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Is it possible to put 1600Mhz memory in a 17" Macbook Pro? Or does it have to be 1066Mhz?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can put it in, and as long as it's pin compatible (i.e. if you have DDR2, put DDR2 not DDR3), then it will work. It will automatically down-regulate the speed. Just be aware that because of the computer you chose, you will not be able to modify the RAM speed or timings, so you will not have a performance gain.

This is solely due to the fact that your hardware and BIOS options limit how fast you can run said RAM. If you are interested in utilizing such hardware, look into alternatives (i.e. build your own PC).

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I just picked up the new 2011 MacBook Pro and purchased 2x 4GB Patriot Brand 1600MHz DDR3 RAM for it. After installing the RAM, it shows that it is reading the ram at 1600MHz.

Here are some pictures showing my results based on Apple's "System Profiler":

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You may be able to FIT that kind of memory in, but I personally think you ask for trouble along the overclocking line of thought. Think heat increase. And really, isn't it throughput that determines increased performance rather than computing power? Sure you may be able to update a database a bit faster, but I don't see where the net benefit lies unless you don't burn out your motherboard, don't spend too much on the memory, etc. If your Mac Book Pro is anything like mine, it won't even see all the memory you can install, much less use it. That said, mine is an oldie, going back 2-3 yrs.

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Putting in faster RAM doesn't always result in a heat increase due to the same power consumption. Clocking said RAM faster then it was intended to run will.… – Breakthrough Feb 25 '11 at 19:18

The Sandy Bridge core i7 supports 1600 MHz memory natively (mid 2011). It will work fine and it is supported. Speed difference isn't huge, but if it costs the same go with the faster RAM.

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Martin, if you want to edit your post, use the "edit" link and please don't add another answer. Thank you! – slhck Sep 23 '11 at 20:05

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