Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

Testing My Apple MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM

Testing My Apple MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM

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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  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 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...

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  • microsoft man with macbook? wow blaaaaaaaaa

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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. :)

  • 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?



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

  • 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 ?

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

  • > 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.  

  • FYI, the memory sticks I tried are the ones at  They are back in my ThinkPad now.

  • 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)

  • Robin, do you have a blog address?

  • 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 :)

  • Hi Robin,

    Are you using these SODIMMs:


  • 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.