8gb ram enough?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by fine1866, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. fine1866 macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2010
    Just wanted to know peoples thoughts whether 8gb of ram is enough on a new 21" imac?

    We will be using it for Microsoft office, email, safari and iPhoto.

    We need the new imac to last a good 3 years and would rather spend the extra on a fusion drive.

  2. osx11 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2011
    For the things you listed, 8GB of RAM should be just fine. And with Maverick's compressed memory this should be plenty.
  3. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    I have 8Gb of ram (spec bellow), and one of the reasons I bought it was for video editing. Lately I was editing a 1hr 40m HD 1080p video in iMovie with a lot of audio effects, as well as visual improvements and titles/text. Exported when I finished that and it taken around 15-20 minutes to export. Throughout that entire experience; I never had any issues.

    OSX uses free ram as cache, so you may sometimes so that the system is using as much as 7 out of 8gb when running nothing, but that is because it is caching all apps that have been open since last boot up. And all that memory being used as cache can be cleared instantly. After a fresh boot, OSX Mavericks only uses 1.87Gb of RAM.

    Ram compression allows theoretically 12Gb of data to fit in the 8Gb module. OSX also puts aside 8Gb of backing storage to use as virtual Ram if you run out of physical. So in the end you have an 8Gb module(well, 2 X 4), that can fit around 12Gb of data before a maximum of 8Gb of slow backing storage is used, so in the end you theoretically have 20Gb of Ram (added up from 12Gb on 8Gb module using compression and 8Gb on backing storage). If you have the SSD, the virtual 8Gb would not be too slow, but with a hard drive is horrible. But I have never had any page outs on my iMac with 8Gb of RAM, and its not like I haven't pushed it :)

    8Gb is easily enough for your needs. 4Gb would have done you if that was an option, but 8Gb will also help with longevity of the device.

    Hope this helped. Good question by the way, makes a change of "Is 32Gb of RAM enough"!


    If it is heavy iPhoto work, I'd say go for the high end iMac like I did (to get 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM NVidia GeForce GT 750m), if not though the lower on will last you.
  4. fine1866, Dec 22, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013

    fine1866 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2010
    Thanks both for your input.

    iPhoto use is not heavy but it's a large library. 10 years of digital photos!

    I forgot to mention that I will also need to run a fusion virtual win xp machine for work purposes. This is soley to connect to a database via VPN.
  5. macbookman83 macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    New York
    Just fine

    8GB is more than enough for your tasks plus more. I have the 2013 base iMac.

    It'll last you through 2017 enjoy and welcome to the team!!!!
  6. cyberbro macrumors member


    Sep 27, 2013
  7. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Then the entry level will be fine. Windows XP really doesn't need a lot of resources. My XP PC gets reformatted with just the program's it needs every now and then and XP then only consumes 280Mb :) Before I done the first format though, it used 500-600Mb (due to la crap ware) but you won't have that problem. 8Gb is enough :)

    Hope you enjoy your iMac and wish you the best.


    You can't add more RAM modules on the new 21.5" iMacs, the user accessable slots are only on the 27". For the OP's needs, 8Gb of RAM is defiantly enough for at least the time period they originally posted.
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I went for 16gb in my iMac to future proof it, and because updating the 21" is a nightmare. I have DXO Optics Pro 9 and compared to my mates similar MacBook Pro (but with 8gb RAM) it flies.

    Kind of depends on what apps you are using now, but also what you will be using over the next few years.
  9. fine1866 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2010
  10. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Yeah, that link is misleading (on the sellers side, not yours). Don't worry about it :)

    Kind of a pain, but I don't think you really need any more than 8Gb now unless you are doing truly professional work. Even the highest end 27" iMac comes with 8Gb (and if your not buying from the Apple site, 8Gb is what you get apart from a few occasions). All ram compressions techniques will continue to be used in later versions of OSX so from a point of view where a buyer wants their iMac to last a long time before they need another, 8Gb will last the from now to a long time in the future. And that is backed up with apples configs for what all 'non apple store' stores get (I.e 8Gb of RAM on all iMacs).
  11. haddy macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2012
    Ummm.....rule of thumb "you can't have too much RAM"

    21.5" iMac you have to have Apple's RAM preinstalled
    27" get your RAM from whoever.
    I have 16gb in my 21.5" and 32gb in my 27" iMacs.
  12. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    I got my refurb 27 just before Thanksgiving which came with 8gb. Could have Chrome open, Safari, Twitter and use Lightroom without a problem, but would see it might have 1-2gb available free. Recently put in an additional 16gb from Crucial (for 24gb total) and now see it uses about 11-13gb with about 12-13gb free (sometimes 11gb free).

    So everything will work fine within the 8gb, but additional ram frees it up a bit.
  13. fine1866 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2010

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