Any advantage to adding RAM sooner than later?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Amnesiac1, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Amnesiac1 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 11, 2010
    #1
    I have an iMac on the way with the following specs:

    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    2TB Serial ATA Drive+256GB SSD
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5


    I've only ever used an MBP with 2GB of RAM and it's rather sluggish at times. I figured instead of rushing out to add 8GB to my machine right away (bringing it to 12GB), I would stick with 4GB and see if it runs fine.

    My questions are:

    1. Will only having 4GB hurt the HDD? Or the SSD for that matter? Will it cause either drive to 'work' more and therefore damage its performance, longevity, etc.? Or will it be alright?

    2. The question in the thread title. Is there any advantage to adding RAM earlier as opposed to, say, a few months down the line when I know for sure that 4GB of RAM isn't cutting it.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ubuntu macrumors 68000

    Ubuntu

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    #2
    Nope, not really as far as I know. I imagine the disk will still be used for virtual memory etc so I doubt there's any significant benefit to installing the RAM earlier - at least a benefit that warrants the risk of buying excess RAM you might not need. I'd just stick with trying out the 4GB.
     
  3. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    That's my plan. I just wanted to make sure it's the right thing to do. At this point, I really don't want to unnecessarily spend any more money.
     
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #4
    Ram prices are very low. 4gb sticks can be had for under 35 dollars. Ram prices can go up.


    https://www.superbiiz.com/detail.ph...=Samsung-DDR3-1333-SODIMM-4GB-Notebook-Memory

    38 for a stick with free shipping discount code is "SUPERHOT" 5 bucks off. so 1 stick is 33 2 sticks are 71




    these are 35.49 a stick

    https://www.superbiiz.com/detail.ph...3-1333-SODIMM-4GB-Micron-Chip-Notebook-Memory

    71 for 2 sticks take 5 dollars off 66 for 8gb of ram add to your current ram you will have 12 gb of ram almost certain to never need more. I know it is tempting to try to save some money but if ram goes up in price you will kick your self in the butt.
     
  5. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    If you don't use the computer for computationally intensive tasks, 4GB of RAM is plenty. And no matter what you do, the SSD will be fine.
     
  6. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    While I appreciate the last two answers, to clarify, I'm not too worried about the costs of the RAM. I am more concerned about whether or not sticking with 4GB of RAM will actually cause my HD to degrade, fail, or to be somehow compromised (due to the lack of more RAM causing it to work more strenuously)...

    Or is this a paranoid, non-issue and I should stick to the 4GB of RAM and be worry free b/c it won't hurt the HD? :D
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #7
    https://www.superbiiz.com/detail.ph...DDR3-1333-SODIMM-2GB-Original-Notebook-Memory

    if spending 66 or 71 dollars is too much the 2gb sticks above are 21.49 each total cost of 43 take the 'SUPERHOT' 5 Dollar discount you are at 38 dollars to be at 8gb of ram.

    Lots of people believe 4gb of ram is enough and for many people 4gb of ram will do.

    But lion comes out and no one has a lot of use with it so bumping your ram from 4gb to 8gb for 38 dollars is not the worst thing to do with your money. Most old timers like myself have seen that new osx means more ram is used then the last osx.


    BTW if your ram is too small and you get massive pageouts to your ssd it will age your ssd. Massive pageouts would be need 1gb a day would not be nice to you ssd.
     
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    #8
    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
     
  9. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    #9
     
  10. ratzzo macrumors 6502a

    ratzzo

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    #10
    Having less or more RAM, adding it sooner or later does not have any significant effect on a HDD. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, which means programs access it to store data associated with them, the bigger the program the more data it collects and more RAM it needs. The only thing that could happen is that if you're using a big program you won't get enough RAM and it won't run as smooth. But it has nothing to do with the HD really.
     
  11. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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  12. Bear macrumors G3

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    #12
    If the 4GB isn't enough, your system disk will of course do more work. It shouldn't be a noticeable difference on the lifespan of the drive. Especially if you add memory when you feel it's needed.

    What do you use the system for?

    And to the poster who said it's only computationally intensive applications that needs more ram. That's not correct. For example, photo editing is memory intensive but doesn't have to be cpu intensive. And some games do chew up RAM.
     
  13. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    #13
     
  14. theRick119 macrumors member

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    #14
    I'm guessing you didn't really mean that how it came out, but just for clarity -- It has everything to do with the hard drive actually. When a program needs more memory and it runs out of physical RAM, it uses the hard drive as virtual RAM (page file) which is much slower to access than physical ram and that is why the program "won't run as smooth."

    To the OP -- As for wearing out the hard drive from page file usage... I would imagine it does expedite the wear by some minuscule fraction of a percent, but I certainly wouldn't be concerned with it.

    Just keep an eye on your page file file usage and if you need more ram, buy it later.
     
