512MB to 1Gig RAM in new 15" PB - How much improvement?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Ryan1524, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. Ryan1524 macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #1
    i have them install a 1DIMM 512 MB on the PB, to now i have one slot free. i was planning to instal another one from OCZ or maybe Crucial. but i'm wondering just how much improvement am i gonna experience? will it matter much in the day to day use? or will it only be felt by people who do really crazy heavy duty work??

    thx
    :)
     
  2. Mac-Xpert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #2
    I think it much depends on what your daily use looks like. If you're only gonna use apps like Word or read some e-mail I don't think your gonna notice any difference. But if you also use apps like Photoshop regularly It will be a huge improvement. Because Photoshop eats ram for breakfast. And on the moment it runs out of ram it will use your hard disk as a scratch disk. That will slow down things considerably.
     
  3. Toeknee macrumors regular

    Toeknee

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    #3
    I've run some solid modeling programs in VPC and i've noticed that the gig of ram really does make a diff. The computer doesn't run like a full blown winblows box but I know that if I had just 512 the computer would die or something. A stick of 512 is cheap enough that its worth it, just wish that the stick of 1GB would drop in price. If I had it my way i'd have the full blown 2 GB capacity in the laptop right now :)
     
  4. vasaz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    #4
    I'm not sure just how accurate this program is, but it's pretty neat! It calculates how much extra memory you need by looking at page-outs as they occur. Just run it in the background over the day and see if extra memory would help you:

    Do I Need More Memory?
    http://www.hillmanminx.net/dinmm/
     
  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #5
    You beat me to it. :)

    Let me say that this program is a big help in deciding if you need more memory and just how much memory, as well by what percentage your use would be increased.

    It led me to go to 1gb (from OWC, good price, nice service). Now I have 1.2gb in my PB 12" rev. B. Run DINMM and find that for my needs this is just the right amount.
     
  6. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #6
    for anyone who needs to ask...

    128 MB is a heaven for linux (depends, of course)
    256 MB is more than enough for windows nt.
    512 MB is enough for macintosh osx.
    1024 GB is insufficient for windows longhorn. (ok, a joke...)

    for anyone who knows that 512MB isn't enough - well, you know what you need.

    if you're looking for a performance boost for your powerbook, you get it by letting certified apple personnell change the laptop's hard drive to some at least 5400rpm model. believe me, that will speed (overall) things up more than memory upgrade from 512MB to 1024MB.

    and again - those of us who REALLY need more than 512MB know already how much is enough. for regular use, once the bare minimum spec (256MB for osx) is met, adding more memory does very little. going from 256 to 512 might speed some things, but for a 512 to 1024 upgrade one should really have some kind of a justified need to do it.

    for a regular user like my father the only reason for a 512 to 1024 upgrade will be when someone asks how much memory his computer has it is easier to answer "one gigabyte" than answering "512 megabytes". and come on, regular joe would answer "i don't know" anyway, so no reason there at all ;)

    bottom line: 512MB is enough for osx. if you need more, you already know that.
     
  7. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #7
    I upgraded my powerbook from 512MB to 1GB. I noticed that programs opened much more quickly and that they ran a lot more smoothly. If you are happy with current performance - there isn't a *need* to upgrade - things will just get a little more zippy. :D
     
  8. joshuajestelle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #8
    I also upgraded from 512 to 1024 on my 17" PowerBook G4 1GHz.
    I also noticed a substantial increase in the speediness off things. It probably wasn't necessary, but things did seem a bit snappier after the upgrade.

    Josh
     
  9. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #9
    to the point that there is memory available, the extra memory will not speed anything up. no matter if you had a thousand terabytes of ram, booting operating system and opening first app is not any faster.

    after you have used all available memory, the system begins using virtual memory - the hard disk - and that's what slows things down. so as long as you're not using all of the memory (running photoshop at the same time as final cut pro for example) and you're not using hard drive as memory, there's no speed difference at all.

    the snappiness might be psychological? :)
     
  10. joshuajestelle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #10
    I think you'd be suprised how much memory some fairly simple apps will eat up these days though... Safari, Mail, iCal, programs I often have open all together. I just tried that memory monitoring program (which is great btw, and I'm using just under 600 MB of memory fairly consistantly, so granted its nowhere near a GB of memory, but it is more than 512, so had I not upgraded I'd probably be swapping to disk a lot. And that'd be slow.

