Gas station without pumps

2013 August 15

Adding RAM to my MacBook Pro

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:21
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I’ve been having trouble with running out of RAM on my MacBook Pro laptop lately, resulting in huge delays as everything is swapped out to disk. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Firefox is a memory hog, especially if Flash has ever been run.
  2. I’ve been running some very poorly written programs that read in an entire data set to a NumPy array before processing the data (rather than processing the data as it is read).  I know that this program is terribly written, because I wrote it—I needed a quick and dirty test of an algorithm in Python before writing a better implementation with better I/O (which will probably be in C or C++).

My MacBook Pro was bought in mid-2009, only 4 years ago, and I’m not quite ready to replace it.  But I’ve been finding the 4GB RAM in it rather limiting (though not as limiting as the 2kB RAM that my first computer had, or the 128kB of my first Mac).

This week I finally decided to splurge and replace the RAM with (2×4GB) memory cards.  I looked on the web to find out first what Mac I had (using How to Identify MacBook Pro models), then what sort of RAM I needed.  The Crucial web site is a good one for identifying what RAM you need, though there are many others.

Crucial recommended 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-8500 memory module with 1066MHz and CAS latency of 7 and I confirmed the specs with the Apple technical specs web site for my Mac.

I then spent some time looking for cheap RAM that met the specs.  Some of the cheapest RAM was on various e-Bay stores, but they did not give the manufacturer of the RAM, and I was not willing to risk off-brand parts for $5 in savings—I’ve been burned on eBay before.  I found a reasonable price for name-brand RAM on Amazon, which turned out to be for Crucial RAM that was cheaper than buying direct from Crucial—only $65, including shipping.

I ordered the RAM on Sunday 2013 Aug 11, it was shipped on 2013 Aug 12, and  it arrived today (Thurs 2013 Aug 15).

Today I followed Apple’s instructions on MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory to install new RAM. It was very straightforward, and I didn’t even drop any screws. The installation does require a small Phillips screwdriver, but no other tools (unlike some of the early Macs, that needed special tools to open the cases).  Replacing RAM is well within the capability of the average user—at least, the average user who knows how to use a screwdriver.

So now I have an 8GB laptop instead of a 4GB one, and I should get a little less swapping.

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