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How much difference would maxing my Powerbook RAM make?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Zim Bargo, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. macrumors member

    I put an extra gb of RAM into my 1.25 G4 Powerbook - giving me a total of 1.25GB of RAM now - and obviously noticed a nice bump in performance vs the 512 mb.

    I am using Cubase SX, which is pretty processor heavy and, the extra power has certainly made a difference.

    My question though, is will putting another GB in substantially increase (effectively double) the performance or doe sit become less noticeable. I have read somewhere on the forum that there is only so much RAM worth adding to make a visible difference, but haven't been able to re-find the thread.

    Your thoughts and exerience would be much appreciated

  2. macrumors 65816


    Lots of difference.
    Also a faster hard drive would be great as long as you don't mind the battery hit and possibly heat increase depending on size of new drive.
  3. macrumors member

    Thanks Kettle

    Can you put a faster harddrive into a Powerbook without voiding the warranty? I was planning to get a 7200rpm external FW drive, which I assume would have the same effect. Although, I thought that would only really make a difference with audio (and a programme like Cubase). Does it also make a difference to general performance - I guess maybe it would mean data could be accessed quicker, correct?
  4. macrumors 65816


    Well... there are plenty of stories about a big improvement going from 256M to 1G. But from 1.25G to 2.25G I haven't heard any stories.

    Maybe see if the Cubase manual says anything about memory.
  5. macrumors 65816


    yeah, that is a point, I was misreading you there for a minute. (and I'm a bit thick most of the time) The extra ram will mean that you can set things like Photoshop to use more of the available memory. Since you've already felt a general improvement, the main speed difference now will be how much of your ram you are using, the more ram that is occupied by lots of running apps the more you'll have to use disk intensive virtual memory. You'll notice that much more on a powerbook than you would on a powermac. That's where a faster disk would be useful.
    sorry for the misunderstanding. :eek:
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Personally I wouldn't have thought that it'd make that much difference going that far above the gigabyte parapet. If I were you I'd spend the money on the external hard drive (unless you use a firewire audio interface, in which case you might want to think twice about having both of those devices going through one firewire bus!)
  7. macrumors 68000


    The way it goes is that the more RAM you put in, the lesser the performance boost you get. So from 256 to 512, big difference. From 512 to 1gig, little less than the other upgrade but still a good boost. 1 to 1.5, you still see a little boost but not as good as the others. Then past that, you don't see much boost at all, unless you are using programs that will use the space. Like Photoshop and if you could open a file thats a gig or so in size, thats the only time you would see a boost.
  8. macrumors member

    Thanks everyone,

    I had a feeling the noticeable improvement might not be so great.

    Dune - my audio interface is a Yamaha 01X, which uses mLan, which still essentially be using the firewire bus. Not sure the best way to route it, but I think I can run the FW hard drive out of the Yamaha. One to check before buying I guess


  9. macrumors 603


    Actually it would only be 2 GB. The 15" (I'm assuming) has two SO-DIMM slots, and you can get 1 GB each in there or you can get a single 2 GB one for each slot but you might need to sell something very important.

    So the max is really 2 GB or 4 GB if you plan on selling yourself into slavery to pay for it.

    2 GB would be a lot.... you should:
    1. Restart
    2. Open your applications that you usually do
    3. Go to the terminal and type "top" without the quotes.
    You will see a line like this:
    VM: 4.87G + 85.9M 84043(4) pageins, 17834(0) pageouts

    The important one here is the pageouts. The number outside the parenthesis is the total since last startup, and the one inside the parenthesis is how much you are currently paging out. If you have a bunch of pageouts, then that isn't good especially if you can watch it go up. But I've had my computer on for a bit over two days and 17834 isn't that bad anyways. BTW, I have 768 MB of RAM.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Yeah, I'd check out some 01X forums to see what other users' experiences have been daisy-chaining HD and interface. They may say that a powered FW hub is a good idea.

    p.s. I'm very jealous of anyone with a nice interface like that. I desperately need to buy something along those lines in order to record my band. Most of all I want a presonus firepod, in order to be able to mic up a whole drum kit without having to buy additional preamps
  11. macrumors G5


    If you have a Powerbook, it would be worth your while to use the FireWire 800 port (or buy a PCMCIA Firewire 800 adaptor card if you have an older model PB) to attach your external hard drive(s) to. Putting audio (MLAN) and drive data through the same Firewire buss seems to cause problems. Getting the data separated to two different busses* will improve both performance and audio reliability.

    If you have the budget, go with a FireWire 800 drive externally.

    (* note, this is not just having two FW ports on one controller, but actually separate FW circuits handled by two different FW controller chips. Macs with FW800 have a FW400 chip and a FW800 chip so that works. For Macs with FW400 only, you would want to add an additional FW interface card. This is the reason not to get an iBook or PBG4 12" for serious audio -- no PCMCIA slot to add a card to)

  12. macrumors 6502


    Yes you can have an internal drive installed by an Authorized Service provider. It just won't enjoy the same warranty as the rest of the machine.
  13. macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    I noticed a HUGE performance boost when I went from 1GB to 2GB RAM in my dual 1.8GHz Power Mac G5. Tonight I'll have it up to 2.5GB. For example, I'm getting real-time HDV capture on my system, whereas I've read reports of other dual-processor 2.0GHz G5 owners having 3/4-time HDV capture (most likely because of less RAM).

    I'm pretty sure PowerBooks' FW800 and FW400 ports are on the same bus, and if you really want separate buses for FW you need an expansion card.
  14. macrumors 6502


    1GB to 2GB might make a huge difference, but I went from 256mb to 1gb in my iBook. I love the thing now. I used to want to chuck it across the room before I upgraded-- dang beachball
  15. macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Where'd you find a 2GB RAM module? Could you please link to it? Thanks.
  16. macrumors 6502


    sry meant 1 gb.
  17. macrumors 6502

    While I have very little experience with Cubase, I've been using Pro Tools for years. At the moment I'm using a 1.67GHz PowerBook with 2GB of RAM, which seems excessive but it's great if you're using software samplers (which store their samples in RAM). It also allows you to allocate more memory to a playback buffer. This means that more data will be stored in memory before being written to disk - which can boost performance when recording to slower hard disks or yield higher track counts on faster disks.

    As for your hard disk question, it's not such a great idea to use one disk for both your operating system and your recording/playback. That's not to say it can't be done, I know a lot of people who are doing this with their iBooks, but they're only getting track counts of around 8-12... so, my advice would be to go with an external FireWire drive. I'm using a no-name FW400 drive (7200RPM, Oxford 911 chipset, 8.2ms average seek time, 8MB cache) and I can get 32 tracks (which is the max. with Pro Tools LE).

    Hope this helps.


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