I have installed Windows 10 natively (without bootcamp, but using drivers from the bootcamp package from the apple website) on a 5,1, Late 2008 unibody macbook that currently has 8gb of RAM installed, and is accessing all 8 gb. It is smooth like pudding, works perfectly... If you have one of these around, since the OS can't readily be upgraded to Catalina, I can say for certain that this is a worthwhile project (provided you aren't a mac fanboy and are willing to join the dark side! Kidding! Apple is great, I just don't like their intentional obsolescence policies.)

Maximum RAM in these machines is a bit of craziness. Apple says 4gb. Then there was info online saying 6gb (using 2x4bg modules, upgrading the efi firmware), It turns out that this particular unibody machine will access all 8gb, unlike the plastic white or black models.

But, I'm always trying to squeeze a little more juice out of my apple.

In my searching for info I have come across a statement a couple of times that got my gears turning. "The issue for RAM with this model isn't physical addressing. It can address far more RAM than even 8gb. The problem is a limitation in the kernel." (paraphrased, by memory)

I'm out of my reach here, admittedly, so forgive me if this is a stupid question.

I'm not sure about the location of the "kernel" in my setup. I think it is supplied through the Windows 10 installation, since the Macbook boots up and works without ANY Apple software (though the drivers are needed to get things like the graphics, audio, trackpad, etc working properly.


So, if I have the Windows "kernel" (or whatever it is in Windows that stands in place of the "kernel") and the limitation for RAM in this machine was the Apple "kernel", would it be possible to install more RAM and have a natively installed version of Windows 10 access all of the memory? I'm wondering if I could cram 16gb into this machine?

I would try it myself, but I don't have the 2x8gb sticks of ram to try it out, and wanted to get some intel before buying the RAM. If someone has the RAM kicking around and is willing to try it, dig those sticks out of the compost pile and tell me if it works!!!

Many, many thanks if anyone weighs in.

  • The kernel referred to is the innermost core of the operating system. The foundation on which the rest of the OS is built. The only Kernel you can actually change, though, is the Linux kernel. That mention of the kernel is an expression of wistful disgust that there is nothing that can be done because neither MS nor Apple release their source code for you to recompile. – Steve Chambers Sep 15 at 21:59
  • Hey! Thanks for the response. No new info here for me though. – Dylan Procter Sep 19 at 3:13
  • I don't need to do anything for the kernel. The point is that the machine is limited to 8gb of ram BY THE OSX KERNEL, which is no longer on the system. I have read, in 3 different places, that the machine itself can address more than 8gb of ram (apparently "much more" but none of the statements mentioned an actual amount possible). So, if I am running Windows 10, and not OSX which has a kernel that limits the accessible ram, I am curious if Windows 10 could make use of more ram if it were installed. – Dylan Procter Sep 19 at 3:19
  • That is one of those, why don't you try it and report back, we'd love to know – Steve Chambers Sep 19 at 15:39
  • As I was saying, I'm trying to avoid buying the ram until I have an idea if it would work. I was hoping there would be someone knowledgeable that might could offer some info. – Dylan Procter Sep 20 at 16:56

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