How much RAM is really necessary?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by beefcake, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. beefcake macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I've always been told, the more RAM, the better. I wonder though, if I consistently have 55mb of free RAM when running all the programs I need, would buying more RAM do anything at all? I have a 1 Ghz TiBook and a single module of 512mb ram. Although I'd like to think spending $140 on memory would make my powerbook faster, if I have free ram at all times, wouldn't the extra 512mb I'd buy be dead weight?

    Also, I don't want to turn this thread into another "which notebook ram to buy" debate, but is crucial ram any better than other well-established brands of memory?
     
  2. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030

    mnkeybsness

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    #2
    what do you primarily do on your computer?

    512MB is what i recommend for the average user.
     
  3. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #3
    I would say that the improvement in going from 512MB to 1 GB is marginal. It all depends on what you doing, if you are manipulating large photoshop files or other such memory intensive work then you will notice it more.

    I would not say that crucial has any better memory than anyone else, but when I increased the memory on my Powerbook from 512MB to 1 GB, I had to send the memory back twice from another vendor because it caused the Powerbook to lock up, even though it matched the required specification. Eventually purchased from Crucial in the UK and it worked first time.
     
  4. beefcake thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Primarily, I run Mail, AIM, Safari, iTunes, Sherlock and Direct Connect. At times I will have World and Excel running simultaneously. Other than that, I haven't been using any heavyweight programs.
     
  5. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #5
    Hi Beefcake, looking at your usage I would save your money, I don't believe you would see much benefit.
     
  6. beefcake thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Thanks for the advice, it now seems clear that a purchase of Family Guy DVDs would yield far more productive results.
     
  7. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

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    #7
    What about someone running Quark Express, mail, safari, iTunes, iChat, MS Word and 2 or 3 other ordinary programs all at once? Would there be a big difference going from 512 to 1Gig of ram? I'm thinking on a 1.25 PowerBook or on a 1.6 G5 tower.

    Thanks in advance for your input.
     
  8. rendezvouscp macrumors 68000

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    #8
    floatingspirit

    I have a dual 2 g5 and my dad a 1.25 PB. On his PB, I can see another 512 stick helping out some (for those busy days), and on my g5 I don't see a real need to add ram. We both continuously have iCal, iChat, iTunes, Mail, Word, Safari, various other apps, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver open. If that's any help, good.
    –Chase
     
  9. hugemullens macrumors 6502a

    hugemullens

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    #9
    I would say if you plan on making a living with your computer. 1 gig or higher is worth it. Otherwise 512 is fine. You can't really do anything with 1 gig you can't do with 512. It'll be a little slower, but i would think the family guy or futurama DVD box sets would be a better investment. As a note i have no probs with 640 with photoshop or fce, and i ALWAYS have msn messenger, ichat, mail, safari, and other odd programs open in the background.
     
  10. bubbamac macrumors 6502

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    Dec 24, 2003
    #10
    I just made the move from 768 to 1026 MB. Can't say that there's any drastic speed improvement, but I think it does help. I tend to have 16 or more apps open at once, and things can get bogged down a bit, especially when I'm working on 5 or 6 web pages at once (two windows each - one for the HTML, one for the browser.).

    That said, I'd imagine 512 would be OK. However, if you were going to buy a 256 chip to make it 512 (256 on board already), I'd go ahead and make it a 512 chip, for a total of 768. Not that much more expensive, and it certainly couldn't hurt down the road.
     
  11. Duff-Man macrumors 68030

    Duff-Man

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    #11
    Duff-Man says....he who dies with the most ram wins.....oh yeah!
     
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #12
    I'm always advocating more RAM. Eventually, everyone gets into situations where they need it. However, if your performance is acceptable to you, why bother? The one thing that really slows down Mac OS X performance is a lack of RAM at critical times and the system has to go to the hard drive to swap information. On a laptop computer, the hard drives are slower (you knew this) and performance seems even worse than you could ever expect. If this isn't happening, wait until you have it happen occasionally and then, buy the extra RAM.
     
  13. Fender2112 macrumors 6502a

    Fender2112

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    #13
    I upped my eMac from 512MB to 1GB and noticed an improvement with the OS. Not a huge speed boost but things felt snappier. Windows and files open quicker, that soft of thing.

    And ditto for my G5. I upped it from 512MB to 1.5 GB. It made a huge a difference in OS X.
     
