24GB vs 32GB for iMac retina similar performance?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ohenriquez, Feb 24, 2015.

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  1. ohenriquez, Feb 24, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015

    ohenriquez macrumors member

    ohenriquez

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    Dec 7, 2005
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    Auckland, New Zealand
    #1
    Dear Members

    I had a look at the forum threads but I could not find whether there is a real difference between 24GB and 32GB for my iMac retina
    I currently have 8GB and the OWC sales person told me that 24GB will work fine (even if it is not same pair)
    The question remains as to whether is worth the extra cost for 32GB? and 24GB will achieve similar performance?
    I dont do video editing, photography for instance and I use Word, Excel, Outlook, Keynote, safari, iTunes, Handbrake, doing research on internet.
    I have read somewhere that even for the "Pro user" 24GB is enough

    Thanks in advance for your help

    DrO
     
  2. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    #2
    For those tasks, 24GB is more than enough. Remember, free RAM is wasted RAM.

    If you buy the iMac with the standard 8GB (2x4GB sticks) you can indeed add 16GB (2x8GB sticks) to the empty slots for a total 24GB without issue.
     
  3. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #3
    There won't be any performance difference unless your apps need it and your computer starts paging a lot because of low memory.

    Start with 8GB and see how you go, if you need more then add it.
     
  4. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #4

    The simple rule is: get 32Gb only if you know you need it and know why you need it. If you have to ask, you don't need it :)

    Honestly, there are no "pro user" requirements. Usually it's just marketing branding to make you buy more. There are some super professional pros that don't need more than 8Gb and there are enthusiasts that can find use for 32Gb.

    I would like to point that by popular (but wrong) opinion you need as much memory as you can get and that some mythical "pro" category needs whatever is the current technological maximum. This is just not true.

    For example, for Photoshop, even while working with large files, is quite fine with 8Gb RAM - "pros" or not. Also, no modern game requires more than 8Gb RAM.

    For most tasks, 16Gb is more then enough for serious, professional work.

    24 and 32Gb - and beyond - is required for specific tasks and workloads only.

    I know it may sound strange but for regular tasks you will NOT see any difference between 8, 16 or 24Gb RAM. For things you mentioned, honestly, 8Gb of RAM is quite enough and you won't notice any difference between 8 and 16. You can get 16 just for future proofing it and comfort, but 24Gb is serious overkill. And 32Gb is just silly, really.

    I would keep the 8Gb (2x4Gb) you have and buy 2x4Gb more for a total 16Gb. You will be fine for the next few years.
     
  5. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #5
    +1.

    For 99% of tasks, including those the OP mentioned, 24 GB is more than enough. Most people who max-out their iMac's RAM do it simply for bragging rights (or they think they need it) and not because of a genuine need.
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #6
    24gb memory for this:
    I hope the OP is joking.

    What is it with these ridicolous RAM threads lately?
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #7
    They just want you to appear :D
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #8
    Seems like it :D

    All just a scheme to get me to comment on this nonsense.
     
  9. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #9
    Works pretty well, you post even after the OP's question has already been answered...
     
  10. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #10
    ... sure gets you involved, too ;)

    It's a RAM party :cool:
     
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #11
    There's no Party like a RAM party

    It is amazing how people get RAM so wrong....

    OP, just to nail the message home, for that use case extra RAM will do you no good whatsoever....
     
  12. zesta macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #12
    If you are using Safari as your web browser, it would be best to have as much RAM as possible until and unless Apple fixes the terrible memory leaks. Safari uses up 10+GB for me, unless I restart it regularly.

    Also, the system will use free RAM for filesystem caching, so it is never really "wasted" unless you have a ridiculous amount. 32GB no longer should be considered ridiculous.

    All that said, since you already have the 8GB, I would suggest going to 24GB, as you can use the original RAM. If you later feel you need a little more, you can always add another 16GB and remove the factory 8GB.
     
  13. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

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    Jan 11, 2015
    #13
    Rather than starting a new thread, I thought I would ask here instead.

    I bought a mac mini that came with 4gb ram. Not enough to run Yosemite but seems to work fine with Maverick.

    So I bought 16gb ram for it as my local store didn't sell 8 kits. The memory turned out to be defective and RMA'd back. That process ended up taking almost 3 months to get replaced and I at had given up on the memory.

    I recently added an RiMac and ordered it with 16gb direct from Apple as burnt twice with memory issues as when it was ordered the RMA had not come back. Now I have some apple 16gb memory kit.

    Would it make more sense to pull the 4gb out of the mini that the family uses to surf the internet (and works fine with Maverick) and bump it to 16. Take the 4 out of the mini into the iMac to bump it to 20.

    or

    just leave the mac mini doing it's thing as it works fine right now. Put the 16 into the iMac giving 32gb. I do Photoshop, Web Devel and also use VM's. On average, I am running about a 800mb swap and memory used around the 13-14 mark.
     
  14. aevan, Feb 25, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015

    aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #14
    While I can't talk for other people, for a week I had only 8Gb RAM (while I waited new RAM to arrive). Then I had 24Gb, and in the end, sold back the 8 to have 16Gb.

    In all this time I didn't notice any difference. I work mainly in Photoshop and I always have Safari running with a few tabs open, iTunes, Evernote, etc.

