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Old May 10, 2013, 09:49 AM   #1
talmy
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How much RAM? Macworld performs an analysis.

Macworld performed their application test suite on two Macs three times with each of 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB of RAM. Bottom line is it made no noticeable difference for most applications (major exceptions were Photoshop with large images and running virtual machines).

http://www.macworld.com/article/2034...-on-a-mac.html
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Old May 10, 2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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Well yeah most single applications don't use a lot of RAM / most users don't load in massive amounts of data, but many multi-application work flows can improve with more memory. Thankfully they included a note about using activity monitor.
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:10 PM   #3
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This is interesting, as I only have my 8GB RAM for the benefit of my VM. I guess that was a good upgrade then!
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Old May 10, 2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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That's such a BS study. The average user only needs 4GB to begin with. And yeah, the stock apps are made to use 2GB-4, and it even states that in requirements. And again, you aren't going to notice the difference unless you do work with files and apps that considerably benefit from that 16GB.

People need to realize that a lot of it mostly has to do with your hard drive, and not RAM in general. Especially when you're unzipping and importing files. I have a RAID in my Power Mac G5, and it's pretty impressive. The drives are probably much better than what it shipped with, and it's a good 300GB. So there's a lot of room for the scratch disk and temp space. It only has 512MB of RAM and Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator run like a dream.

Now on my iMac G4, it has an older hard drive, the one that it originally shipped with. It's a little laggy, and it takes awhile to import. But it has nothing to do with the RAM, it's just because it's an old hard drive.

A simple hard drive upgrade can solve a lot of laggy issues people have. Whether it be a traditional HDD that has a better rpm (7200) or a SSD (also with good speeds). If you're doing a lot of importing and having issues with it, better reading/writing from your drive is really what you're after.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica Lares View Post
That's such a BS study. The average user only needs 4GB to begin with. And yeah, the stock apps are made to use 2GB-4, and it even states that in requirements. And again, you aren't going to notice the difference unless you do work with files and apps that considerably benefit from that 16GB.

People need to realize that a lot of it mostly has to do with your hard drive, and not RAM in general. Especially when you're unzipping and importing files. I have a RAID in my Power Mac G5, and it's pretty impressive. The drives are probably much better than what it shipped with, and it's a good 300GB. So there's a lot of room for the scratch disk and temp space. It only has 512MB of RAM and Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator run like a dream.

Now on my iMac G4, it has an older hard drive, the one that it originally shipped with. It's a little laggy, and it takes awhile to import. But it has nothing to do with the RAM, it's just because it's an old hard drive.

A simple hard drive upgrade can solve a lot of laggy issues people have. Whether it be a traditional HDD that has a better rpm (7200) or a SSD (also with good speeds). If you're doing a lot of importing and having issues with it, better reading/writing from your drive is really what you're after.
I agree with you about the HDD's being a large problem in affecting speed. However 4GB of ram is also pretty out dated for almost anyone in my opinon. Once you have Spotify, iTunes and Safari open you're almost there with about maybe 100-200MB free. Not enough. My mom sometimes can exceed 4gb's and start page outs.

I think 8GB has become the new standard. At 8GB no basic user will hit that. 4GB these days is cutting it close no matter what you do.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by johnnnw View Post
I agree with you about the HDD's being a large problem in affecting speed. However 4GB of ram is also pretty out dated for almost anyone in my opinon. Once you have Spotify, iTunes and Safari open you're almost there with about maybe 100-200MB free. Not enough. My mom sometimes can exceed 4gb's and start page outs.

I think 8GB has become the new standard. At 8GB no basic user will hit that. 4GB these days is cutting it close no matter what you do.
True. I would argue that Safari has memory leak issues though. If it handled it, it would be less of an issue with it in particular. There's no reason why it should remember something I wrote 20 pages back.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:43 PM   #7
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I have 8gb and never run into memory issues unless I'm running Parallels. Running lots of Mac apps my PageOuts are zero. Do anything in Windows and I'm showing a lot of PageOuts.

My best performance boost came from installing a Samsung 840 Pro.
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Old May 11, 2013, 10:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jessica Lares View Post
That's such a BS study. The average user only needs 4GB to begin with. And yeah, the stock apps are made to use 2GB-4, and it even states that in requirements. And again, you aren't going to notice the difference unless you do work with files and apps that considerably benefit from that 16GB.
Did you read the study? It says what you say -- most people will get no noticeable benefit with more than 4GB. Three of our Macs do just fine with just 2GB!
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Old May 11, 2013, 11:56 AM   #9
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Word memory problems???

