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“Secret” Firmware lets Late ’08 MacBooks use 8GB.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 | Author: and

Every once in a while, a blip on the radar comes up, letting us know that there’s something not quite right in our little corner of the Mac Universe. This time around, it came in the form of Tweets directed to us, as well as in posting in popular Mac forums.

As it turns out, several other memory vendors—along with some Late 08 MacBook/MacBook Pro users—have laid claim to these machines working with 8GB of RAM. This was contradictory to our testing in December 2009 which quite clearly showed that while these models recognized a full 8GB, if an application addressed more than 6GB, the system would slow down significantly.

Not being the type to just let these sorts of claims to go unchallenged, we went back to our testing lab, grabbed the affected model machines, running 10.6.6. and dropped an 8GB upgrade kit in them.

The results were exactly the same as in 2009, lending credence to our conclusions, but the sheer number of claims to the contrary led us to continue searching—and the trail ended at Apple.

In late 2009, an EFI Firmware Update was released to address the buzzing noises coming from the optical drive. However, it seems that somewhere along the line, Apple changed this update without notating it anywhere.

Whether any other elements were affected by this change is undetermined, but it did change memory addressing; with the later version of the update installed, you could address a full 8GB in Snow Leopard. Unfortunately, Software Update doesn’t show this version as being different from the previous one, so users wouldn’t be notified if they had already updated their firmware to the older version.

The practical upshot of all this is that if you installed the EFI Update when it first came out, like we did, you would have gotten the old code, which meant your computer would only address 6GB properly. Those who didn’t upgrade until after Apple changed the updater got the newer firmware, which allowed proper addressing of 8GB.

Once we manually installed the “updated” version of the EFI Firmware in our test machines, they were able to address 8GB normally, without any crashing or slowdowns.

How do you ensure your Late ‘08 MacBook/MacBook Pro can address 8GB of RAM?

Article Continues…

CONFIRMED! OWC supports 8.0GB memory in Mac mini 3,1 machines

Monday, October 26th, 2009 | Author:

macmini-20091020As mentioned in one of my blog posts last Friday, we’ve been busy testing the limits of the 2009 Mac mini models.  In late August, Apple released Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 which improves compatibility with the latest Apple memory kits on Mac mini computers.

It did a little more than that though.  It improved compatibility of OWC brand memory as well.  As all of our memory meets or exceeds Apple’s requirements for RAM, it’s no surprise that, yet again, OWC can support memory expansion beyond the maximum installed amount suggested by Apple.

We have fully tested all 2009 release date Mac mini computers with both Leopard and Snow Leopard and found no issues regarding which OS was used for testing a full 8.0GB of RAM installed.  Under both operating systems, the memory was fully utilized and no system detriment in speed was observed.

Keep in mind, this information is for Mac mini model identifier macmini3,1.  Intel Mac mini machines released prior to 2009 (macmini1,1 or macmini2,1) have hardware limitations that only allow those machines to max out RAM at 2.0GB and 3.0GB respectively.

Want to take your mini to the maximum? OWC has the Mac mini upgrades you need to make your machine screaming fast.