I'm planning to upgrade my RAM in my MacBook Pro (Late 2008) from the base 2GB to 4GB. I'm planning to buy RAM from Kingston.

There's two types of Kingston 1066 2GB RAM here. (Laptop-sized RAM)

  • Normal RAM
  • Apple-certified RAM?

Can I just buy the normal RAM, or do I have to buy the Apple-certified RAM? Is this not like how the hard drives work with the MacBooks - You can use any as long as it's 2.5" and it fits into the hard drive bay?

  • possible duplicate of MacBook Pro Memory Oct 19 '10 at 14:21
  • 3
    Sorry, but I don't see where that question or its answers mention Apple-certified RAM.
    – Dori
    Oct 21 '10 at 3:04

There's one important thing, and only one important thing, about Apple-certified RAM.

If you:

  • Buy RAM that isn't Apple-certified
  • Install it (or have it installed by a non-Apple tech) in a Mac
  • Later have a (non-RAM-related) problem with that Mac and send it to Apple for servicing without taking out the added RAM

Then you may get a little love note in the box when it comes back:

During the testing process, it was determined that a part Apple has not approved for use with your product resulted in your product's failure. When the part was removed, your product successfully passed all Apple diagnostic and reliability tests…

Continued use of this part (or parts) may cause another failure or damage to your Apple product, which Apple will not cover in a subsequent repair.

The part (or parts) that did not pass Apple's diagnostic tests for your product is identified below:

      __X__ RAM Memory
      _____ Other

And yes, I'm speaking from my own personal experience (part one, part two).

  • That’s why you have to always take the RAM out before “Appleing” your computer. ;) Oct 21 '10 at 7:01
  • Are you serious?! ... I bought normal Kingston laptop-sized 1066 RAM! ... :O I have a MacBook Pro right now so it might be different in this case. ... I'm seriously scared now lol.
    – JFW
    Oct 21 '10 at 11:13
  • Just remember: if you ever need to send it in for servicing, take out the 3rd party RAM first. Personally, I buy from (reputable) 3rd parties, as I think that Apple RAM is nearly always a rip-off. But I learned my lesson about removing it first when I got that letter.
    – Dori
    Oct 21 '10 at 22:06

I have had good experience with Crucial and then OWC, which is less expensive and never, that I know, gave me a problem I could attribute to the RAM. I’ve brought memory for Powerbooks, Macbook Pros and Mac Pros.

Theoretically any RAM will do; I remember that Powerbooks (and PowerPC in general) had a “different chip” and not every memory DIMM would work (despite being the same type/speed), but my memory is lost after all these years of Intel Only Macs.

All in all, as far as I can remember, the “Apple Certification” was due to the reliability of the memory. I know that Crucial/OWC and some others are Certified, but that’s because certain machines (i.e. Mac Pro) expect to have a heatsink in the modules, among other things.

It’s usually safe, but don’t pay “more” just because of that, because it tends to be the same thing.

In the Macbook’s case, there’s no heatsink involved (no room!) so pick something from newegg or those sites and you’ll be ok.

  • 2
    IIRC, the PPC Macs required very specific voltage and timings for the memory. The chips weren't different, per se. The machines were just much more sensitive than they are now. These days, most memory works, as long as the speed and physical size are correct.
    – Ben Wyatt
    Oct 19 '10 at 12:03
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    @Ben you hit the nail, it was the voltage/timing thing. But Intel chips are very “open” to any ram, as long as it’s not defective. Oct 19 '10 at 12:04
  • I just looked at OWC and Crucial, and I don't see where either one says their RAM is "Apple-certified"—just "Apple-compatible" or "meets Apple's specifications." Certified is an entirely different standard, as described in my answer.
    – Dori
    Oct 21 '10 at 3:44
  • @dori I’ve had my Mac Pro go to Apple with OWC memory installed (twice!) and I warned them: “I’m using OWC memory” and they said to me: “It’s ok, we’re not the only Memory vendor out there…”. I don’t know if I was lucky or what. Truth is, I told the guy what I had really done: “I have been testing without the memory, suspecting it may be a RAM problem with these”. The guy understood and came to my conclusion, the RAM was not. (Turned out to be a faulty NVIDIA graphic card) Oct 21 '10 at 7:04

The website I buy from allows you to select the computer you want it to fit in: http://www.macway.com/fr/path/21/memoire-ram.html

The problem is the website is in French but you can just click the drop down menu that says "Compatibilité" and click the blue button. It will list you all the ones that are sure to work with your machine. You can copy the info and buy it elsewhere...

Also, I found a nice guide on the MacRumors website http://guides.macrumors.com/Buying_RAM

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