MacBook Pro 2010 RAM upgrade.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by boomdog, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. boomdog macrumors regular


    Oct 3, 2013
    The most Easterly point of the UK
    Good evening all,

    A friend of mine has asked me to upgrade his dated MacBook Pro 2010. I've already swapped out the HDD for an SSD which he feels has made the machine considerably faster but in my post installation testing I found it still really sluggish. The MBP in question came with an i7 but only has 4GB of ram. After a fresh install of OS X Sierra on a new SSD the machine was using around 3GB of the ram when sitting idle! And that increased further even when Web browsing or using itunes.

    The specs list (see link below) gives the following information about memory

    • 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 memory; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 8GB

    Should I interpret this as 8GB total or that each slot can take 8GB. I appreciate that 16GB will be overkill when compared to the other specs of the machine but for the additional £20 I might as well stick 16GB in if it will be supported. The MBP shipped with the i7 processor but the specs sheet doesn't give much detail on which i7 it is so unsure if that will support more ram. Finally as the ram currently in there is 1066mhz, can I replace it with 1600mhz?

    Sorry if these seem like noob questions, I just don't want to buy the wrong RAM.


  2. Euroamerican, Nov 17, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016

    Euroamerican macrumors regular


    May 27, 2010
    I can't find my notes at the moment, but I did upgrade my 2010 MBP13 to 8 gb of RAM a few years ago and then to 16 gb of RAM this year. If I remember correctly, the 2010 MBP13s can take 16 (two 8gb modules) but the 15 inch 2010 MBPs cannot. I found the SSD and the memory together have made Sierra very usable. I didn't upgrade to 16 gb until after installing Sierra though, so I cannot tell you what 8 to 16's upgrade "felt like" with Sierra already installed.

    EDITED on Friday: I stated above that I am running Sierra. I am NOT. I am running El Capitan. I upraised to El Capitan prior to moving the memory size up from 8 to 16 gb. I can say that I was pretty happy with the combination of 8 gb of RAM and the SSD upgrade I did when I moved to Yosemite.
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    The "Memory Used" value isn't actually a useful indicator of whether you're running out of memory - if MacOS has plenty of spare memory to burn it will start using it to cache files from disc. E.g. my machine has 8GB and, with just a web browser and Mail running, which wouldn't bother a 4GB machine, it is "using" 4.9GB.

    The things to look at in Activity Monitor are "swap used" and "memory pressure" - which will start going up if you're really running short on RAM. An upgrade to 8GB wouldn't hurt, but I wouldn't bother with 16GB unless you're running pro graphics/video editing or making heavy use of virtual machines... which you're probably not doing on a 2010 machine!

    The other thing to remember is that, after an OS reinstall or upgrade, Spotlight will re-index the disc, and the machine will run like treacle on a cold day until that's completed - not so bad with an SSD, but still wait until its done before making judgements on speed.

    NB: I usually use the "Memory Advisor" on the (even if I don't get the memory from them) to check compatibility.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You don't state wether it's a 15 or 13 inch machine but the i7 suggests it must be the 15 inch. It was a weird year that year the 13 inch takes 16gb ram but the 15 inch only 8gb, that's just the way it is I'm afraid!!

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