    Once again - I noticed the exact same performance with 8Gb as I did with more RAM. Also, just out of curiosity, I tested 16Gb RAM to see if it was enough (compared to 24Gb), and I couldn't start using the swap file even with Safari (numerous tabs), Chrome (also), Photoshop with 4 large images, Evernote, iTunes and Sketchbook Pro open at the same time. The only thing that happened is that at the very end of opening all this stuff, memory started getting compressed. The iMac was just as responsive as it was before opening things.

    Now, I don't know how many tabs people have open, but I just couldn't get the computer to slow down with 16Gb no matter how much I tried. I also had no issues with 8Gb.

    I keep hearing about people having memory issues just while surfing, but I find it hard to believe 8Gb RAM is not enough for that. Let alone 16. 24Gb I don't even want to comment.

    Also, as you mentioned, the applications can indeed use free RAM to cache their data so that it doesn't have to be recalculated or generated again, etc. This of course speeds up things, however, the application does need to actually have things to cache. It's not as if the free space gets filled by itself by moving files to some imaginary RAM drive. Even 8Gb should be plenty enough for applications to cache their data while you're working and keep it there long enough to be useful before the memory gets reclaimed by the OS. The good thing is, you don't have to guess - all you need to check is the memory pressure in the activity monitor. That's why it's there for. As long as it's green, you have no problems. And it was always green for my regular workflow with 8Gb RAM (Photoshop, Safari, Evernote, iTunes) no matter what I did - and, to confirm it, the computer felt snappy and responsive with no slowdowns. It felt exactly the same with more RAM.

    TLDR: I stand by my claim - 8Gb RAM is enough for most tasks, including demanding ones, 16Gb is just breathing room and nice to have, 24Gb is serious overkill for all but the most demanding users dabbling in video and rendering.

    Seriously, this debate is an old one. People keep finding reasons to add RAM and then (as a result of what I'd call an IT-placebo effect) they think the computer works better. Of course, there are more than valid reasons when even 32Gb RAM is not enough. But to claim that "pros" require 24, 32 or more is just not true.

    Also - I always direct people to this great video by LinusTechTips.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajyzZ-zaq0o
     
  15. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
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    #15
    Doesn't matter, either maxing out the iMac or putting the 16 GB in the mini and 4 GB in the iMac would be plenty for your usage of either. If it were me, I would upgrade the mini from 4 GB because that's the one most likely to become problematic.

    However, do consider returning the 16 GB and getting an 8 GB for the mini instead as that's all you really need.
     
  16. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #16
    With the tasks that you do, 8GB is enough. Making the system 24GB isn't a bad idea. Couldn't hurt if you have the extra cash and you get a slight bump on Geekbench. 32GB really isn't necessary.
     
  17. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #17
    That guy runs VMs and Ps.
    I would recommend 8gb to him , too.

    ----------

    The OP won't notice any difference whatsoever between 2gb or 32gb.

    ----------

    Neither is getting a funny $3000 hat.

    ----------

    Because Geekbench is an excellent indicator for running Safari and Office apps...
     
  18. ohenriquez thread starter macrumors member

    ohenriquez

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    #18
    Dear Aevan and members

    Thank you for your kind responses. They have been ver helpful as it is useful to see real experiences from real people (not salesmen). Will consider leaving 8 GB or upgrading to not to more than 16 GB in total

    I asked because my other Apple computer: Macbook Pro Retina showed "Physical Memory 16 GB" and "Memory used 14 GB" in the activity monitor. Perhaps I need to close more applications.
     
  19. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

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    #19
    No, you just have to learn how Yosemite uses RAM: the system takes all the RAM available. If you want to know if you have enough RAM, just look at the RAM pressure indicator in the activity monitor. If it is green: you have enough RAM.
     
  20. ohenriquez thread starter macrumors member

    ohenriquez

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    #20
    very helpful, I will check this
    Now this makes sense to me
     
  21. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

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    #21
  22. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #22
    Glad to help. I think your plan is good - to start with less RAM, check memory pressure and go up if you see you need more. The good thing is that you can always add more later if your requirements increase.
     
  23. Glumpfner macrumors regular

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    Dec 15, 2009
    #23
    Your 8GB is already more than fine for what you need it for. If you do video editing I would have said okay maybe 16GB, but you don't even do that and consider 32GB over 24GB?

    Jesus people, 16GB is more than fine for Office related stuff. You will never even max out 16GB and you will never see a performance difference between 16GB and 24GB let alone 32GB.
    The only thing that really makes a difference is a fast SSD drive.
     
  24. cynics macrumors G3

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    #24
    Bought my iMac with 8gb. Added an additional 16gb for a total of 24gb. Not sure if there was a difference. If there was a difference it wasn't noticeable on my end.

    That said, I added it cause I wanted too. It was easy to install and cheap (for me). Next iMac will have 32gb just to max it out because I want too.

    A lot of the things I own I don't need. Doesn't stop me from not wanting them. Aside from the microwave I don't know how to use half the appliances in my kitchen. Bought them because they looked nice and I wanted them not because I needed them.

    Point is just because you don't need all that RAM doesn't mean its a waste having it. As long as you find some form of solice owning it its all good. :)
     
  25. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    #25

    Yes, but unfortunately that's not common knowledge. The average person will not know what RAM does, let alone how it's managed. Consumers have been conditioned to understand bigger numbers = better performance in computing.

    You've also got the curious people who have done a little digging and found the 'free RAM' stat. When that's low, they think it's the same as running low on hard drive space - thus, time to buy more. That's probably not the case, but no business that profits from the sale of memory will want to inform them to the contrary.

    Regardless, it's pretty cheap now anyway so it doesn't really matter so much if you over cook it.
     
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