New to Mac - memory advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Atlasland, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. Atlasland macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    I'm a final year university student in the UK. My last PC notebook has been on its last legs for over a year, and now I've decided to cross the floor and get an iMac.

    The machine I have my eye on is the 20" 2Ghz iMac. Anyway my question is about memory.

    It already comes with 512MB RAM and I know that I am going to at least upgrade it to 1GB. But my question is, is it worth upgrading it to 2GB?

    You see, my last machine (a PC laptop) got so slow, that at times it would take up to 45 seconds to load basic applications and multitasking was impossible, and since those hellish experiences I've decided that I never want to be short of RAM again.

    I intend to use the iMac to watch DVDs, use iTunes, surf the net, play some games, write essays etc. Unlikely to do any intense graphical work. However I do like to multitask, especially with the beautiful 20" viewing area. I have heard a lot about the Mac OS being very RAM intensive.


    • I don't mind forking out for the extra RAM if its going to be have a noticeable effect on performance (especially with my student discount).
      For example I know that Doom 3 is virtually unplayable on an iMac, but would 2GB RAM improve the situation?
    • Alternatively, I could get the 1GB now, and upgrade later when the price of memory comes down a little? Is the price likely to drop in a year or so? Is it possible for a Mac novice like me to be able to install RAM?
    • Or with a 2Ghz Processor and the weak 9600 graphics card, will the extra RAM just be a waste?


    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #2
    Congrats on your switch!

    RAM is amazing in OS X, and an iMac G5 will use everything you throw at it. For the reasons you listed, 1GB should be plenty. I haven't looked at any benchmarks but I would imagine Doom 3 would only get a few more FPS with 2GB, not much more. As you may know, the reason why Macs are so good at multitasking, is also the reason they aren't as efficient with games. A normal process, like a game, almost never gets 100% of the CPU for a sustained amount of time.

    There are other benefits to maxing your RAM... faster installations, zero pageouts (!), for laptops better battery life, and perhaps less strain on your hard drive. For the graphics stuff I do it's like a sponge for high-res images. Plus I like knowing that it's maxed, and that my machine is running at top speed.

    The iMac G5 is completely user-serviceable if you decide to upgrade later. :)

    What are you studying in the UK?
     
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #3
    If you have the $$$ then go for 2GB of RAM (but buy it third party- i.e. crucial). But for the needs that you listed 1GB would be fine. Anyway you go, enjoy your 20" iMac G5.

    Congrats on the switch- you made the right choice!!! :)
     
  4. Atlasland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    Thanks for the advice.

    I think I will get the 2GB. I've looked at crucial - do I need to get both 1GB memory modules from crucial, or can I mix 1GB from crucial with the apple 1GB module? Does it make any difference?

    dferrara - i'm studying at ucl in london
     
  5. godbout macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #5
    Hey,
    That is going to be a kicka** machine! what I would do to save a little cash is just get one gig stick from crucial and put it in with the 512 that comes from apple standard. That way you have 1.5GB (hasn't let me down and I do some pretty big calculations and lots of multitasking) and then if you really feel like you need more RAM (you won't), you can sell the 512 stick and buy another gig one from crucial and this will still be way cheaper than getting apple to install the GB stick (1 dimm). By the way it is really easy to put in yourself so don't worry about that :) Good luck with the new comp...mmmm 20" display....
     
  6. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #6
    When purchasing extra RAM it is smart to get matching sticks. Just works better, should prevent a compatibility issue.
     
  7. godbout macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #7
    This is true... if you don't have the same ram it may (or may not) work better... but if it is a difference of $100 (or more) and you have one so dimm from apple and one from crucial, newegg, etc (as MANY of us have done, and it seems to work well) I would say put that $100 towards something else... for your mac of course ;)
     
  8. Spidey79 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    #8
    i go to uci... ur a 4th year? wat is ur major? studying abroad?
     
  9. iMacSE500 macrumors member

    iMacSE500

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    M
    #9
    What are page outs?
    Also, I have read a few sites that state matching pairs for memory really doesnt matter. Basically the sites said having 2x512MB is not better than 1GB and 512MB.
    I am planning on buying a 1GB stick tonight from dealram.com for $100. That will give me 1.5GB memory. Which is plenty for my tasks (internet, word processing, AIM, iTunes, some iPhoto and iMovie.)
     
  10. godbout macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #10
    It is true that it does not really matter whether you match the amount of ram but as you may have read from an above post some people feel that it is safer to have the same type of ram so that the specs match. Like I said in a previous post this rarely seems to matter and most people usually have 512 from apple and x GB from crucial or newegg or someplace like that. With 1.5GB you should be able to do all the above (at the same time!) without much of a problem. I guess if you are doing alot of iMovie you might want to close down a couple progs ;).

    Pageouts are when you have no free or inactive ram and so you need to access the HD to store info that is typically stored in ram. This often manifests itself as the spinning ball you may sometimes see (although this is not always the reason for the ball, I don't think). Hope this helps.
     
  11. ajampam macrumors regular

    ajampam

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    #11
    But what about the 12' PBs? I was planning to get the 1gb upgrade from crucial....I cannot replace the 256mb module even if want to....
     
  12. sambo. macrumors regular

    sambo.

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Location:
    outback, far from the surf
    #12
    anyone else remember when a mighty 16MB RAM stick was over $300? :eek:

    i now use it as a keyring..... :cool:

    dude, for $100/GB, just MAX IT OUT!
     
  13. Atlasland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    I think I'm gonna order 2x1GB from crucial, and then when when my iMac arrives sell the 512MB that comes with the iMac. Anyone wanna buy it?!
     
  14. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #14
    Hey that's a good idea! We have a ton of useless modules, and I need a new keychain. :cool:
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #15
    RAM is like being rich and thin, but in reality the stock half gig is plenty for most purposes. Just remember to reboot or log out once in a while. You'll need to do that occasionally anyway, no matter how much RAM you install, in order to delete the virtual memory swap files that build up in OSX. With more RAM you just have to do it less often.

    For how you plan to use the Mac, I'd recommend running it with the half gig for a while before you invest in more RAM, rebooting whenever things get draggy. I'm going to predict that in the end you'll save yourself some dough.
     

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