Does the current non-retina MBP support 16GB RAM?

v5vv5v
Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited April 2014


I'm about to order a non-retina MacBook Pro for my wife, and we're trying to make some decisions around which "upgrades" to buy as BTO options from Apple and which to do ourselves with aftermarket components.


 


I've now spent two hours trying to figure out how much RAM to order and can't find a definitive answer.


 


Buying from Apple, the maximum RAM is 8GB, but OWC and Crucial both list the maximum as 16GB. Does anyone know for sure that the machine can actually utilize 16GB? Is there some reason for Apple not to offer a 16GB upgrade option?


 


Thanks for your help!

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Yep.

  • Reply 2 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Yep.



     


    "Yep" it can support 16GB or "Yep" there's a reason Apple only offers 8GB?

  • Reply 3 of 29
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by v5v View Post

    "Yep" it can support 16GB or "Yep" there's a reason Apple only offers 8GB?




    Oh, sorry, yep to 16. Apple has often shorted the max RAM for reasons of availability in the past.

  • Reply 4 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Oh, sorry, yep to 16. Apple has often shorted the max RAM for reasons of availability in the past.



     


    Cool! Thanks a million for the help!


     


    I know a lot of people on AI have preferred vendors for RAM, do you? I've always used Crucial and haven't had any problems, but I'm open to suggestions.

  • Reply 5 of 29
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by v5v View Post

    I know a lot of people on AI have preferred vendors for RAM, do you?


     


    I always check OWC's RAM prices before moving on to Newegg and others. I don't have a preferred brand, myself, but Crucial is usually competitive.

  • Reply 6 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    I always check OWC's RAM prices before moving on to Newegg and others. I don't have a preferred brand, myself, but Crucial is usually competitive.



     


    Thanks!


     


    I always start with OWC too, but for some reason always seem to wind up buying from Crucial, probably because in addition to coming from a known supplier, it's usually a little cheaper.


     


    In case it should ever come up, and for the benefit of others who may read this thread, I don't recommend that Canadians make Newegg their first choice. Despite having a .ca web site, the product comes through American distributors which may result in warranty headaches. I was not able to get service in Canada for an item I bought from them. They did eventually replace it, but there was some confusion and hassle involved. Suppliers that have provided painless service include Crucial, OWC, B&H, NCIX and Apple.

  • Reply 7 of 29
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    I always check OWC's RAM prices before moving on to Newegg and others. I don't have a preferred brand, myself, but Crucial is usually competitive.





    Crucial seems to get fewer complaints of bad sticks no matter what you compare. Given that it's a crucial component, I always test it prior to placing the machine back in service. Memtest typically works well, although they were having problems with Ivy. I'm not sure if those were ever resolved. Apple doesn't officially support 16GB. If the machine ever has to go in for service, I would suggest the OP replace the upgraded ram with the original factory ram prior to taking it in for service. 16 obviously works. Intel certifies the chipsets for 16GB. Some people go as high as 32 on certain windows notebooks as a few using the same chipsets can take 4 x 8GB sodimm configurations.

  • Reply 8 of 29
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by v5v View Post


    I'm about to order a non-retina MacBook Pro ....



    Why non-Retina?  Price?  Or is there something else about the Retina MBP that you don't like?

  • Reply 9 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by v5v View Post


    I'm about to order a non-retina MacBook Pro ....



    Why non-Retina?  Price?  Or is there something else about the Retina MBP that you don't like?





    I would say storage expense and current limit. Massive drawback. You can put 2TB of storage in a non-retina, or even use a combination SSD and 1TB hard drive to make a very decent Fusion drive option.

  • Reply 10 of 29
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

    Why non-Retina?  Price?  Or is there something else about the Retina MBP that you don't like?


     


    There's plenty of reason to still buy the old-style model, not the least of which being aftermarket RAM expansion and cheaper (and wider) aftermarket storage expansion.


     


    I'm sure eventually you'll be able to put a 2TB SSD in the retina MacBook Pro, but you'll be selling kidneys and lungs for the first few years it's even physically possible (it isn't yet). But you can put a 2TB HDD in the other one. 


     


    Those are still certainly valid reasons, but they'll fade away as time passes.

  • Reply 11 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    Why non-Retina?  Price?  Or is there something else about the Retina MBP that you don't like?



