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Performance testing of Apple MacBook Core Duo and Core 2 Duo Models with various Memory configurations at OtherWorldComputing.com

MacBook 13.3 (2006-2008 Unibody) Upgrading Memory
in your MacBook/MacBook Pro 13"

"To Pair or Not to Pair"

Our testing first began in December of 2006 to provide information on what, if any benefit was gained from using matched pairs of memory in Apple’s Macbook, Mac mini, and certain iMac models which share system memory with an onboard and integrated Intel video chipset. Apple suggests pairs for such systems and from this we would infer there to be some benefit from the 128 Bit addressing (which having installed pairs ‘engages’) in relationship to system video performance.

*See original December 2006 article*

Based on the results from our series of real-world application testing, it has since been our recommendation that having more memory installed via a non-matched pair provides better system performance than a lesser amount of memory attained from an installed pair. Simply put – the more total memory, however configured, the better.

Most recently we have completed testing for and added the latest Feb/2008 MacBook 2.1GHz and 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo systems. Compared to the Nov/2007 MacBook 2.0GHz and 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo models they replace – these systems feature only a 3MB Shared L2 Cache compared to a 4MB Shared L2 Cache on the aforementioned prior models. Based on our test results, this reduced L2 Cache significantly reduces the performance of these new models when only 2.0GB or less memory is installed. It’s not until 3.0GB or more memory is installed in the 2.1GHz or 2.4GHz model that the benefits of the faster processor speeds really begin to materialize.

*MacBook Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz and 2.16GHz models are able to accept a matched pair of 2GB modules for 4.0GB total, but only fully utilize the first 3.0GB of installed memory. Even so, with these systems, there is some benefit to having the matched pair of 4.0GB installed.

**Tests conducted on these models with Apple OS 10.4.x Tiger and slightly different test software versions. This explains some variations in test results. All other model results tested with identical test base.

Apple MacBook & MacBook Pro 13.3" Memory Testing of 1.0GB, 2.0GB, 3.0GB and 4.0GB configurations by Other World Computing.


Photoshop CS3 Results

Adobe Photoshop CS3 is a common, Intel-native iteration of the popular image editing program.

This test measures the time (in seconds) it takes to execute a custom 21-step action script using Adobe Photoshop CS3. Lower times are better.

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
1536 MB
(1024+512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
2560 MB
(2048+512)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 66.59
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 64.48
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested 102.94 Not Tested 76.22 74.06
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested 95.26 Not Tested 72.10 73.09
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo
not tested not tested 96.31 not tested 83.34 75.18
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 90.23 not tested 79.15 72.48

MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 99.34 not tested 81.19 79.06
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 92.28 not tested 77.84 77.19
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 106.12 not tested 91.25 89.22
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 100.22 not tested 89.63 89.41
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 105.69 not tested 91.48 88.15
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 99.92 not tested 90.11 87.73

MacBook 13" (Early 2008 Model)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 107.63 not tested 80.78 78.41
MacBook (Early 2008 Model)
2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
128.72 124.25 116.31 106.40 89.37 87.10
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
118.34 111.29 104.60 99.53 86.84 84.50
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
157.28 145.66 124.19 109.50 97.78 96.03
MacBook 13" (Mid 2007 Model)
2.16GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)**
140.91 129.84 126.13 116.91 95.00 92.66*
MacBook 13" (Nov 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core 2 Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
149.97 143.00 137.07 131.15 109.00 107.90*
MacBook 13" (May 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
169.86 164.69 158.59 Not
Supported
Not
Supported
Not
Supported

"Stress Test" Results

This test also times how long it takes Adobe Photoshop CS3 to run a series of 21 actions. However, in addition to Photoshop, the iTunes Visualizer is also set to run. This generally taxes both the video card and the processor. Lower times are better.

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
1536 MB
(1024+512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
2560 MB
(2048+512)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 75.12
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 73.65
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested 134.22 Not Tested 83.10 88.72
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested 122.48 Not Tested 80.15 85.56
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo
not tested not tested 125.38 not tested 101.92 90.15
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 124.56 not tested 100.98 89.59

MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 117.53 not tested 103.60 101.84
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 115.22 not tested 102.78 100.91
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 136.28 not tested 121.13 120.60
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 131.60 not tested 120.69 119.53
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 137.62 not tested 107.45 104.47
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 132.48 not tested 106.21 102.58

MacBook 13" (Early 2008 Model)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 122.94 not tested 96.63 90.66
MacBook (Early 2008 Model)
2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
153.97 138.72 133.31 125.97 107.06 105.63
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
139.40 127.41 120.85 119.38 104.66 102.65
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
182.16 151.75 144.25 133.40 119.50 116.75
MacBook 13" (Mid 2007 Model)
2.16GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)**
150.56 147.62 142.10 132.25 116.56 113.53*
MacBook 13" (Nov 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core 2 Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
170.85 162.10 157.20 150.47 131.16 126.91*
MacBook 13" (May 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
201.53 186.68 181.43 Not
Supported
Not
Supported
Not
Supported

"RAM Hog" Results

This test times how long it takes to run our standard 21-step Photoshop action in Photoshop CS3 when 50% othe installed RAM is taken up with a Parallels virtual machine. Lower times are better.

