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.