Jim Fitzsimmons about apple memory 768 articles published

The world's memory and flash value leader since 1998

Apple Memory Upgrades for 2011 Apple Macintosh Computers

Apple iMac Memory UpgradesThe 2011 Apple iMac lineup consists of four different Apple iMac models: two feature 21.5 inch LCD displays and two feature 27 inch LCD displays. Introduced in May 2011 all the newest Apple iMacs currently accept the same ddr3 1333Mhz sodimms, and save for the low end iMac which is the cheapest iMac available today – all iMacs can use and accept up  to 16GB of RAM by replacing the stock memory that came with your iMac with bigger 4GB memory upgrades for Apple  iMacs on sale this year. Some vendors sell 8GB memory upgrades kit for Apple iMac  instead, so be sure to buy two 8GB RAM kits for Apple iMac.

The 2011 Apple iMac lineup consists of four different Apple iMac models: two feature 21.5 inch LCD displays and two feature 27 inch LCD displays. Introduced in May 2011 all the newest Apple iMacs currently accept the same ddr3 1333Mhz sodimms, and save for the low end iMac which is the cheapest iMac available today – all iMacs can use and accept up  to 16GB of RAM by replacing the stock memory that came with your iMac with bigger 4GB memory upgrades for Apple  iMacs on sale this year. Some vendors sell 8GB memory upgrades kit for Apple iMac  instead, so be sure to buy two 8GB RAM kits for Apple iMac.

Currently, the Apple iMac lineup consists of  the following Apple iMac Models:

Apple iMac 21.5 inch 2.5GHz $1199 (sale price $1169.99)

Apple iMac 21.5 inch 2.7GHz $1499 (sale price $1459.99)

Apple iMac 27 inch 2.7 GHz $1699 (sale price $1649.99)

Apple iMac 27 inch 3.1GHz $1999 (sale price $1939.99)

Regardless of what Apple iMac you want to buy this year, from the cheapest Apple iMac to the most expensive and most impressive, 27 inch Apple iMac  running at 3.1 GHz, you should max out the ram on these popular Apple desktop computers  as RAM has never been cheaper and time of writing you can fill your Apple iMac with memory for under $100, an unthinkable price not too long ago.

Can the Apple iMac take 32GB of RAM? 

Officially, no. According to the good folks at Apple the iMac maxes out at 16GB, but that’s before you could easily buy 8GB sodimm memory modules for Apple iMac. These larger memory modules were not available to purchase when the iMac was released in May 2011, so the official maximum ram of 16GB is what is supported by Apple and if you want to have your warranty intact, you may want to consider this.

That said, 32GB iMac RAM just requires you to buy 4x8GB sodimms. These 8GB memory modules are far from the cheapest Apple computer memory available, and you may want to consider buying a Mac Pro instead, where the cost to fill your Mac to 32GB  is not only cheaper, but is recommended and approved by Apple. If you need 32GB of RAM in a desktop,  it’s my opinion you’re better off with the Apple Mac Pro.

Apple Mac Mini Memory Upgrades

Best Price on Apple Mac Mini

This is the cheapest Apple desktop computer you can buy, and with a release date of July 2011, also one of the latest and greatest Apple Computers to be announced by Apple this year to date.  With the small footprint and flexibility of the choice of perhipherals to use with the Mac Mini, this may just be the best Apple computer to come out of Apple in 2011.

The Mac Mini is available in two configurations:

Apple Mac Mini 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor $599.99 ( click for sale price )

Apple Mac Mini 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 processor $799.99 (click for sale price)

Regardless of what Mac Mini you choose. (I would go with the cheaper $599 Mac Mini and  use the $200 savings towards buying new peripherals) these new 2911 Apple  Mac Mini’s are real easy to upgrade the RAM on and with the exception of the Mac Pro might be the easiest Mac to add memory upgrades to. If you can unscrew the lid on a jar of peanut butter you can upgrade mac mini RAM with ease.

And you should upgrade the RAM on the Mac Mini to the maximum allowed of 8GB.  The cheap Mac Mini comes out of the box with just 2GB of RAM installed so it’s a perfect candidate for a memory upgrade all the way to 8GB as is the 4GB 2.5GHz  Mac Mini which does benefit from more RAM installed at the factory, but you will pay for it. In addition to the faster processor with the Apple Mac Mini, you’re also paying considerably more for the 4GB of RAM over where you could buy  it from a brand name ram vendor such as Crucial or Corsair or Kingston, which offer more value when it comes to Apple RAM Upgrades. The street price of  a 2GB RAM upgrade is only about $10 at time of writing.

