Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > Mac Blog Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Mar 7, 2011, 03:40 PM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
'Secret' Firmware Update Unlocks Support for 8 GB RAM on 'Late 2008' Notebooks






In a blog post published last week, Other World Computing unravels a mystery that has seen conflicting information over whether "Late 2008" aluminum MacBooks and MacBook Pros support a maximum of 8 GB of RAM. According to the report, Apple apparently quietly changed a December 2009 firmware update for the machines at some point to boost maximum RAM support from 6 GB to 8 GB.

The discovery comes after numerous reports, including some in our own forums, pointed to 8 GB of RAM being supported in these machines even though OWC's earlier testing had clearly shown that a maximum of 6 GB could be addressed even with 8 GB installed.
Quote:
Not being the type to just let these sorts of claims to go unchallenged, we went back to our testing lab, grabbed the affected model machines, running 10.6.6. and dropped an 8GB upgrade kit in them.

The results were exactly the same as in 2009, lending credence to our conclusions, but the sheer number of claims to the contrary led us to continue searching - and the trail ended at Apple.

In late 2009, an EFI Firmware Update was released to address the buzzing noises coming from the optical drive. However, it seems that somewhere along the line, Apple changed this update without notating it anywhere.
The MacBook and MacBook Pro EFI firmware updates were issued in December 2009 as part of package to address noise from the optical drive, but were altered at some point after their initial release to also introduce support for a maximum of 8 GB of RAM for users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Consequently, OWC recommends that users of Late 2008 MacBooks and MacBook Pros interested in upgrading to 8 GB of RAM check System Profiler on their machine to determine whether they are running the latest Boot ROM versions of MBP51.007E.B05 (MacBook Pro) or MB51.007D.B03 (MacBook), and if not, re-download the EFI firmware update and apply it to their machines.

Affected machines introduced in late 2008 include MacBooks running at 2.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz, as well as 2.4GHz 15" MacBook Pros and 2.53 GHz and 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro models offering ExpressCard slots.

Article Link: 'Secret' Firmware Update Unlocks Support for 8 GB RAM on 'Late 2008' Notebooks
MacRumors is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 03:49 PM   #2
daneoni
macrumors G4
 
daneoni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Finally put to rest
__________________
15" rMBP Core i7 | 27" ACD | AEBS | 5G iPod | iPhone 5S | 3G Apple TV | rMini
daneoni is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 03:53 PM   #3
thejadedmonkey
macrumors 604
 
thejadedmonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Pa
Send a message via AIM to thejadedmonkey
Shouldn't Apple be charging $1 for this clear addition of functionality, aka Wireless "n" and Facetime?
__________________
MacBook 17" MacBook Pro iPod Nano Apple TV
PS4 Custom Windows 8.1 Desktop WP8.1
"Good judgment comes from experience,
experience comes from bad judgment."
- Mulla Nasrudin
thejadedmonkey is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 03:56 PM   #4
Nobita
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: La la land
So... I don't quite get it. My boot ROM version is MB51.007D.B03 (the same as noted in the link), but I did upgrade my EFI that takes away the annoying SuperDrive sound... Does it mean that I can use 8GB or can't?

Also, does it mean that when upgrading to Lion the boot ROM version might change? I do want to upgrade to Lion since it might bring support for SSD trim (for other SSD brands) as rumoured...
__________________
My mind is beautiful
Nobita is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 03:57 PM   #5
toromac
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
who needs 8gb, sheesh. i barely use 2gb of my 4gb of ram as it is. even using photoshop, I have never seen it max out.
toromac is offline   -13 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:00 PM   #6
ThomasJL
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
What about the mid 2009 white MacBook?

What about the mid 2009 white MacBooks?

That was the last non-LED white MacBook. Is there a firmware update for that to unlock support for 8 GB RAM?
ThomasJL is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:02 PM   #7
samh004
macrumors 68020
 
samh004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Australia
Quite a cool update there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thejadedmonkey View Post
Shouldn't Apple be charging $1 for this clear addition of functionality, aka Wireless "n" and Facetime?
Perhaps, but they seemingly let it fly under the radar for a reason, and now its been exposed, what will the repercussions be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by toromac View Post
who needs 8gb, sheesh. i barely use 2gb of my 4gb of ram as it is. even using photoshop, I have never seen it max out.
I regularly start paging my HDD with my 3GB RAM, however cant get any more as Im on an older machine. I dream of the day I can have 8GB in my mac and not see it max out.
__________________
samh004 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:05 PM   #8
Nobita
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: La la land
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasJL View Post
What about the mid 2009 white MacBooks?

