I bought a MacBook mid 2010 which I have upgraded to 8GB of RAM. But now, 8GB is not enough for me. I need more RAM for my work.
Can I upgrade my MacBook's RAM to 16GB? I know the new Macbook Pros can do it, but I am not sure about mine.
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(Note: The original post said "No", which was right at the time it was written, but as of February 15th, 2014, the OWC page says that you can install up to 16GB of RAM on mid 2010 MacBooks (2.4GHz).)
OWC continously tests the max RAM which apple computers support - which is usually more than Apple officially states.
The following table shows that the max RAM supported by your Macbook (mid 2010) is 16GB (officially 4GB).
Any mid-2010 MacBook Pro i5 or i7 is limited to a maximum of 8GB RAM. If you have a 2010 MacBook Pro Core2Duo (13"), then you are in luck and you can upgrade to 16GB RAM.
The type of RAM needed is DDR3 PC3-8500 1066. I believe there is an EFI limitation in OS X Mountain Lion that will not allow the 2010 i5/i7 Macbook Pro's to be upgraded over 8GB RAM. After doing some digging around, it sounds like the limitation has to do with the IntelHD graphics SW that is used by OS X.
Some datapoints to note:
A 2010 i5/i7 MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM running MountainLion/Mavericks will kernel panic during normal boot.
You will be able to boot into safe mode OK and it will show the 16GB RAM in System Information. Notice that the graphics card is listed as "Nvidia ..." in safe mode, as opposed to "IntelHD...".
It is possible to limit Max RAM to 8GB using the command:
sudo nvram "-v maxmem=8192". This would limit the usable RAM to a maximum of 8GB (official Apple Max); however this also will cause a kernel panic during normal boot when 16GB RAM is physically loaded. A maxmem=2048 will allow the system to boot normally with 16GB RAM loaded; however only 2GB RAM will be usable.
If you load Ubuntu 12 onto the MacBook Pro (2010 i5 or i7) with 16GB RAM loaded, Ubuntu will boot OK and be able to see/address the 16GB RAM.
If you load Windows 7 onto the MacBook Pro (2010 i5 or i7) with 16GB RAM loaded, Windows 7 will boot OK and be able to see/address the 16GB RAM.
As far as I can tell, this appears to be an Apple SW limitation of some sort.
OWC now shows that your MacBook can support up to 16GB of RAM. Check that page out for yourself. Seems like it was recently updated.