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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Aug 13, 2010
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    Difference between mac ram? Can regular ram be used?
    Can someone please explain to me the difference in mac ram? Why is it different in regular PC based ram?

    I assume that you cannot use regular ram in a mac?


    Much thanks

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    10-15 years ago...the differences between ram for Windows computers & Macintosh's were much more different than now. Back then it was almost a MUST that you purchase "Macintosh ram".

    But now (in some cases, maybe even many cases)...ram sold for Windows computers now will work in a Mac (some models more than others)...but occasionally it may not.

    Sometimes you can save a little money purchasing "Windows ram"...but then you get home with it, install it in your Macintosh, and then it doesn't work. Then you have to go to the hassle of returning the ram...if the store will take it back.

    Then you have to do what would have been the right thing to do in the first place...and purchase the "guaranteed" to work "Mac ram".

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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  3. #3

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    What Nick is saying is that many PC's are now using DDR3 RAM. So is the Mac (and the Mac has been using it a bit longer than the Windows PC realm). Most of Apple's computers take a specific type of DDR3 (I think, don't hold me to that), you just need to read up on the RAM you currently have, and read up on the box at the store. The Mac mini and the MacBook and MacBook Pro all use the same RAM modules, as does the iMac. The Mac Pro I'm not totally clear on.


    EDIT:

    To clarify, here's the types of RAM for Apple's current computer lineup:

    Mac mini, MacBook Pro/MacBook and iMac take: 204-pin PC3 8500 1066MHz DDR3 SO-DIMM

    Mac Pro: 240-pin PC3 8500 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM

    And no, it isn't exactly Apple specific. But as long as you get PC3 8500 DDR3 SO-DIMM w/ 204 pins and a cache speed of 1066 MHz (just over 1 GHz of speed), you'll be good to go with an iMac, MB/MBP or Mac mini. DDR3 for the Mac Pro is more expensive.
     iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.3
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  4. #4


    Member Since
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    My Macbook Pro is the early 2008 model. It has DDR2 800Mhz in it now.

    I am asking because I have tons of PC RAM laying around. If I have to buy some I will buy some and will be mac RAM.

    But I have 2GB PC RAM 800Mhz modules I could use.


    I just bought the used Macbook Pro a few weeks ago. It only has 2GB in it now. I want to put 4GB in it.

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAC_STS View Post
    My Macbook Pro is the early 2008 model. It has DDR2 800Mhz in it now.

    I am asking because I have tons of PC RAM laying around. If I have to buy some I will buy some and will be mac RAM.

    But I have 2GB PC RAM 800Mhz modules I could use.


    I just bought the used Macbook Pro a few weeks ago. It only has 2GB in it now. I want to put 4GB in it.
    If you got the proper type of ram on hand...then just stick it in & see if it works. If it doesn't you will know almost right away (it may not even boot). The wrong ram won't do any damage (as long as it fits in the ram slot properly).

    If the ram you have doesn't work...then buy the "Mac ram".

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  6. #6

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAC_STS View Post
    My Macbook Pro is the early 2008 model. It has DDR2 800Mhz in it now.

    I am asking because I have tons of PC RAM laying around. If I have to buy some I will buy some and will be mac RAM.

    But I have 2GB PC RAM 800Mhz modules I could use.


    I just bought the used Macbook Pro a few weeks ago. It only has 2GB in it now. I want to put 4GB in it.

    For this computer:

    200-pin PC2 5300 667 MHz DDR2 SO-DIMM
     iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.3
     iPhone 6 64GB - iOS 9.3
     Mac mini early 2009 - OS X El Capitan 10.11.4
     MacBook unibody/white late 2009 - OS X El Capitan 10.11.4

  7. #7

    ericg2000's Avatar
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    Specs:
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    i can confirm "windows" ram works in a macbook. i bought 4GB of crucial for like $40 at frys and it's worked from day 1. just get the same specs that in it now and you will be fine. like others have said, years ago you needs apple ram, but not anymore. a lot people don't know that, and get ram from the apple store and end up paying double or triple the price for "apple" ram.

    think about it like this... it's all the same resistors, capacitors, ic's etc.

  8. #8

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericg2000 View Post
    i can confirm "windows" ram works in a macbook. i bought 4GB of crucial for like $40 at frys and it's worked from day 1. just get the same specs that in it now and you will be fine. like others have said, years ago you needs apple ram, but not anymore. a lot people don't know that, and get ram from the apple store and end up paying double or triple the price for "apple" ram.

    think about it like this... it's all the same resistors, capacitors, ic's etc.


    Other World Computing (OWC) and possibly Tiger Direct sell RAM for the Mac.
     iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.3
     iPhone 6 64GB - iOS 9.3
     Mac mini early 2009 - OS X El Capitan 10.11.4
     MacBook unibody/white late 2009 - OS X El Capitan 10.11.4

  9. #9

    rippingviper's Avatar
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    I have non-ecc 1066 ddr3 for my macbook pro 2009 model as Ecc doesnt work. So not ALL ram will just work in any machine. There are different types of density that will work best in the machine. I bought from crucial for 4 gigs for my mac for 89 bucks when I first bought it. I've heard of problems with logic board failure if you put the wrong ram in it. But hey its not my logic board so do what you want . Just my .02.
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  10. #10

    Chris H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rippingviper View Post
    I have non-ecc 1066 ddr3 for my macbook pro 2009 model as Ecc doesnt work. So not ALL ram will just work in any machine. There are different types of density that will work best in the machine. I bought from crucial for 4 gigs for my mac for 89 bucks when I first bought it. I've heard of problems with logic board failure if you put the wrong ram in it. But hey its not my logic board so do what you want . Just my .02.
    That's correct. Your MBP doesn't take ECC.

    204-pin DDR3 PC3 8500 SO-DIMM 1066MHz
     iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.3
     iPhone 6 64GB - iOS 9.3
     Mac mini early 2009 - OS X El Capitan 10.11.4
     MacBook unibody/white late 2009 - OS X El Capitan 10.11.4

  11. #11

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Imac 27", 3.3GHz, 512 flash storage, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra.
    As suggested go to OWC to get the specs for your memory, and check out other makes. The big difference is Macs have for years used low density modules whereas PC generally use the cheaper high density memory. Depends entirely on the model of your machine and statements that all PC ram will work is misleading.

  12. #12

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    As suggested go to OWC to get the specs for your memory, and check out other makes. The big difference is Macs have for years used low density modules whereas PC generally use the cheaper high density memory. Depends entirely on the model of your machine and statements that all PC ram will work is misleading.
    Great advice and true from harry. He told me the same thing after initially buying what i though woild work PC ram .... and it didnt even boot up. so went and bought from OWC-Macsales and have never looked back ...

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  13. #13


    Member Since
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    Basically the only difference nowadays is that Macs are more finicky about low-quality/marginal RAM.

  14. #14

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Good advice from all of the guys as usual. I can say from experience when you are ordering memory from vendors more used to dealing with PCs than Macs you can save them and yourself a ton of grief if you know exactly what type of memory you need.

    Some time ago I was completing an order from one of the PC vendors, maybe newegg, and noticed they had a decent deal on memory. When I gave the person I spoke with the memory specs I needed. He admitted not being very Mac-savvy but could tell me that the memory in question met the specs I needed (speed and being fully buffered). Worked like a charm.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

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