Will adding RAM make a difference?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 2012Tony2012, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #1
    Running an mid 2007 iMac, Snow Leopard and 1GB RAM. System runs slow, especially when I have 10 or more browser windows open, hear the hard drive constantly grinding, will adding RAM make a real difference? If so, how much should I add to see a real and genuine difference?
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    #2
    I upgraded my 24" '07 iMac from 2GB to 4GB (max capacity) and at first it made a significant difference. all my browsing got to normal again. a few months later though and it's back to chugging. pages with multiple videos, or even just facebook at times, are painfully to scroll.

    but going from 1GB to 4GB might be good.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #3
    oh yeah, gonna make a huge difference.
    1Gb is very very little nowadays, on my system Safari alone often takes up to 1.5Gb if you include flash and all that.
    The hard drive noise is the paging taking place, which is the cause of your slow downs.
    I am not sure what's the maximum you can have on your system, but whether it's 2 or 4, go for the maximum anyway, 4Gb is still on the low side for good performance these days.
    Also, don't make the mistake of upgrading to Lion or Mountain Lion, that would just slow down your machine even more.

    Next step would be to change the drive for a SSD. Not only would it improve performance when you read/write files or open apps, in your case it would also improving the paging performance when you run out of memory.

    In any case, max out RAM first, and if there is money leftover, upgrade to a SSD, you can probably extend the life of that machine for another 2-3 years.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #4
    So even with 4GB RAM, it can get to chugging along?:eek:

    What is causing it to run so slow and grinding the hard drive?

    ----------

    Thanks for the tip, I won't be upgrading then and will stick with Snow Leopard.

    Where do I buy an SSD drive and how do I install it?:eek:
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #5
    See my post above, slowness with hard drive getting crazy means your system needs memory and since 1Gb is not enough, it goes get that memory from the hard drive instead, it's call paging.
    Hard drives are a ton slower than RAM, so your system gets very slow, and since your hard drive is used as a substitute for RAM, it keeps spinning and spinning.
    If you open the 'activity monitor', you will see that all your RAM is used, and that paging is taking place.

    If it used to be fine and it's not anymore, it could be either that you're using new apps, or updates of apps that require more memory.
    Also, just surfing on safari takes much more memory now than 10 years ago, websites are more complex, etc...

    If 1Gb used to be enough for you a year ago, then 2Gb might be enough today. But honestly, 4Gb is a no brainer if your system allows it.
    Also, please stick with Snow Leopard, anything after that is just going to be very slow on your machine.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #6
    I run 4GB on my 2009 Mac Mini, with Mountain Lion. Don't have any slow down, but I don't have 10 windows open at once. Maybe around 8 at the most, plus other applications running like Word, and a few small things in the background.

    What are you running besides web browser windows?
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #7
    Go for RAM first before you look into the SSD option.

    If you're unsure on how to do it, it might be too complicated of a task. I don't know which exact model you have, but sites like ifixit.com have detailed tutorials for a lot of machines, some are very easy, some really hard.

    SSD, you can buy from anywhere, amazon, crucial.com is a popular option for people around here
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    comatory

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #8


    Yes 4GB is starting to be a very little amount of RAM, especially for modern systems like Lion and Mountain Lion. You can run them, but it won't be very fast. Best thing to do is to stay on 10.6.8, it'll be plenty fast.

    When you run out of memory, the data gets saved to hard drive (slow speed) instead of RAM memory (high speed). This causes slowdowns. Solution, get more RAM or don't use memory intensive apps (I know, hard to do) = for now you might limit yourself to have only 2 tabs open in Safari or close any programs running background.

    Also don't know what you mean by "grinding"... if your harddrive is making any loud noise, it's probably failing and it should be replaced.
    ----------

    They can be bought at any computer place. Good deals are on newegg.com or Amazon. Look for quality brands, people swear by Samsung 830 and Crucial M4 drives, also Intel 520 is supposed to be very good. Bear in mind that SSDs are more expensive than traditional hard drives in comparison to size/price ratio but the speeds you gain will be significant.