That was the last non-LED white MacBook. Is there a firmware update for that to unlock support for 8 GB RAM?
I think none the white (plastic) macbook ever supports 8GB of RAM... Sorry for you, but I think 4GB is more than enough for everyday use... Unless you're a professional photographer or videographer that uses big big softwares
__________________
My mind is beautiful
Nobita is offline   -2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:12 PM   #9
ThomasJL
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobita View Post
I think none the white (plastic) macbook ever supports 8GB of RAM...
The mid 2009 white MacBook has the same chipset as the late 2008 aluminum MacBook. Aside from Apple restricting the mid 2009 white MacBook via intentionally crippling firmware, why wouldn't it be able to support 8 GB RAM?
ThomasJL is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:14 PM   #10
ArtOfWarfare
macrumors 603
 
ArtOfWarfare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Send a message via Skype™ to ArtOfWarfare
Quote:
Originally Posted by samh004 View Post
Perhaps, but they seemingly let it fly under the radar for a reason, and now its been exposed, what will the repercussions be?
Why can't we just have a secret update to iChat that unlocks Facetime or something?
__________________
Don't tell me Macs don't last: 2007 iMac, 2007 Mac Mini, 2008 MacBook Air, all Vintage.
(iMac obsoletion: April 28, 2015, MBA: October 14, 2015, Mac Mini: March 9, 2016)
ArtOfWarfare is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:17 PM   #11
ghostlyorb
macrumors 6502a
 
ghostlyorb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Virginia, USA
awesome!
__________________
2011 15.4" High Res MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad, 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200 RPM HD
iPhone 5 16GB White AT&T
iPad (3rd gen) 32GB
iPad mini 16GB +AT&T
ghostlyorb is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:25 PM   #12
ariprotheroe
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Is this news?

I've been running my Late 2008 MacBook Pro with 8GB since March 2010, I'm using Kingston Memory KTA-MB1066K2/8G.

If only Apple would do about about an EFI update and enabling VT-D on the the older MacPro
ariprotheroe is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:28 PM   #13
Nobita
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: La la land
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasJL View Post
The mid 2009 white MacBook has the same chipset as the late 2008 aluminum MacBook. Aside from Apple restricting the mid 2009 white MacBook via intentionally crippling firmware, why wouldn't it be able to support 8 GB RAM?
Oh yeah, you may be right! Maybe there's just no one hacked the firmware yet (or bothered to, or can't...)
__________________
My mind is beautiful
Nobita is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:41 PM   #14
InfinitiG
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
This is great news.
As a owner of the Macbook 5,1 I am now watching prices for 8gb kits which are only $90 today.
InfinitiG is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:47 PM   #15
lg2k7
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Indiana
I saw this on 9to5mac and it does work, ordered the ram on saturday from amazon and it works.
lg2k7 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:51 PM   #16
LimeiBook86
macrumors 604
 
LimeiBook86's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hanging around in NJ with his cutie. :)
Send a message via AIM to LimeiBook86 Send a message via MSN to LimeiBook86 Send a message via Yahoo to LimeiBook86
I have a 2.66 15" Late 2008 MacBook Pro, my firmware matches the upgraded listing to allow 8GB of RAM. Pretty cool
__________________
My 'How to Draw Fun Animals' iBook is now on iTunes
"Just you try and stop me..."
My Site Thrift Fails Tech Blog
LimeiBook86 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:00 PM   #17
cybaster
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Well, time to check my firmware version!
__________________
But people are complaining because it doesn't fix the hardware flaws? Guess what, it doesn't make burritos either! Or walk your dog!
cybaster is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:02 PM   #18
travhoog
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Wow

So you're saying Apple has done something non-dastardly for a change? Wow.

Let's hope they even lifted the "No 64-bit Windows in bootcamp" limitation they heinously manufactured in certain non-pro MacBooks, like my Late '08 2.4 Unibody that runs 64bit Mac OS X and Ubuntu without a problem.

(One product cycle later they add "Pro" and a FW port to what is essentially the same machine and MAGICALLY bootcamp will install 64bit drivers for Win7.)
travhoog is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:11 PM   #19
roland.g
macrumors 603
 
roland.g's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: One mile up and soaring
Quote:
Originally Posted by travhoog View Post
So you're saying Apple has done something non-dastardly for a change? Wow.

Let's hope they even lifted the "No 64-bit Windows in bootcamp" limitation they heinously manufactured in certain non-pro MacBooks, like my Late '08 2.4 Unibody that runs 64bit Mac OS X and Ubuntu without a problem.

