RAM--how important is parallel?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sunsnewmac, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. sunsnewmac macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    #1
    right now my white MB has the stock 2 x 256 MB
    I want to upgrade and was thinking of buying one stick of 1 GB, and replacing one of the 256 MB slots.
    Then I started reading about how parallel slots are better.
    The dilemma is what if I buy 2 x 512 now and later want to upgrade to 2 x 1 GB--I waste the 512 sticks
    but i don't want to spend on 2 x 1GB now :(
    So how important is parallel RAM? So important that less parallel is better than more non-paralleled? Am I better off forking over the extra $$ to get 2 x 1 GB or will the 2 x 512MB be alright if the most RAM-intensive activity we might do (besides watching movie I guess) is Ableton or similar music composition
    thx
     
  2. bokdol macrumors 6502a

    bokdol

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    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    VA
    #2
    ram is very important. but it depends on what your going to do. if your running alot of grapic apps and mabe videop editing. you may notice the difference in non parallel different size ram. but if your looking just to improve the over all user experience of os x the just getting one slot of 1 gig ram should be fine. the size is more important. then you can upgrade when you do get the money for the 2nd stick.

    edit: ahhh your running music software... eh i have no idea. but i think you should be fine.




     
  3. sunsnewmac thread starter macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

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    Mar 3, 2007
  4. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

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    Jan 3, 2006
    #4
    I believe I read at Macworld that even though matched RAM makes your system slightly faster, having the extra 256MB in that 1.25GB unmatched combination gives better performance than 2x0.5G=1GB. They might still have that review on their website.
     
  5. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #5
    UnMatched Pairs In Mobiles Makes Almost No Difference

    There is almost no benefit from having a matched pair in a Mobile Mac. Tests show only the smallest of benefit. You should definitely put a 1GB stick in one of those slots. If you can afford two 1GB sticks it will perform even better with a total of 2GB inside. But the biggest gain in performance is relized when you leap from 512MB to 1.25MB in total RAM.
     
  6. sunsnewmac thread starter macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

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    Mar 3, 2007
    #6
    excellent--exactly the answers i was looking for:)
     
  7. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    Yokosuka, Japan
    #7
    Unless, of course, you plan on doing any gaming at all. Dual-channel (parallel) memory has been shown to offer huge gains in graphics performance on the MacBooks with their GMAs.
     
  8. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #8
    HUGE? I Doubt It.

    I view that word "HUGE" with a HUGE amount of skepticism. :rolleyes:
     
  9. sunsnewmac thread starter macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    #9
    no gaming is not a priority, at least on the Mac:rolleyes:
     
  10. dreamfocused macrumors member

    dreamfocused

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    Jan 14, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    #10
    i've added RAM that wasn't parallel and my old iBook worked just fine
     
  11. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2005
    #11
    This wouldn't apply to the old iBooks. The newer Macs have an ability to gain better memory speeds when using "matched pairs": That is, the same amount of ram in each slot. This gain isn't available on older Macs.

    However, the gain is minimal, only a few percent. Some say the gain is greater for graphics performance when using GMA graphics, but even that is disputed.
     
  12. sunsnewmac thread starter macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

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    Mar 3, 2007
    #12
    excellent, all this information really helps, thank you everyone!
     
  13. whateverandever macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore
    #13
    The gain in memory read speeds isn't at all minimal, it's just that in day-to-day scenarios it's not really all that useful. It's the same reason DDR-800 ram really doesn't make a whole lot of difference over DDR-533 unless you're doing really memory intensive read/write operations such as gaming.
     
  14. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #14
    Buy more memory, and don't worry too much about where it runs single channel, dual, or quad (Mac Pro.)

    It won't matter how fast the memory is, if you do not have enough...

    Because memory operating at 5300 MB/sec (2x, or 4x faster) won't give you a speed increase if you have to load a chunk of virtual memory off the hard drive at 50-75 MB/sec.
     
  15. sunsnewmac thread starter macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

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    Mar 3, 2007
    #15
    i am probably not going to be doing any gaming on the MB but tend to run a lot of apps at the same time, want to reduce load time lag (esp with NeoOffice which is pretty slow), multimedia (playing movies in VLC), and making music with Ableton and other music prod. software.
     
  16. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #16
    Dual Channel Access (which is an option only on the intel Macs -- PowerMac G5 and MacPro towers are mandatory Dual Channel, and no other Macs use dual channel unless we go back into the 1980s and early 90s) generally will give a 6% - 8% increase in real world performance over the same amount of RAM in Single channel. This varies with application, and how they use RAM, of course.

    However, especially for music apps and graphic apps, or running multiple apps at once, having the extra 512 Mb in a 1.5 Gb (1 Gb + 512) setup far outweighs the advantage of dual channel 1 Gb total (512 Mb + 512 Mb). As SunBaked mentioned, the 6 - 8% gain is outweighed by the 20x - 30x slowdown whenever the OS has to swap memory to the hard drive.

    Initial load time and boot up time has almost nothing to do with RAM size or speed - it is largely hard drive access-bound.

    w&we, the issue of DDR2-800 vs DDR2-533 performance is a moot point in Macs. Macs have never been made to take advantage of memory speeds above spec.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  17. sunsnewmac thread starter macrumors 6502

    sunsnewmac

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    Mar 3, 2007
    #17
    well unfortunately mine won't be 1 gb + 512 mb but rather, 1 gb + 256 mb but I guess it's all the same for what you say
     
  18. whateverandever macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore
    #18
    Yeah, just buy a 1GB stick and if you get the extra cash add another 1GB stick.
     

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