    If you don't feel like spending much I recommend using your old harddrive in external USB2 enclosure (can be bought cheap) for large data sets as iPhoto and iTunes library - in case that the drive is all right. You can then buy smaller and cheaper SSD like 64 or 80GB for your operating system.
    If you don't understand what I'm saying and seems like too much hassle, just buy 256GB SSD, some of them come with transfer kit (USB adapter) that you can hook your old drive to and transfer all your stuff to SSD.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #9
    I usually run 10+ windows with videos loading in each one, and I find whenever I do that that my iMac grinds away to a slow halt. In addition I may be running OpenOffice and working on a document. I also run encrypt drive that I created in Snow Leopard, not sure if that takes a lot of RAM?

    ----------

    I mean it's constantly being accessed and I hear it, but not too loud.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I upgraded my mid 2007 model to 4Gb and it made a big difference and it's not expensive or difficult to do. But, programs are getting more demanding with each upgrade, so I wouldn't expect it to be a permanent fix unless you never upgrade or change your work practises.

    Adding an SSD will involve taking your machine apart - not something that I, personally, would get into.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #11
    I also have a mid 2007 iMac. You can push the memory to 6GB, 1x2GB and 1x4GB.

    If you are comfortable tearing down your iMac you can install Core 2 Extreme X7900 as a drop in part. You can also put in a SSD drive and run at 3Gb/s instead of the original HDD.

    You can even remove the Superdrive and put in another SSD through a PATA to SATA 2nd HDD caddy for optical bay.

    If you end up spending more than $300 you may as well get a $600 2012 Mac mini Core i5.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    #12
    I currently run an April 2007 iMac base model core two duo with 4gb of Ram I added when I upgraded to Lion. It works fine with Lion. You get the pinwheel from time to time but it definitely works in a useable fashion.


    WW
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    iLondon/iDurban
    #13
    They made machines in 2007 with 1GB ram??? :eek:

    You'll definitely notice the diff, only issue will be finding the ram.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    #14
    When I insisted on doubling the RAM to 2gb in April 2007 the guy in the shop implied I was wasting my money. I was actually because I was paying Apple price for RAM :( but my machine was fine until Lion. After that going from 2 to 4 made it work just fine. Old machines still work if you are sensible..
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #15
    ram

    with the dirt cheap price of ram max it out!
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #16
    Why then can't you push it to 8GB? 2x4GB?:eek: Is that possible? But when I asked Apple about 4GB RAM they said they only sell 2GB ones. So where are you getting the Apple 4GB RAM?

    ----------

    But do you open 10 or more browser windows with videos loading in each one?:rolleyes:

    ----------

    Why issue with finding RAM? It's available from Apple and they said they will send it to me.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    roxxette

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    #17
    Buy RAM over newegg or amazon :eek: cheaper and you can grab 2 4gb sticks ! :eek: 8gb of ram !
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #18
    Intel or Apple decided to only allow 1x2GB and 1x4GB. Someone placed 8GB in our iMac and it froze and crashed. Newegg.com has Patriot Memory that reportedly works with our 2007 Macs.

    I specified that brand because it's the cheapest that works. You can go with any other brand you want but check the feedback whether that brand works with our iMac. Other than memory size make sure all the specs are identical to avoid potential compatibility problems. Get one of each to get to 6GB. 6GB is not "officially" supported but it works.

    If you decide to upgrade your CPU here is the iFixit guide. You can get the CPU for around $100 on eBay.

    http://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/53213/CPU+upgrade+2.0GHz+to+2.8Ghz+(+C2D+Extreme+X7900+)

    If you decide to upgrade your HDD to a faster model or a SSD here is the guide as well. Note that you are limited to 3Gb/s speeds on our iMac. At the time of release 6Gb/s wasn't a standard then.

