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Reconsidering the whole 16GB of RAM thing...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by seble, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    So hopefully will be ordering a fusion high end 21.5er tomorrow.

    My old system had 3.3gigs of ram and I would generally eat up all of that.
    I do music composition and editing, and am an enthusiast photographer. Would 8GB really be enough, or am I going to want to stretch to 16? Cause I know once I buy the 21 chances are I won't be able to upgrade.

    How much ram does photo and general music stuff tend to take upo n modern machines?
  2. macrumors 65816

    Comes down to this, if the price difference is but a small percentage of the price of the unit then buy it upgraded. For those who quibble over differences of ten percent or such I always wonder why they are buying in the first place.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    I've already bought 32GB to go in my 27" when they're released. My old iMac sounded fine when I bought it 4 years ago, but now it's maxing out its RAM under normal use and I can't run more than a few big apps at once. Unless you plan on selling in 2 years, get as much as you can afford. 8GB might be ok today, but might mean you're crawling in 4 years after a few OS and app updates.

    I would say this is ESPECIALLY true for photography, if you use Aperture (like I do) or Lightroom, and Photoshop. Right now I can't run Chrome, Aperture and Photoshop at the same time on my 4GB ram and it's very frustrating. Going from 4 to 32 will give me a MAJOR boost in how I work.

    I'd say 16 is a must if you're using any of those memory hogs.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Thanks for not answering my question... I'm a student. Any buck I can save is a buck used elsewhere. What I'm asking is if with the things I will use my mac for, will 8GB be a hinderence or not.


    Thanks, this is the sort of advice I was looking for! I think i agree with you, its just about justifying the extra cost to myself :)
  5. HurtinMinorKey, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    As of today, absolutely not. With 8GB you will have no trouble with your current programs, if you don't run them simultaneously.

    Music composition, even with tons of MIDI generally doesn't need more than 8

    4GB will suffice for Photoshop, more than 8GB won't impact performance for 99% of it's uses.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    If you have the choice of upgrading your processor speed slightly from 2.7 to 2.9, or upgrading your ram from 8 to 16, go with the ram. Unfortunately for you, you'll have to pay apple's prices for the ram on the 21.5" :(

    I got 32GB of ram for $174 after tax from crucial.com
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Yeah apple sucks with cost :( but I guess I will decide fully when I see the cost (hopefully tomorrow) but looks like I gnna go with 16! :D
  8. macrumors 6502a

    You qualify for a student discount then...unless you already took that into consideration?

    In the UK, the Higher Education discount is pretty good. I think it's something crap like $50 off in the US though.
  9. macrumors regular

    I think it´s 5-10% depending on what you buy and what kind of school you go to.
  10. macrumors member

    Go from 4 to 16 will also give you a major boost.

    As will going from 4 to 8...
  11. macrumors 6502

    I'm also wondering if I should get 16gb..

    The last imac came with 4gb correct?

    How long will it take for 8gb to start not being enough...3 years from now?
  12. macrumors 6502a

    I have 8 gig in my mid-2011 iMac. When I look back through the stats I don't think I've managed to scratch the surface of that 8 gig so far.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Yes I'm in the UK, and I sure have, I think I will probably call apple to order though. Still every penny counts! :)
  14. macrumors 6502

    I have 8 GB in my 2011MBP. I use Photoshop with Nik Software and portrait professional. When I open multiple images I do run into memory issues with other apps open. I'm going to jump to 16 GB soon. 8 GB is usable and workable but not ideal.
  15. iStudentUK, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

    macrumors 65816


    Remember you'll also get a free 3 year warranty.


    Am I right in thinking the 21" iMac does have upgradable RAM, just not "user" upgradable? I.e. you can upgrade it in the future but it'll void the warranty (unles you pay Apple extortionate fees to do it off you). It's not like the Air where the damn stuff is duct taped in making it impossible to upgrade? [EDIT - Found a website that says it is soldered. Bugger].
  16. macrumors 603


    Assuming a 64 bit application that can use whatever memory is thrown at it, ram tends to produce a greater benefit than hard drive speed once you're inside a given application. Drive speed influences how quickly they open, reboot times, etc. 8GB will probably be sufficient for most users, but if you're trying to save money anywhere, it begs the question why you would allocate that much for the fusion drive. It commits you to a much higher cost than the base model, yet it won't necessarily allow the machine to perform smoothly any longer. The people who say an ssd breathed new life into their systems most likely had too little ram (meaning the ssd wrote pagefile data faster) and a jumbled file system due to years of write cycles. They would have still benefited from a fresh drive volume and OSX installation or a new HDD. It's just that the ssd did these things even better due to faster speeds. If you're dealing with a lot of large photos, especially with many layers in CS6 or lightroom, 8GB + fast drive is basically the bare minimum today for smooth operation.
  17. macrumors 6502

    Very True statements about SSD.

