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The real reason you can’t have more RAM in the 2016 MacBook Pro

Published Nov 1st, 2016 7:16PM EDT
MacBook Pro 2016 RAM Specs
Image: Apple Inc.

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The brand new MacBook Pro may be Apple’s best laptop to date, but it’s also one of the most criticized products in recent Apple history. Many things have been irking Apple fans. Some are trivial, like the lack of the boot sound or the lack of more color options. Others are slightly more serious, like the death of the MagSafe connector, or the absence of the SD card reader and all the other ports people want. But the MacBook Pro’s real “problems” are the lack of better graphics options, and the RAM, which is capped at 16GB.

Apple is to blame for most of these courageous design decisions. The company is skating towards where the puck will be in a few years even though we’re not quite there yet. But not everything is entirely Apple’s fault.

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Apple may have ditched the ports you want, but when it comes to RAM and certain Thunderbolt 3 choices, it simply had to make the best of what’s currently available from suppliers when it comes to chips. In other words, it’s mostly Intel’s fault.

Sure, Apple could have done a better job explaining the whole thing. Not to mention that its desire to make the MacBook Pro slimmer and lighter than ever also limit its options. After all, these laptops need to be fast, reliable and energy-efficient as well. That means Apple can only use certain chips inside them. And the Intel chips it wants to use are not available for the new MacBook Pro.

As Reddit user exploding_m1 explained, the actual reason for the lack of DDR4 RAM memory or no 32GB RAM option is the fact that Intel’s previous generation of chips that Apple is using can’t support them.

“The true reason behind the lack of 32GB or DDR4 is Intel,” the user said. “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.”

“One example is the Dell XPS 13,” the user continued. “On the Dell XPS 13 version, you cannot go for 32gb of ram. Meanwhile, the 15 inches does give you that option, but you have to sacrifice battery life for it.”

Finally, the user explained that the Surface Book does not support 32GB of RAM either.

The same choice of processor is what’s limiting Thunderbolt speeds on the right side of the 13-inch MacBook Pro model. Apple Insider explains that the reduced bandwidth of the chips that power the 13-inch laptop is a side-effect of Apple using certain Skylake processors for that model.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.