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
1536 MB
(1024+512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
2560 MB
(2048+512)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 83.53
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 82.24
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested 164.07 Not Tested 123.09 91.16
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested 145.46 Not Tested 120.84 90.48
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo
not tested not tested 168.34 not tested 136.58 105.31
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 158.48 not tested 116.56 98.48

MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 229.00 not tested 128.13 81.00
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 210.50 not tested 118.75 79.32
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 234.09 not tested 151.38 90.40
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 213.31 not tested 131.63 88.37
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 239.45 not tested 158.51 102.87
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 224.84 not tested 155.58 100.08

MacBook 13" (Early 2008 Model)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 262.72 not tested 157.09 78.12
MacBook (Early 2008 Model)
2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
1475.89 363.54 279.84 224.72 183.84 86.34
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
1129.32 358.82 253.25 211.88 157.27 85.15
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
1196.00 396.31 312.81 246.78 185.41 94.59
MacBook 13" (Mid 2007 Model)
2.16GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)**
not tested 352.06 281.28 230.37 179.78 174.59*
MacBook 13" (Nov 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core 2 Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
not tested 362.75 318.59 225.94 186.65 180.25*
MacBook 13" (May 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
not tested 397.97 319.81 Not
Supported
Not
Supported
Not
Supported

Halo Results

In order to heavily tax the video card, we ran the time demo of the Intel-native version of the popular game, Halo.

Results are the average frame rate (in frames per second) achieved. Higher results are better.

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
1536 MB
(1024+512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
2560 MB
(2048+512)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 80.55
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 80.45
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested 84.14 Not Tested 84.54 84.18
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested 84.16 Not Tested 84.95 84.09
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo
not tested not tested 73.79 not tested 77.66 80.55
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 72.95 not tested 76.48 80.19

MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 42.72 not tested 42.86 42.78
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 43.58 not tested 43.48 43.08
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)l
not tested not tested 43.27 not tested 43.74 43.53
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 44.23 not tested 44.67 44.98
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 70.62 not tested 71.82 72.66
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 72.37 not tested 71.08 72.94

MacBook 13" (Early 2008 Model)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 30.26 not tested 25.91 30.28
MacBook (Early 2008 Model)
2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
29.09 29.21 29.77 28.47 29.49 29.81
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
29.28 22.37 29.79 29.13 29.87 29.92
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
28.52 28.72 29.13 28.30 29.12 29.19
MacBook 13" (Mid 2007 Model)
2.16GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)**
14.40 14.63 14.94 14.72 14.57 14.42*
MacBook 13" (Nov 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core 2 Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
14.28 13.80 14.30 13.56 13.97 14.24*
MacBook 13" (May 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
13.18 12.85 13.15 Not
Supported
Not
Supported
Not
Supported

XBench Results

XBench is a standardized utility for measuring the performance of your computer, as compared to a "baseline" computer. (More information and the application itself can be found here.)

For this test, we checked all the options except for the Disk Test, as it was the only one that did not touch either System memory or Video Memory. Higher Point results are better.

 

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
1536 MB
(1024+512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
2560 MB
(2048+512)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 207.79
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 210.56
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested 185.85 Not Tested 187.53 186.78
MacBook Pro 13" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with SD card slot)
2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested 188.56 Not Tested 190.62 190.06
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo
not tested not tested 167.80 not tested 169.05 166.03
MacBook 13" (Mid 2009 - White)
2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 165.48 not tested 169.89 166.57

MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 186.86 not tested 190.48 188.56
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 188.39 not tested 190.65 190.08
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 173.31 not tested 174.27 174.68
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - "Unibody")
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 173.65 not tested 173.47 171.99
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
not tested not tested 154.07 not tested 157.84 159.21
MacBook 13" (Late 2008 Model - White)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
not tested not tested 158.99 not tested 160.62 163.94

MacBook 13" (Early 2008 Model)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)

not tested not tested 93.32 not tested 95.65 93.54
MacBook (Early 2008 Model)
2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo (3MB L2 Cache)
83.48 83.27 83.40 83.65 83.55 83.85
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
84.24 84.89 85.77 85.70 85.64 85.66
MacBook 13" (Late 2007 Model)
2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)
77.65 77.26 77.98 76.28 77.08 78.25
MacBook 13" (Mid 2007 Model)
2.16GHz Core 2 Duo (4MB L2 Cache)**
164.24 160.90 165.20 163.18 161.33 165.59*
MacBook 13" (Nov 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core 2 Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
140.61 140.20 141.72 140.35 139.07 141.48*
MacBook 13" (May 2006 Model)
1.83GHz Core Duo (2MB L2 Cache)**
124.38 123.81 124.69 Not
Supported
Not
Supported
Not
Supported
 

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