4GB Memory Upgrade Worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by photogy, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. photogy macrumors member

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #1
    i have 2009 pro 15 inch 2.8 GH with 4MB...

    i am a photographer using LR 3 but also want to start making short video...and want to get Final Cut..how much more performance will i get i if add another 4GB of memory?

    i shoot RAW (each file size around 20-25MB) and whilst current memorey works fine, can be a little slow someimies..

    thanks!
     
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #2
    YEah you'll get a preformance jump. Maybe not a HUGE one, but it'll speed things up a fair bit :D
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #3
    Check your memory usage and amount of page outs using Activity monitor. If you have a lot page outs and big swap file, then you need more
     
  4. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    ok, so I'm still learning - what is page outs? and swap files? what does that actually mean?

    i got 4gb of ram and right now my page outs are 435mb, and swap file is about 750mb.

    is this good? bad? just curious

    oh yeah, sorry about the hijack - just looking to further educate myself
     
  5. phungy macrumors 68020

    phungy

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    #5
    It's only worth it if you upgrade to 8GB of RAM.

    /sarcasm

    Yes it is worth the upgrade but RAM prices are higher than a year ago.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    I'm not an expert when it comes to this but I'm trying to do my best and tell what I know and think it is.

    Page out shows the amount of data that is transferred from RAM to HD, usually because of the lack of RAM. This causes slow downs as RAM is like zillion times faster than HD.

    Page in is the opposite of page out, it means that the data is transferred from disk to RAM. Page ins are normal and actually a good thing as it means your OS and RAM is working. Everytime you open something, some of it is saved to RAM so it can be accessed faster (mostly in apps so you can quickly open it etc).

    Swap file is the amount of space that is dedicated for page outs on the hard drive. I currently have 64MB swap file but 0MB of it is used as I have 0 page outs but I do have 550MB of page ins.

    Please correct me if I'm talking crap here
     
  7. warrena macrumors member

    warrena

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    #7
    The swap file is on disk and where pages of memory are moved when not enough memory is available and memory is needed for another process. When the system is low on memory and swapping from memory to disk and back, the system will slow down. You do not say over what time these numbers are for, but I would say you could benefit from more memory. For example I have 8GB of ram and typically show no page outs (pages swapped from memory to disk) and very little swap file use. A slow disk will also make it seem slower if you are swapping/paging a lot.

    I use menu meters and it shows memory, CPU, etc. usage in my top bar, makes it easy to monitor.
     
  8. whalebiologist macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #8
    Memory is broken up into equal-sized chunks called pages by the Operating System. In the old days, RAM used to be assigned pretty haphazardly. There was no guarantee that all the memory used by a program would be contiguous, it could be all over the place. The real problem came when you tried to load something new into memory. The OS would try to load a big chunk of it at once, and if memory assignment is all over the place, you can run into the situation where there is not enough contiguous space to fit it into, even though there is heaps of space free. As time goes on, RAM gets more and more fragmented.

    The page is handy as it gurantees that everything will be in a nice even chunk. The downside is that there can be lots of empty space in a page.

    The OS creates a Swap file on the hard disk. In the event that physical memory is filled, an inactive page copied from RAM to the Swap file on the hard disk, with the page we want active being copied from the Swap file to RAM.

    A page out is the event where a page is copied from RAM to the Swap file or another location on the hard disk. This is obviously bad, as hard disk access is extremely slow compared to RAM access. It is a really good indicator that you need more RAM.
     
  9. photogy thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #9

    no worries about the jack..all very interesting.

    i am a tech dummy..so 8gb is obviously better..but are the benefits maximized only if you are running more than 1 + application at same time? so if you were only running say LR to edit photo's are the benefits of the extra 4gb's limited as to if you were running other progs too?
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    LightRoom 3 is 64-bit meaning that it can utilize more than 3GB of memory but it's unlikely that it would use more than 3GB. More RAM doesn't help unless it's being used so that's why you should look at your RAM usage before buying. Usually more RAM doesn't help unless you do a lot multitasking or use memory intensive apps
     
  11. Mac-key macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    OK, so I just tried closing some apps, and my memory available obviously increased, but my page outs and swap files didn't change at all.

    So how do you decrease the numbers? I figure 4G of ram is PLENTY for what I run: skype, firefox(7-10 tabs open), stickies, mail, ical, microsoft word, and sometimes Final cut Pro (although I usually shut down firefox when editing)

    My computer seems to run fine, no beachballing
     
  12. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #12
    I've been very happy with my upgrade to 8GB of RAM. For me the biggest improvement was in the performance of my Win7 VM. Now I don't need to worry about what apps I'm running; the machine is simply nice and responsive. In fact, the Win 7 apps run as fast as on a native Win machine. The SSD does help too, though.
     
  13. whalebiologist macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #13
    I believe page-outs is cumulative, ie it records the total amount of memory that has been copied to the hard disk since bootup, so there is no way it will ever decrease :p.

    I'm not sure if the Swap file is cumulative or if it shows the current size. If it is current size, it may contain inactive pages which have not needed to be used.

    Try a fresh reboot, the page-outs should be very low.
     
  14. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 4, 2008
    #14
    No experience with Final Cut but I can have LR use up to 2GB of ram all by itself, and if you have something like Photoshop running in the background it's even more. Definitely get 4GB.
     
  15. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #15
    The OP is asking if they should get 8GB of RAM.
     
  16. akramer macrumors member

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    May 20, 2010
    #16
    Without paging or segmented memory, multitasking is a futile exercise. What operating systems did this? My understanding of MacOS (7-9) is that applications would allocate their entire heap at startup.
     
  17. photogy thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #17
    yes i have 4gb's and looking to upgrade to 8gb's..thanks!

    how do i check page out & swap file data?

    i am looking to get FC Pro so i guess that wih LR3 as well..the gb's will improve performance a bit...
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #18
    Use Activity Monitor or download iStat for example
     
  19. photogy thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    many thanks...
     
  20. photogy thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Now have activity monitor running. (Using LR3 & Itunes) Page ins: 298mb Page outs: 27mb and Swap used: 145mb and Free: 209mb...so i guess another 4gb's would be v useful as its v slow with LR as i shoot RAW and v large file sizes...
     
  21. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #21
    I agree that a lot of RAM is necessary for Windows apps running in a virtual machine to perform at their best. Although my MBP can use only 6Gb of RAM reliably, that has been plenty to allow me to run VMware Fusion in Unity mode, with several Windows apps and several OS X apps running simultaneously on the OS X desktop. Even with that strain, my page outs have amounted to only 1 meg in the three days since I last rebooted the machine; I still have more that 1Gb of RAM that is free.
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    Well, that's still okay. You would benefit from more memory but that's not essential. When you have nearly as much outs as ins, then it's time to but 27MB is very small amount.
     
  23. photogy thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #23
    would anyone advise just getting one 4gb card then running 6gb (2+4) as the mac only has 2 slots??

    the apple web recommends running side by side..
     
  24. 0dev macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #24
    Uneven sticks will slow the system down.

    I recommend going for the extra 4GB.
     
  25. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #25
    Dual-channeling will be disabled but that's only ~5% boost anyway. 4GB+2GB should work fine, I've seen plenty of people with that. The extra 2GB will help more than dual-channeling would as it only doubles the memory bandwidth but most apps can't even saturate the single-channel data rate.
     

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