I have 4 GB memory on a 2011 MBA 'ultimate' (maxed out) that has a BIG problem with Word eating up memory exponentially and then crashing. It usually happens when I am using track changes editing a 20-50 page Word doc that has a few tables and graphs. Over the course of an hour or so the memory continues to be 'eaten up' until Word crashes and I lose the last 15-20 minutes of work if I do not remember to close the document and Word before that happens. Is this "memory leak" as mentioned by one poster re Safari? I have asked both Apple and MS and they say it is the others' fault. So I am stuck with this big and wonder if a new MBA with 8 GB memory would help. I usually have about 6 other apps running including Safari, but closing them may slightly delay but not prevent the problem. Thoughts?
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Old May 11, 2013, 02:52 PM   #10
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Did you read the study? It says what you say -- most people will get no noticeable benefit with more than 4GB. Three of our Macs do just fine with just 2GB!
Yes. But was it worth it? I don't think so. And yeah, my MBP is the only one with 4GB. I was using my dad's work Toshiba the other day, and that has 2GB. It is really, really slow though! And in that case again, I'd say it's the hard drive.

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Originally Posted by Windowsrefugee View Post
I have 4 GB memory on a 2011 MBA 'ultimate' (maxed out) that has a BIG problem with Word eating up memory exponentially and then crashing. It usually happens when I am using track changes editing a 20-50 page Word doc that has a few tables and graphs. Over the course of an hour or so the memory continues to be 'eaten up' until Word crashes and I lose the last 15-20 minutes of work if I do not remember to close the document and Word before that happens. Is this "memory leak" as mentioned by one poster re Safari? I have asked both Apple and MS and they say it is the others' fault. So I am stuck with this big and wonder if a new MBA with 8 GB memory would help. I usually have about 6 other apps running including Safari, but closing them may slightly delay but not prevent the problem. Thoughts?
Try closing Safari. Or get used to using and closing tabs. Safari keeps everything you type in a tab in memory, meaning if that I were to write up 20 forum posts in one go in one tab, it'd still have it in memory. It helps to close it, and then open up a new tab for that reason. Safari also screenshots every page you go on. I always have more than 2GB in my cache every week.

And so yeah, I'd definitely try and see if not having Safari in the background helps before upgrading, but maybe try changing your habits with it/other programs too. What else do you have open?

Word shouldn't do that to you. It's meant to deal with heavily formatted documents. There should be cache settings in there that you can tweak if necessary. I would agree that it's an Apple issue.
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Old May 11, 2013, 02:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Windowsrefugee View Post
So I am stuck with this big and wonder if a new MBA with 8 GB memory would help. I usually have about 6 other apps running including Safari, but closing them may slightly delay but not prevent the problem. Thoughts?
For starter, you should go into preferences, save, and change your auto recover to something faster than 15 minutes. I'm the secretary for a car club I'm in and wouldn't want to lose 15 minutes of notes so I have mine set for 2 minutes.

As for the memory leak, go into activity monitor and see what process is growing if any.
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Old May 11, 2013, 03:06 PM   #12
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One thing is for sure, no laptop should be sold with less than 8GB of soldered memory, except 0.

Soldered memory is unacceptable.

Last edited by cube; May 12, 2013 at 04:06 AM.
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Old May 11, 2013, 03:37 PM   #13
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The problem with MacWorld's benchmarks is that they are only running individual tasks. The point about RAM is that you can run multiple apps simultaneously without lag because each app will obviously take its share of the available RAM. The more RAM you have, the more apps you can run simultaneously. Running a single app for benchmarking will not simulate this because it's unlikely that the app has been designed to use up all the RAM (there are exceptions like Photoshop when working with huge files).
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Old May 11, 2013, 06:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by spatlese44 View Post
For starter, you should go into preferences, save, and change your auto recover to something faster than 15 minutes. I'm the secretary for a car club I'm in and wouldn't want to lose 15 minutes of notes so I have mine set for 2 minutes.

As for the memory leak, go into activity monitor and see what process is growing if any.
It is not Safari that is eating up memory, it is definitely Word. Apple says they don't support 3rd party software while MS says it's Apple's issue....
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Old May 11, 2013, 07:32 PM   #15
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They should've tested Safari.


One window, four tabs. 4GB was never sufficient for me for normal usage, and even 8GB paged-out under heavy use.
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Old May 11, 2013, 08:55 PM   #16
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The problem with MacWorld's benchmarks is that they are only running individual tasks. The point about RAM is that you can run multiple apps simultaneously without lag because each app will obviously take its share of the available RAM. The more RAM you have, the more apps you can run simultaneously. Running a single app for benchmarking will not simulate this because it's unlikely that the app has been designed to use up all the RAM (there are exceptions like Photoshop when working with huge files).
I agree HH, I always max out Ram, pending on device, have since Windows 3.1, and Mac OS leopard
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Old May 12, 2013, 02:46 AM   #17
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while pageouts indicate the limits of your ram, the performance difference is not significant.

tests i wish they had done would be in manipulating half terabyte itunes and aperture libraries or batch development of jpgs from raw in aperture.

i am thinking of buying a rmbp later this year and without knowing what will be offered, if the difference between 8gb and 16gb remains i would like to know how my applications such as those above compare.

has anyone ever tried putting the itunes library files on a ramdisk?
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Old May 12, 2013, 04:42 AM   #18
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tests i wish they had done would be in manipulating half terabyte itunes and aperture libraries or batch development of jpgs from raw in aperture.

has anyone ever tried putting the itunes library files on a ramdisk?
Did you mean SSD? ('ramdisk' usually means a temporary virtual disk drive created in system RAM - you'd need a lot of RAM to store a half-terabyte iTunes library!).

