How do I know if my Macbook needs more RAM ?

If you need a quick and effective way to increase your Mac’s performance, a RAM upgrade may be the answer. Multi-tasking is improved dramatically and processing times for memory intensive software (think photoshop or final cut) are reduced significantly. The outcome is often a great increase in overall productiveness.

Read below to find out how much memory your mac is currently using and if installing more would be worthwhile:

Open your Activity Monitor (it should be in your Utilities folder). Click on the System Memory tab. If the pie chart is mostly green and blue (representing free and inactive memory, respectively), then you’re in good shape. If the chart is mostly yellow and red (active and wired), then you’re running out of memory and may experience problems. Try opening your activity monitor while conducting different activities. For example, you’ll probably have RAM to spare if you’re only checking email, but rendering video will probably reveal a different result.

How much Memory should I get?

Its pretty simple. Get the most that your system supports.

What kind of RAM should I get?

Don’t be overly concerned with the brand name. Apple usually buys Samsung, Hynix and Micron modules in bulk. There is nothing special about Apple branded memory (on top of that, Apple’s mark-up is outrageous). Any brand should do- just make sure it fits the specs of your system. Also, consider the warranty offered. Some offer 1 year while others offer a lifetime warranty- the choice should be obvious.


Any modern mac computer will have at least two memory slots. Although the brand name isn’t altogether very important, some issues can arise if you mix brands (eg. run one Samsung and one Micron). It is strongly advised that you not do this.

The different variations can be intimidating for the unfamiliar. Just remember this: If your computer calls for DDR2, then use it and nothing else. DDR3 will not speed up your computer- it just won’t work. Do not mix up your DDR’s under any circumstances.

In general, the memory that you purchase for your macbook will have the ability to “downclock”. For example, a 1333Mhz module will run in a laptop which is designed for 1066Mhz. Doing this has both benefits and drawbacks. The major benefit of doing this is pricing. Like any other commodity, scarcity can result in price increases. It may be a challenge to find 1066Mhz , as it is seldom used anymore (and the price has therefore increased). In this case it may be worth your while to purchase 1333mhz instead.

It should be noted however that doing this may overheat your computer, especially in older macbooks. Additionally, if your mac contains a “Penryn” processor (2008, 2009), it is advisable that you use only the exact RAM speed specified by Apple- some issues have been reported.

Geeks On The Go specializes in providing on-site computer repair and services for small to medium-sized businesses and residential clients in Bergen County NJ & Rockland County NY. We offer top-notch quality support and service at competitive flat rate prices for all your computer repair, laptop repair, mac repair and computer consulting needs. Mac Repair NJ

Bob Hafemeister is the founder of Geeks On The Go Computer Service in Park Ridge, NJ

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