2GB vs. 4GB RAM benchmarks? Worth $50?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oregon2, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. oregon2 macrumors regular

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    Jul 7, 2009
    #1
    I got a refurb 15" with 2GB so I'm curious as to whether an upgrade might do anything for me. I'm guessing not, because as of now the most demanding things I do would be watch HD movies or play games in Windows. Neither of these things are important though.

    Anyways, I'm assuming many of you are in the same position, so what do you think? And do you know of any benchmarks addressing this?
     
  2. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

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    #2
    do you multitask heavily often? A good way to check is to run all the programs as you would in normal usage (For example I usually, on a normal day, have iTunes, Mail, Ms Entourage, Cisco VPN, Twhirl, Safari, and Adium up and running) and go to Utilities, Activity Monitor. Check the number of "Active" RAM. If "Active" RAM is nearing 2GB or is at 2GB, RAM upgrades might do you good. If not you wouldn't really feel the 4GB.

    Do take note though - some MacBook Pros can't take in 4GB of memory.
     
  3. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #3
    After you've been doing your normal activities on your computer open up Activity Monitor and then the System Memory tab. On there you'll see "Page ins" and "Page outs", ideally for every 10 page ins there should be 1 page out. A page out occurs when the computer essentially runs out of memory and has to use the hard drive instead, which is much slower. If you have lots of page outs, you would benefit greatly from more RAM, if you have no page outs then you wouldn't benefit at all from more RAM.
     
  4. oregon2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    I just opened up everything on my dock (nothing intensive though) but still got no page outs. I'll check next time I'm watching some high bitrate video, but I'm guessing that'll be fine too.

    Have you had any page outs? What were you doing?

    @raymondy999: Does OS X adjust its RAM usage based upon how much you have? I know Vista will use about 30% of your RAM no matter how much you have, as long as another program does not require it. Because it adjusts its usage based on how much you have, it's hard to tell whether you might benefit from an upgrade.
     
  5. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    #5
     
  6. kolax macrumors G3

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    #6
    I bought the extra 2 gigs so I could use Windows 7 in Parallels Desktop without my Mac coming to a crawl.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #7
    Huge difference for me when I went from 2 to 4 gig. I wouldn't consider myself a power user either but photoshop, aperture, and VMware all benefited from the extra ram. If I had the $$ (which I don't) I'd upgrade to 6gig
     
  8. oregon2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    by extra 2 gigs, do you mean buying 4 gigs?
     
  9. Philflow macrumors 65816

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    #9
    For normal use like your (and mine): Not worth it.

    Better get a SSD or 7200rpm WD ($60), you'll notice more.
     
  10. kolax macrumors G3

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    #10
    Yes.. 2x2GB sticks.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    My sentiment is you can't have too much ram,especially when it comes to OSX. Its a bit of a memory hog. I found under normal usage I benefited greatly when going to 4gig. I run some apps that do use up my resources, VMware, Aperture and Photoshop but still I think if anyone is going to use office apps, internet, email all at the same time 4gig will definitely help

    just my $.02
     
  12. applebook macrumors 6502a

    applebook

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  13. kolax macrumors G3

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    #13
    No it isn't.

    Really.. no chance. 2GB is more than enough for running Office.
     
  14. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #14
    And this advice is worth $.02

    Leopard's memory management is far better than Windows. That having been said, a $50 investment will speed up processes in big/multiple/memory hungry applications (less HD access time). And if it buys you a few more years from your machine, a worthwhile investment.
     
  15. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a

    ButtUglyJeff

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    #15
    Snow Leopard is supposed to also give you a performance boost. If you wanted to wait, you could spend the $29 first, and see how your machine runs.

    By September, RAM might go down again.

    But if you're going to run Vista, get the RAM now.
     
  16. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #16
    Agree with checking activity monitor and reviewing memory usage and page outs. If you need it, get it. If you don't, save your money.

    VM's such as parallels and vmware suck ram. 4 gigs is almost a necessity if you want to run a vm and do anything under osx at the same time.
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    While leopard's memory management is better then windows the OS is bloated and requires more ram. I also use ubuntu and you can easily run on 512meg the same cannot be said about windows or OSX.

    I love OSX but that doesn't mean over looking the fact its bloated.
     
  18. Snowbound macrumors regular

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    May 19, 2008
    #18
    Short answer, yes. Ram is an incredibly cheap upgrade as far as computer upgrades go, and on my MBP, I use ~3gb just surfing the web and with itunes and iphoto and ical open.
     
  19. wake8260 macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2009
    #19
    Really? I have all those open as well as dvd player, imovies and i hardly notice any difference between 2gb and 4gb. i'm sure i'll appreciate it more when i start editing home movies.
     
  20. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

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    #20
    Something is wrong then.
     
  21. Snowbound macrumors regular

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    #21
    Perhaps I exaggerated a little but with 20-25 tabs open in firefox, it eats memory, and I guess I have transmission open some of the time. Or maybe the extra ram just makes me feel better about myself...
     
  22. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

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    #22
    That's very valid sometimes. Knowing you have greater resources is enough to enhance the experience by itself.

    I am fairly new to MacOS but on a window machine firefox with say 20-30 tabs and couple of youtube videos hardly ever reports using more than 300-400MB of ram. Not sure about the other programs but if they add to more than 1-2 GB they are probably not very well written or something is wrong with the installation... Such a scenario would put a 2gb notebook on its knees... but it doesn't :)

    Anyway, if you multitask and especially if you use virtual machines, 4gb of RAM really make a difference and at 50 bucks they are a bargain too.
     

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