At a guess, using an all-SSD system would dramatically speed up such things. However, at current prices that's a lot of SSD, too - if you have 1GB+ of iTunes and Aperture libraries you're not going to get far with the internal storage on a rMBP. So a more interesting question would be how much having a SSD as your system disc & your libraries on an external TB drive would speed things up (bear in mind that having a SSD system drive will significantly speed up any page-outs that do occur).

What puts me off the current rMBP and iMac lines is not the soldered-in RAM but the difficulty of SSD upgrades. RAM inflation seems to have peaked, so I'm reasonably confident that 16GB will be enough for the foreseeable future. However, I'm equally sure that the next 12-18 months will see terabyte SSDs become far more affordable. You can already get a Cruclal M500 960GB job for less than the Apple rMBP upgrade to 720GB (although, to be fair, not in the tiny form-factor needed by the rMBP). So the SSD capacity of the rMBP is going to become obsolete long before the RAM size.
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Old May 12, 2013, 07:15 AM   #19
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Did you mean SSD? ('ramdisk' usually means a temporary virtual disk drive created in system RAM - you'd need a lot of RAM to store a half-terabyte iTunes library!).

At a guess, using an all-SSD system would dramatically speed up such things. However, at current prices that's a lot of SSD, too - if you have 1GB+ of iTunes and Aperture libraries you're not going to get far with the internal storage on a rMBP. So a more interesting question would be how much having a SSD as your system disc & your libraries on an external TB drive would speed things up (bear in mind that having a SSD system drive will significantly speed up any page-outs that do occur).

What puts me off the current rMBP and iMac lines is not the soldered-in RAM but the difficulty of SSD upgrades. RAM inflation seems to have peaked, so I'm reasonably confident that 16GB will be enough for the foreseeable future. However, I'm equally sure that the next 12-18 months will see terabyte SSDs become far more affordable. You can already get a Cruclal M500 960GB job for less than the Apple rMBP upgrade to 720GB (although, to be fair, not in the tiny form-factor needed by the rMBP). So the SSD capacity of the rMBP is going to become obsolete long before the RAM size.

no, I actually meant a ramdisk. SSD does not make a big dent on these operations for me, but I have an old computer. boot time is great though... i guess you could say this is the problem of reading and writing non-sequential data.

and as for the itunes library files, i meant the database that stores all the data. only a few hundred MB. i might try this myself when i get a free moment...

for aperture, the problem is reading the previews. but what i am wondering, is about aperture's ability to preload stuff into RAM.

thus the question, only answerable by doing the tests, of any benefit from 8gb vs. 16gb. i tend to doubt it, but i want to know for sure.

when i pull the trigger i may buy two and return one.

also, the SSD can be ugraded, just not with industry standard drives, relying on OWC. which is fine as long as they respond to industry pricing trends. (unlike apple)

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Old May 12, 2013, 07:59 AM   #20
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The article was spot on. On my work computer that has only 3GB RAM, core i5 (2012 dual core) and running Win XP (HP Machine), that thing just comes to a screeching halt as I open more and more applications. In a work setting I may have 3 large spreadsheets open, 2 Word documents, several browser tabs, file manager and other apps. If I were to run those things one at a time the machine would handle it just fine. But my workflow requires many different programs at once so I could definitely benefit from more RAM (and a @$!@# upgrade to Win 7 if for nothing else but the speed improvement of the OS). Unfortunately I don't control that.

Beyond just looking at what apps people may need to use simultaneously, we also need to look at the number of times that same app is in use. Safari on a Mac may need several tabs for research or whatever, Excel may need to be open more than once for work, etc. It's not just how many apps we may have open that will help determine memory needs, but also how much memory we'd require of those apps based on how we're using them.
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Old May 12, 2013, 09:25 AM   #21
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I agree HH, I always max out Ram, pending on device, have since Windows 3.1, and Mac OS leopard
Exactly! That's why my dad and I got the 16k TRS-80, and not the paltry 4k model...that's also why I got the 512k Mac, and not the 128k...I guess I'm dating myself!
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Old May 12, 2013, 01:23 PM   #22
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The problem with MacWorld's benchmarks is that they are only running individual tasks. The point about RAM is that you can run multiple apps simultaneously without lag because each app will obviously take its share of the available RAM. The more RAM you have, the more apps you can run simultaneously. Running a single app for benchmarking will not simulate this because it's unlikely that the app has been designed to use up all the RAM (there are exceptions like Photoshop when working with huge files).
That's what I thought the extra ram was for. So I could run several apps at once, without any loss of speed. I'd never expect a single app to exceed the capabilities of a 4GB RAM'd computer.
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