Large performance difference with 3/4 GB more memory?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by alexf, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #1
    I was wondering if someone could advise me as to whether going from 1.25 GB to 2 GB in my G5 1.6 MHz machine will make it noticeably faster - or at least faster enought to justify the cost.

    I am a Web designer and primarily work with Photoshop. Right now the computer is fast enough for me with 1.25 GB; what would be the "real world" advantage to having an extra .75 GB?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #2
    If it's "fast enough" already then there would be no real world advantage.
     
  3. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #3
    If you're only using one app--Photoshop--for relatively non-memory-intensive uses--making Web graphics--then you won't see much of a performance increase. More memory helps with multitasking and with HUGE files, like video or multi-layered high-res photos.
     
  4. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I don't think you'd experience much of performance boost, especially since you say you are already satisfied. The extra memory would come in handy, I suppose, if you tend to scan above 600dpi regularly, plus have multiple large files open at the same time. But even then . . . it wouldn't be speed so much as not getting those memory warning alerts.

    Memory is pretty cheap now, about $240 for an extra gig on the Crucial site. So the investment wouldn't be a lot, and might be worth it if you plan on keeping the computer three more years or more.

    If you plan to get into video, the extra memory will come in handy.
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #5
    Depends on how many pageouts you're getting...

    VirtualMemory is nice -- but it's really slow.
     
  6. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #6
    Thanks for the recommendations.

    I primarily use Photoshop and Web applications, but also work a lot with Illustrator, Flash and - from time to time - iMovie, and tend to have a lot of apps open at the same time.

    I did see an enormous speed difference going from the measly 256 MB that the computer shipped with to 1.25 GB. Would I see a similar jump with more memory?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #7
    If you find that your computer speeds up dramatically when you close out of a couple applications, then adding memory will give you that extra speed while keeping those extra apps open.

    If your computer is not choking now, then the extra RAM will just be wasted.
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #8
    Go to Terminal and type in vm_stat

    Look at pageouts... is it a big number.
     
  9. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

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    #9
    I just tried the vm_stat with my Mac

    What would you say to this:

    Mach Virtual Memory Statistics: (page size of 4096 bytes)
    Pages free: 7801.
    Pages active: 38683.
    Pages inactive: 38774.
    Pages wired down: 13046.
    "Translation faults": 9871713.
    Pages copy-on-write: 200215.
    Pages zero filled: 5484977.
    Pages reactivated: 169082.
    Pageins: 64858.
    Pageouts: 25219.
    Object cache: 54202 hits of 79161 lookups (68% hit rate)

    Just interested thats all :)
     
  10. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #10
    Here is what I got:

    Mach Virtual Memory Statistics: (page size of 4096 bytes)
    Pages free: 165246.
    Pages active: 39252.
    Pages inactive: 91634.
    Pages wired down: 31548.
    "Translation faults": 1256981.
    Pages copy-on-write: 48042.
    Pages zero filled: 560221.
    Pages reactivated: 0.
    Pageins: 44502.
    Pageouts: 0.
    Object cache: 17832 hits of 33086 lookups (53% hit rate)

    Now, if you would be so kind an tell me what this means... :confused:
     
  11. Darwin macrumors 65816

    Darwin

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    #11
    I have no idea :confused: :D
     
  12. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #12
    Help!

    Any geek around here who can tell Darwin and I what all this jumble means? :confused:
     
  13. JOD8FY macrumors 6502a

    JOD8FY

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    United States
    #13
    I don't think all the RAM in the world could make that thing go faster :eek: ;). Sorry, couldn't help it :).

    If it's fast enough, I don't see why you'd want to get anymore RAM. However, and this is purely speculation, I believe that you would see a noticable increase in speed if you did upgrade.

    JOD8FY
     
  14. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #14

    It would be good if the web pages that post tests went through different ram configs for machines to answer questions like this.

    I did read that for a dual machine the sweet spot is 4 gig. Not sure if thats any help.
     
