768 or 1,256MB RAM?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by MeehMac, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. MeehMac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    New proud owner of a G4 12" iBOOK here! So far it's been perfect. Warcraft III runs like a charm. :D

    I'm deciding whether to add extra 512mb or 1gb stick of RAM on top of my default 256mb. Here's what I use my iBOOK for (or will use):

    1. Multiple tabbed browsing - Firefox
    2. Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX and Fireworks MX
    3. Photoshop (sometimes)
    4. i-Tunes & iChat always in the background
    5. Warcraft 3 (sometimes)

    Correct me if I'm wrong - But will more RAM put less workload on my HD (therefore keeping it cooler)? I'd like to keep this laptop for at least 3 years w/o any problems.

    512mb = ~$100 / 1gb = ~$225
    Does anyone feel the difference between adding a 512mb or 1gb of extra RAM? I don't want to spend the extra $100 for 1gb if my system never needs a reason to use it. I know everyone recommends more RAM! But can anyone testify to difference I would feel with (a total of) 768 or 1,256mb?

    Also, internet page processing feels kind of slow/jerky sometimes. Will more RAM make a difference? Thanks for all the help! :)
     
  2. caveman_uk Guest

    caveman_uk

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    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    #2
    You'd almost certainly notice the difference if you had 768MB rather than 256MB though looking at what you say you do I doubt you'd notice much if any benefit from going to 1.25GB from 768MB
     
  3. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    Apr 30, 2004
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    Murka
    #3
    if you go from 256 you will notice more of a difference at 1.25gb

    go for the most you can afford - i went for the 1.25gb in my pb, from 512mb and it was aaaamazing!
     
  4. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

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    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    The main reason i went to 768 was a 512 stick cost ~£65 and 1G cost ~£200. This did not add up in my book, so I went for the one that I could afford, and it's done me fine :)

    Hob
     
  5. bubbamac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2003
    #6
    768, unless the money isn't a problem. (that happens!)

    The only reason to get more is if you anticipate future OS upgrades needing more RAM to run well, or if you see yourself using more RAM intensive software in the future.

    Your iBook will last 3 years, easy. RAM won't have an effect on that.
     
  6. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #7
    Congrats on your iBook! 768 is a comfortable amount to run OS X with based on what you say you're going to be doing with it. If the 1 GB stick is too much, you'll do fine. I've done games, Photoshop, After Effects, and 3D rendering with 768, always with lots of smaller apps (iTunes, Safari, Mail, BBEdit, Preview, Unison, etc.) open in the background. I rarely ran into any serious VM disk swapping issues. You might also want to look into putting a 7200 rpm drive into your book, I put a Hitachi 7K60 into my PowerBook and it was fantastic -- big difference.

    As far as the web page rendering, that's hard to say. Low RAM could be the culprit there but it could be a number of other things too. Does it do the same in Firefox and Safari? Does it do the same thing on another internet connection? I'm assuming you have broadband of some sort, right? One thing to look at is your MTU setting. Look at it in System Preferences > Network > Ethernet. Sometimes the default setting is too high. Try pulling it down a bit (to 1400 maybe) and see if it helps. If so, bring it back up until until things get weird again. Mine is set to 1492. When it's too high, it can cause your network connection to stall, especially when submitting forms and posts.
     
  7. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Dec 25, 2003
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    Northern Virginia
    #8
    Try the program Do I Need More Memory? It will tell you based on your usage just how much more RAM you need for your style of use.
     
  8. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    I have an iBook with 768 MB, and I do pretty much exactly what you do with it. It works fine, never gets bogged down.
     
  9. TID macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Location:
    Edmonton
    #10
    go for the 1Gb

    Don't be silly, it'll hurt less to get the gig today than tomorrow. Laptop ram is expensive and as it becomes replaced by newer and cheaper memory, you'll find it increasinly difficult and undesirable to buy it later. For Graphics work, you simply cannot have enough ram in a G4. :)
     
  10. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #11
    From the list of apps there, it looks like adding another 512 should suffice. With a similar app list, I've Hovered around the 512 usage level. I reached 1 gig in ram usage only because I use virtual pc.

