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My company will be bulk purchasing Apple hardware, specifically Mac Book Pros. We are looking into increasing the RAM from 4GB to 8GB, however, we have noticed that RAM purchased directly from Apple is exorbitantly expensive. For example, going from 4 to 8GB is an extra $1000.

My question: Is there trusted 3rd party RAM hardware that is proven to work reliably in Apple computers, specifically Mac Book Pros? And can you recommend a good vendor for that hardware?

I am inclined to go with a 3rd party RAM, and have our system administrators do the upgrade rather than paying the high price directly from Apple. But I want to avoid reliability problems with 3rd party RAM which would be expensive (due to wasted time and effort) for our company to resolve, down the road.

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I'm assuming the newer MacBook Pros will accept 8GB. Mine, about 2 1/2 years old, only accepts 4GB. If you're not already certain it may be worth double checking before spending all that money. Incidentally, I use 3rd party RAM in mine. –  John Gardeniers Jul 9 '09 at 21:46

9 Answers 9

I bought Crucial, because I was told it was the same brand and model number that Apple uses. For my 1.5 year old 17" Mac Book Pro (old style, not with the integrated battery), the model number is reported as

BANK 0/DIMM0:

Size: 2 GB Type: DDR2 SDRAM
Speed: 667 MHz Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x7F98000000000000
Part Number: 0x393930353239352D3034352E4130314C4600 Serial Number: 0xCE1622E4

BANK 1/DIMM1:

Size: 2 GB Type: DDR2 SDRAM
Speed: 667 MHz Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x7F98000000000000
Part Number: 0x393930353239352D3034352E4130314C4600 Serial Number: 0xCE1623E4

When I bought it, it was about $400 cheaper to order the MBP from Apple with the minimum 1Gb RAM, throw it away, and buy 4Gb from Crucial. But I managed to sell the 1Gb on Craigslist, so I saved even more.

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I've always liked Crucial. Guaranteed to work and all that. Good prices. Nice ram selector so you know your getting the right stuff.

In general any ram with the proper specs will work in a Mac. For new hardware though a guarantee is always nice.

Edit - I ALWAYS go with 3rd party ram in Macs. The prices Apple charges for ram is ridiculous.

Edit 2 -

I've never used them but I've heard good things about Mushkin. They are a bit cheaper and are currently the only 8GB Mac DDR3 kit on newegg.com. I've always found Neweggs egg ratings to be a good indicator and almost all of their rated hardware is 4-5 eggs (very good).

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+1 - Crucial is great. Plus, it's guaranteed, so no worries there. RAM is far too expensive if you buy it direct, whether you're talking about Apple or even Dell... –  Andy May Jun 23 '09 at 16:52
    
+1 - I always go to Crucial to get the specs for my memory. Their configuration tool is great. Sometimes, though... I'll go to Newegg to buy the memory. –  mhud Jun 24 '09 at 2:35
    
+1 for crucial, never had a problem with the RAM i've purchased from them. –  Dave Cheney Jun 24 '09 at 2:44
    
I always buy RAM from Crucial. It's not worth it to save a few bucks to have your computer crash on you. –  Ken Liu Aug 16 '09 at 17:50

I usually use crucial for my RAM upgrades, as they are good value and they guarantee the RAM will work, but looking at the price for 8GB for a Mac Book Pro you won't be saving much if any over the Apple price.

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Crucial provide ram certified compatible with apple computers. but apple provide 4GB as 2x2GB and there is only 2 slots. So you will have to buy 2x4G and you will get a lots of useless 2GB memory. 2x4GB at crucial cost 900$. Generally mac resellers sells compatible ram such as Corsair, Dane-Elec and so on.. but in every case this will cost a lot.

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I've used 3rd party RAM just fine in macs, however I found Apple's price to be about 10% over the cost of Crucial or Kingston - 8GB of RAM is SERIOUSLY expensive, where ever you get it.

Another thought is: if you open a MacBook Pro, you MAY void the warrenty..... which may be more a stackoverflow issue than a serverfault one :)

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Did I miss something? Crucial 4GB RAM is ~$100. Apple is a $1000. crucial.com/store/checkout/…. The difference is > %10. –  Julien Chastang Jun 23 '09 at 16:49
    
That is for DDR2 ram, not DDR3. Crucial 8GB DDR3 kit is $899 –  Simurr Jun 23 '09 at 16:52
    
You are correct. My bad. –  Julien Chastang Jun 23 '09 at 16:55
1  
Opening the Macbook Pro does not void your warranty, but of course you can't claim warranty with Apple for the RAM so you'll end up having to do more work before you can decide if the RAM or the Macbook Pro is bad. –  Martijn Heemels Jun 23 '09 at 17:23
    
At least all the local mac shops (haven't tried the Apple store yet) fully expect to see non-apple ram and conveniently ignore it... After all they all sell kingston ram to all their customers in the first place. –  Alexandre Carmel-Veilleux Jun 24 '09 at 1:50

Other world computing is 679.99$ for 8GB.

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Apple_MacBook_MacBook_Pro/Upgrade/DDR3

We've used them to bring Mac Pros to 16GB (currently 299$) and sundry other apple ram. They're cheaper then Kingston/Crucial and they warranty for life and to work in macs.

The current Apple ram prices for MBPs are so "reasonable" because of the refresh. In 2-3 months, they'll be back to 400+$ over market.

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+1 for Other World Computing. –  Jauder Ho Jul 12 '09 at 6:15

DO NOT BUY SMC BRAND RAM

I've experienced a greater than 100% failure rate (that's right, the replacements had to be replaced) with SMC branded ram (it seems to be very common among Apple resellers in Australia) in both servers and laptops.

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for my money, the premium required for a "Macintosh compatibility guarantee" from Crucial/OWC etc. is excessively steep.

I've bought commodity third-party RAM -- i.e. cheap stuff -- qualified simply on the basis of scoring at least 80%/4+ Eggs average out of 50+ total ratings, for:

  • PowerBook G4 2006
  • Mac Mini (Core Duo) 2006
  • iMac (Core 2 Duo) 2007
  • MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo) 2008

from NewEgg. all have worked without issue.

I'd take a shrewd bet that the high-ticket retail brands experience DOA rates that are in the same order as the other basically-credible players' rates.

having in a past life worked in QA at an accelerator card manufacturer, my experience has been that with solid-state componentry, the first standard deviation of early failures present as DOAs; and the vast majority of the remainder (i.e. through roughly the 99th percentile) will croak within 90 days.

once memory gets through the first 90 days, its lifespan will almost certainly exceed the productive lifespan of the system itself -- assuming that installations are done with basic care, particularly concerning ESD (electrostatic damage). making sure installers and work surfaces are grounded before, and during, their handling of memory and circuit boards is well worthwhile. it's when people aren't careful (or even aware) of the need to prevent ESD that stuff dies inside normal MTBF lifespans.

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I always go to dealram to search for memory, Mac or PC. They have a nice configuration engine which lets you choose the model of your computer, and then it will display compatible memory. They show you both the vendor (seller) and the actual manufacturer of the memory being advertised.

Crucial as a manufacturer is good. OWC as a vendor is good. And dealram shows you the current best prices.

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