As far as I can tell, that appears to be the correct RAM for the MBP, correct? https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Single-PC3L-12800-SODIMM-CT204864BF160B/dp/B0123BRIDK

Has anyone tried this 32gb option on their 2011 or 2012 15-inch MacBook Pro? IIRC the two higher-tier Early 2011, Late 2011, and Mid 2012 Unibody 15-inch (and 2011 17-inch) models support 32gb theoretically.

For example, the processor specs suggest 32gb over two slots is possible, but I'm not sure if the logic board would pose a limit or not...Apple says 16gb is the max, but I think much of that material was created before a single 16gb DDR3l DIMM existed. https://ark.intel.com/products/52227/Intel-Core-i7-2820QM-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-3_40-GHz

  • The 2011 model's CPU doesn't support 32GB RAM, so that is out of the way. The 2012 do support 32G though, it will be a interesting experiment.
    – Tom Shen
    Jan 19, 2017 at 13:17
  • 1
    At least in regards to the 2.3 i7 quad on the Early 2011 15-inch, Intel specs says that the 2820QM supports 32gb. ark.intel.com/products/52227/… IIRC, the 2.0 i7 quad on the 15-in maxes at 16gb, but the 2.2 and 2.3 i7 quads both can do 32gb.
    – Zac Paul
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:14
  • Shoot...never mind. Like a dum dum, I thought the 0 and 1 slots each represented a separate channel, where as it appears they do not.
    – Zac Paul
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:41
  • 1
    @zacpaul - so did you try it anyway? does 32 GB work?
    – LTG Seb
    Feb 6, 2017 at 23:02

5 Answers 5


I doubt it would work. Macs are picky about RAM, and the RAM you listed isn't what is specified by Apple. Apple requires DDR3 RAM. You have listed DDR3L RAM. It's an easy mistake to make. DDR3L is low-power RAM, requiring 1.35V instead of 1.5V. It is very possible that the RAM will not be compatible.

Also, officially, Apple says that the MBP only supports 8GB RAM. However, it is widely recognized that the MBP can support 16GB RAM.

Why wouldn't it support 32GB? Because while 16GB DDR3L RAM sticks are available, 16GB DDR3 RAM sticks don't exist. There is no such thing as a 16GB RAM stick that matches Apple's specifications (PC3-12800 DDR3 1600 MHz type 204-pin RAM).

Edit: Although crucial says that the 16 GB RAM stick can be used in place of DDR3, it says it is not compatible with the Mac: enter image description here

  • 3
    According to a Product description it's dual voltage. Crucial's website doesn't mention this though. I doubt the trustworthiness of Amazon's description.
    – klanomath
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:56
  • @klanomath if it is "dual voltage" it would be the only 16 GB stick of 1600 MHz DDR3 204-pin RAM on the market
    – NoahL
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:01
  • Also: the 2012 15-inch MacBook Pro uses PC3-12800 DDR3L RAM. Apple officially supports 8 GB, but tested by 3rd-party with 16 GB. Now Zac Paul has to break the 32 GB barrier :-)
    – klanomath
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:02
  • Looking at the Crucial website, it appears their 16gb DIMMS are dual voltage and both 1.35 and 1.5v compatible? crucial.com/usa/en/ct204864bf160b "Notebook modules that operates at speeds up to 1600 MT/s and has a CL11 latency. It is dual voltage and can operate at 1.35V or 1.5V. It is Unbuffered and is non-ECC. It conforms to the industry standard SODIMM layout of 204 pins and is compatible with computers that take DDR3 SODIMM memory." Based on what you are describing, it appears that this 16gb DIMM will work???
    – Zac Paul
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:14
  • 1
    See my edit in terms of compatibility. However, if you want to try it anyway, Zac Paul, remember to back up your system and get the RAM from a place you can easily return it.
    – NoahL
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:26

It does not work! I just try it. It beeps and do not boot! It's need new Firmware to support 16Gb sticks! enter image description here


If it was going to work, then this would be the kit: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/1600DDR3S32P

OWCspecializes in capitalizing on these ondocumented upgrades, and since they don't advise it, likely that they already know that it does not work.

I wonder if the single stick would work.

(Incidentally, I have 16GB 1600 in my early-2011 17" MBP, and it is DDR3L running at 1.35V, saving me a little bit of power, running cooler, etc...)


Intel's own website. Looks like you can use 32GB RAM, L or non-L.


  • Just because a processor supports X amount of RAM does not actually mean that a Mac computer does. There are other limitations. The 2011-2012 MacBook Pros do NOT support 32GB of RAM. If you put 32GB of RAM in, they will refuse to boot
    – NoahL
    May 26, 2020 at 13:50

It may accept the memory if you are running a 5th generation i5 or i7 processor, but no guarantee.

This thread has details on how to find out what generation processor you're running: Which Intel "generation" is my Mac's CPU?

  • How does this answer the OP's question?
    – Allan
    Jan 26, 2018 at 4:00

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