  15. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #15
    I said 1gb of page outs not 1gb of data. Let me refer you to the standard page out size for mac.

    wiki link
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Page_size#Page_size_trade-off

    "Page size trade-off

    Page size is usually determined by processor architecture. Traditionally, pages in a system had uniform size, for example 4096 bytes. However, processor designs often allow two or more, sometimes simultaneous, page sizes due to the benefits and penalties. There are several points that can factor into choosing the best page size. "


    4096 bytes is 1 page out 1gb of them is about 4tb if he does that in one day he will wear his ssd out


    from anandtech:

    "Given the 100GB per day x 5 year lifespan of Intel's MLC SSDs, there's no cause for concern from a data reliability perspective for the desktop/notebook usage case. High load transactional database servers could easily outlast the lifespan of MLC flash and that's where SLC is really aimed at. These days the MLC vs. SLC debate is more about performance, but as you'll soon see - Intel has redefined what to expect from an MLC drive."


    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2614/4


    he says that the ssd will last 5 years in his example. 5 years is 60 months.

    my example is 40 x the data so you ssd will die in 1.5 months. So please get your math correct.

    in your example 100gb a day would be 25mb of pageouts times 4096k..


    my example 4tb a day would be 1gb of pageouts times 4096k
     
  16. Objector macrumors member

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    May 16, 2011
    #16
    One small advantage of buying the RAM before you get the iMac, is that you can install it right away when the screen protecting film is still applied. So you don't risk scratching the screen or getting to many fingerprints on it.
     
  17. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    True, but if you are careful, can't scratches be avoided even later on?
     
  18. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    That reminds me... I'm not planning on buying or installing any RAM anytime soon (if ever), but is it absolutely necessary to place the iMac down on its screen to install RAM? Could you not simply drag the iMac forward to the edge of your desk, get someone to watch it, and unscrew the RAM slot from below it? As in, crouch down by your desk, unscrew the RAM holder from the bottom, and handle the RAM that way? Given that it's all locked in, I don't imagine anything would fall out or anything.
     
  19. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #19
    Not absolutely necessary, but definitely the best idea. Just put a towel down, and set it on top of that. Otherwise, the force required to insert/remove memory could knock it over.
     
  20. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Except your example is using made-up data... Failure rates of SSDs are lower than traditional HDDs, even over a 5 year period. Your concerns are completely unfounded.
     
  21. HilbertSpace macrumors newbie

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    May 1, 2011
    #21
    I went to 12 gigs. I run some applications in Parallels, some Office apps, and Firefox can easily grow unbelievably large with many PDF tabs open. I didn't do a lot of performance testing with the stock 4 gigs, but I did notice the green pie wedge of free memory was entirely gone under relatively light to normal use, and that was without running any applications in Parallels. I haven't been pushing it, and I can get 6+ gigs used in wired + active.

    I also have an SSD, so maybe it wouldn't have been a huge concern, but it seemed to me that spending another couple of percent of the price of the computer (plus about ten minutes of time) was a pretty easy call for me.

    That said, I can't see any reason for you not to wait, if you'd rather not spend the extra money right now, and just monitor your usage.
     
  22. CHSeifert macrumors 6502

    CHSeifert

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    #22
    NO - if you install the RAM afterwards it will destroy all your internal components in the iMac and your iMac will selfdestruct ASAP :rolleyes:

    Just kidding - install the RAM whenever you feel like doing it.

    4 GB RAM is Ok for a lot of people, but of you have many browser windows open at the same time (50-60) and multitask a lot and maybe also edit some photos, then I would recommend 8 GB RAM, especially since RAM prices are VERY low at the moment !!
     
  23. Bear macrumors G3

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    #23
    Quite easily.

    Last time I checked it was a cover plate held on by 3 screws to access the memory slots. And yes you can do this with the system standing up on a desk. It's all what you feel comfortable with. You still want to unplug the power cord before you do this. Also after you get the memory just in to the slot but not all the way in, you can put one hand on the top edge of the screen while you push up with the other to firmly seat the memory.

    This is what I did about a year ago. No issues.

    Again it's what one feels comfortable doing.
     
  24. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #24
    look at the attached screen shot for my pro> It has been running for 3 days page ins are 1.14GB

    Page outs are 592 KB

    592 KB times 4k size of a pageout is about 2.4GB of data in three days . so if you want to keep your ram at 4gb look at the page outs. every time you boot they are cleared away. so don't boot for a week at the end of a week see how many page outs you have. if there are lots get the ram. if you have 10KB after a week no worries. if you have 10MB after a week not much to care about if you do 1gb a day of page outs or 7gb a week of page outs your ssd will not last long. 3 months and it will be much slower. The good news you won't do 7gb of pageouts in a week.

    If you do 1gb of pageouts a week your ssd will be hurting in 1 to 2 years. The math is simple. All this refers to ssds not hdds.

    So just look at pageouts and make your decision. install video link
    for 2011 iMac is below:


    http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/imac_mid_2011_mem/
     

    Attached Files:

  25. mac.tastic macrumors member

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    Jun 16, 2011
    #25
    4GB is a LOT of ram. Unless you're editing 1080p video it will be ample.
     

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