PDA

View Full Version : RAM, brands, and Book vs. Pro vs. iMac? (long-ish post)




Mac (*.*)- PC
Mar 1, 2008, 02:18 PM
What you need to know:

My father recently bought an iMac that was supposed to come with 4gigs RAM. The thing is, Apple orgot to install it, so the computer came with the default 1x1gig stick of ram preinstalled, and 2x2gig sticks of RAM in the box. So we now have an extra 1gig stick of just sitting in the box the computer came in.

----------------------------------------------------

Here are my questions:


First off, I'm a gamer. I need a computer that is able to play games such as CounterStrike Source, Quake 4, ect. Mostly First Person Shooter games. The catch is I'm a student in High School, making just above minimum wage. I make about $350 a month, but $50 goes to savings, and $100 goes to my car, and $60 goes to normal monthly spending. So that leaves me $140 a month left over. With that kind of income, what Mac should I get? I know a Mac Mini wont work, so my choices are:

The 2.4GHz MacBook. It has GMA X3100 graphics processer with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory for $36 a month. This has a 13" screen.

The 2.4GHz MacBook Pro NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT Graphics Processor with 256MB of GDDR3 memory ($48 a month), or a 2.5GHz with 512MB of GDDR3 ($59 a month). These two have a 15" screen.

The 2.4GHz iMac with a 20" screen. It has ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics with 256MB memory. It costs $36 a month. Or the 2.4GHz iMac with a 24" screen. It has ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics with 256MB memory. It costs 43 a month. Both iMacs come with 1gig of RAM

--------------------------------------------

My second question is weather or not I should order these computers with 2x2GB ram pre installed, buy 2x2GB RAM seperatly, or buy 1x2GB RAM seperatly and use the 1x1GB I already have with it.

--------------------------------------------

My third question is this:

If I buy RAM seperatly, what is the best quality (brand) RAM I can buy? I am obviously going to get 667MHz DDR2 memory, but need to know what brand to get.



Thanks for all the help!!!



RedTomato
Mar 1, 2008, 05:53 PM
First of all, you don't need a computer. You want a computer. It's a want, not a need. You'd still survive without it.

Secondly, macbooks are not that good for games. I have one, I love it, but it's not that hot for 3D gaming. That's ok, I bought it for earning money with, not playing games. iMac or MBP are better but a lot of money just for games. Have you considered a console?

Thirdly, don't buy RAM from Apple. It's overpriced. Way over priced. Maxing out the ram is good, but not from Apple. Good places are Crucial or OWC or Data Memory Systems. Ram is cheap, and gives you excellent speed increase for the amount it costs. For the best, buy matched 2x2 gig. About your 1 gig sticks, all your choices come with 2 GB ram now.

Decide how important portability is and being able to put it into a small space is. That'll let you choose between a laptop and an iMac. (you can always add a 24'' monitor to a laptop).

Why not a video projector linked to a console or computer?

Mac (*.*)- PC
Mar 2, 2008, 01:14 PM
I believe you misunderstood me. I did not mean I need a computer for[I] those games, I meant I [I]need a computer, and want it to be able to play those games. My main intent for the computer would be for school related things. I would just like to be able to play games on in my spare time.

From what you're saying, it sounds like an iMac would be the best choice if I dont need portability, but if portability is an isue, a MBP would be the better of the two

So I should buy 2x2gig sticks of RAM from Crucial or OWC? Crucial says it's memory is unbuffered, and OWC's memory doesn't say. Is being buffered important? (I dont know much about memory... yet)

Neil321
Mar 2, 2008, 01:35 PM
I believe you misunderstood me. I did not mean I need a computer for[I] those games, I meant I [I]need a computer, and want it to be able to play those games. My main intent for the computer would be for school related things. I would just like to be able to play games on in my spare time.

From what you're saying, it sounds like an iMac would be the best choice if I dont need portability, but if portability is an isue, a MBP would be the better of the two

So I should buy 2x2gig sticks of RAM from Crucial or OWC? Crucial says it's memory is unbuffered, and OWC's memory doesn't say. Is being buffered important? (I dont know much about memory... yet)

Crucial is my first choice,but here are some guides about RAM

http://guides.macrumors.com/Buying_RAM

http://guides.macrumors.com/Understanding_Intel_Mac_RAM

heatmiser
Mar 2, 2008, 01:38 PM
If you want to game, get a desktop. It'll blow the iMac/MBP out of the water while costing hundreds less. You can use the money you save to buy a Macbook.

Mac (*.*)- PC
Mar 2, 2008, 02:03 PM
If you want to game, get a desktop. It'll blow the iMac/MBP out of the water while costing hundreds less. You can use the money you save to buy a Macbook.

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. By "desktop" do you mean a PC? If so, I would have no problem getting a pc. I just cant stand Windows operating systems. Is it possible to install Mac OS X on an HP or something?
I would much rather have a PC with a Mac OS on it, and a MacBook than just having an iMac.



Crucial is my first choice,but here are some guides about RAM

http://guides.macrumors.com/Buying_RAM

http://guides.macrumors.com/Understanding_Intel_Mac_RAM

So what is the difference between buffered and unbuffered?

RedTomato
Mar 2, 2008, 03:18 PM
If you're concerned about the exact type of RAM, go through the Crucial RAM chooser - click on Apple manufacturer, model of computer etc. They're the only company that guarantees exact compatibility with your specific computer model.

And thanks for clarifying about your intended main use - for school work. I agree that's a need, not a want.