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+20-Inch+EMC+2133+and+2210+Hard+Drive+Replacement/1008/1

    Again, IMHO spending anything more than $300 on our iMac is a waste of money as you could sell it and buy a $600 Mac mini that performs leagues better and incorporates new hardware like Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI 1.4, USB 3, Thunderbolt, 4K resolution graphics, two SATA 6Gb/s ports and SDXC card slot.
     
  19. 2012Tony2012, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #19
    I live in Australia, anyone know of any Australian sellers of RAM?
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #20
    I took a chance and bought 2GB RAM Module from my local PC Store for $30, brand is Consair. It works and now I have 3GB in total :D
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    #21
    Any chance you're using Safari and simply never rebooting your machine? Safari is a known memory leak/hog. It will devour all your ram and then move on to your HD if you don't babysit. I got sick of it and simply moved to the far superior Chrome browser.
     
  22. bflowers, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #22
    With mismatched pairs, you may not be getting the best performance from the RAM. I haven't looked at that particular machine, but most of them are designed to run with matched pairs. How many slots does it have, and how many did Apple have filled. If the answer is 2 slots, 1 filled, then you're fine. If it was 4 slots, 2 filled, and you only added 1, then you should spend another $30 and fill the remaining slot.

    Ok, never mind, I researched it myself, it is 2 slots. The motherboard will support a maximum of 6GB, by putting in a 2 and 4GB module.
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    #23

    haha safari, nah I use firefox. I only sleep my imac most f the time, but I tend to turn it off at least once a week.
     
  24. 2012Tony2012, Dec 14, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2012Tony2012

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #24
    What do you mean not the best performance? RAM behaves better in performance than other RAM?:eek: Because since I put in another 2GB in slot 1, and have the original 1GB RAM in slot 2, my iMac and Snow Leopard is running very fast and smooth, and I am very happy :D

    No more slugging along, even when I have 12+ applications open, and browser windows, it's running smooth and fast and no swap page is bieng used.

    However, I do find that youtube videos play jerky when I have lots of browser windows and apps open, anyone know why? And is there a solution besides closing everything down? Why can't flash handle it playing smooth youtube videos when lots of apps and windows are open?
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #25
    As I noted in the edit of my post, the matching pairs does not apply to your machine. RAM slots over the years have had a cyclical requirement. A long time ago, with SIMMs, you often would have to upgrade in sets of two or four. I don't recall if this was technically required or a performance issue. Later, as the technology improved, you could have mismatched sets. If I recall correctly, that was with the advent of DIMMs. Then speed improvements with chipsets and motherboards changed things back to favoring matched pairs of DIMMs. In your machine's case, since there are only two slots, and Apple shipped them with a single slot filled, it is not required to install in pairs. My old 2002 iMac was like that. In fact, it had two completely different types of slots. One was for notebook DIMMs and was user upgradeable, the other took traditionally desktop DIMMs and was only upgradeable for the adventurous.

    Your machine officially only supported 4 GB of RAM (2x2GB) when it shipped, but as memory density improved, it was found that you could install a new 4GB DIMM in one of the slots to increase the max to 6 GB. Something about the motherboard chipset must prevent addressing of a full 8GB. My current MacBook (the last of the MacBook line) Officially supported 4GB, but later the increased density RAM came out and now it has 8GB in it. Who knows, the new 27" iMac may eventually be capable of 64GB if 16GB DIMMs are released and if the chipset can address that much.



    Flash
    The Flash video problem might not be related to your RAM at all. Flash is well known to be a generally poor quality language, though I'm sure it was cutting edge when first released. Apple doesn't even support Flash on any iOS device as a result. I play a few Flash based games, and nothing else I do comes near maxing out my CPU for as little as is actually going on as Flash games do. Encoding video (albeit not super fast) doesn't even cripple my computer like some Flash games.
     

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