  15. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

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    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Unless you restart your machine frequently, you don't really need additional RAM from the standpoint that "Pageouts: 0" means that out of all the information taken from RAM and put into virtual memory (pageins), none of it was read from the hard-drive and put back into RAM (the major bottle-neck).

    Darwin,
    Unless you almost never restart your machine, or have some system problems, it looks as if you would benefit from a RAM upgrade.

    AppleMatt
     
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #16
    >alexf

    Sorry I didn't anwer back, but it looks like AppleMatt answered it for you.

    If you never restart your machine, you'll probably end up with quite a few when you finally decide to go and check pageouts.

    But if turn on your machine and go though a normal/heavy workday and have none, then there's probably no benefit from more memory.

    G5s have GB/s of bandwidth so eliminating using the HD as memory is a rather large benefit, because they basically slow the machine down the speed of memory to speed of the HD (MB/s).
     
  17. Rincewind42 macrumors 6502a

    Rincewind42

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    Orlando, FL
    #17
    The easiest way to determine if you need more memory is to open Activity Monitor, go to the Monitor menu, select Dock Icon -> Show Memory Usage. This will give you a pie chart in your dock showing how memory is being used.

    Red is Wired (locked down memory). This memory is never paged out. You can ignore it.

    Yellow is Active memory. This is memory that is being used by programs right now and rarely goes over half your total memory. If you find that this segment of memory is constantly taking up a majority of your memory usage, you may need more RAM.

    Blue is Inactive memory. This is memory that was recently used, but hasn't been removed from memory yet (so if an application used it, it would become active without having to read from the hard drive). Inactive memory is usually around the same size or smaller than Active memory. If you have very little Inactive memory, you may need more RAM.

    Green is Free memory. This is memory that hasn't been claimed by anything currently running ever. This is a little tricker, if this value is a very small fraction of your overall memory (around 1% of total memory) then you may need more RAM. If this is the case, then you should watch the page in/page out counts under Disk Activity. More important than the overall number of page ins & page outs is probably the rate of paging, as if you see LOTS of page ins & page outs per second, then you likely need more RAM.

    You will get page outs. This is simply because of how the system works. More important is how often your system pages. Lots of page ins typically represents that your system has had to shuffle code in/out from/to disk because there isn't enough memory. Lots of page outs represents lots of changes committed to disk (which can also be because of files being modified, which wouldn't have much to do with you not having enough memory).

    Overall, I doubt that you need more RAM. But if you decide you do, this should give you some idea how to determine if and when (and perhaps how much).
     
  18. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #18
    Thank you

    Thank you for this helpful information. :)

    Considering that I have 236 MB of free memory during a typical work session, I think I should be satisfied with the 1.25 GB in my machine for now... or?
     
  19. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    Oct 16, 2003
    #19
    I think you think correctly :)
     
  20. Jimong5 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 22, 2002
    #20
    Is this bad?
    Mach Virtual Memory Statistics: (page size of 4096 bytes)
    Pages free: 4713.
    Pages active: 109962.
    Pages inactive: 121915.
    Pages wired down: 25554.
    "Translation faults": 58984831.
    Pages copy-on-write: 477120.
    Pages zero filled: 34761674.
    Pages reactivated: 1906764.
    Pageins: 238478.
    Pageouts: 167714.
    Object cache: 180547 hits of 610490 lookups (29% hit rate)

    Is a smaller percent better, or is a gig of RAM not enough even? the Uptime is 6 days if that factors in at all.
     
  21. Rincewind42 macrumors 6502a

    Rincewind42

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    Orlando, FL
    #21
    A smaller percentage is worse (it means the system is often paging in and out). But again, the raw statistics only tell you so much. If it took you 6 days to reach this, and you've basically been adding applications the whole way, then you can hit statistics like this without really pressing on your amount of free RAM. (Your bumping against the edge of your system, but inactive RAM will be used first).

    I also have a gig of RAM, and typically I see stats like this when I'm running a bunch of things at once, usually with a game along side :). It usually doesn't cause much pain (and if I could increase my total ram, I doubt that it would be worth the expense).
     

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