    For your own diagnostic:

    Open Terminal in the utilities folder

    Type Top

    Look for the numbers reprsenting ram usage/allocation

    If you open enough apps though, I bet the ibook will find a way to use all it's memory. Enjoy!
     
  11. MeehMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! I decided to stick with the extra 512MB for only $77 @ 18004memory. If it somehow isn't enough in the immediate future, I can probably just sell it for full cash value and grab a 1gb stick.

    Another question though - If I'm running a program/game off an external firewire HD, will the system do virtual swapping off that drive or on my default system one?
     
  12. BoardCertified macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Orlando, FL USA
    #13
    Can you change your MTU setting on your Airport Extreme card? I noticed that the MTU setting on the ethernet jack is only for a physical (plugged-in) connection. Does the Airport regulate MTU automatically?
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #14
    Yeah, go to Terminal, and type "Top".

    Look at how many "Pageouts" you have. If you have over 10,000 or 20,000 pageouts after 1 or 2 weeks, you need more RAM. I have 1.25 GB of total RAM, and I have 3500 pageouts in 17 days.

    Its funny, because I don't use any intensive software, but sometimes I have lots and lots of webpages open/tabbed (say around 10-15) in Safari and Firefox, 2 or 3 .pdf files open, Mail, iTunes, Stickies, and Word, possibly Excel. That's how I get those pageouts.

    Until last month, I had a total of 512 MB of RAM, and I would get over 150,000 pageouts in 2 weeks. I didn't want to spend $90 USD on a 512MB stick of RAM (to increase my total RAM to 768MB) because that's only a 256MB increase in RAM for me. It didn't seem worth the money, considering how I already spent $90 on my 256 MB of Crucial RAM 2 years ago. That's why I went with the 1GB of RAM from OWC.

    Get what you can afford.
     
  14. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #15
    I'm in a similar boat, and have wondered the same thing. I'm currently using a Powerbook with two 256mb stick in it. To put more ram in, means subtracting ram for me, so a 1GB would be what I would want, especially when my ussage is a little bit heavier then yours with Web Application Dev, a bit of Movie editing, and heavy Photography work in an overloaded iPhoto (I need iLife '05...) and Photoshop.
    The problem is I really can't afford 1GB :D

    Concerning the Top command, and PagesOut, how do you know the time frame that it is looking at? It it since the last time you run Top? I'm out PagesOut = 5300088(0) :eek:

    What exactly is a PageOut? Is it the system logging an Out Of Memory issue?

    ~Tyler
     
  15. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

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    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #16
    Ok, so crap. I've had 15,998 page outs between this post and my last, or in 4 hours and 40 minutes. That is a bad thing right?
    In those four hours, I've done nothing but post a few messages here, talk on Audium a little bit, and read a few emails.

    Only Safari, mail, Adium, iPhoto, Address book, Sys Prefs, textEdit, a CPU temp monitor, and terminal have been open in that time. Half the time I haven't even been doing anything at my computer. Wassup? Should my computer (see system info below) be doing that?

    Now that I'm having what seems an unusual number of page outs, would someone tell me what exactly that means?
    Thanks!

    ~Earendil
     
  16. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #17
    Yeah, you can set the MTU for an Airport connection because I remember doing this on my PowerBook. However, I don't think you can do that via the System Prefs control panel. It's more of a PITA for a wireless connection. You can set it easily enough via the Terminal app, but the problem is it won't stick when you log out or reboot. To make it (more) permanant, first log in as root and make a text file for a script (mine is called "set_mtu_script.sh"):

    Code:
    #!/bin/sh
    ifconfig en1 mtu 1454
    Save that file to /usr/local/bin/. Then log back in as you and open your .tcshrc file in your home folder (or create it if it does not exist). It will be a hidden file, so you might need to use BBEdit or BBEdit Lite to open it. Simply add the line "/usr/local/bin/set_mtu_script.sh". Now it will run your script file and set the MTU each time you log in. Like I said, kinda of a PITA for wireless but there you have it. See http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20020712014842725&query=MTU+en0 for more info. So, it may not be worth it for you to go through all that, but if your network access seem erratic, I'd definitely check it out, that cleared my problems right up.
     
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #18
    Yes, but...

    Sleeping the computer also makes the number quite high -- as does leaving the machine on for days and letting it sleep.

    So it's best to run the check after a complete restart.