    ;-)

    Josh
     
  11. edcroteau macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #11
    Cheap RAM from good company $289 for 1GB module

    Adding RAM to any computer is a no brainer - just an issue of money. I wouldn't run any OS X system on less than 768MB and 1GB is preferred. Pageouts (virtual memory use on hard disk) slow you way down as other posters have noted. More RAM is always better if you can afford it.

    Regarding the new PB 1.5GHz machines, the Apple memory upgrades are way too expensive. I just ordered two (2) 1GB modules (RAM sticks) from DataMem.com for $289 each. I've ordered memory from these guys for over 5 years and never once had a problem. The sales rep told me that earlier PB's had a bus slewing issue that caused some manufacturer's RAM modules to fail. You can call and speak with Justin 800-662-7466 about your particular model and what will work. He told me that the $289 1GB modules are from an Apple approved vendor. I would buy the 1GB module so that you can later upgrade to the full 2GB RAM allowed without having to buy 2 new chips. Adding the 1GB module now will give you 1.2 or 1.5GB depending on the model of PB you purchased.

    Ed
     
  12. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #12
    It is certainly not psychological. Word opens much faster - as do other programs - whether it is the first or 10th application open. Word is a basic app - there are far more intensive ones that do see am improvement.
     
  13. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #13
    no, i'm not, in fact i'm fully aware of that. and my friend that's one of the reasons i like apple so much - software on osx tends to be more memory-efficient than software on winXP. i'm a unix admin and know the issue very well, and also the fact that unix apps tend to reserve some extra memory that the apps mark as "inactive". that means that app has taken some memory that is easy and fast to use for it, but also states to the operating system that the portion of inactive memory is available for other apps to use, if the system runs out of memory.

    so while it might seem that osx has used all available memory, it has effectively about 20% memory reserve available as "inactive" memory which it can use when needed.

    osx has run out of memory when there's swap activity. that happens when the operating system cannot find any inactive memory from the reserves fast enough. for example iTunes wants to reserve about 200MB when started, but only about 25-50MB is absolutely necessary. so if the operating system has memory available, iTunes gets 200MB and when other apps need more, iTunes can release +100MB very easily. that's the way unix works, my friend. unix apps always get ready for the worse situation and usually behave nicely with each other.

    --

    at the moment i have 260MB memory in active use (out of the 1024MB available). that is, the operating system plus safari plus terminal running "top". i think that is not so much more than the 256MB that i said is bare minimum for running osx smoothly.

    and, by the way, safari has reserved 476MB of memory. 40MB in active use. what the hell can safari need the other +400MB for? it loads caches and history into it, if memory is available. if other apps need it more, safari gladly releases some of its unnecessarily wasted memory, because it has said so to the operating system. that's unix. efficient memory handling. with unix the memory is almost always "full" because each unix app tends to optimise itself. the memory however can be used for other apps if they need to use the memory "actively".

    understand?
     
  14. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #14
    you're right. in a perfect world every computer would have as much ram as the motherboard is capable of handling. but when it costs money in the real world, some will make a sacrifice. i did too, because this powerbook could handle 2GB memory and i only have one. the extra gig would have cost way too much.
     
  15. debo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    #15
    How did you get it for $289? The price on the website says $359 ?
     
  16. smurphur macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #16
    at one point I figured out that it was cheaper to leave the 2x256mb sticks in there, and order 2x512mb from some one other than apple. then sell the 2x256mb on ebay. you save about $50 or so I think, though I havn't looked to see if that is still true.

    this is of course instead of upgrading to a 512mb stick from apple, and ordering another 512mb stick from elsewhere.
     

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