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Late 2011 model, A1278 / 2.4 GHz i5 or 2.8 GHz i7 processor.

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Can I use PC3L 12800S RAM in place of PC3 10600S RAM

I want to upgrade my RAM in my MacBook.

I already have 2x4 GB of RAM but they are PC3L 12800S and the previous RAM is 2x2 PC3 10600S.

Can I use my PC3L 12800S RAM?

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Lets breakdown the different elements in the modules description:

PC3L Vs PC3

PC3 is standard voltage (1.50V) where PC3L is low voltage (1.35V) - A system which requires PC3L cannot support PC3 RAM. PC3L RAM will work in a PC3 based system as it will run at the standard voltage and will inter-operate with PC3 RAM within the system.

12800 MB/s (DDR3-1600) Vs 10600 MB/s (DDR3-1333)

The Letter S just means its a SO-DIMM Vs a standard DIMM

This is the speed of the RAM Clearly DDR3-1600 is able to run faster than DDR-1333. But thats only the modules ability not what the system is running its memory bus speed at. Your MacBook was designed for PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM, its best to stick with what Apple expects. You can use the faster RAM, but, you really won’t see a sizable difference. So don’t spend extra for the few nano seconds of improvement.

Consider going with more than 8 GB of RAM I would go with 16 GB if you want better performance working on large items or running multiple apps concurrently.

Instead focus on your drive If you haven’t already done it going to a SSHD hybrid drive or better yet a good high speed SSD. Both of these will offer more improvement.

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I plan on buying a 1tb ssd in the future. I already own the 12800S RAM so I'll just stick with that. Thank you very much!

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@imjimjim21 - I added a bit more on your RAM question please re-read

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@danj The PC3L ram is 4x2 gb I'll just use it for now, because I don't have the money to buy 16gb right now. It would be 2x2gb for 4x2gb so ill go with. The 12800S RAM

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The answer, unfortunately is not definitive.  Usually, yes. But, because of no strict standardization enforcement it may not work. I’d say better to order DDR3 if that is what originally came with your motherboard. I bought 3 PC3L RAM different brands all did not work on my PC3 system.

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