ram question

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by apachie2k, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. apachie2k macrumors 6502

    apachie2k

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    was NYC...now MIAMI
    #1
    :confused: i am really confused...my computer 15' pb g4 (1.5 GHz) was slowing down, so i looked around and saw that 512 MB of ram might not cut it anymore, so i bought a gig of more ram, so now i'm at 1.5 gb of ram, and still don't see that much improvement, maybe i'm expecting to much, or is there anything else that i can do to speed up my year old laptop...???
    anything would help
    thnx :)
     
  2. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #2
    What programs are you running on it? With those specs, any regular use should be more than awesome. Maybe you could upgrade the hard drive to a 7200rpm one, if you still want a boost.
     
  3. apachie2k thread starter macrumors 6502

    apachie2k

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    was NYC...now MIAMI
    #3
    skype is running all the time, and it varies with ichat, iphoto, itunes, sometimes running at the same time, but i take it they don't take much ram:confused:
     
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #4
    Adding RAM does not increase speed, it removes one barrier to speed.

    Think of a car: taking your foot off the brake does not speed a car up, but leaving the brake on slows it down.

    If you are running several programs at once, and their total memory requirement is greater than the physical RAM that is installed, then the OS has to swap memory contents on and off the hard drive - which slows the machine because the hard drive is many times slower than RAM. So in that case, adding RAM, will return performance to its normal level, (that is the machine will speed up until the point where it is constrained by the next slowest operations, which may be hard drive, or CPU, or graphics processor.)

    The effect of adding RAM varies greatly by: how many programs you are running, how big the data sets are, and how your particular programs use the machine's resources.

    If you are running one or two programs, and they all fit within your existing RAM, you will not see much of a difference with additional RAM.
     
  5. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #5
    Open up Activity Monitor (Applications>Utilities>) and check and see if there's any process running which is hogging your RAM or CPU.
     
  6. apachie2k thread starter macrumors 6502

    apachie2k

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    was NYC...now MIAMI
    #6
    thanks for that explanation, that really helped me understand RAM a lot better, so since i know that is not the reason why my computer slows down, say when i open iphoto (to just look at photo's takes a long time), is it my cpu that is just slow, i didn't think 1.5 GHz was that slow, or maybe there is something underneath everything that is slowing EVERYTHING down , any tips on how to uncover these computer hogging settings/programs/files....
    thanks again for answering what might seem like retarted questions
     
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #7
    Answered in the post just before you asked the question:
    In Activity Monitor (it's in your Utilities folder) select "Activity Monitor" from the "Window" menu. Then select "All Processes" from the "Show" popup at the top right. Finally, click on the "%CPU" column to sort by how much processor each program is using. Make sure the Arrow beside it is pointing down, so the most processor hungry apps are at the top, and see if anything is using a lot. If something says "90%", for example, it's what's slowing down your computer.

    You can also click on the CPU tab down at the bottom to see total useage over a period of time--ideally, it will be less than full most of the time. If it's way down low, then that's probably not your issue. If you click on System Memory, you can see total memory useage; don't worry if "Free" is very low--that's normal--but if both "Free" and "Inactive" are very low, then you've got a RAM starvation issue. Which, based on the apps you're using you REALLY shouldn't with 1.5GB, so you should again check out the process list to see what the hog is.

    If both those look fine and it's still slow, then you'll probably just have to deal with it. 1.5GHz should be fine for what you're doing, but maybe your expecations are different from others'. Oh, if your hard drive is almost full it could impact performance--do you have at least a few gigs free?
     

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