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Where To Buy The Best RAM For The Mac

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Before we get started

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There comes a time when you need to buy additional memory (RAM) for your Mac. It can help things to run smoothly and extend the life of your Mac for another year or two, meaning that you can probably hold off that upgrade a little long (if you have the willpower). It’s important to have sufficient memory in your computer, because without it you might experience significant slowdowns as your computer struggles to keep up with today’s memory-intensive applications. RAM is the working memory of your computer, and without enough, things start grinding to a halt pretty quickly – you’ll see the spinning multi-coloured beach ball all too often.

In the past, buying additional memory was one of the most expensive components for your Mac, but prices keep falling and it’s also one of the few things that can easily be replaced at home rather than taking it to an expensive technician. This article lists some of the best places to buy RAM for your Mac, but remember that before you attempt installation, it pays to do a little research and make sure you have all the right equipment. If you’re not confident of upgrading memory yourself, take your computer to an Apple store or other computer shop and they’ll be more than happy to install the memory for you.



Buying Advice

It’s worth noting that Apple’s own memory prices are stupendously high, and there’s nothing special about the RAM they provide either – it’s simply bought in bulk from companies such as Samsung and Hynix. Furthermore, RAM sold by Apple is also not the fastest that you can buy for the Mac – it’s definitely advisable to buy a standard Mac and upgrade the memory later.

It’s also critical that you buy RAM from major companies only, as it’s guaranteed to be of high quality and come with a lifetime guarantee – there’s no point to buy unknown or unbranded RAM that might fail just after you’ve bought it.

RAM comes in many different types – the key factors to consider are the size and speed. Size-wise, buy as much as you can afford, because your Mac will thank you for it. In terms of the speed, check the type of memory (such as DDR3-1066) is fast enough to keep up with your Mac. If in doubt, simply use some of the superb tools on the websites of the companies below – they all let you select your model and some of them can even detect the optimal memory for your system by downloading a small app.

Don’t forget that you can always buy memory elsewhere and take it to a local Apple store or computer shop to install (for a charge), which works out significantly cheaper.


Where to Buy?

These days, there are hundreds of online stores that stock RAM compatible with most Macs. There are also lots of independent computer stores up and down the country and of course the Apple Store. Buying online is probably the way to go, as you can check what type of memory your computer needs, and it order it online with little fuss. Below we’ve listed a few of the recommended retailers to buy from…

Crucial Icon1. Crucial

Website

Crucial is one of the most established online retailers and manufacturers of RAM, and stock pretty much every type that you might need. Use their Memory Adviser service on the main page to select the make and model of your Mac, and it’ll find all matching memory. For example, select Apple MacBook Pro and the model and you’ll be taken to a page with all the valid options. They also remind you that it’s advisable to install 2 pairs of matched memory in Macs – such as 2 x 4 GB memory modules. This way you’ll achieve the best possible performance. However, the easiest way to determine what sort of RAM you need is to download the Mac System Scanner to automatically determine what you need. You can’t really get much simpler than that! What’s more, there’s free shipping on all items to the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Example price: £35 for an 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) kit for 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Crucial Screenshot
Buy with confidence from Crucial

Mr Memory Icon2. Mr Memory

Website

Mr Memory appears to be one of the most highly rated online retailers of RAM. They  stock a wide range of memory for all types of computers including Macs. You can choose the make and model of computer on the main screen, after which is takes you through several screens to narrow down the choice. Prices are pretty competitive, and they stock all the major branded memory. What’s more, they offer free 1st class delivery within the UK. There’s also a video guide which shows you how to install laptop memory – and even though the guide is for a PC, the same basic principles apply to the Mac.

Example price: £35 for an 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) kit for 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Mr Memory Screenshot
Mr Memory has a wide selection of Mac memory

Apple Icon3. Apple

Website

As expected, Apple sells memory for the Mac (it would be weird if they didn’t!), but we have to point out that their prices are extraordinarily expensive (that’s an understatement) compared to the other online retailers in this list. The benefit of buying from Apple is that the memory is guaranteed to be 100% compatible with your Mac (though the other stores also guarantee this), but people with more money than sense might feel safer in the knowledge that they’re buying from Apple themselves. So be warned – if you insist on buying from them, you’ll pay through the nose. Prices are very consistent however – choose any of the 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch models and the price is the same regardless of which processor you have.

Example price: £320 for an 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) kit for 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Apple Screenshot
Good, but the most expensive place to buy Mac memory!

Amazon Icon4. Amazon

Website

Online retailer Amazon stocks a large range of RAM for the Mac from large manufacturers such as Kingston and Crucial – many of the products are sold by Amazon but provided by other retailers. The only downside is that you really have to know what type of memory you need before you buy it, and of course there aren’t any online guides on the website to help you choose. Having said that, many people will already have an Amazon account and will be familiar with their buying process, so it’s not a bad choice if you can find out what specification RAM you need from other sources.

Example price: £43 (plus delivery) for an 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) kit for 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Amazon Screenshot
Amazon sells Mac memory but you need to know the spec first

Offtek Icon5. Offtek

Website

Offtek stocks a massive selection of memory for every model of Mac you can imagine. Just punch in the model and it will show you the memory module needed for your Mac. The website isn’t as user-friendly as the Crucial one, but the prices appear very slightly cheaper. There’s also a browser-based system scanner to help you find the correct memory.

Example price: £34 for an 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) kit for 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Offtek Screenshot
Use the browser-based system scanner to determine what to buy


About the author

Roland Banks

I've been passionate about Apple ever since I bought my first iPod followed by a white polycarbonate MacBook in 2007. I currently own a MacBook Pro Retina, an iPad Mini Retina, and an iPhone 6.

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