Added 1-GB of RAM to PB... no difference!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by diehldun, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003
    This is really wierd!

    I originally had 512-MB on the 17" PB. Last Christmas, I decided to get a "bump" in performance, and purchased a 1-GB module from Crucial, so now I've got a total of 1.5-GB (obviously).

    Unfortunately, after using iMovie/iDVD/iPhoto/PhotoShop, I can't honestly say I've noticed THAT much of a difference in power/performance... is the PB somehow rejecting the extra memory boost? (I checked 'my computer info...', and it reads 1.5 GB, so I guess not...)

    What's going on? I kind of feel like adding the memory was a waste of $$$$... maybe am I not using the memory to the full potential, so that's why?

    But the thing is... even when using Safari/Microsoft Word/iTunes, I STILL get the STUPID SPINNING BEACHBALL! What is going on??

    Some advice would be appreciated, thanks! :eek:
  2. macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Just to be sure, go to, search for and download Rember and test the RAM.

    But the speed increase you will find in going from 512 MB to 1.25 Gb will only be apparant when you *have enough programs and big enough data files open to break the 512 barrier*

    It's like saying a Ferrari is no faster than a Yugo in town where the speed limit is 30. You don't see the speed until you cross the previous limits

    The BB's spinning in Word and Safari are more likely to be software settings, corrupted prefs or similar, than they are RAM related. Upgrade to latest vers, throw out plists, check for bad fonts, repair permissions, delete cache files. Do some searches for threads on software maintenance

  3. macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    more RAM will only help you with large files. The actually performance bottled in your computer is your hard drive speed. the hard drive is the slowest piece of memory in your computer. Your computer actually has what is called swap space where the ram and hard drive swap stuff that is currently being using in memory and stuff that isn't is put back in the hard drive. so that means the more ram you have the more stuff can be held in memory. what this also means is that you will also is a big performance difference if you actually are using large enough falls to take up that much space. the spinning beachball is because your computer is probably waiting on your hard drive.

    however, you did say you notice a speed boost that is because you can hold more stuff in memory because your ram is a larger quanitity. your just mad because the price vs performance wasn't worth it. if you want to see a noticable increase on your PB performance upgrade your hard drive to 7200 RPM hard drive because yours only spins at 5400 RPM which basically means you make you bottleneck a bit wider and you will see the difference.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    It's also important to note that a 7200 rpm drive isn't that much faster, either. (see And really, there isn't anything else you can do to increase a laptop's performance, aside from doing a dangerous overclock.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2003
    Spinning beach ball in safari will never go away till apple fixes the massive memory leak triggered by tiled backgrounds.
  6. macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    It's probably your CPU

    Contrary to popular opinion, a 1GHz G4 is not a supercomputer on a chip, and many OS X programs like Word, iPhoto, iMovie in particular are incredible CPU hogs. Safari can be one as well on pages with complex Javascript. Become one with the beachball... embrace it.
  7. macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    i upgraded my 15" 1.5GHz PB 4200rpm HD OS10.3.6 from 512 to 1.25. the speed increase was clearly noticable on every level. Finder more snappy, iphoto more snappy, having more than 5 apps open more snappy, having Powerpoint, Excel and Photoshop open more snappy. The system is more stable overall.

    however i did not see speed increases in rotating a large picture in photoshop or resizing images in powerpoint. that seem to be tasks depending mostly on processor speed.

    but on average everything seems to be more responsive.

  8. Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    The HDD is your problem as previously stated..
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003

    My finder is not fast at all! When I try to 'search' the computer, it takes ages for it to find a document, and when I try to "delete" or use the backspace key, I get the beachball, and the PB freezes!
  10. macrumors 65816


    Nov 18, 2004
    I suggest getting it checked by a professional, my 600mhz g4 hardly ever gets the beach ball, and safari never uses more than 20% of my CPU when having over 5 windows open (sorry for using the "W" word)
  11. macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Lombard, IL
    I have a 1.5 ghz PB I just bought less than two weeks ago. I did the same upgrade and have 1.5 GB RAM. I added the RAM myself within five minutes of ownership, so I have no reference as to perceived "snappiness."

    I bought the RAM for two primary reasons: to save my hard drive and run multiple apps simultaneously. With lots of RAM your system should have to hit the drive less during normal usage (less swapping back and forth, in theory). I didn't really have an expectation for speed increases, as neither the processor design nor its frequency rate changed with the upgrade!

    I think your upgrade was a wise one, but you might need to dial back your speed increase expectations. A 1.5ghz G4 is a 1.5ghz G4.
  12. macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Hard drive speed and RAM size are NOT your problem despite all of the above assertations. The hard drive does not affect processor-based activity, and a hard drive does not "cause" freezes unless it is actually defective. The speed improvements 4200 RPM to 5400 RPM amount to split seconds in everyday use, not many seconds of beachballing. The differences a fast hard drive would make is mainly seen when you are first loading large programs or files, copying and transferring files, or using software that makes massive drive access like movies and audio recording. (It's silly to talk about 7200 RPM laptop drives as they are rare and expensive). With 1.25 GB of RAM you should not be hitting PageOuts to the hard drive in normal operation at all.

    You have a corrupted OSX, my friend, and you need to repair your OS software before any hardware upgrades will help you.

    Now, there is a possibility that bad RAM or a bad hard drive have contibuted to the problem -- did you run Rember (see reply #1)?

    Boot from the OSX CD and run Disk Utility to test your hard drive. Assuming that the hardware passes muster, I advise you to use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a complete backup of your drive to an external drive. Then do an Archive and Install of OSX - Archive and Install is easier, because you don't have to manually restore all of your software, documents and settings, but a clean install would be better because it MAY be a problem with your software and settings.

    If you have ever installed a MacAlly iShock game controller, there is a known problem with its drivers creating massive errors.

    Do some searching on this forum for advice on rebuilding and maintaining an OS.
  13. Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    You definitely shouldn't be getting beachballs under normal circumstances. Even my G3/800 was doing fine with 896 MB and a 5400 rpm drive although it had beachballs with 704 MB and my PB with 768 MB works similarly.

    Have you done the usual repairing permissions through Disk Utility and using a utility like Tech Tool Pro 4 or DiskWarrior?
  14. macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2004
    Mmmm yeah, there is something wrong with your PowerBook or with OS X or something. I have only 512MB of RAM on a 1.33Ghz G4 and I don't have any problems like that, everything is generally smooth and responsive for me.
  15. macrumors regular

    May 2, 2003
    It sounds like

    you need to do some major HDD maintenence. Fragmentation will keep the Hard drive skipping about to access single flies, slowing things down quite a bit. The freezing part: reinstall your OS, and if that does not work, take it down to an apple store for a looksie. A specific key shouldn't freeze a compy or lappy
  16. macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2001
    At My Mac
    CanadaRAM is right on the money: Your system is screwed, dude.

    One thing to add: How much free HD space do you have on your machine? After RAM, OS X likes nothing more than oodles of available HD space for it to use as swap. Rule of thumb is to keep at least 12-15% of your HD's total capacity free at all times. So if your HD is an 80Gb one, try to have at least 10Gb free.

    Remember that if you're using apps that write their own swap files (PhotoShop and FCP spring to mind, though there are others) then you'll have to increase that rule of thumb.

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