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1333MHz Dimms (2x4GB) in 17in Early 2009 MacBook Pro (5,2) Revisited
4/2/2012


This weekend while selling my rarely used Early 2009 MacBook Pro 17in I swapped in an 8GB ram upgrade (2x4GB, generic PC10600 sodimms), removing the original factory 1066MHz (PC8500) 2x2GB modules. He provided the RAM, not a brand/source I've used. (Pkg did have "mac compatible" logo/listed as 1333 & 1066 compatible.)

As seen in the past, the PC10600 (1333MHz rated) Ram is listed in Apple System Profiler as 1333MHz although of course the bus speed is still 1.07GHz (1066.6666...MHz).

  The new owner was concerned after finding an older post from Nov. 2009 in Apple's forums from a 2009 17in Macbook Pro (w/other upgrades) owner saying he had problems when using the 9400 GPU which uses shared RAM as VRAM. (Thread link - "Kernel Panic and Random Crashes 8GB RAM 1333 mhz and 9400M".)
   I mentioned that's a tiny sample size, many times problem posts are not common (lots of variables), sometimes fixes in later updates/firmware, etc. (Here's a blog post from 2011 on 8GB ram support and firmware updates for MacBook/MacBook Pro 5,1 models. This is a MacBook Pro 5,2 however that already had the last EFI update applied. ASP info with EFI/bootrom version shown below.)

   I didn't see any problems in about an hour of use (set to 9400 GPU) on battery or AC adapter, ran CineBench tests (incl OpenGL FPS tests) but offered to swap the OEM ram back in if he sees a problem later. (I was not able to run stress tests like 3D games for instance - none installed and I don't think he has any either.)

Regardless, I promised a post to see if anyone else with a similar config (MacBook Pro 5,2, etc) has seen any problems lately related to using 1333MHz rated ram.

Here's a few screenshots of ASP info from the MacBook Pro 5,2 (running OS X 10.6.8) after the Ram upgrade.

Apple System Profiler Summary


Apple System Profiler SODimm Info


About this Mac



As noted in some forum threads in the past for these models, Activity Monitor showed 7.75GB under the Memory "Pie", regardless of GPU selected IIRC. (May still reserve 256MB for 9400M use toggle.) I can't remember now what it showed w/OEM 4GB installed. Free + Used total looked correct.


(OWC's MaxRam tests by Mac Model doesn't list the Early 2009 MBP 17in (as of this post date) but their Unibody ram upgrades page does show MacBookPro 5,2 supports 8GB. They said both 17in "Early" and "Mid" 2009 models should support 8GB of RAM.)



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