Apple’s RAM Upgrades Actually Cheap??


My younger sister is in the market for a new computer, and like seemingly everyone else these days, she’s looking for a Mac. So as a good big brother, I’m helping her figure out what to get.

While pricing out the new Intel iMac and MacBook Pro, the RAM prices caught my attention.

  • 2x512mb = $100
  • 1x1gb = $100

That alone is pretty cool. So I went over to Crucial to do a little comparison shopping. (Right now, Crucial’s the only memory shop that I saw that lists Apple’s new Intel models.) Their upgrades look like this:

  • a 512mb chip = $109
  • a 1gb chip = $140

So for probably the first time I’ve ever heard of, your memory upgrades through Apple are cheaper than doing it yourself after the fact! Thanks Apple!

On the MacBook Pro, the 2x512mb upgrade is also $100 compared to Crucial’s $109. However, Apple is asking $200 for a 1x1gb upgrade, whereas Crucial’s is still only $140.



is there a difference between apple memory and pc memory?yes or no?and why?…thank you.


I have a Mac that is a few years old
a G4 Blueberry tower

what is the story…

is it safe to buy RAM that is not sold through APPLE; “apple compatible”

can you send me an email to the included addres

this machine is a little old
but suits my needs
when I bought it I did not know what I was doing as far as RAM
now I know a little more about the workings of computers
but still not that much

but I know I need more RAM

no justification in buying a new computer



I was wondering is it possible to only upgrade one stick of ram for a macbook? For example i have the stock 256mb x 2…so if i only upgrade one of the sticks to a 1gb stick will it give me 1.256gb of ram, or do i need to have both sticks be the same size?


Hi guys,just bought the macbook pro,which comes standard with 512mb,i was so surprised how slow it is,will a 2gb make a huge difference with the speed?????????i hope so

Nick Santilli

elteacher – You’d probably be fine with 1gb of ram. You can always upgrade later if you need to. This article post isn’t as current anymore though, as pricing has shifted, so I wouldn’t go by the things written here specifically.


Thinking of buying the new 17″ MacBookPro, but not understanding the memory thing. I want to come out with the best deal (i.e. bargain but not “cheap”).
Use it primarily for web and word processing, so how much memory do I need?

Nick Santilli

Thanks andee, but I had noted the difference in pricing on the macbook pro memory upgrades (though I didn’t site specific dollars)

In the end, I’m sure it all evens out in the wash. Apple wouldn’t be giving the stuff away. But as many readers have also pointed out – shopping around a bit will yield much better price points for your own upgrades, post purchase.


Maybe this will help you understand that your numbers are off Nick:

Goto the MacBook Pro 1.83 (which comes with 1GB of RAM) and add a stick of 1GB RAM. The cost, a whopping $300!

I realize that this will come pre-installed and ready to go, but really, 1GB for $300, that is not a deal!


This isn’t hard.

The first stick of 512 is included in the price of the machine.
To add another 512 Stick it is an additional $100. So that 512 stick costs 100 dollars.

If you go with a single 1 gig chip, it is the $100 the cost of the 512 Chip that is removed.


Actually, it appears that the new Intel Macs use dual-channel memory, in which case it is generally better to install memory in matching pairs (i.e. 2x512MB will be more performant than 1x1GB). However, most users’ will probably not notice a significant difference unless they are doing something fairly memory intensive.

To quote, Apple says “To maximize memory performance, it is recommended that memory SO-DIMMs be installed in pairs.” Just click on the “Learn More” link by the memory options in the store.

Personally, I think $100 (especially USD) is quite expensive for 512MB. 512MB of Kingston DDR2-667 goes for $59 CDN (about $52USD) and 1GB of Kingston DDR2-667 goes for around $110 CDN (about $97 USD) where I live. The upgrade to 1GB is no better. Upgrading from 512MB costs $100USD AND you give up the 512MB stick in the base configuration.


Yes, I was also wondering about the speed enhancements, I heard that 2×512 is better for a dual channel chip but I really have no idea. Does the macbook use dual channel or does it use a different tech where 2×512 is the same 1x1gb. I mean there is about a $100 price difference between them on the higher end macbook pro there has to be a reason why… So what is the difference??

Nick Santilli

Martin – no worries. I just kept re-reading your comment thinking, “How on earth am I missing the point here…?” I was trying to rationalize that it’d been a long week and my brain was shot.

But yeah, comparing elsewhere, you’re bound to find lower prices – as Rex, Michael, and Paul have mentioned. I just went with Crucial, as that seems to be the main one everyone talks about next to Apple.

Martin MC Brown

Hi Nick,

No, I apologize – I didn’t look at the low end model (which has a 512MB option, the higher model has 1GB or 2GB options only.

So you are right – and yes, on comparison to Crucial, it does look like a good deal, but Crucial’s price also seems artificially high anyway. $120 for 512MB and $140 for 1GB seems very odd. I don’t expect the price to be half, but less than 20% difference is strange.

I suspect you could still get that 512MB from another supplier and still beat Apple’s price.

Rex Roof

you aren’t being dense, but you can get a name brand so-dimm ddr2 from for $48. so that doesn’t seem too cheap to me.

Nick Santilli

Chris – the last paragraph is talking about the MACBOOK PRO memory upgrade pricing, not the iMac. The pricing differs for the 2 models.

2×512 upgrade for both the iMac and the MacBook Pro is $100
but the 1x1gb upgrade pricing differs between the iMac and the MacBook Pro. Go to and see for yourself in the store if you don’t believe me.

Nick Santilli

Martin – so the DIFFERENCE in buying 2×512 from apple is $100. If I just get the base 1×512 from apple, and then order 1×512 from crucial, it’s gonna cost me $109 shipping.
The DIFFERENCE is $9 shipping more than I’d be paying apple…

Am I being dense here?

Chris Brummel

What’s with your #s? The last paragraph contradicts the numbers you list. Apple is asking $100 for a 1x1gb upgrade in one spot and $200 in the next? For a single chip of 512, it’s $109 at Crucial, but then you compair the price to Apple’s 2x512mb deal as equal.

Martin MC Brown

Nick – you are not looking at the prices correctly.

The prices quoted on the Apple Store are for the *DIFFERENCE*, not the price of the actual chips.

Through Apple’s store you have two choices for 1GB of RAM, either you choose two 512MB (whih takes $100 off the price of a single 1GB) or you choose a single 1GB (which adds $100 to the 2x512MB price.

The cost of the RAM chips is *NOT* $100, that’s just the difference between the two options.

Now check the price difference between selecting the 1x1GB SODIMM and 2x1GB SODIMM options.

The price difference is $300 – IE you are being being charged an *ADDITIONAL* $300 for an extra 1GB SO DIMM.

Compare that price to the $140 for a 1 GB DIMM from Crucial and you can see that $300 for that 1GB DIMM from Apple is expensive.

In fact, it’s so expensive that you could buy a MacBook Pro with 1 512MB SO DIMM (different in price to 2GB is $400), but 2x1GB DIMMs from Crucial and you would still SAVE $120 *AND* have a 512MB SO-DIMM to sell on eBay for your trouble.

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