    Pageouts just mean you are swapping chunks of memory to the drive, you'll notice this more when you switch apps and start new ones.

    Not so much when you sit in an app for an extended period, unless the single app is a memory hog.

    For a desktop this wouldn't normally be a problem, but on a portable -- the drive eats up battery life.
     
  18. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #19
    Definatley go for the extra 1 gig. Heavy photoshop work requires extra ram. Go for it.
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #20
    Yeah, even with Panther's stability, I find rebooting every week or two is beneficial... I've noticed some funny business with Firefox and tabs recently. Using tabbed browsing heavily seems to use a lot of memory, more than I expected, on either FF or Safari.

    I got to a point where I had just Mail and FF open, and I was using my computer plugged in, with full brightness, and it was running its fan at almost a 50% duty cycle, which I have found to happen very rarely without using the combo drive.... I would put it down to go get something to drink, and the fan would actually spin up while it was sitting there doing pretty close to nothing. Needless to say a reboot corrected that. But activity monitor pegged the CPU not doing too much, so it seems like maybe part of the issue had to do with lost memory that was never properly de-allocated....
     
  20. ebuc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    Nor'East
    #21
    pageouts etc

    So what exactly is a pageout and a pagein? What does it mean to have X number of pageouts/ins.

    This is what I get after typing "top" in the terminal?:

    Processes: 66 total, 2 running, 2 stuck, 62 sleeping... 213 threads 23:47:31
    Load Avg: 2.87, 2.15, 1.66 CPU usage: 55.0% user, 22.8% sys, 22.2% idle
    SharedLibs: num = 127, resident = 29.8M code, 2.92M data, 8.84M LinkEdit
    MemRegions: num = 10277, resident = 294M + 9.56M private, 113M shared
    PhysMem: 107M wired, 256M active, 485M inactive, 850M used, 173M free
    VM: 6.56G + 86.7M 188537(0) pageins, 140764(0) pageouts



    Is this "bad" or "good"? I have a gigabyte or RAM, so I would assume its all good, but I'm curious what these page-terms mean.
     
  21. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #22
    A "page" is just a chunk of memory (I think for OS X it's 4,096 bytes but I'm not sure about that). So the more pages you have moving back and forth, means the more data your computer is shuffling from RAM to your hard drive and back, which is very slow, thus slowing down your computer. More RAM means more pages can be kept in RAM (which is much faster than your hard drive). A large number of page-ins is ok, since that's usually the OS and applications being loaded into memory. Paging out happens when memory gets too low to hold everything, that's the one to look out for. The number in the parenthesis is the bad one if you see it rising. In your case, everything looks fine, you have almost 300 MB unused and over 400 MB inactive, meaning it's available for use if needed. Plenty.
     
  22. Loft macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    #23
    Hey guys! I also want to purchase additional memory for my PB, I really want a 1gig stick but the price is too high. But since Tiger OSX is coming out in a few months, I was wondering if i need the 1 gig stick to make Tiger run smoother. Will there be a big difference between 768 mb and 1.25gig once I upgrade to Tiger? If there is, then I think it will be better just to purchase a 1gig stick.

    Thank!
     
  23. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #24
    Apple is making the first really major change to the Unix kernal in the next OS update, so there is no telling how Tiger will react -- until you get it.
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #25
    As was stated, a "Page" is just a chunk of info that's sent to the HD. Usually, you get "Pageouts" when you don't have enough RAM. Since OSX needs more RAM than you have installed, it'll write some of the data to your harddrive to process the info. This is a slow process, since sending data to the HD is slower than sending data to RAM. Not a comp sci. major myself, but I know that sending data to RAM quite fast.

    The bad thing about Pageouts is that it's bad for battery life, and its generally not good for the HD. You're just working your HD harder, starting it and stopping it more often because it's basically being used as Virtual Memory because of a lack of RAM.

    Pagein isn't really a bad thing, and will happen even with lots of RAM. It's chunks of data going the other way --- from HD to RAM.

    That's MY understanding, anyway.

    So type "top" in Terminal to check "pageouts" and the amount of RAM remaining. Type uptime in Terminal to see how long your system has been on since the last time you rebooted. :)

    768 MB of RAM is great for the large majority of people. :)
     

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