adding ram did nothing?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by bill4588, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. bill4588 macrumors 6502a

    bill4588

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    #1
    I had 1.25GB of RAM and just bought a 1GB stick of G.Skill memory so that I would have 2GB of ram. But for some reason my machine isn't any faster than it was before. Safari still takes 10 bounces on first launch, MS word still takes 10-15 seconds to load, dashboard still stutters, etc. WHAT GIVES? And yes my machine notices the new ram (it says I have 2GB in "About this Mac").
     
  2. KD7IWP macrumors 6502a

    KD7IWP

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Location:
    American living in Canada
    #2
    RAM does not make opening programs quicker. But, if you close one, RAM will let it reopen faster since it will keep the program in the available RAM. RAM also makes switching between open programs much much faster. Also, if you have a large iphoto library, chances are that you can scroll through it faster since more of the images will reside in RAM. RAM sped up my MBP tremendously, but only for certain things. If you never run out of RAM (ie, you never have any pageouts in Activity Monitor) then RAM won't help you. If you do get pageouts though, RAM will help.
     
  3. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
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    Gone but not forgotten.
    #3
    Try seeing how things work after a re-boot without using MS Word. Since it's a PowerPC application, it would require Rosetta which takes a lot of RAM to be efficient.

    Of course, the first time you launch an application, it's going to be slower to start than on subsequent launches but the virtual memory system on Mac OS X caches the recently used application information to speed up the next time they're launched.

    If you're still experiencing some very long load times, you might try checking the disk drive volume and permissions to make sure they're correct.
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    Note that all of the things you mentioned are caused by the hard disk, not by RAM. As mentioned, RAM is useful only once things are loaded into it.
     
  5. CEAbiscuit macrumors 6502a

    CEAbiscuit

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
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    The Kitchen
    #5
    I'd be curious to know how much HD space you have left. When Things get under 10%, everything seems to slow down no matter what.
     
  6. bill4588 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bill4588

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    #6
    I have 20GB left on my Mac partition and about 15GB left on my windows partition. But I see what everyone is saying about the use of ram. I do notice that iTunes is blazing fast. It used to stutter when I went flipping through my albums in cover flow, now it's incredibly smooth.
     
  7. mgargan1 macrumors 65816

    mgargan1

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    Reston, VA
    #7
    I doubt that this is the cause, but... you can have safari open up in Rosetta (that way some internet apps which are still PPC code still work), which would make opening the App about 5x slower.

    MS word does take a while to load because it's not a Universal Binary.

    In order to check if you have Safari opening in Rosetta quit Safari, if it's open. In the Applications folder, Control-click Safari and choose File > Get Info from the pop-up menu. In the General pane, check to see if you selected Open Using Rosetta, and then close the Get Info window. Open Safari.

    It's worth a shot...
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #8
    I'm afraid this is sort of an old wives tale. This percentage might have meant something when hard disk drives were no more than 20-30Gb in capacity. Having 5Gb free should be plenty, no matter how large the drive.

    As for adding RAM -- no, it is not the panacea for poor performance which you will so often hear advertised.
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #9
    Here's the thing:
    RAM doesn't speed up a machine, it removes a barrier to speed.
    It's like saying: "Taking my foot off the brake makes my car go faster." Nooo.. releasing the brake just stops slowing it down. Other things determine how fast it will go once the brake is off.

    If you have less RAM than the total amount your OS, Rosetta, applications, and data require, then the machine is forced to swap memory on and off the hard drive, which is much slower, especially on a laptop *. Adding RAM until you have "enough", will remove this slow down.

    If however, you already have "Enough" RAM for the programs you normally open, then adding more will make only a minimal difference. Unless of course, you open more programs and data to break the physical RAM barrier again, and the machine will slow back down - effectively raising the amount that "enough" is.

    Programs that open large libraries of items (like iTunes and iPhoto) cache their disk reads and writes to RAM, and usually do get a speed boost when more RAM is available.

    *(and especially on a drive that is badly fragmented or doesn't have enough remaining room for the swap files)

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  10. bill4588 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bill4588

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    #10
    thanks for the help everyone! mgargan1, I checked to see if Safari was running under rosetta and it wasn't.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    You are measuring the wrong things. The first-time startup for an application is mostly just the time it takes to load it's code off the disk and is determined by the speed of the disk. The reason RAM makes a machine faster is that the second and llater times when you need to access something that lives on your disk, with more RAM there is a greater chance that it is already in RAM and you save a disk access.

    Typically you have to double the amount of RAM in a system before you start to notice a large speed up. You have not quite doubled your RAM.

    The other thng is that you have to be doing something that uses a lot of RAM and could use even more RAM before adding RAM will help. Simply starting an application with no document loaded is not something that uses a lot of RAM. However if you quit and then re-load the re-load should now be slightly faster

    RAM helps mostwhen you have a lot of data that you are doing something with.

    Mathematically the time to access any data is p1*t1+p2*t2+p3*t2...+pn*tn Where px is the probability of the data being on device x (and the sum of all p is 1) tx is the time to access the data on the given device. By adding RAM you hope to skew the values of p such that p is higher on a device with lower t (Ok so much for Comp Sci 101.) By doubling the amount of RAM you hope to increase the probability of some data being in RAM but on a first time load there is zero chance of that no matter how much RAM you have
     
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    Actually, you just need to increase it to the point that you dramatically lower swapping. Going from 1GB -> 1.25 GB could, in theory, do that. Obviously, the more you increase the RAM, the more likely it is you'll notice a difference... up to the point that you have more RAM than you use. After that, no increase will speed anything up. Of course, on a system with a 2GB or 3GB RAM limit, it's not easy to have so much you can't use any more. ;)
     
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #13
    It could also be as simple as using a Universal Binary substitute for PowerPC applications since Rosetta is a major help but a major RAM hog.
     

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