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Phil Schiller explains why new MacBook Pros don’t support 32GB of RAM

November 21st, 2016 at 10:35 PM
MacBook Pro 2016

One of the biggest complaints surrounding Apple’s new MacBook Pro lineup is that the machines can’t be upgraded beyond 16GB of RAM. This, along with a few other reasons, has created something of a backlash among developers and creative professionals who argue that Apple’s new notebooks are overpriced and under-powered.

Even though Apple’s 2017 MacBook Pro update will reportedly include a price reduction and support for 32GB of RAM, and even though Apple’s new laptops are reportedly selling like hotcakes, there remains a vocal minority of users who still can’t wrap their collective heads around the fact that Apple, in 2016, would release a Pro level laptop with no upgrade option for 32GB of memory.

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In a new exchange that sheds some more light on the matter, Apple executive Phil Schiller recently responded to a developer email seeking some clarity regarding the current 16GB RAM limit on Apple’s new MacBook Pros. Expanding on a previous explanation he gave, Schiller says that Apple’s underlying goal was to maximize battery life.

“The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz,” Schiller said. “To support 32GB of memory would require using DDR memory that is not low power and also require a different design of the logic board which might reduce space for batteries. Both factors would reduce battery life.”

In a previous email exchange, Schiller said that upping RAM support to 32GB “would require a memory system that consumes much more power and wouldn’t be efficient enough for a notebook.”

Apple’s current MacBook Pros currently employ low power DDR3 RAM which can only go up to 16GB. Apple could have opted to use DDR4 RAM which can support 32GB, but previous reports relay that the Intel Skylake processors currently found in Apple’s MacBook Pros do not support low power DDR4 RAM.

As Reddit user called exploding_m1 explained a few weeks back: “The true reason behind the lack of 32GB or DDR4 is Intel. Skylake does not support LPDDR4 (LP for low power) RAM. Kabylake is set to include support, but only for the U category of chips. So no LPDDR4 support for mobile until 2018 I think.”

You can read more about just how much energy Apple is saving by opting for LPDDR 3 RAM via the source link below.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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