Help me find the best RAM possible for my Macbook
October 2, 2006 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Help me find the best RAM possible for my Macbook.

I own this Macbook.

I want 2GB of RAM (I currently have 512 MB). Once I get the RAM, I know how to install it. My questions are...

There are lots of different types of RAM. I want the best possible under $200. How do I know which RAM will work with my Macbook?

How do I know which RAM is the fastest?

Other than speed, what else is there that I should think about?

Direct links to places where I can buy RAM would be much appreciated.
posted by JPowers to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You need two matched chips: 667Mhz SO-DIMM DDR2 SDRAM. Your only real wiggle room is that you can use either PC5400 or PC5300.

Some people will tell you to avoid cheap brands; others will say to just find the cheapest you can get. I looked for a deal and found cheap RAM (PNY) for my wife's Macbook at CompUSA. You'll likely have to look a while to find 2GB under $200, though.
posted by camcgee at 4:55 PM on October 2, 2006

I can't get your "this" link to work, so I can't tell what MacBook model you have, but required memory specs are available at . Assuming it's not a MacBook Pro, what you need are two 1GB PC2-5300 SO-DIMMs.

The speed of the memory is a constant, since it's required to be by your system, not something you can improve by comparison shopping. Memory fails sometimes, but no one I've seen has convincingly studied the failure rates of various brands. So I regard brand loyalties as unwarranted, and go for the cheapest. For that, you can look at dealnews.
posted by RogerB at 4:56 PM on October 2, 2006

Also, the MacBook does not require memory to be installed in matched pairs, though it apparently helps performance slightly to do so. You can, if you want, install one 1GB module and wait to get another one until they get cheaper.
posted by RogerB at 4:58 PM on October 2, 2006

Best answer: FYI, this [Newegg] is about as cheap as I could find.
posted by camcgee at 5:03 PM on October 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In case the link to my specific Macbook doesn't work for you, here are the specs:

* 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo
* 512MB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x256
* 60GB Serial ATA drive
* Combo Drive
* Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
* AirPort Extreme Card & Bluetooth
posted by JPowers at 5:09 PM on October 2, 2006

One quick note, I have the same Macbook and upgraded the RAM. Went with Patriot brand, and have had no problems.
It was a major pain getting the chips pushed in all the way. Don't freak out if the system doesn't recognize the memory when you first install it. Just pull it out and try again. Once you get one it right, you'll be able to feel the difference.
posted by Eddie Mars at 5:34 PM on October 2, 2006

Best answer: Mushkin all the way. High quality RAM at a great price. You're not going to get the upgrade from Mushkin right now for less than $300 though :(
posted by onalark at 5:57 PM on October 2, 2006

Best answer: I've purchased private-label RAM for my last 3 Macs and then some from OWC. They have a product finder which helps you determine which RAM is right for your machine. I've never had to return a stick.

2 gigs runs $269.
posted by pedantic at 6:06 PM on October 2, 2006

I can't remember exactly where I read it (Bare Feats? xlr8yourmac?), but graphics performance on the machines with shared graphics memory improves with matched pairs of DIMMs. Keep in mind that "matched pair" doesn't mean two sticks of the same size, it means sticks that are the same size, speed, and chip count.
posted by forrest at 7:37 PM on October 2, 2006

Went with Patriot brand, and have had no problems.

I also got patriot and have had no problems (at least, not yet). In particular, I got these (though they were about 50 bucks cheaper a month ago.)

BTW supposedly the difference between PC5300 and PC5400 is just a matter of the manufacturer rounding up or down.
posted by advil at 7:59 PM on October 2, 2006

I third the patriot stuff. It worked great for both me and my stepmom.

Besides, why would you get any other brand? They hate us for our freedom.
posted by rbs at 8:05 PM on October 2, 2006

I've got the same Macbook and got a good deal on 2GB of RAM from Small Dog Electronics. They're Mac specialists (period), and their salesfolks and techs are knowledgeable and helpful.

They weren't the rock-bottom cheapest, but they were close, and they're a reputable small business that stands behind the products they sell.
posted by enrevanche at 3:02 AM on October 3, 2006

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