Improving the performance of my Mac Book Pro with 8GB

Since I upgraded to OSX Lion, my machine just felt slow. Snow Leopard was running as smooth as silk with 4GB. I do a bit of Final Cut Express and this really didn't worked well at all anymore for example. Same story with Xcode once upgraded to 4.3. I checked my options and it turned out that I wasn't alone experiencing that issue. Two weeks ago, at the Pharo Conference in Lille, I saw how much better the same kind of machine performed with 8GB. So, time to upgrade.

Let's go shopping

First of all, let's get the hardware we need. As a preferred source, I use MemoryC. Delivery is ultra fast through their DHL Express option. I was pleased with my orders of an RunCore SSD when upgrading my Dell D430 and another OCZ SSD for upgrading my Acer Laptop. They do have a pretty easy to use memory configurator: MemoryC Configurator So, I ordered a pair of integral 4GB modules. ref IV3V4GNYBGX DDR3 4GB 1066MHz SODIMM. These were the ones I needed based on the About this Mac window. Make sure you get the right specced RAM or you'll be in for some nasty surprises. And don't buy direct from Apple, their RAM is just outrageously overpriced. Integral 4GB Modules Next step, get those in the box.

Opening the beast

Okay, we have to open the Mac. On that 2009 model, it is just a matter of removing some screws from the bottom of the case. The only thing is that you need a pretty fine screwdriver. And make sure your box is switched off before doing any of this. Mac Bottom Here it is, ready for some surgery. RAMLocation

Getting rid of the old

So, let's get rid of the old 2GB SODIMMs. Make sure you aren't loaded with static electricity when doing this. Here, you see the second SODIMM being removed. Removing RAM Here are the empty slots: Empty Slots

Fitting in the new

Just a matter of putting them in. Notice the shorted side of the connectors goes to the left. When taking the RAM out of their boxes, this means you need to turn them over. So, insert one... First SODIMM goes in and gently push it down. OneDown And two. Second goes in There is some springy feel to it. No worries, it will work smoothly. Second Goes In There, it is done! While I was at it, I just took a pic of the HDD of 250GB since it is becoming quite small. HardDisk250Apple I just happened to have a replacement but this will be for another time. Some people say that the 7200RPM Seagate Momentus 500GB is making the system vibrate. I'll be able to confirm if this is true or not in a future surgery of the system. Seagate 500 7200 RPM I was also wondering how the heat went out the Mac and this is how the grille looks from the bottom cover. By the way, there is a reason why 3 screws are bigger: they need to keep this grille in place. See the small hole on the left? Cover Grille

Reassembly time

Putting the cover back in please is super easy thanks to the fine engineering of Apple. Cover Back Just screw everything back in place and it is done. I used the packages to save the original 2x2GB modules. Save Modules Rebooting the Mac was all right. It took quite a while (don't know what this was doing) but got the screen back. And it runs with 8GB: 8GB And the Mac runs much more smoothly now. No matter how many apps I do open. MemoryMap I am not used to having so much green in the pie! So, basically a succesful upgrade for a fair price and very little time investment. A dramatic improvement indeed.