     


    1. Price of the machine. With 16GB RAM and 750GB storage, the Reitna costs half-again as much -- around $1000-ish more.


     


    2. Price of storage. She liked the idea of SSD until she found out how much it costs.


     


    3. Ports. The non-Retina model still has Firewire and Ethernet. Not deal breakers, but handy for our situation.


     


    4. She seems to think she'll use an optical drive (she won't) and prefers having it built in over using an external.


     


    5. The Retina display doesn't really matter to us. Sure, it's a little better, but not so much better that it overcomes other considerations.


     


    6. Many of the apps she uses are not Retina-optimized, so they'd look blurry and annoying on a Retina display.

  • Reply 12 of 29
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,229moderator
    It's probably a good time to buy the older model because the new ones should be along in June at the latest and they might not keep the old models. NVidia just launched their 'new' GPUs:

    http://www.geforce.com/hardware/notebook-gpus/geforce-gt-750m/specifications

    I love how they use the Intel HD 4000 as the baseline now and claim it's 6.3x faster. They are saying the 750M is up to 75% faster than the 650M but the spec is just a 15-30% faster clock speed so there should be very little difference. They are rebranding the GPUs this year.

    Intel says they are on track for Haswell:

    http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2013/04/01/intel-rebuffs-jmp-warning-about-haswell-on-track-and-on-time/

    although 'on track' was supposed to be April. IDF is on April 10th so they must have something to show off but here there's a mention of Web TV:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1302291-intel-something-big-is-coming-in-april

    The last full refresh of the MBP was 294 days ago, which is near the end of the cycle. If Intel launches Haswell for sale at IDF and NVidia is good to go, there would be nothing stopping Apple refreshing the lineup this month, which would at least break up this whole 6 month period where Apple hasn't had any updates at all. I suppose Apple could update the Apple TV with some Web TV feature though.

    The big feature for Haswell is battery life. Intel claims it's the biggest jump they've ever made from one generation to another in terms of power saving. Graphics performance is supposed to be double too.

    If Apple keeps the old model in, it might be worth waiting for but if not, you'd be stuck with having to take their small SSDs and maximum 8GB RAM. Maybe there isn't enough room for 16GB in the 13" models as soldered RAM isn't stacked like the DIMMs. Once they move to DDR4, they'll manage it.

    I definitely think the old model is the better option for upgrades. You can even get fairly spacious SSDs at affordable prices now:

    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-SATAIII-2-5-Inch-MZ-7TD500BW/dp/B009NHAF3I

    It's not as much space as the 750GB HDD but 5-10x faster.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    mactacmactac Posts: 315member


    My daughter is going to buy a Macbook Pro this summer. She is not getting the Retina display because she DOES use an optical drive.

  • Reply 14 of 29
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

    My daughter is going to buy a Macbook Pro this summer. She is not getting the Retina display because she DOES use an optical drive.


     


    Sounds like a waste, to me.

  • Reply 15 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member


    So when my wife gets her new Mac, my intention is to restore from a Time Machine backup of her old machine, but now I'm wondering if that's a good idea. Is any of the Time Machine image hardware-specific? I remember years and years ago taking a system drive out of one computer and dropping into another and it barfed because it was trying load files for hardware that didn't exist and failing to load files for hardware that did exist and overall it just didn't go at all well.


     


    Do those issues still exist? Do they carry over into Time Machine? Anyone tried it?

  • Reply 16 of 29
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,229moderator
    v5v wrote: »
    Do those issues still exist?

    If you do a restore there can be issues. If you restore from an OS that came out before a new machine, it can't have the hardware drivers, most importantly graphics drivers. In some cases it won't boot because the new machine's minimum OS would be the one it shipped with.

    For all its faults, Migration Assistant is generally the easiest way. Just stick an ethernet cable between them, open Migration Assistant on both, choose what you want to move and book a week's holiday. It'll likely be halfway done when you get back but you might get lucky. You can use Firewire target mode too. The best way to work with Migration Assistant is copy over as few items as possible and do the rest manually.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    [...] Just stick an ethernet cable between them, open Migration Assistant on both, choose what you want to move and book a week's holiday. It'll likely be halfway done when you get back but you might get lucky.


     


    LOL! Nicely phrased! Thanks, Marvin!


     


    Does it need to be a crossover cable or will any ol' ethernet cable do?


     


    I've never used Migration Assistant. Sounds like... um, "fun."


