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Adding RAM to a 13-Inch MacBook

A step by step guide to upgrading memory By Dave Nagel
When it comes to design, Apple's new 13-inch MacBook is innovative inside and out. One of the ways it's innovative on the inside is in the design of its memory slots, making it simple to upgrade memory yourself (and allowing you to save money in the process). Here's a step by step guide to upgrading memory in the MacBook.

By default, the 13-inch MacBook comes with a scant 512 MB RAM in the form of two 256 MB chips. Obviously that's barely enough to start your computer and launch a Web browser in this day and age. So the options are to upgrade via the Apple Store ($500 to $600 for a full 2 GB complement) or buy the memory from a third-party vendor (less than $300 for 2 GB) and install it yourself. You can install the modules in pairs of 1 GB chips, or you can add in a single 1 GB chip, bringing your total memory to 1.25 GB.

Either way, here's how it works. In order to complete this tutorial, you'll need two tool: a regular flat-head screwdriver (for removing the back plate) and a dinky Phillips head screwdriver (such as the kind that come in an eyeglass repair kit) for removing a bracket from the inside of the machine.

Before you get started, make sure you've backed up important data, turned off your computer and disconnected the power source. And don't blame me if you do it wrong.

Step 1: removing the back plate
To begin, turn you MacBook over and insert your flat-head screwdriver into the lock on the back of the machine.

Turn it clockwise o the unlock position.

This will make the back panel pop out a little. Lift the plate off completely. Your battery is attached to this plate.

Step 2: removing the L plate
Now, in order to access the RAM slots inside the MacBook, you'll need to remove an L-shaped plate that covers them up. To do this, you'll need to loosen the three tiny screws in the plate, as seen below.

Note that these screws do not come out completely. They just get loosened a bit.

Also note that in the case of both of my MacBooks, the screw on the right was the most difficult to remove. If you're not using a small enough screwdriver, you may very well strip it, which will, of course, case you problems. So be careful with that one.

After you've loosened the screws as far as they will loosen, you can pull the L-shaped plate out.

Step 3: removing the existing memory
Now you have access to the RAM slots. Behind the area where the plate was located, you'll see two little levers. These are the memory module release levers. Swing them all the way to the left to pop out the modules that are currently in the slots.

When the modules are partially out, you can then grab ahold of them by their sides and pull them all the way out, leaving empty slots.

These modules are now basically useless to you. But you might want to hold on to them just in case.

Step 4: inserting new memory modules
You're now free to put your new memory modules into the vacant slots. Make sure you put them in facing the right direction (as indicated below). The slot in the interface should be closer to the left-hand side of the module when looking at it from the top.

When you insert the modules, push them in completely by applying very firm pressure. On my first attempt, I did put the modules in all the way, and the computer wouldn't start up. So make sure you do so to save yourself time and trouble.

Step 5: closing up
Once you have the modules installed, you can close the machine back up. Begin by reattaching the L plate to cover up the memory slots. Carefully screw the plate back into the MacBook to avoid stripping the screws. Note that if the plate is not flush, as it was before you opened it up, then your modules probably aren't inserted all the way. It should mount pretty easily if the modules are in correctly.

Then reattach your battery, sliding it in so that the battery connectors are attached before snapping the back panel into position.

Then just lock the battery panel back in by inserting a screwdriver into the lock and turning counter-clockwise.

Plug it in and fire it up. You're done. If you get nothing but a blinking blue light on the forward edge of the MacBook, then the modules aren't attached correctly. You'll need to reopen the machine and push them in all the way.

If you have any questions, be sure to visit me in one of the forums listed below.

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Related Keywords:macbook, 13 inch, ram, upgrading memory


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