    I installed a 512 GB SSD last month thinking that my performance was going to be smoking fast. Startup is smoking fast, batch processes are faster but a lot of things still result in me staring at the screen for several seconds. I'm running on a late 2011 MBP 15, 2.4 quad core i7, AMD 6770M 1 GB, 512 SSD. To be honest, I'm not totally sure why things aren't faster as neither the CPU or SSD get maxed and iStats shows 1 GB of memory left sometimes. I'll get the 16 GB this week and see if that helps.
  18. Icaras, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

    macrumors 601


    Ever heard of sample libraries? I run Logic Pro and there is no way 8GB will suffice with all my Quantum Leap orchestral libraries and several instances of Kontakt at once. Believe me, I've tried once on a Macbook Pro and everything just slows down to a crawl and is very unplayable.

    Simply put, if the OP is thinking of using high quality recorded sample libraries, which can go as high as 24bit quality, I would advise to get no less than 16GB. And for many professional hollywood composers, 16GB is still nothing. Even pop music or anything thats going to have a lot of audio recording is just going to eat away at the RAM. If the OP is really serious about it, I would suggest considering stepping up to the 27" iMac as you can upgrade it to 32GB.
  19. macrumors P6


    I must be the exception. I can regularly exceed even 16gigs of ram
  20. macrumors 603


    It's not always 100% evident what is bottlenecked. I own a similar notebook. Mine is the early 2011 2.3 with 6750, 512SSD, etc. Usually these kinds of responses are my attempt to bring some context (I use that word too much) to the performance benefits granted by either an SSD or (potentially) a fusion drive. It's important that people are able to weigh out the costs vs benefits, and some of the raving about SSD speeds and performance improvements can really make a lot of false promises for some users. I see it as a significant issue with the way upgrades are structured on the 21" imac.

    You mention batch processes. What programs are you using? The new imac is a more complex issue, but with the notebook you're using, I see it as the cheapest possible upgrade for dealing with a lot of data unless you're bottlenecked by save times of uncompressed data.
  21. macrumors 6502

    If you plan to keep the machine more than 2 years, I'd say go for it. But if you can't swing it, then invest in the SSD drive in the machine. As an alternative, consider adding an external SSD down the road. You can use it as swap-drive for Photoshop (or whatever you use for your photo work) and though it won't be as fast as RAM, it should provide a nice performance bump given the constraints of a machine that cannot be expanded by adding internal components.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    smoking monkey

    I'm not sure what you mean by this comment.

    Of course, if he buys Applecare he gets it. But the comment seems related to getting educational discount. Are you saying that the educational discount includes Apple care?!?!

    If so, wow! I had no idea. If not, don't get my hopes up!!! Haha!

    Can anybody clear this up?


    Can you let us know the situations when that happens? What programs and what you have open?

  23. macrumors 6502

    If I batch process converting 100+ RAW images from a 21 Mega pixel 5DMII and convert them to jpegs for client viewing, the SSD makes a huge difference. The Crucial 512 GB m4 performs at 500+ MB/second reads and 200+ MB/second writes, the stock Apple 750 GB drive is only 100+ plus there is almost no "seek" time with SSDs. I like SSDs but they aren't the silver bullets that people make them out to be.

    A note for people considering a SSD: Some drives with 400+ MB/second write times use compression. If you have filevault2 turned on or deal with a lot of video your actually write performance might be half of what you think that it is. Encrypted data is not compressible.
  24. macrumors P6


    Matlab when manipulating data
  25. macrumors 6502

    There is very little benefit to adding a extern SSD unless you are adding it via thunderbolt.

    Even with a USB 3.0 interface, a fast SSD will bottleneck. An internal drive performs around 90 - 110 MB/second. You can get 100+ MB/second on an external USB 3.0 HDD. You just aren't going to sustain 500 MB/second via any other interface. If you can afford an external SSD via thunderbolt ($400 minimum) then you wouldn't even blink at 16 GB memory.

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