While ordering a MacBook Pro last month I shook my head at the obscene $
700 $400 price that Apple charges for upgrading memory from the basic 2GB to 4GB. The additional 2GB of memory was quoted as a $ 700 upgrade option! Instead of paying Apple to add the memory during the order – I did it myself saving over $ 600. Here’s how.. (Update 3-5-2008: Apple has since lowered the price on their 2 GB memory upgrade from $ 700 to $ 400 – so your savings would now be about $ 320).
I thought $ 700 (since reduced to the $400 shown below) was steep for only an additional 2 GB of memory. Looking quickly at several online stores – I discovered 4 GB RAM was pretty widely available for under $100 total. (Note: I have the later version of the MacBook Pro. Some prior versions can only use up to 3GB of RAM – though they will apparently accept twin 2GB memory for a displayed total of 4GB even though a little over 3 is all that the older model will use).
Step One – Find the Right Memory
As a Mac newcomer I was worried about buying memory that might harm my new laptop. Whenever I have these types of concerns I search the popular online discussions forums – and find someone who has done the same thing I am looking to do.
My resource for this was the MacRumors discussion forum. Several people there discussed where they purchased memory. One mentioned that Newegg had memory which several forum members used and installed. Problem solved – Radio Shack- under $80 shipped!
Step Two – Installing The Memory
Now that I’d found the memory I needed – would I be able to install it into my new MacBook Pro without breaking something or electrocuting myself.
It’s been quite some time (maybe never) since I’ve opened the miniature insides of a laptop. Luckily I had a set of really tiny screwdrivers (about the extent of my tool collection) – and Apple provides clear step by step instructions on their site illustrating exactly how you upgrade memory.
Link: Amazon.com sells them
First I had to remove the battery from the back of my MacBook Pro. Nothing tricky here. Pull back two latches and the battery is easily removed.
Then I used a tiny screwdriver from a set that I’ve had for years. I think you can pick these up at Apple’s instructions about exactly what type of memory or even for about $ 7.
There’s a long metal door that covers the memory cards. It’s held in place by three very very tiny Phillips screws. Remove these three screws and set them aside somewhere so you don’t lose them.
Now open the door by swinging it up. If you purchased a 2GB MacBook Pro, you’ll probably see two 1 GB memory boards.
To remove the memory, you need to gently pry open clips on both sides. What I did was use one of the screwdrivers to nudge aside the clips. Once the clips move aside the memory pops up at about a 45 degree angle and you can pull it out.
The memory pops up to a 45 degree angle – and then it’s ready for removal. Tip: Save your old memory – don’t resell it. See my note at the end for the reasoning.
All that’s left to do is swap in your new memory. Be sure you pay attention to Apple’s instructions about exactly what type of memory to use as well as whether you can mix and match 1GB and 2GB modules. I read conflicting information about mixing and matching different sizes (1GB and 2GB) on the MacRumors discussion forums so I opted to replace both of my 1GB memory modules with 2GB modules (for a total of 4 GB memory).
The screws are rather tiny so it’s useful to have some helpers who can assist you in lining up the final screws when you reassemble.
Step Three – Power On!
Once the memory is installed, the cover returned to place and the battery re-installed – then all that’s left is to boot the MacBook Pro and observe that the correct memory is displayed.
- An extra 2 GB of RAM, installed in under 5 minutes (including two minutes to open the plastic wrapping with my Zibra Open-It package ripping / finger saving scissors).
- An extra $ 620 in my pocket – which comes in handy for other things.
PS – IMPORTANT TIP THAT I READ FROM THE FORUMS: Save your original memory. If you need to bring your MacBook Pro in for service there is a chance that Apple will not want to service it if you’re using 3rd party memory. In the event that you need to bring your MacBook Pro in for service, simply swap back the old memory first.