that replacing these sticks will give a pair of 2x2GB sticks as spares, so looking for lowest price point of this set, we see:

This is what eHow says as a confirmation

Difference Between Mac Memory & PC Memory | eHow

Some commercial memory may state that it is for Macs or PCs. However, all third-party memory should be compatible with both Macs and personal computers, even if the packaging does not explicitly state as much.