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Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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RAM upgrade to 16GB

My MacBook Pro has a maxed-out RAM, but iFixit suggests that I can double this to 16GB. Will I likely experience a significant performance boost? Will I incur a significant battery life penalty? I have already replaced the HDD with an SSD. I use the machine for general productivity and Lightroom 6.

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Performance is always tricky to quantify ;-}

Adding more RAM doesn't always improve things. Sometimes its just a bit of cleanup that can make the difference!

One of the issues with SSD's is the garbage collection process and wear algorithms they employ. So if your SSD is on the small side and its quite full you can get into problems when the app is trying to re-cache the document (picture) as well as using virtual RAM. I recommend you leave 1/3 of the drive free for a 256 GB or smaller drive and for 512 GB and larger 1/4. I also encourage cleaning out the cache & log files out after you have done a large number of images to improve performance. Here's one tool that can help: Disk Doctor.

From a RAM perspective, monitoring what is in use, can help you gage if adding RAM is whats needed here. I like this app: Memory Clean2 it also allows you to flush out the stale RAM making more available.

As to your direct question on battery life penalty. Yes, adding RAM will add a bit of load to your system so if you just leave the system in sleep mode and disconnected the MagSafe power adapter it will run the battery down maybe 10 or so minutes sooner. In truth it's really not that bad!

If you are truly leveraging it it will be less load that trying to use your SSD for virtual RAM. So it's a bit of a wash here as in use it won't be a burden and it might give you a few minutes more (depending on what you are doing). Remember, the CPU & GPU will be the ones consuming most of the batteries power.

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Yes you can max it at 16gb. You will notice faster load times and performance especially with Lightroom. Im a heavy Illustrator, After Effects, Lightroom user and I maxed my ram out to 16 and couldn't be happier. Unsure if it effects the battery too much. Mine is on the brink of replacement anyways so I can't answer that part clearly. The ifix guide is easy to follow for ram installation and even Apple gives all users a guide as it doesn't void any warranty.

Also check with OWC for which ram is required for your system. Mac uses low voltage ram so don't go run to BestBuy and buy any ram. Best to stick to OWC and ifix it guide lines.


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