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Adding 4 gig ram

i have been in electronics for over 22 years. my soldering is perfect.

i understand the ram in a macbook air is soldered. i would like to replace the 2 gig chips with 4 gig or even 8 gig, will the macbook air hardware recognize the additional memory?

if yes, other than warrenty issues; why would ifixit team not take a chance to un-solder the chips?

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did it work?

Nope can't be done.

They’re not experianced enough to do it.

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The memory is soldered to the board. The answer is no. Buy it with 8GB now and save the hassle (at the time I answered this, it was 4GB. This problem is now fixed and 8GB is standard on the 13".). If you were to try to add memory with a rework machine, consider the warranty void.

The answer to it seeing the RAM is a solid yes. Apple just varies how much is put on the board.

If you have the equipment to swap the RAM you can do it, but most of us don't know how or own the equipment. It's possible but not for the feint of heart. iFixit didn't try because they probably don't have a rework machine to do it, which is required to remove the RAM chips.

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As with anything it could be done with the proper equipment (expensive) and a person with a very high skill level. Most people lack one or both of these requirements rendering the project not cost effective. Its easier and less expensive to trade the computer in on one that more accurately suits your needs.

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Soldering and desoldering a SMD chip is not a rocket science and as long as the logic board is capable to handle the ram it is fine.

This is the same question I have been asking, and I would like a REAL answer! CAN it be done, not SHOULD it be done?

BGA is not SMD. BGA is very specialized and expesnive.

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I haven't seen the MBA board, so my answer will be more generic. If the memory is soldered onto the board (and we build h/w where we solder flash chips on mother boards for differnet deployments - expensive routers!), to replace/upgrade/or modify those chips, we send them to factory. Precision soldering is required, it is not to be done at home (too fine a work for home, unless you have done this same exact work before and done it well everytime).

Even after factory re-work, some boards/assembly simply fail (shorted etc). Definitely not worth the risk unless you have direct access to a mother board assembly factory and someone does it for you over there.


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question stands;

can it be TECHNICALLY done.

raised the challenge a bit. take a 4 gig 13 inch air and make it 8 gig by either replacing the chips or adding- considering i have not seen a closeup photo of the specific area.

i have worked with surface mount components.

i would also like to get he part numbers of the 4 gig ram that is currently in the macbook air.

i am making a presumption that the bios will recognize 8 gig. if it does not then it cannot be done. we all know the mac os does recognize more then 4 gig.

so think i need;

the part numbers of 4 gig ram that is in the 13 inch air.

the answer to the question of does the macbook air bios recognize 8 gig ram.

thanks and happy new year

Has anyone done this?

Just not possible for many different reasons. The MBA systems offer the best balance of performance Vs power/size limits. I'm sure future systems will offer more memory when the power and size limitations can be over come. For now your choices are what they offer today.

Sounds odd what's difficult here.......not a ball array surely?

Could we get a photo up and check out if it can be done with just the help of a heat sink?


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Sorry it's to close to impossible for us mortals! They use a special fixture to hold the chips in place and heat both sides at the same time. Your chances is less than 20% getting it to work and heating the board without the proper masks could cause the other components to shift killing your system for sure - Its' not worth the risk. Besides, putting that much memory into this system will shorten the battery life to a few hours, Apple does a good job balancing function and battery life forcing this much RAM into the system would make the system useless for traveling. The latest '13 model increased the RAM to 8GB as the CPU they are now using uses less power. I would strongly recommend upgrading to the newest system if you really need that much memory.

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Take a look here at the teardown for the late 2010 macbook air, the one with 320m graphics chip.

MacBook Air 13" Late 2010 Logic Board Replacement

In the last photos i can see 8 ELPIDA chips in a row... those are the ram chips... they are DDR3 1066mhz spec.

They are double data ram so they use both channels. So four of them are 2gb on one side are one channel and four of them are 2gb on the second channel. That means that for the 4G ram version for example they use 512mb per chip, for the 2GB version that would mean 256mb per chip. The problem it seems is that most memory sticks have 8 chips per stick with a total of 16 is you count in most laptops have two slots to put the memory in.