And despite what the Apple Store may tell you you don’t need to buy RAM from Apple for your Mac Mini.  As long as you buy ram from a reputable memory store like Crucial, you will have no problem when it comes to add RAM to your brand new 2011 Apple Mac Mini.

Can I install 16GB of RAM into the 2011 Apple Mac Mini?

Like the case  for 32GB for the Apple iMac,  the answer is twofold: yes, but no.

Yes, you can upgrade the Apple Mac Mini to 16GB  because  the Apple Mac Mini accepts two 8GB 1333Mhz SDRAM sodimms, and back in July 8GB sodimms for Apple Mac Mini were rare and thus, really pricey – costing more than the Mac Mini  itself. Things have changed a bit since and 8GB ram modules for Mac Mini are starting to drop in price some, but you will still pay a pretty penny to get 16GB of RAM for Mac Mini this year.

The second part of the answer  is that Apple only supports 8GB  of RAM in these small desktop computers. If you install 8GB x 2 to get to 16GB you should have no problem with that much Mac Mini ram installed, but in the rare case things go amuck when you install the 16GB of RAM you’re on your own. It’s very doubtful that the Apple limited warranty would cover installing more memory than what was supported. It’s always been my policy to recommend you stick to the maximum RAM as per Apple. 8GB of memory upgrades for Mac Mini should be more than enough RAM if you’re using the Mac Mini for home office, home or school tasks.

If you do need a Mac with 16GB you should buy an iMac or Mac Pro, which offers both faster processors as well as added memory upgrade capacity.

Apple Mac Pro Memory Upgrades

Best Macintosh Pro

The Apple Mac Pro from Apple is getting long in the tooth and we have yet to see a 2011 Apple Mac Pro release from Apple this year  for their professional based desktop computer and the newest  Apple Mac Pro you can buy has a release date of August 10, 2010, over a year ago.

But regardless of age of the current Mac Pro lineup, these are still considered new computers and are available as such in 2011.

Available as either a 8 Core configuration featuring

  • Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 “Westmere” processors

or one Quad core processor Mac Pro  featuring

  • One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 “Nehalem” processor as the standard processor configuration

The memory you need for the Apple Mac Pro gets a little tricky as even though they are considered new Apple Mac Pro models the processor  speed and type determines  what memory upgrade you need to buy:

Dual-processor systems


2.4GHz system: 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM


2.66GHz and 2.93GHz systems: 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM


Eight memory slots (four per processor) supporting up to 64GB of main memory using 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB DIMMs

Single Processor systems


2.8GHz and 3.2GHz systems: 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM


3.33GHz system: 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM


Four memory slots supporting up to 32GB of main memory using 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB DIMM

As you can see from the chart above, there’s many choices when it comes to Apple Mac Pro memory so be sure to buy the right speed of memory for Mac  Pro whether you need to buy Mac Pro 1333GHz or Mac Pro 1066GHz RAM, as it can be confusing  and you want to be certain you match  the right ram for the right Mac Pro.

My guess, and the Mac Pro Rumors tend  to confirm this, is that there’s a Mac Pro refresh in the works  that will not only allow for faster processors but will sychronize the ram requirements so that all new 2011 Apple Mac Pro models use the  same memory type, just like all the  other Apple computer models do.

Can the Apple Mac Pro Accept 64GB of RAM?

Like the Apple iMac and Mac Mini above, the technical answer is no if you have the single processor. The single  processor Mac Pros max out at  32GB of RAM. The dual processsor Mac Pro systems can in fact accept 64GB of RAM if you have the budget for it. 64GB of RAM for Mac Pro is not cheap and unless you really need the fastest desktop possible to get your work done faster, you may be able to get away with 32GB of Mac Pro Memory.

Apple MacBook Pro Memory Upgrades

Cheapest MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is my favorite Apple Computer when it comes to Apple portables and when you consider what it costs to buy a MacBook Pro in the first place, a MacBook Pro RAM upgrade is a no brainer if you ask me.  Like the Nike ad says ‘just do it’.

