I recently ventured in to the local Apple store to look at pricing for a new machine. Some time was spent with an Apple representative who walked me through the pricing and options for a Mac mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro. One thing these machines all had in common were literally hundreds of dollars for RAM upgrades. In one case in particular, a RAM upgrade from 4GB to 8GB on a MacBook Pro would net me a $400 dollar increase on the price. Considering that this is an addition to what was charged on the initial price for 4GB, that’s a steep $100 per GB.
This is where many frugal computer users begin to head back to the door proclaiming that Apple products are only for the rich. While this can certainly seem like a serious drawback to the brand, there is a silver lining in this cloud.
While each manufacturer has their own warranty agreement with their users, Apple has a remarkably easy one to work with. Apple support explains its warranty policy regarding customer upgrades a bit further: “Adding memory (DRAM, VRAM) or other user-installable upgrade or expansion products to an Apple computer is not considered a modification to that Apple product. Therefore, it is not necessary to obtain Apple’s written permission to upgrade or expand an Apple computer.”
In short, the act of upgrading the RAM yourself with a cheaper aftermarket product won’t void your warranty. There is a stipulation that should you or the RAM you install damage the product, you would not be able to take it in to an Apple certified service center for warranty repair. Thankfully, Apple provides detailed instructions on how to exchange RAM for each one of its machines. It also explains exactly what kind of RAM needs to be purchased for a successful match.
Here is where the financial benefit of doing your own upgrades comes in. A search on Newegg.com prices 8GB of RAM suited for the 13 inch MacBook Pro at between $80 and $120. That is a savings of $85 to $90 per GB and you’ll still have the original 4GB as spare.
There is a clear benefit to upgrading your own RAM after purchase, though it is important that each computer user be aware of the slight risks involved and weigh whether or not this method works for them.