Upgrading Memory on a MacBook

When I bought my MacBook, I went with the most basic specifications. Mainly because of the cost, and also because the basic system was more than enough for my needs. After using it for the last while, I felt it was time to throw some more memory into the system.

The original specification included 512MB of memory, so I was considering upgrading to 1GB, just to add some pizazz. I checked out the Crucial UK website, and they had 2 x 512MB chips for €41.11 including VAT. 2 x 1GB chips would cost just €86.94. As that kind of price point, I figured that it was worth going the whole hog and putting in the full 2GB that the system could handle. With next day delivery via UPS, the entire cost came to just over €90.

I used to do tech support for Dell laptops, so replacing memory is a job I’ve done many times before. Usually it’s just a matter of powering off the machine, earthing yourself, slipping out the old chip if required and putting in the new one.

Putting memory in a MacBook is pretty much the same. In this case the memory slots are located under the battery, so you’ll have to use a coin to remove the battery and then a small philips screwdriver to remove the L-shaped slot cover. There are 3 screws and they do not separate from the slot cover, so you can’t lose them. If you have butter fingers like me, this will save you hours on your hands and knees looking for any tiny screws that you may have dropped!

Each memory slot has a lever used to release the memory chip. Once it’s out you can insert the new memory. Like all memory chips, the slots are “keyed” so that the chips can only be inserted one way. With the now empty battery cover closest too you, and the open memory slots facing towards you, the notch on the memory chip should be on the left. One thing that I did notice is that it takes a bit of force to get the chip seated properly. You’ll know it’s seated properly because the lever will retract towards the main body of the laptop and will tighten.

After that it’s just a matter of replacing the slot cover and the battery and switching on the computer. If you’ve installed the memory correctly, then your MacBook should start normally. Once you’ve reached the desktop, you can check that the memory is being detected properly by going to the Apple Menu -> About This Mac -> More Info. This will open the System Profiler. On the left hand side, under Hardware is the Memory section. Clicking this will give you details of the memory in each slot.

And that’s it. I haven’t really had a chance to fully test my new memory, but I have noticed that opening certain programs has speeded up considerably, though for some reason Firefox takes just as long as ever to open up.