Will things improve in a PowerMac with Tiger? How much RAM is recommended then?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Zoowatch, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. Zoowatch macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2004
    Sheffield, UK
    I have ordered a powermac 2.7 from apple with 2x512 = 1GB memory
    I am about to purchase more memories from Crucial
    I have difficulties deciding if i should get another 2GB or 4GB from Crucial
    on top of the 1GB memory.

    This is going to be my first PowerMac and I have little idea of how much memory is recommended. I know PM consumes more memories, so does Tiger, but how much is enough?

    I have the habit of opening several applications at a time whenever my computer is switched on:
    1. iTunes (listen to mp3) 2. Safari (with about 3 or 4 tabs open at a time) 3. MS Word 4. one or two Finder windows containing 100s of JPEG images 5. iPhoto (browsing through libraries of photos)

    it is only occassionally that i use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and I seldom open both of them at the same time.

    Currently, my 1GHz PB with 1GB memory is struggling to cope with my libraries of photos (about 7000 altogether) in iPhoto '05 even when all other applications are closed. It becomes a pain to use iPhoto at times because the lag time time can be anywhere from 3 seconds to 10 seconds for each simple operation like rotating, deleting or applying effects to a high resolution photo (5 to 7 megapixels). Also, there is a lag time of about 4 seconds before a slideshow with music would begin playing, not to mention that sometimes the slideshow transition gets a bit too jerky

    Besides iPhoto, I have problems with Finder showing thumbnail previews in a folder of more than 50 JPEG image files. Finder is really slow in this and it takes about 7 minutes to view thumbnails of 200 images in a folder. In Finder, I nagivate and view windows in the icon mode (icon size: 128x128) and I tick "show icon preview" in the "view options". Even a low-end Wintel system with Windows XP can give me a preview of these in a snap and that's what I'm looking for.

    I believe that this must have got something to do with insufficient memory in my PB, in addition to the mediocre G4 clockspeed of the PB. So I am investing in a new system, a 2.7 PowerMac this time, hoping that such problems will be less severe and my experience using a Mac will be more pleasant (it really embarrasses me everytime I have to go to a Celeron PC with Win XP to view a CD containing images taken by a digital camera using Windows Explorer).

    I really wonder if I need an additional 4GB RAM on top of the 2x512 RAM from Apple in order to make these tasks more snappy, or will an additional 2GB RAM be adequate? Will Tiger makes things more speedy if I wish to view thumbnail of images using Finder? (I prefer not to use third-party software for such a simple task). I know the PowerMac CPU is really fast but only with enough RAM that you can get simple works (as memtioned above) done in a snap.

    Of course, I'd love to have 8GB memory but i can't afford that.

    Besides this issue, I would like to know how will the ATI X800 XT compares with the 9650 graphic card that come with the PM. Is the 9650 a lot worse than X800 XT when it comes to the kind of jobs I mentioned above? Will there be any real difference in image quality between these 2 graphic cards when I do the following stuffs on the PM?:

    1. when it comes showing off to those fanciful ripple / cube effects in Mac OSX.4
    2. when I watch a DVD movie in fullscreen
    3. when I chat using an iSight preferably in fullscreen

    I understand that both has 256MB memory but what else are the main difference? Many apologies for the ignorance. I need some reasons to justify the kind of price (288 pounds / 499 dollars) if I were to upgrade to the X800 XT in the near future. Just for your info, I don't play game and I intend to use the 20" Apple display with the powermac (no second display).

    Thanks you all for your advice...

  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    My instinct is that 2.5 Gb total (the 2 Gb upgrade kit) will be fine for you. The performance gain you get from RAM is noticeable until you have "enough" memory, then adding more RAM over the "enough" amount really doesn't improve things until you open more and larger programs at once.

    Different people have different "enough" levels, depending on the programs they use and the data sets they have open. Yours looks like 1 Gb is not enough foryour iPhoto data.

    If I can make a suggestion, if you are in the USA, Data Memory Systems www.datamem.com has RAM as good or better than Crucial and for less money. Good company, they know their Macs, and I trust them.

  3. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    Jun 26, 2004
    I live in a giant bucket!
    From what I hear from others and my own experiance the "enough" starts to top out at 4 gig. Anything over that is just gravy, no matter what your running.
  4. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003
    enough: indeed 4GB is quite enough, I know I would get 50% increase in speed when I would double my ram to 3GB and anything more is not needed, but might be helpfull to have some other small programs still running while the task that sometimes wants 3GB can have them (& I can receive e-mail when working because I have a little more ram to spend, so whenever I can I will add 2GB wich leaves me with 3GB for Photoshop and 512 for MacOSX & Entourage so they don't complain & steal photoshop's ram :p

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