Q&A: Faster memory upgrade?

Q I want to upgrade my 2012 13” MacBook Pro’s memory. It came with 4 GB of 1600 MHz modules, and I would like to install 1866 MHz modules such as those in one of Corsair’s Vengeance laptop kits. Would these help improve performance?

A Your MacBook Pro should take two 204-pin PC3-12800 (1600 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMMs. ‘Faster’ modules will not be PC3-12800, and may not work properly: they would be a gamble. You may find that the supplier is prepared to warrant their compatibility, in which case they might be worth trying.

However more to the point is that you will be wasting your money buying ‘faster’ modules, as they will not work any faster unless you were to make other hardware modifications such as overclocking your CPU, which is both technically very difficult and unlikely to work properly.

You would be much better off installing a pair of 8 GB SO-DIMMs that are warranted to be compatible with your Mac. With a total of 16 GB to hand, your MacBook Pro should really fly; that will be a much better and more reliable enhancement that trying ‘faster’ and probably incompatible components.

The other upgrade worth thinking about would inevitably be replacing its internal drive with an SSD drive, if it does not already have one.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 29 issue 4, 2013.