Early 2011 model, A1278 / 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz i7 processor.

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What's the fastest stable RAM for this MBP (above 1333 C9)?

I know this machines stock/advised ram is DDR3 1333 CL9 SODIMM

But who tried DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1866 CL9 or CL11 RAM in it, and how did it perform.

Was it recognized (i, how stable was it, did it become too hot, wat were the real-life results, what was the brand, and the clock speed?

Because this MBP has an dual core i7-2620M processor and has an IGP with shared memory, I think (and saw at GeekBench and in some forum threads) it has benifts to use faster RAM.

I've seen numerous (well 375, to be precise) GeekBench and some threads from people working with this kind of ram (probably Corsair Vengeance or Kingston HyperX).

Fact: it's not (always) clocked back to 1333 MHz at least that's not what synthetic benchmarks tell us.

Who wants to share his or hers experiences...

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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the information on cooling and battery life that's something to consider...

My system does not have a 9400M processor the 13-inch is totally dependent on the lame HD3000 IGP

Paying the same for faster (but more common?) RAM-modules is not a waste of money IMHO as long as it does not damage the machine that is....

My processor is Sandy Bridge AFAIK, the chipset is perfectly capable using higher speeds as can be seen on AnandTech.


Apple only makes MacBook Pro's with a GPU. Are you sure you have a MacBook Pro or do you have a MacBook Air? If you do have an Air model then you can't alter the RAM memory (soldered on the logic bd.) only the SSD storage drive.


Hi Dan, here are the specs from my Mac.


There really in no dedicated GPU in this thing. It's only the HD3000 and it's mostly crippled by memory bandwidth.


Opps! :-{ - I stand corrected - Your right the newest versions do use the IGP and don't have any GPU


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Arjan -

A better way is to look at the specs of your given systems CPU & North Bridge chips (go to Intel's Web site). See what the specs call out for and use that speed and latency factored memory modules. That is the ideal memory module, using anything else is a waste of money as the system can't leverage it.

To be honest here, I (and most people) stick to what Apple calls out in their docs on what memory modules to use. I don't think you'll see enough performance gain in swapping out memory Vs good house cleaning of your running OS/App RAM load & HD fragmentation. As well as having enough RAM and free HD space for the system to use when it needs it.

Let me put it to you a different way: You have a car which calls out for a given octane level for the gasoline (petrol) it requires. Does using a higher or lower octane level fuel change the MPG/KmPG of the car in real life that you can measure? Sorry no. Yes, you might get some knocking but that doesn't translate to a different MPG/KmPG you can measure.

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Hi Dan,

Thanks for your answer.

I see this more or less as an experiment and i'm always a bit puzzled when I find out Apple recommends for instance 8GB of MAX ram while 16GB is also perfectly possible.

The 375+ GeekBench results from people using higher clocked RAM triggered my investigative mind so to say and I was (am) wondering what their experiences were.

The things i'm especially interested in are the performance (increase or decrease) of the IGP (Intel HD3000) since if the shared memory performs better the Graphics Card performs better. At least that's what one can conclude from DDR3/IGP tests at AnandTech.

Prices of 1333 and 1600 RAM are more or less equal now and I figure: Why not use faster RAM if has the same price and has no stability issues (maybe at the cost of some extra battery drain).

GeekBench points me in this directions but thats only synthetic, so...

I really hope to hear the good or bad stories from some people who tried.


What Apple states as the maximum amount of RAM for a given system is not related to the speed or latency of a given RAM module. Don't let that confuse you.

In the case of laptops Apple (as well as others) spec memory limits due to the nature of the system - battery life and cooling are the biggest factors.

Over time memory technology improves (just like CPU's) as such things do change! Memory modules made just a few years ago consume more power and created a lot more heat than what is being made today (about 30% improvement). So what Apple defined back then has in most cases no bearing today.

As long as the I/O is possible, sure install more memory following the memory vendors guidelines.

You need to re-read what I stated above. More to the point:

- Installing faster memory than what the North Bridge chip of the given system can support is a waste of money (even for Intel's IGP need of shared memory). BTW - By default you're not using the IGP, you're using the GeForce 9400M GPU which has it's own VRAM (256MB).

- Maximizing the RAM and taking care of the OS/App RAM load will have the greatest effect.

- Having enough free space and a defrag'ed HD is also important here.

Again, go to Intel's web site and review the CPU & North Bridge chips specs.


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