Need 16GB of RAM for your new MacBook Pro?


March 14, 2011

16GB OWC Memory Upgrade for MacBook Pro

16GB OWC Memory Upgrade for MacBook Pro

Anyone in the market for one of Apple's new Thunderbolt-equipped 2011 MacBook Pros would be forgiven for thinking the machines only support up to 8GB (2 x 4GB) of RAM since that's what's listed on the tech specs and is the maximum build-to-order option available through Apple. However online store OWC says the new 2011 MacBook Pro models can actually support up to 16GB (2 x 8GB) and is selling the 8GB sticks you'll need to make it happen. The only catch is the price, which is more than the asking price for either of the two 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro models currently available.

All the 2011 MacBook Pro models come with 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory as standard, which should be fine for most applications. But if you're a power user dealing with video editing, high resolution images or the like, then shelling out an extra US$200 to bump the RAM up to 8GB can be a wise investment – and sourcing the RAM from someone other than Apple can bring the price down to almost half that.

But if at 8GB you're still thirsting for yet more speed, then OWC is happy to oblige with a 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 1333MHz Memory Upgrade Kit that sells for US$1599.99, with the high price tag attributable to the scarcity of 8GB modules. However, at this price you'd have to do a serious cost/benefit analysis and ask yourself whether you actually need what, for most users, would probably amount to a minimal speed increase. For the slightly more budget conscious OWC also sells a 12GB (8GB + 4GB) Upgrade Kit for $879.99.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

The OWC 8GB upgrade kit cost $112.99 vs $1,599.99 for the 16GB upgrade kit so unless you run out of RAM most of the time I think the 16GB upgrade is a waste of money.


Yes, make do with the 8 GB for now and when the manufacturers realize that no one's buying, they could put them up on fire sale or come up with a way to install 2 8 GB in parallel.


The different in price makes no sense until you think who dumb some people can be about spec so I can see where Apple is really selling it to those people not because of any performance gain but because there is a fool born every day.

Alexander Cardosa

@Alexander Cardosa

\"The different in price makes no sense until you think who dumb some people can be about spec so I can see where Apple is really selling it to those people not because of any performance gain but because there is a fool born every day.\"

Sure, there\'s a fool born every day. Without even commenting on your lack of proper English(considering English probably isn\'t your native language), Apple isn\'t selling the 16GB kit for their Macbook Pros, OWC is. Reading before commenting usually helps.

David McClellan

The upgrade is 919.99 - the price seems to be dropping rather quickly. much more reasonable now.

Maximum Huge

Price is down to under $800.

Not sure why people are talking about no increase in performance - for me the benefit is not performance but the ability to run multiple virtual machines at the same time.

I am seriously considering the 16GB upgrade for a new Mac Mini Server that will be connected to a 12TB Thunderbolt array - and I may end up running several VMs with email, web, FTP, etc on that Mac Mini - at a fraction of the price and physical size (and weight and power and noise) of a full Mac Pro Tower.

I already have the 8GB upgrade in my MacBook Pro 2011 - and very often run close to the edge of using it all but have to be careful that I don\'t run all my VMs for test and dev at the same time.

Matt Wolanski

Don\'t assume that what you do with a computer applies to everyone and that 16G is a \'waste of money\' / \'more money than sense\' - consider that some people will run Parallels, and then run fairly heavy usage compilers in that environment. At that point 16G starts looking small.

Mike Smith

True that, virtual machines are resource hungry. That\'s how ended up reading this article. The 300GB hardrive and 8GB memory in my 2009 MacBook Pro are just not enough these days. Considering switching to solid state drive too, but not sure about the reliability.

Cam Slice

New Price is $429 !

Pinto Anto

Dang, the 16gb is already down to $399 :D.

So as of this writing, it\'s a default of 2gbs -- and either $200 for apple to upgrade it to 8gb, or $400 to custom install 16gb. Given the laptop\'s price, I think the extra $200 would be worth it :P.

Alex Gold

Also, as a side note -- custom installing to 8gb is only $51 instead of Apple\'s $200.

Here\'s to hoping next year\'s (big) refresh doesn\'t feature bodies that can\'t be upgraded.

Alex Gold

now they are selling 16gb kits on, a bit pricy though at $259.99 but if you got the money its there for you.

Chris Rennie

I got two 8gb ram chips from for $59.99 each a couple days ago (Shell Shocker price). they are only 79.99 normally though. I called the company (Geil), and they said it was compatible with my MacBookPro8,2 (early 2011 15\" version).

Mike Kelly
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