More RAM = More Speed?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by PeterBonnar, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. PeterBonnar macrumors member

    May 23, 2004
    I'm currently running on a 800 MHz G4 iMac with 512 RAM.

    I was wondering if i ripped out the accessable 256 modele and replaced it with a 512 one, bringing my ram up to 768, would i see any real performance increase?

    If so what would i see?

    Anything else i could do to increase the performance?

    I don't fancy shelling out £60 to find out it doesn't do anything.
  2. munkle macrumors 68030


    Aug 7, 2004
    On a jet plane
    Do you see the spinning beach ball a lot? If so, more RAM will definitely help.

    Also check to see if your processor performance is set to maximum, go to System Preferences/Energy Saver/Options.
  3. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Do you do a lot of Photoshop stuff? That's a lot faster if it can do everything in RAM. Do you have a lot of apps open at the same time?
  4. PeterBonnar thread starter macrumors member

    May 23, 2004
    Its an old style imac so there is no processor thing in the energy saver. So it should be running full out.

    Yer i see the beach ball and bit and i do a quite a bit of photoshop and illustrator work.

    Any idea of how much an increae this will give me? shoud i save my money towards a better machine?
  5. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    The phrase "more RAM means more speed" is a tricky one.

    Having more RAM is ALWAYS a good thing. This means more uptime. This means more applications can be open at once. But ultimately, this means less swap, so less hard drive access. Which is where the perception of a "speed" increase really comes to play.

    Will you notice a drastic increase in "speed"? Probably not. Should you do it anyway? If you have the cash, definitely do it. If the cash is better spent on something else, save up for more RAM at a later date.

    EDIT: If this is an oldd bubble iMac, then RAM is the least of your worries. The G3 processor is much more of a limiting factor then the extra 256MB of RAM you might scare up.
  6. PeterBonnar thread starter macrumors member

    May 23, 2004
    Well funny thing is i don't have much hardrive space either so that probably doesn't help. 2.3 gig spare.

    Think i'll have a clear out + more RAM + Tiger.

    Thanks for the advice guys
  7. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    He said it's a G4 800MHz. I'd go for it.
  8. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    512 --> 768 isn't really a very significant change. I suspect the CPU, graphics card, and hard drive (lack of free space) are holding you back as well. When a machine gets as old as yours, sometimes upgrading isn't going to help much. You'll probably see some improvement, but whether it's worth it is really in the eye of the beholder. Might be better to tough it out and save for a new (or at least more recent used) machine.
  9. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    It really depends on what you're doing with your machine. If you do things with large image files, 3D or have lots of applications running, you'd see some increase. But 256 isn't that much and if you're not running OSX - it might not be enough to justify the money.

    What do you use your machine for?

  10. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    I found a great deal on a 1gig Stick for my PB 12" from, and it arrived yesterday. I haven't had time to really try it out, but photoshop loads faster for me.

    I found a neat lil freeware program called X Resource Graph, it's one of those system monitoring programs. While that is running, you can load various apps and see how much free memory you have left, etc. I previously had 512 on my PB, and just opening one 6MB RAW picture file and not really having any other apps open, my RAM was pretty much used up. 768 won't improve that too much, so it might be better to save a lil more and find yourself a cheap 1 gig stick. I now have 1.25 and after opening the same picture, still had over 750MB free of RAM. That made me smile!

    Your computer will seem faster as you processor can access RAM much faster than a hardrive. When you load a program, it's loaded into RAM to be run from. After your RAM is maxed, any future RAM needs are filled by VRAM on your hardrive ( I think??? I could be wrong ) by not needing to use VRAM nearly as often, your system will seem to "speed up".
  11. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    If you have Menu Meters installed, look at your system paging. if the pagefile memory on the Hard disk is being used quite often, you may see a speed increase by installing more memory.

    The less the system has to use the disks for memory, the better performance your system will have. in menu meters it would be page ins/outs and the VM size that would be a good way to tell how much your system is using the Disk, and how much memory you have free.
  12. ct77 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    I have the same machine as you do, and I saw a huge increase when I upped my RAM. I'm at 1 GB and life is good.

    To get a quantitative read on whether more RAM would help you, open and type "top" without the quotes and press the Return key.

    Look for the number of pageouts. This is the number of times data stored in your RAM has had to be swapped out to your hard disk. If you have zero pageouts or very few after a few days of running OS X, you probably won't benefit from adding more RAM. If you have a lot of pageouts, more RAM will help you.

    I for example have 315870 pageins (which is OK, you'll always have data read into RAM when programs start up) but have only 68922 pageouts. Not so bad, but I often run a lot of applications, including Safari, Mail, Photoshop, Pages, and others at the same time.
  13. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    you deffinitly notice some improvement. it might be small, but youll notice it. the question is, is the money worth a small imporvement, or should you save your cash and wait for a faster machine that will drasticly enhance performance?
  14. StarbucksSam macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    I did exactly what you're talking about. I can tell you quite honestly that it has made almost no difference whatsoever. Same model computer too. Went from 512 to 768 and ... well.. I don't know if it was worth it. Couldn't have hurt but nothing noticeable.
  15. PeterBonnar thread starter macrumors member

    May 23, 2004
    oh well i'm fonfused what to do now.

    ct77 i have 1279861 page ins 1859807 page outs.. is this good?

    I used the iMac mainly for email web etc. But i do, do quite a bit of photoshop and illustrator stuff, as well as having a large iphoto collection which i mess with a lot.

    But proffession i'm a Video Editor.... No chance of working at home with this machine.

    I've decided to get a dual G5 but it'll be months before i can splash 5 grand out, so i was hpoeing to make this machine last till i got the cash. It just feels slllloooowww to me these days and wanted to give it an extra boost.

    why is there never an easy answer? :rolleyes:
  16. ct77 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    I think that is not so good.

    Before I upgraded my RAM, my pageouts where greater than my pageins, which is where you are now.

    I think you would see some improvement by purchasing the extra RAM.

    After I upgraded the RAM in my iMac my pageouts were consistently far less than my pageins, and I heard the hard disk grinding a lot less in day-to-day use.
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you leave your machine on all the time, then it depends -- leaving it on an sleeping will spike the pageouts.

    You need to check the pageouts after a normal work session, that was done after you restarted to zero out the pageouts.

    Pageouts are a good check when you want to see if a specific work cycle uses the VM manager.

    If you do get a bunch of pageouts -- you are using the HD to extend memory at 50MB/s instead of using main memory with it's 1GB/s (the saturated max of the G4). Slight difference.
  18. rideahyperLite macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2003
    there is a really good FAQ here that explains the whole pagein-out deal. its about 2/3 down then page.

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