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Mid 2012 model, A1278 / 2.5 GHz i5 or 2.9 GHz i7 processor.

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Ram Upgrade: can I use DDR3L instead of DDR3?

Last year I upgraded my macbook ram from 8gb to 16gb. (It's a Macbook Pro 13'' mid 2012 - model A1278)

It originally came with 2x4gb DDR3, and I replaced with 2x8gb DDR3L, as advised by a friend and after checking several online foruns.

About 6 months later the macbook died and I had to get the logic board replaced.

The thing is: "the guy" at the repair shop said the ram was probably the cause, because using a low-voltage ram on the system originally designed to use DDR3 ram caused the system to have "extra energy running around" and it fried the logic board.

I checked around online in all kinds of foruns and didn't find anyone talking about it. Lots of posts says it's fine to replace DDR3 with DDR3L. My friend still uses his macbook and nothing happened.

Has anyone heard about this?

The macbook is currently using its original DDR3 ram, but I still have the 2xDDR3L with me and I don't know if I should replace it again.

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Puan 11
4 Yorum

Lol, extra energy running around huh... Nice, such wisdom.


Shorting is a thing, but yeah, good idea to investigate idomatic explanations like "extra energy running around." The only time I putt DDRL ram into a my DDR machine (this same Macbook), my computer simply wouldn't boot up until I put the old RAM back in.


For the unfortunate folks coming here after the fact looking for answers, DDR3L is dual-voltage compatible. It'll run safely at 1.5v or 1.35v if you're on a newer system that supports the lower voltage. I've got 16GB of DDR3L memory in a Lenovo IdeaPad Y500(third gen, i7 3630qm) and it's running fine. CPU-Z reports it as 1.5v.

However, replacing DDR3L with DDR3 will simply not boot, or perhaps will boot but will be very unstable. The RAM is only being supplied with 1.35v when it needs 1.5v.


I just asked a slightly related question. My system came with the exact same memory and when my new RAM arrived (2 x 8) from Ifixit, I noticed that it was DDR3L and no matter what I did, my system would not boot. I suspect this is the issue - or the RAM sticks suffered from water damage?

I’m going to continue reading until their support gets back to me, but I’m really suspecting that’s the issue and I’m hopeful they have DDR3 sticks in the same memory capacity (2 x 8GB)


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The guy you spoke too doesn't know what he's talking about. Basically you can use either.

DDR3L is a dual voltage capable memory DIMM, which supports operation at both 1.5V and 1.35V. DDR3L is also pin-compatible with DDR3!

DDR3 is a single voltage capable memory DIMM, which supports 1.5V operation only.

So, in this case the RAM will be running at 1.5 volts as your system does not offer a low voltage option.

With that said... You could have a bad module or the module which was not properly installed.

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Puan 30

7 Yorum:

Overall I agree with @danj regarding everything he said, except that he's too polite because "that guy at the repair shop" is a moron and there is no "extra energy running around.."


Find a new repair guy. As the saying goes, "if you can't dazzle 'um with brilliance, baffle them with BS."


Thank you!!!


The memory was not the issue that caused the macbook logic board to give up the ghost. The 2012 macbooks had a problem with the memory slots from time to time.

The logic probably is bad but most likely because of the memory slots and not the memory.


@rjones - The older 2009 & 2010 had issues as the standard what not tight enough with the width of the SO-DIMM's some where just too thick! Unless you got some real odd SO-DIMM's the newer DDR3 based systems were much better. Even still people love forcing things which I can tell you will kill the slots! In addition a good bang on the cover in the 15" models right where the slots are could damage them too.


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I would say that, it seems your laptop may not support an 8GB module. Or, your laptop may not support asynchronous RAM configurations, (e.g., 4GB & 8GB or, 2GB & 4GB RAM module combinations.) What model/make is your device?

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Puan 0

1 Yorum:

Here's the needed info on what MacBook Pro's require MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory per the different series.

The systems limits listed are not always correct as these where what Apple tested during the development of the system. As Apple did stick with the DDR3 & DDR4 standards larger SO-DIMM's that came out later in time often still work.

The best source for what is possible is to look up the system here EveryMac - MacBook Pro specs


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Most answers above are correct per HW spec, but BIOS cannot support all possible combinations.

FW may run out of code space, tests may miss some corner cases, or it may be deadline to ship.