  14. beefcake thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Fabulous. I was watching Boondock Saints tonight, and as soon as it was over, I got an instant message and the whole system lagged until I finally put it to sleep for a few seconds. I guess I'll wait it out and see if this continues to be a problem. I had always planned on getting more ram from the beginning, and raised a small amount of money for that exact purpose, so I'm itching to pull the trigger on this one. Then again, Brian and Stewie are hilarious.
     
  15. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

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    #15
    hmmmm... cool. Thanks for the input all. So it sounds like, unless you're a true "Pro" user, anything over 1Gig is useless. (a strong word, but I mean for ordinary consumers) Guess I'll go with 1Gig, since publishing/editing is part of how I make a living. I'd love a PowerBook, but the G4 just isn't future compatible as a 32 bit chip. Now if only Apple would release all these rumoured displays and G5s!! As soon as they do, I'm making the buy!
     
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #16
    There aren't any ordinary consumers--they're special. :) They should probably have between 512MB and 768MB and operate without trouble, unless they're playing games. Games and other 3D applications take huge amounts of RAM.
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #17
    I don't know if this is a valid generalization anymore, but I used to know a number of Macheads (this was back is the OS 7 - OS 8 days) who all had a tendency to never close any program. At the end of the day if you checked the finder (what was it called; multifinder or something back then?) they might have ten or twenty programs open. It always seemed to me that it was a Mac thing, since Windows users quickly learned this didn't work well in their OS. :)

    Even if you're not a power user - if you tend to leave lots of programs in memory then more RAM will benefit you because it'll mean less swapping to the hard disk.
     
  18. encro macrumors 6502

    encro

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    #18
    Oh please, what a load of crap! The use of 64bit machines outside of enterprise use is questionable at best. The only real benefit you will gain as an ordinary consumer is 64bit address space of 18 million terabytes. I highly doubt you will need the increase of data type dynamic range.
     
  19. encro macrumors 6502

    encro

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  20. Bear macrumors G3

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    #20
    Define ordinary consumer? Yeah, I know this is nit picking.

    I use Photoshop and Nikon Capture (both open at the same time) as well as the usual suspects (IM clients, Mail, iCal, Addressbook, Webbrowser, etc) I have 2 gigs of ram on a Dual 1.42(MDD) and am frequently using swapfiles. And when you start with Final Cut Express and such, more memory is even better. Yes, most current applications will be limited to 2 gigs of ram each, so going to 8 gigs may not be worthwhile, but 4 gigs could be useful to let a couple of memory hogs get a lot of ram.

    On a laptop, where the disk is slower, paging will be more noticable than on a desktop. I'm looking at 2 gigs in my next Powerbook for that reason.

    Basically, if you look in /var/vm and only have one pagefile, you probably don't need ram but it will help a little. If you have more than one pagefile (and this resets after a reboot only) you probably will benefit from more ram.
     
  21. michaelrjohnson macrumors 68020

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    #21
    i agree with the general consensus that YOU may not need that much more ram for your machine. however, as was stated previously, additional ram in OS X really does speed up the OS. it becomes more responsive, noticeably. if you dont' plan on doing anything processor intensive in the near future save your money, but keep it in your mind for a future purchase. you'd be happy with it!
     
  22. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    #22
    ram ram ram ram ram ram the more the merrier, of course that doesnt mean u should go overboard. look at what u do or plan to do

    gaming (any mac or pc) = 1 gig or more
    photoshop = 512 for noobs, 1 gig for more serious people
    web design = 1 gig
    video = 1 gig
    audio = 1 gig, you can surivive on 512 but yeah i mean its all about making ur life easier
     
  23. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Dude. take it easy. I don't profess to know all about computers. That was just my impression, AS AN ORDINARY CONSUMER, hence my question in the first place. Thanks for your insight, but take care of your own loads.

    But is it not true that the a 1.6 G5 purchased tomorrow (for example) will only get faster as the OS evolves whereas the G4 will see a limited to nill improvement in comparison? That's what I had in mind about the future. I'm on a budget and trying to get the best value.
     
  24. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #24
    8GB, and not a byte less :D :p

    Seriously, I'd say 512MB-1024MB, maybe more if you are in to serious image/video editing.
     
  25. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

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    Sep 10, 2003
    #25
    I was wondering why they didn't give the XServe the ability to address at least 16GB of RAM. I have a SQL cluster and each server has 16GB of RAM, and each instance gets 7.5 GB each. So, if both instances are on one box, I have 15GB used in SQL instances and 1 GB for the OS.

    If they are touting the XServe as cluster-able, this seems like an oversight.
     

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