The 2011 Apple MacBook Pro lineup consists of five different models to choose from:

13 inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pro $1199.00 (click for better price)

13 inch 2.7GHz MacBook Pro $1499.00  (click for better price)

15 inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro $1799.00 (click for better price)

15 inch 2.2Ghz MacBook Pro $2199.00 (click for better price)

17 inch 2.2Ghz MacBook Pro $2499.00 (click for better price)

editor’s note: I would buy the cheapest MacBook Pro which in this case is the 13 inch MBP and use the money you saved for the next upgrade MacBook Pro, which might be as early as late 2011 and then use the savings from not buying the more expensive MacBook Pro’s to put towards the  2012 MacBook Pros when they are released in just a few short months. This is just one strategy to saving money on not only RAM, but also the computer the memory is being installed into.

But regardless of what Apple MacBook Pro you already own or are  considering buying upgrade the RAM to the maximum using a 8GB DDR3 SDRAM sodimm memory upgrade kit.  8GB MacBook Pro memory is so cheap  that it makes absolutely no sense to me why you run the stock MacBook Pro ram configuration when for under $50 you can max out  the RAM on your MacBook Pro

Can I Upgrade MacBook Pro Memory to 16GB?

Yes, you can. You need  to buy 8GB 1333Mhz sodimms  on sale and install them in the two memory upgrade banks or sockets available for an upgrade by removing the stock Apple RAM with more advanced and high quality 8GB laptop memory. The problem with adding 16GB MacBook Pro memory is that it’s still pretty pricey and could cost as much as the MacBook Pro you’re installing the 16GB upgrade into.

You’re better off with 8GB of MacBook Pro Memory. 8GB is the deal when it comes to Apple MacBook Pro Memory Upgrades. 16GB is still too expensive in 2011 to be a worthwhile upgrade.  Besides, installing 16GB into a MBP is not something that Apple recommends and neither can I. You may void your warranty by installing more memory than what is the maximum at time of release. I’d stick to 8GB and enjoy the Apple MacBook Pro with a full warranty intact.

Apple MacBook Air Memory Upgrades

is the MacBook air the best deal on a mac notebook?

This will be the shortest part of  this article  because you cannot upgrade the memory on the  Apple MacBook Air, due  to the fact that the memory upgrades are not available to be upgraded, and you’re stuck with the memory the MBA came with when you bought from the MacBook Air from Apple which are currently available in these four MacBook Air configurations:.

Apple MacBook Air 11/64GB 2GB RAM $999.00 (click for a better price)

Apple MacBook Air 11/128GB 4GB RAM $1199.00 (click for a better price)

Apple MacBook Air  13/128GB 4GB RAM $1299.00  (click for a better price)

Apple MacBook Air  13/256GB 4GB RAM $1599.00 (click for a better price)


As you can see from the Apple MacBook Air lineup  for 2011,  the cheapest MacBook Air comes pretty much crippled with lack of RAM and all could use at least 8GB MacBook Air Memory to really make these small and fast notebooks from Apple shine, but Apple decided to make the maximum ram  at 4GB. Considering the Mac OS Lion requires 1GB of RAM, that doesn’t leave you with a lot of memory to play around with. That said, these are consumer based notebooks not professional notebooks and with the MacBook Air you get true plug and play as there are no upgrades  you can, or need to perform when you buy a MacBook Air as opposed to the Apple MacBook Pro that requires a ram upgrade to really see what  the MBP can do.

Where To Buy Apple Memory 

Best Prices on Mac RAM

It’s easier to show you where not to buy memory upgrades for Apple computers than to provide you with a list of all the great stores you can buy memory upgrades from, but you can get a great deal on RAM  for Apple without much trouble at all and if you’re in  the market for name brand memory such as Crucial Technology RAM , or Kingston or Corsair, now is te best time in the 15 years I have been checking ram prices for Apple computers online. 8GB of RAM for the iMacs, MacBook Pro or the Mac Mini in 2011 has dropped in price to half what it was just a few months ago, so if you’ve been sitting on the fence waiting to buy ram, don’t wait much longer as  I can’t forecast ram prices getting  much lower than they already have been.

If you have already have a new 2011 Mac but have been watching for ram prices to drop, again you really should upgrade the ram on your new Mac at your earliest convenience. The Apple computers are far from the cheapest computer you can  buy comparable PC’s for much less but the benefit of Apple over other brands of computers is that they tend to hold their resale value and adding RAM is just one more way to not only increase your day to day productivity but also increase the value of your Mac when it’s  time for an Apple Computer upgrade for your next new Apple computer.