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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

PUSHING THE LIMIT:
6GB of RAM in the "Late 2008" MacBook Pro
Any problems? Speed penalty?

Originally posted October 31st, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The 'late 2008' MacBook Pro officially "supports up to 4GB" of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM. However, that never stopped us from trying to stuff more in. We were able to expand our MacBook Pro 2.8 to 6GB by replacing one of the 2GB SO-DIMMs with a 4GB module (courtesy of Trans International).

We ran memory "hungry" apps like Adobe After Effects CS3 (multiprocessor mode) and Adobe Photoshop CS4 beyond the 4GB barrier with no ill effects. Activity Monitor shows all 6GB available and reports correctly how much is in use.

The only downside is that, with non-matching memory modules, you don't get interleaving. Potentially, there is a performance hit. But is the hit significant, negligible, or non-existent?

DLT is a read and write test. That's why it's about half that of STREAM

LEGEND of Graphs
6GB = One 2GB and One 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM SO-DIMM
4GB = Two 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM SO-DIMMs.
Test mule was a 2.8GHz MacBook Pro 'late 2008.'




CONCLUSION
The 6GB configuration produced essentially identical benchmark results to the 4GB configuration in our 2.8GHz
MacBook Pro. The difference ranged from -.5% to +1.7% or an average difference of +.28% or less than 1/3 of one percent. I call that negligible. Or, in other words, you should have no worries about a speed penalty imposed by non-matching memory modules and loss of interleaving.

And when you consider the 6GB configuration potentially means less virtual memory swaps, then the only consideration is the cost. Maybe instead of ordering your MBP with the $500 128GB SSD, you should save your money for a 4GB memory module.

Looks like a winning combination to me. You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too much memory.

BTW, 6GB WORKS IN OTHER APPLE LAPTOP MODELS
We received a notice from Other World Computing that the 6GB configuration also works in MacBooks and MacBook Pros released November 2007 or later. Check with them and with Trans International for pricing on adding one 4GB SODIMM to your MacBook or MacBook Pro.

NO, 8GB WON'T WORK
Just for fun we tried the 8GB configuration (2 x 4GB). Though the MacBook Pro will boot and Activity Monitor sees all 8GB, there are serious operational issues. For starters, if you use anything beyond 4GB of real memory, the MBP goes into "molasses" mode. And if you manage to quit out of the memory hungry app, the reported amount of real memory in use does not recede. At a certain point, our operation was so crippled that we had to push and hold the power button to force a shutdown.


PSSST -- REGARDING THE NEW APPLE LED 24" CINEMA DISPLAY...
It's about time that Apple add the iSight camera to a Cinema Display! It's more expensive than the Dell 24" UltraSharp 2408WFP with its landscape to portrait pivot feature, higher contrast ratio, and faster pixel response, but I think the new Apple 24" Cinema's LED-backlit screen, aluminum and glass enclosure, integrated iSight camera, and MagSafe charger make it worth the extra $$$. It's certainly better eye candy and matches the MacBook and MacBook Pro more closely than the alternatives.

For more info, see the LED Display SPECIFICATIONS PAGE.

Apple Online Store

MEMORY EXPANSION FOR YOUR MACBOOK or MACBOOK PRO
If you need to expand your memory, these companies offer reasonably priced, Mac compatible memory upgrades -- including 4GB modules

WHERE TO BUY A MACBOOK or MACBOOK PRO
When you purchase Apple USA products, please CLICK THIS LINK or any APPLE BANNERS at the top of our pages. It's a great way to support Bare Feats. since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

LOOKING FOR ADOBE SOFTWARE?
Order your copy of Adobe Photoshop CS4 (or the Creative Suite CS4) direct from Adobe USA. Or click through to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK.

STORAGE EXPANSION FOR YOUR MACBOOK PRO
We recommend an external bus powered FireWire 800 drive for overflow and backup storage on your MacBook Pro. Check out...

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2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster