Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Sep 27, 2015 3:05 PM by kzac2
iJoshG8 Level 2 (300 points)

I couldn't find much on google, so I thought I'd ask here.


I simply just want to know the difference between the two RAM modules with regular Macbook Pro (DDR3) and the RD (DDR3L). I noticed that DDR3 only maxes out to 8GB, while the DDR3L goes to 16, but I was thinking is the DDR3L (Lite?) not as powerful and therefore can be upgraded to 16GB to compensate, thereby being about the same in power as 8GB of DDR3?




  • ds store Level 7 (30,325 points)

    DDR3L = low voltage.


    A lot of Mac's can accept more memory than Apple says because the RAM modules wasn't in production at the time of the machines release, use the free MacTracker to determine.


  • Bimmer 7 Series Level 6 (10,270 points)

    DDR3 = 1.5 Volts


    DDR3L = 1.35 Volts


    2008 Macbook Uni and Macbook Pro = 8GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM is the Max


    2011 Macbook Pro = 16GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM is the Max - you can also use DDR3L (but not recommended)


    2012 Macbook Pro = 16GB DDR3L 16000MHz RAM is the Max - but you can also use DDR3

  • appleiser Level 1 (0 points)

    Does the low voltage ram perform any differently to the regular? Or does it perform the same and just save power?

  • ParrotPal Level 1 (0 points)

    I realize this is an older thread - but if you see this - can you point me to where there is something in writing online or anywhere that says the MBP 2012 13" (non Retina) 2.5 or 2.9 specs say what Bimmer wrote above (and is the answer that solved)?  I want to buy one today but want to know about the RAM specs first.  Thanks so I can possibly save some dollars and buy RAM elsewhere.


    Bimmer wrote:

    "2012 Macbook Pro = 16GB DDR3L 16000MHz RAM is the Max - but you can also use DDR3"

  • greybeard61 Level 1 (0 points)

    You can't upgrade the RAM after purchase.  It's soldered in, so is the battery.  Max out the RAM on the order.  I'm amazed at this too because I'm also in the market for a new macbook pro.  It looks like the Apple's direction on the laptops is to attach a keyboard to an iPad and say "here you go for a few years until the battery dies", then buy a new one.  BTW don't forget that you will eventually need an external optic drive for the occasional loading or burning.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (42,715 points)

    greybeard61, greetings:  Your point is well taken but it applies only to retina MBPs.  The non-retina MBP still can have RAM and HDDs changed.



  • greybeard61 Level 1 (0 points)

    Very true.  Thanks for clarifying.



  • rlxz Level 1 (10 points)

    Can anyone tell me if the DDR3L performs the same as DDR3.  I googled it obviously and there isn't much information on the comparison of it other than voltage and imbedded DLL.  Which doesn't tell me anything about performance of the two types of memory.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (42,715 points)

    rlxz, greetings;  There will be no difference in performance as long as long as the specifications are the same.



  • KevinAndrewFalk Level 1 (0 points)

    Does anyone know if its okay to mix the DDR3 and the DDR3L in a mac? thx

  • greybeard61 Level 1 (0 points)

    Why would you want to mix them?  You are only asking for problems.  My advice is to use same sticks because if there is a difference in performance, it will only as good as the lowest performer.



  • KevinAndrewFalk Level 1 (0 points)

    Well I want to mix because it came with DDR3 and OWC only sells DDR3L for my mac.
    I have 4 slots so wanted to buy two more DDR3L 8gb to put in the empty slots.


    Intresting what you said about only as good as the lowest performer. How do you know this?


  • greybeard61 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just a guess based on previous macs. Weakest link in the chain and all that. 


    "They" always said that about different ram on a G4 iBook, PC2100 and PC2700. Also "they" said to pair the sticks up.  Never tested because I stuck with similar sticks. 


    I looked up the DDR3 1600MHz pc12800 on and their sticks are listed as 1.35V instead of 1.5V.


    Call the seller before you buy adn check their exchange policy in any case.



  • kzac2 Level 1 (0 points)

    There is quite a lot of confusion out there concerning the latest computer ram modules.. (all computers)  I have done some research and come up with these tidbits that should clear things up


    DDR3L = Dual voltage ram that will operate at either 1.35 V or 1.5V  (determined by the system), also identified as PC3L 

    DDR3L will default to the correct voltage, measuring variation between Vdd and Vddq


    DDR3  = Single voltage ram that will only operate at 1.5V also identified as PC3 (will not work in the later machines requiring DDR3L)


    In Summary = If you are going to upgrade memory, simply purchase the DDR3L (also identified as PC3L) and all the guess work goes away.

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