Moving RAM from one Imac to another Imac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by lilbillington, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. lilbillington macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2016
    Theres a downstairs iMac that has 4 slots for ram and currently has 2 sticks of 2gb ram inside so (4gb) and is running on El Capitan, if i remove one of the 2gb ram sticks from it and replace it with my older mac's 1gb ram stick and turn the computer back on what will happen? Because I notice to run el capitan you need 4gb ram

    The reason for me doing this is because im trying to run something on my older mac but i need 1gb more ram for it to work so I wanted to switch the 2gb stick for my old macs 1gb stick
  2. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    This really breaks down to two questions:
    1) Will the newer Mac recognize and be able to use the older memory?
    2) If it does work in the Mac, then will el Capitan be able to run with 3 GB of RAM?

    For 1), I don't think anyone can answer this for sure without knowing the exact type of memory each of the Macs has. You could find this information at if you can identify the Macs you have. There are several ways to do this, e.g., by year/model, Model Identiier, model number, etc. I think they have pages to help you make the identification.

    However, I think that it is very unlikely that an older Mac's memory would work at all in a more recent Mac, because newer Macs usually use "faster" memory than previous models, and a slower/older memory module probably won't be able to meet the faster requirements...

    The Mac with 2 GB sticks might be from around 2008 (I have a 2008 iMac that came that way); I'm guessing the one with 1 GB sticks must be quite old.

    I'm not sure if there is a risk of damage or not, to the memory module (or maybe even the Mac), if they don't match.

    As for 2) ... I really don't know, but IF the system recognizes the (3 GB) of RAM without problem, THEN I don't think it would hurt to try booting el Capitan to find out.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    It all depends on the age of both macs and do they both use compatible ram. You don't define which models you have so, its impossible to say if it will work or not.
  4. bogg macrumors 6502


    Apr 12, 2005
    Sounds like you're going to steal some memory from your parents computer ;)
    The easiest two ways to find out for sure is A) to check what exact models the two are and post it here
    B) try it out

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