It would appear that Apple has chosen to use "single sided" sticks with just enough room to put 8 chips instead of 16.

For those willing to unsolder... 2GB version is most certainly upgradeable to 4GB if you unsolder all the chips and solder in double density ones.

NB. There is one more thing... there is another smaller chip called the SPD which stores information about the memory, speed, latency and so on. This might need to be changed too ... or overwritten with new data with something like Thaiphoon Burner. Or it might just work out of the box.

Now the problem with the 4GB version and upgrading to more is more stringent. First, you are limited my the number of chips so you can only increase density. In a normal situation, i know for a fact 320m will support two full 8GB of ram, and i've even seen 16GB ... i plan to get one pair to max out my mac mini 2010 (using the same 320m).

But with the Macbook Air essentially having space to use only half the amount of chips... just 8 instead of 16 you would need to get JUST ONE normal 8gb so-dimm memory stick (or buy a pair totaling 16gb and give one to a friend) and use it's chips... unsolder them and resolder on the mac. Make sure they are the same make and model Elpida, Hynix, Micron or Samsung of the original ones if possible.

This is risky, it might just not work, but you can probably resolder the old ones and be ok.

PS. Make sure you use an infrared soldering machine when doing it... you don't want to do more harm than good.

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Look again! - Your pointing out a different models layout (the 13" not the 11") than what was asked about. The RAM chips are soldered directly on the logic board in two rows, one on top and another underneath near where the CPU & GPU's are. Look at the teardown pics are they are clearer Step 15 shows the full layout of the board, both sides of the 11" late '10 model which is the same as the 11" mid '11 model.

In any case SMT chips as densely laid out as these are can't be desoldered and new ones desoldered by hand. You need very special gear only available at a fab house. Remember we all can't be brain surgeons, sometimes it's best to let them do the brain surgery and let us do the simple stuff ;-}

Wow that's good news actually with that much space for all chips one could max out the 2010 - 320m to 16 gb, the max for this generation. Still hard to do but not impossible.

An infrared workbench is the best path. They use something similar to solder at the factory.

Slide 15 in MacBook Air 11" Late 2010 Teardown

Click the two pics on the right to see both sides of the logic board.

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Why not get a new logic board with more memory on ebay, and sell yours?

I know, it isn't as adventurous, but replacing the logic board on a macbook air almost counts.

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My technician replaced my macbook cpu, so I think he can replace also ram chips! :-)

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For the same goal, I that procedure from REWA: https://blog.rewatechnology.com/how-to-u... so it is feasible.

There is one step that isn't that specific, it seems that the BIOS must be changed and restored. At my level, I don't know what version to use. Also there is a few resistance to upgrade.

My Macbook Air 3,2 4GB late 2010 are very exited about the possibility, in particular when the available RAM sinks down to 2-300MB...

Jconsole, did you found out more since you started this quest ?

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@jconsole, I hope you have found your answer to this issue. I’m embarking on a similar journey with my daughter’s Macbook Air 2011 that she just bought for college. I, like you, know that the soldering process is not an impediment when you have access to the right equipment - regardless of what others have said - and am interested to know how the memory upgrade process for these laptops is achieved. I’ve currently ordered a 4 GB RAM logic board to replace her 2 GB native PCB but wonder if more is possible. The real question is whether the Apple OS is capable of addressing more than 4 GB for these models, which I presume they would be, but if the OS doesn’t support or recognize more than the 4 GB there is no point. If only I had time to take my daughter’s laptop into the lab and see it’s limitations but, alas, I have no time. I hope you made out well with yours.

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I would say it is possible and can be done with the right tools and equipments. If the bios or EFI does not recognize it there is ways to make it happen. Just down load the EFI hex code and modify it in every step that manages the RAM.

I am thinking about to use the flash rams from iPhones and try it since they are all the same architecture and pin out. I hope to get about 2 to 3 days to try different ones.the minimum is going to be 32GB and hope it works when it comes to buffer.

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