(One product cycle later they add "Pro" and a FW port to what is essentially the same machine and MAGICALLY bootcamp will install 64bit drivers for Win7.)
You forgot how we also got screwed on the lesser battery vs. the longer sealed battery and the battery/ram/hdd door/cover that rattles and doesn't seat perfectly, though I agree that my missing FW port as someone who uses FW drives and Target Disk Mode a lot is my biggest gripe. I think we also got hosed a bit on the quality of the LCD panel since it wasn't a "Pro" machine at the time.

We nostalgically and somewhat defiantly refer to these as "Collector's Editions" Aluminum MacBooks, though neither that tag nor the support for 2 more GB of RAM is really helping my resale value, especially since the mid-2009 model saw a nice little price dump, er I mean drop.
__________________
I know this because Tyler knows this.
You are not a beautiful snowflake. You are the same decaying matter as everything else.
roland.g is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:20 PM   #20
nintapple
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by InfinitiG View Post
This is great news.
As a owner of the Macbook 5,1 I am now watching prices for 8gb kits which are only $90 today.
just bought 8gb for $65 today ($20rebate) on newegg after finding this article. good luck!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-335-_-Product
__________________
PowerBook 12"/G4 1ghz/1gb/60gb
iMac 20"/Core Duo 2.0ghz/1gb/250gb
iPhone 4 16gb/Black
Macbook Pro Unibody/15"/Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz/4gb/250gb
nintapple is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:22 PM   #21
travhoog
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by roland.g View Post
I agree that my missing FW port as someone who uses FW drives and Target Disk Mode a lot is my biggest gripe.
Well, I can't really complain about the lack of FW because I knew it didn't have it when I chose to buy it. It's the limitations they didn't make obvious that bother me, like Bootcamp.

But thanks for sharing the "Collectors Edition" title. I like that and I'll be using it from now on.
travhoog is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:29 PM   #22
travhoog
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by nintapple View Post
just bought 8gb for $65 today ($20rebate) on newegg after finding this article. good luck!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-335-_-Product
As I recall, many 6GB ram kits were having issues on the Late 08 Macs, so OWC started selling verified kits that were slightly more expensive but guaranteed to work. So I guess I'm saying beware, and test it out fully. If that kit does work for you, please share your experience. Maybe I'll pick up a pair too.
travhoog is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 05:55 PM   #23
roland.g
macrumors 603
 
roland.g's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: One mile up and soaring
Quote:
Originally Posted by travhoog View Post
Well, I can't really complain about the lack of FW because I knew it didn't have it when I chose to buy it. It's the limitations they didn't make obvious that bother me, like Bootcamp.

But thanks for sharing the "Collectors Edition" title. I like that and I'll be using it from now on.
I knew it didn't have FW, I just didn't know how much I'd miss it. And the newer sealed longer batteries I think are better. I'm getting ready to sell mine this month. I have an iMac and so we only use the portable for iChat at the breakfast table - grandparents with our kids. The new iPad fixes that.
__________________
I know this because Tyler knows this.
You are not a beautiful snowflake. You are the same decaying matter as everything else.
roland.g is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 06:00 PM   #24
Stridder44
macrumors 68040
 
Stridder44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: California
Quote:
Originally Posted by thejadedmonkey View Post
Shouldn't Apple be charging $1 for this clear addition of functionality, aka Wireless "n" and Facetime?
That would be such absolute BS but it wouldn't surprise me at all. "Oh, you want to be able to use more RAM in your Mac? Well that wasn't advertised when we sold it to you, so in order to be able to do that you'll need to hand over $1".
__________________
iPhone 5
MacBook Pro 2.53GHz/320GB HDD/4GB RAM
iMac G4 800MHz/80GB HDD/512MB RAM
Stridder44 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2011, 06:02 PM   #25
baryon
macrumors 68030
 
baryon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Wow, I love this! I happen to have the late 2008 MBP, and I happen to find 4 GB or RAM to not be enough for Photoshop (Photoshop is always hungry). Amazing news.
__________________
Sent from my iPod Shuffle
baryon is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > Mac Blog Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
RAM issues? (Late 2008 MB (aluminum)) wintercs MacBook 11 Oct 29, 2013 06:18 PM
Resolved: Does macbook (late 2007) support a maximum of 4gb RAM or 6gb RAM? ItsDaKronic MacBook 2 Sep 18, 2013 07:06 AM
Upgrading RAM Late 2008 MBP looseyjuice MacBook Pro 2 May 15, 2013 01:58 AM
Late 2012 iMac Support for 64GB of RAM? Hexley iMac 3 Feb 25, 2013 02:09 PM
3GB ram late 2008 MacBook xmarcuswildx MacBook 8 Aug 9, 2012 02:03 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:24 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC