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Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro Memory Upgrade Performance Testing & Benchmarks at OtherWorldComputing.com

MacBook 17 (2006-2008 Unibody) Upgrading Memory
in your MacBook Pro 17"

More RAM = Faster Mac!

More Memory can make all the difference and these testing results and benchmarks are here to give an idea of just how much. More memory is consistently better, but be upgrading with a matched pair or one module at a time - pretty much whatever additional memory you end up with, you'll notice the difference it makes.


Apple MacBook Pro 17" Core 2 Duo Memory Testing of 1.0GB, 2.0GB, 3.0GB and 4.0GB configurations by Other World Computing.

Photoshop CS3 Results

Adobe Photoshop CS3 is the 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)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 57.44
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 57.65
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 70.03
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 69.52
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 59.67
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 57.66
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 69.53
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 68.97
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008 "Unibody")
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 67.07
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 65.06
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 89.97 69.82 69.56
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 87.28 69.13 64.79
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 106.00 77.59 75.00
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 89.22 73.32 71.90

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

Not Tested 99.87 77.47 74.59
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 91.97 72.35 71.38

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

127.28 114.78 83.28 79.69
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
111.90 101.85 80.25 77.72
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache
131.87 120.69 89.40 86.46
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200 RPM Drive
113.03 117.16 83.75 80.79

Of note here is the substantial improvement that the MacBook Pro 2.33 with the upgraded hard drive showed. Photoshop certainly uses the hard drive as scratch disk space, even with lots of system RAM.


"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)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 59.37
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 61.46
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 70.78
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 70.59
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 65.08
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 64.28
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 78.12
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 78.00
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008 "Unibody")
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 70.22
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 74.84
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 110.50 88.31 88.28
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 104.85 87.72 86.90
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 128.34 100.25 97.44
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 112.25 91.22 90.78

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

Not Tested 131.56 110.47 108.54
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 125.34 107.63 106.41

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

172.56 153.31 123.75 123.63
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
167.87 138.81 117.47 116.03
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache
144.16* 134.84* 105.44* 103.60*
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200 RPM Drive
132.44* 128.78* 103.75* 102.32*

*Important note - MacBook Pro systems 2.4GHz and faster are tested with the higher resolution 1920x1080 screen option versus the 2.33GHz systems which have a 1680x1050 screen resolution.


"RAM Hog" Results

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

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 73.60
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 75.45
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 78.75
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 78.15
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 70.19
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 72.92
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 82.94
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 82.48
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008 "Unibody")
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 87.94
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 98.46
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 208.54 116.41 69.00
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 182.75 111.34 68.82
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 306.10 136.53 74.44
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 185.87 128.87 71.98

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

Not Tested 284.90 153.13 74.67
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 191.88 119.06 78.16

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

483.97 257.06 85.33 78.94
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
457.19 237.54 83.75 73.31
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache
436.75 262.28 95.12 91.69
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200 RPM Drive
417.41 245.19 93.87 89.40

Notice how the faster hard drive truly improves performance of the slower computer - even beating the faster processor in low memory situations. Obviously using the higher RPM hard drive as RAM swap space improves performance.


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)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 94.23
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 94.65
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 100.10
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 100.12
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 112.56
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 112.22
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 89.19
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 89.65
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008 "Unibody")
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 96.57
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 96.68
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 54.00 52.90 54.55
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 53.75

53.46

53.77
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 53.96 53.18 53.18
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 53.78 54.43 54.24

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

Not Tested 44.10 44.75 45.33
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 46.15 45.95 46.11

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

42.29 42.07 42.55 43.47
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
42.53 42.20 42.63 43.86
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache
39.69* 39.24* 39.68* 39.26*
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200 RPM Drive
51.70* 56.27* 51.58* 55.46*

The faster hard drive really shines here because Halo hits the hard drive so much for it's graphics data it is displaying. *Important note - MacBook Pro systems 2.4GHz and faster are tested with the higher resolution 1920x1080 screen option versus the 2.33GHz systems which have a 1680x1050 screen resolution.


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 did not either touch System memory or Video Memory. Higher Point results are better.

RAM Configuration 1024 MB
(2x 512)
2048 MB
(2x 1024)
3072 MB
(1024+2048)
4096 MB
(2x 2048)
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 240.56
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 239.45
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 228.02
MacBook Pro 17" (Mid 2009 - "Unibody" with ExpressCard/34 slot)
2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 234.26
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 232.49
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 235.81
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache)
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 203.48
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009 - "Unibody")
2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo (6MB L2 Cache) w/ Hitachi 7K320 Hard Drive upgrade
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 202.84
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008 "Unibody")
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 207.86
MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested 213.13
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 207.14 212.53 215.07
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 211.37 212.99 215.35
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache
Not Tested 201.22 208.92 211.35
MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2008)
2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo 6MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 208.23 207.08 212.43

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

Not Tested 189.26 185.78 195.10
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
Not Tested 189.42 185.71 189.47

Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache

172.60 172.99 173.09 174.25
Macbook Pro 17" (Mid 2007)
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200RPM Drive
175.10 173.31 173.52 174.00
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache
170.52 170.60 169.90 171.41
Macbook Pro 17" (Core 2 Duo)
2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 4MB L2 Cache + 7200 RPM Drive
170.37 172.26 171.36 172.54