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I have a 2020 MacBook with an M1 chip and only 8GB of RAM. I'd like to have more RAM without buying a new laptop, like how an external drive functions for storage. Is there a way to do this? I don't know what to search. Apologies if this is the wrong location.

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Short answer, no.

Long answer, still no.

Apple solders the RAM and SSD on the board and puts the controller for both in the M1 chip itself.

This is one of the best anti-upgrade and anti repair measures they could have taken, because even if you would resolder it the controller would also need to be replaced but because the controller is on the die itself thats impossible without also replacing the CPU. Hope this is a lesson to everyone to not buy 8GB RAM and 256GB storage with Apple

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  • No rack mount RAM? I don't need it to be physically inside the laptop
    – BigMistake
    Jan 13 at 9:01
  • Nope, maybe you can set up swap but that is way slower. RAM always needs to be of the DRAM type and close to the CPU, so external RAM doesn't exist
    – Irsu85
    Jan 13 at 10:22
  • @BigMistake ”No rack mount RAM? I don't need it to be physically inside the laptop.” What are you talking about? The RAM in MacBooks nowadays is soldered to the mainboard. You cannot upgrade the RAM in a modern MacBook. The only way to “upgrade” it is to get a new MacBook with more RAM. Jan 13 at 19:01
  • There's no such thing as 'external RAM' for any type of computer. The speed of a computer is highly dependant on how far away the RAM is from the CPU. As speeds get ever higher this can now be measured in fractions of a millimetre, not inches. Apple silicon achieves a lot of its gains by everything being inside a single chip, CPU & RAM, GPU & RAM, Neural Engine, security enclave, etc. This makes the entire structure in effect monoblock, with no upgrades possible.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 14 at 10:26

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