Will you be taking it to school and back? Macbooks tend to beat even the MBP for portability. Even better is the MBA, but that's expensive.

Have you started school yet?

John.B
Mar 3, 2008, 12:48 AM
So what is the difference between buffered and unbuffered?

The long answer is that buffered memory (sometimes called registered memory, they mean the same thing) is used for big servers that have lots of memory cards (usually called DIMMs which stands for Dual Inline Memory Modules). Buffered/registered memory basically* adds an extra clock cycle to memory access in exchange for the ability to have a memory controller capable of addressing four DIMMs* to be able to communicate with 8 or 16 or even 24 or more DIMMs. The servers I deal with at work are Xeon based, they all have high density registered ECC memory.

If your computer takes four DIMMs or less (and OBTW yours takes two), you don't want or need buffered/registered memory*. Unbuffered memory means your memory controller has direct access to all of the memory in each DIMM. In small doses, in the right architecture, this is actually faster* than buffered memory.

All current Macs I'm aware of use unbuffered memory, the obvious exception is the Mac Pro which basically leverages server class hardware for CPU, chipsets, etc. and now holds up to 8 DIMMs of up to 4GB each for a max of 32GB.

The short answer is that for MB, MBP, iMac, mini (of any recent vintage) what you want is DDR2 667MHz (PC5300) 200 pin non-ECC SODIMMs with a Cas latency of 5 and no heat spreader. Ideally you want both DIMMs to functionally be the same specs including capacity. The 2x2GB pair your dad put in his iMac is a good example of this.

*I've taken a tiny bit of license here, but the principal stands.

CanadaRAM
Mar 3, 2008, 12:56 AM
If you're concerned about the exact type of RAM, go through the Crucial RAM chooser - click on Apple manufacturer, model of computer etc. They're the only company that guarantees exact compatibility with your specific computer model.


Not true, Data Memory Systems (http://www.datamem.com) and OWC (http://www.macsales.com) and numerous other reputable sellers guarantee RAM compatibility for specific models.

Crucial may be the only company to generate 110,000 part numbers so each machine gets a unique part number, but that's specious -- because all of the Intel Mac orders get delivered the same underlying part numbers CT12864AC667 (1Gb) or CT25664AC667 (2Gb) in any case.

OP: All Intel CorexDuo Mac RAM is Unbuffered by definition.


Buffered/registered memory basically* adds an extra clock cycle to memory access in exchange for the ability to have a memory controller capable of addressing four DIMMs* to be able to communicate with 8 or 16 or even 24 or more DIMMs.

The PowerMac G5's did just fine addressing 8 unbuffered, non ECC DIMMs...

Alternate explanation -- the use of buffered or unbuffered RAM is determined by the design of the motherboard. Most consumer machines use unbuffered RAM, buffered is used mainly by server and workstation machines.

RedTomato
Mar 3, 2008, 07:47 AM
Thanks for the correction CanadaRAM.

John.B
Mar 3, 2008, 01:25 PM
The PowerMac G5's did just fine addressing 8 unbuffered, non ECC DIMMs...
Ah, yes, that was the reason for all the asterisks. :)

Of course, to do that you'd either have a custom designed northbridge or a non-Intel platform (and correct me if I'm wrong but in the case of the G5s, I think it might have been both?)...

Alternate explanation -- the use of buffered or unbuffered RAM is determined by the design of the motherboard. Most consumer machines use unbuffered RAM, buffered is used mainly by server and workstation machines.
Very succinct. Perfect. :cool:

Mac (*.*)- PC
Mar 3, 2008, 07:08 PM
First of all, wow. Great explanations. I see you really took your time explaining this. I appreciate it :) . I'll go with Crucial for memory, seeing as it is the most referred here.

RedTomato:
If I get a MB, I would take it to school, but not until next year. And I definatly wouldn't be able to cough up to money for a MBA.


I have the answers to almost all of my questions, but here is one more:


Mac + PC
Being a student, I have a very low income. Is it possible to make my own PC (Will cost about $200 less for the same end product) and then install Mac OS X on it? If this is possible, then I could have a great computer to play games on, talk to friends, ect, and I could also buy a MB

John.B
Mar 3, 2008, 10:40 PM
I have the answers to almost all of my questions, but here is one more:


Mac + PC
Being a student, I have a very low income. Is it possible to make my own PC (Will cost about $200 less for the same end product) and then install Mac OS X on it? If this is possible, then I could have a great computer to play games on, talk to friends, ect, and I could also buy a MB
Well, not legitimately. The OS X license specifically says its only licensed to run Apple hardware. OTOH, there *is* an OSX86 project (but of questionable lineage). Even then, I believe there are some specific hardware requirements -- just in terms of available device drivers.

As an alternative, you could probably find an older PowerPC based Mac on Craigslist, etc. for not a lot of money.

Or even build a Linux box very inexpensively. IMO that would likely be a very good experience for you. Best of luck whatever route you take. :)

Mac (*.*)- PC
Mar 3, 2008, 11:14 PM
Well, not legitimately. The OS X license specifically says its only licensed to run Apple hardware. OTOH, there *is* an OSX86 project (but of questionable lineage). Even then, I believe there are some specific hardware requirements -- just in terms of available device drivers.

As an alternative, you could probably find an older PowerPC based Mac on Craigslist, etc. for not a lot of money.

Or even build a Linux box very inexpensively. IMO that would likely be a very good experience for you. Best of luck whatever route you take. :)

Its just that I LOVE the Mac OS, but hate the fact that Apple computers are so expensive... And I doubt an older PowerPC is going to be a very good gaming computer.