     


    What I'm hoping to avoid is the week or two of moaning associated with "Aw dammit, I had it set up JUST the way I like it before and now I have to do it all again..." and "Password? This has a password? Damned if I remember what it is..." and "It wants to know the incoming server name for my other email!" Restoring from Time Machine neatly solves all those problems, though as you say, it'll probably just introduce new ones ("It keeps saying it can't start something-or-other and everything on the screen is HUGE!").


     


    Add to this the compounded joy of replacing the hard drive the day it arrives (have you seen how much Apple charges for a BTO drive upgrade?) and I anticipate a couple days of loudly uttered sailor words.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member


    First, I would like to thank the several posters who confirmed my suspicion that non-Retina MBP sales were mainly driven by price -- especially price of storage.


     


    Quote:


    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    It's probably a good time to buy the older model because the new ones should be along in June at the latest and they might not keep the old models.


    I think it's a safe bet that Apple will drop the non-Retina MBPs when the Haswell MBPs ship.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacTac View Post


    My daughter is going to buy a Macbook Pro this summer. She is not getting the Retina display because she DOES use an optical drive.



    I suggest buying one soon then.  The non-Retina MBPs might not still be available this summer.

  • Reply 19 of 29
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,229moderator
    v5v wrote: »
    Does it need to be a crossover cable or will any ol' ethernet cable do?

    If they are both Intel Macs, any cable will do.
    v5v wrote: »
    What I'm hoping to avoid is the week or two of moaning associated with "Aw dammit, I had it set up JUST the way I like it before and now I have to do it all again..." and "Password? This has a password? Damned if I remember what it is..." and "It wants to know the incoming server name for my other email!"

    That should be ok. The Migration Assistant moves the home folder and all those settings are in there. Just make sure not to make a user on the new machine manually with the same name if you happen to set it up when you get it because it tries to create a user with the old name when it migrates. You can always delete it again before migrating if you happen to do this though.

    It will copy the Keychains, login passwords, user settings like desktop backgrounds, application preferences and so on. You will need to authorise the machine in iTunes and de-authorise the old one if you plan to sell it. It can also migrate applications over but anything more than a small home folder contributes to slowdown in the migration so it's usually best to reinstall applications (like I say, the preferences should still be in tact). If the music folder is large, it's best to move that out of the home folder (not to the Desktop as that's still in the home folder) but it can go into the /Users/shared folder. Then once you migrate the home folder, login on the new machine as the migrated user and manually copy the large files into the appropriate places. That makes sure they have the right permissions. You can do this using firewire, an external drive or just mount the old machine over ethernet.

    There's a program called Diskwave here:

    http://diskwave.barthe.ph

    that lets you see which files use the most space and those would be the ones to try and collect in one place to move manually.
    v5v wrote: »
    Add to this the compounded joy of replacing the hard drive the day it arrives (have you seen how much Apple charges for a BTO drive upgrade?) and I anticipate a couple days of loudly uttered sailor words.

    The old style MBP is fortunately one of the easiest machines to do a drive replacement in:

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Early+2011+Hard+Drive+Replacement/5895/1
    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Early+2011+Hard+Drive+Replacement/5119/1

    (The 2012 models are the same layout.)

    They were kind enough to put 10 screws on the base plate though, all of which are the kind of screws that get destroyed if the screwdriver so much as slips a fraction of a mm. If they were able to do it, a panel that slides on and locks would have been nicer. Just have a small philips screwdriver and T6 Torx to do the upgrade. The spudger is just to unhook the battery, which you can do with your finger.
    mcarling wrote:
    I think it's a safe bet that Apple will drop the non-Retina MBPs when the Haswell MBPs ship.

    I'm not sure how they'll manage the entry 13". I could see them cutting the dedicated GPU from the entry 15" to get the price down, possibly even make it 128GB but the entry 13" has to fall $300 and no hardware changes possible. They have to do it eventually though so it's probably just a matter of when they want to suck up the margin drop.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    [...] It can also migrate applications over but anything more than a small home folder contributes to slowdown in the migration so it's usually best to reinstall applications (like I say, the preferences should still be in tact). If the music folder is large, it's best to move that out of the home folder (not to the Desktop as that's still in the home folder) but it can go into the /Users/shared folder. Then once you migrate the home folder, login on the new machine as the migrated user and manually copy the large files into the appropriate places. That makes sure they have the right permissions. You can do this using firewire, an external drive or just mount the old machine over ethernet.


     


    Thanks Marvin! I appreciate that info!


     


    Just wondering... any idea why "migrating" large files is slower than copying them? Not that it matters, it is what it is, but I'm curious.

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