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Memory Modules

Apple MacBook Review: Part 1
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The Apple supplied factory RAM in our MacBook used Samsung modules with a label of M471B2874DH1-CF8. The CF8 refers to CL7 performance, but the “DH1” certification is interesting. Most Samsung RAM is classified as “Z1” because it is lead-free. The “H1” indicates that it is lead- and halogen-free. Samsung currently lists H1 modules as customer samples only, and this means that Apple really did take an extra bit of effort to build a “greener” notebook.  It wasn’t just marketing.

There have been wide reports of system instability with aftermarket memory upgrades. Although this has been reported with Apple factory RAM, the vast majority of upgraders using factory Apple modules have had stable systems. We’re not sure if there is some overly aggressive timings being used with the notebook or if there’s something else going on.

Our second MacBook sample used Hynix RAM. RamJet modules using Hynix RAM have been reported as stable. RamJet also uses Nanya ICs, so it may be random on whether or not you get Nanya or Hynix modules. The majority of aftermarket DDR3 RAM seems to be manufactured by Elpida (Patriot, OWC, G.Skill), Nanya (Ramjet, Mushkin, iRAM), and Micron (Crucial). OCZ Technology does not currently sell CL7 DDR3 SO-DIMMs. Corsair has a part number listed in the search engine, but we were unable to obtain a sample for evaluation. The consolidation of memory manufacturers means that Elipda, Nanya, Micron, Hynix, and Samsung are all considered high quality memory manufacturers nowadays, but there is still some binning and sampling that happens. It’s possible that different vendors are using different grades or batches of memory.

For the time being, we’re holding off third-party memory upgrades. Factory-supplied Apple RAM has had the best track record, although some reports of instability have been reported with factory modules too. Given the significantly fewer incidences of factory RAM crashing though, it’s possible that the scant reports of factory RAM crashing reflects expected failure rates. We hope that Apple maintains the current high-performance CL7 timing.

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