Here are some simple tips to save you the trouble to return incompatible RAM. :)

  1. If your Mac/PC requires DDR3L 1.35V, please use DDR3L. Do not use DDR3 (1.50V only).
  2. If your Mac/PC requires DDR3 1.5V, you may use DDR3 or DDR3L (dual 1.35V or 1.50V).
  3. If you mix DDR3 and DDR3L, put DDR3 in the first slot (find lowest alphabet or number).
  4. If your Mac/PC requires PC3-8500 (1066MHz), it can probably use PC3-10600 (1333MHz).
  5. If your Mac/PC requires PC3-10600 (1333MHz), it can probably use PC3L-12800 (1600MHz).
  6. If you mix different speeds (MHz/RAS/CAS), please put the slower RAM in the first slot.

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Puan 0
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PC3L or PC3 only if your laptop is not compatible with the PC3L. Your laptop will not if it’s not beeping it will not turn on at all but if your laptop is not working with PC3L or PC3 only for Windows laptop PC3 (1Rx8) but if it's Apple MacBook Pro 2011 or 2012

Try 4GB PC3 (10600 ) or PC3 ( 85000 ) But if you’'ll upgrade to 8GB you can try PC3L (12800) OR PC3L (10600) but when Apple says (PC3L SO-DIMM) use PC3 (10600) On my experience make sure all the power connection is not connected whenever you are upgrading on your PC or Laptop

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Puan -1

3 Yorum:

Again you need to review the standards! Addendum No. 1 to JESD79-3 - 1.35 V DDR3L-800, DDR3L-1066, DDR3L-1333, DDR3L-1600, and DDR3L-1866

"The purpose of this standard is to define the DDR3L specifications that supersede the DDR3 specifications"

DDR3L is a dual voltage capable memory DIMM, which supports operation at both 1.5V and 1.35V. To be clear: DDR3L voltages as well as are pin-compatible with DDR3 RAM!

Good working DDR3L RAM will work in any system that supports the DDL3 standard.

And lastly, DDR3 memory is no longer being made, DDR3L is still being made and sold.


There is nothing that can go wrong by using DDR3L instead of DDR3 standard RAM. The DDR3L RAM is "built-in" backward compatible with the standard DDR3 voltage profile as well. It is simply ABLE to operate at a lower voltage than the standard DDR3 RAM does.

Dan, apparently, knows what he's talking about here. I would only add that Over Clockable (AKA: O.C. or XMP) profile RAM may NOT be compatible with older laptops or desktops designed to useDDR3-8500 (1066 MHz) as, the lowest backward compatible frequency for the O.C.'d RAM is most likely going to be 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz, which are not supported by those older DDR3 standard capable devices.

"A fool who remains silent seems wise." Proverbs


I upgraded my old laptops ddr3 to a 8gb ddr3L stick but I'm getting blue death screen with a bad pool header.what could be the possible reason and any solution for it?.my total capacity is 16gb also I have tried another ddr3L 8gb stick.


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My WIN Laptop came with 2x 4GB DDR3 replaced them by 1x 8GB DDR3L since I wanted 12GB at the end. The SO-DDR3L-RAM ValueSelect 1600 MHz 1x 8 GB was recognized as 8GB in BIOS but Laptop will not start. Any combination of DDR3L and DDR3 did also not work at all. Latest BIOS and WIN 10-64 newest updates

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Puan -1

5 Yorum:

There's more to it than just dropping in another set of RAM. Did you review the specs of the RAM Speed as well as the slotting of the DIMM's so they are in the correct bank set.


DDR3 is not compatible with DD3L , to work in the same time. That's the problem.

You can use either 2 (or more) pcs of DD3 or 2 (or more) pcs of DD3L.

Do not mix them in any case. Problems will show up soon.


@Re Mind - Thats not true! The only difference between the two is the DDR3L is able to run on systems which offer low voltage support only. A DDR3 system will support either!

The only issue people get messed up on is the given specs of the DIMM they are installing. You need to us what the system maker calls out. Don't try to install faster DIMMs your system may not support them! And mixing is also not wise!


It doesn't matter if you "mix" DDR3L with DDR3 RAM sticks, as long as the timing/latency profiles are compatible with your device, they do not exceed the maximum amount of RAM your device is designed to support and, they have the same chip rankings (e.g., 1rx2, 2rx8, etc.). Some PC makers make an issue on the use of these memory rankings. As such, it is advisable to check your PC makers compatible vendors list - usually found on the support page for your PC device on the manufacturer's website.

(Note: You will have an issue if the PC device RAM supported is DDR3L or LPDDR3 ONLY. In that case, you should NOT use DDR3. Use DDR3L or LPDDR3 RAM modules.)


@David Madison - CORRECT Or the wrong speed which also effects the RAS & CAS timing.


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