When I bought my new MacBook Pro about a year ago I opted for 4Gb RAM. I would have loved more, but price was an issue. The 4Gb was already twice what I had in the old 2006 model I was moving from.
The Christmas RAM
At the end of 2010 I decided to buy myself a small Christmas present. After all, people who work in offices get a party. As a self-employed person I didn’t really want to go out to dinner or anything, but a small present would be a great thing.
That’s when I rashly bought a RedEye mini — a universal remote for iOS devices.
To make a long story short I hated it and sold it on TradeMe.
Then a Kiwi Twitterpal mentioned that they’d bought RAM at a good price from OWC, it had arrived quickly and they were happy with it. I decided to give it a try.
US$115 got me 4Gb RAM which arrived in very short order. Then came the ‘hard’ part: installing it. I needed to open the case, remove the 2x2Gb units and add the 2x4Gb units.
Except I didn’t have the right screwdriver. A visit to Dick Smith netted me a 6-pack of screwdrivers for $2.99 that included the one I needed.
I felt bad buying this kit. Half a dozen metal devices in a plastic box (a Precision Screwdriver Set), shipped all the way from Asia and sold for NZ$2.99? Some worker was probably paid cents per day for their labour.
My cunning plan
Recently I took a failed hard drive from one gadget and installed it in a case. There were screws all over the place and I’m not sure everything ended up as it should have done.
My MacBook Pro is precious to me, so I grabbed a sheet of A4 paper (not quite big enough for the laptop, but it was sufficient) and laid it over the flipped over machine. I took a pencil and marked in spots where the screws belonged.
Because the paper was slightly too small I had to move it around to match the edges of the Mac, but precise position was irrelevant. All I needed was a rough indication of what went where.
As I removed each screw I poked it through the relevant mark on the paper to ‘hold’ it for later. The screws were tiny so it wasn’t quite as easy as you’d think, but it felt great that I knew exactly which screw belonged in which hole.
The installation was smooth
I searched a bit for information about static electricity and made sure to stand still while I worked, touch several metal objects before I started and to touch as little as possible inside the machine.
Removing the screws and case took a few moments, and extracting the RAM took a few more. Then I carefully inserted the new RAM according to the instructions, reassembled the case and held my breath while I turned the machine on.
To my enormous relief everything went well, and a quick look at About This Mac confirmed my 8Gb was being recognised.
If I can do this, so can you
There are plenty of technically competent people around who could have done this whole thing in 2 minutes with no instructions. I’m not one of them. I know many things, but I’ve never learned about the insides of computers. They scare me because I believe I know how easy it is to break things in there.
Honestly though, with the excellent videos and written instructions and with a modicum of care this was easy to do.
This upgrade cost me about half what it would have cost had I simply opted for more RAM when I bought the machine. I’m thrilled with the results too.
I don’t really notice the extra RAM in my normal day to day writing and web surfing, but the second I open and use Aperture, and when I export my MacTips videos the difference is absolutely obvious.
This was a fabulous present to myself.