Best use for 32GB RAM in 2013 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by benjai, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. benjai macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #1
    So I found a good deal for 8gb Crucial Ballistix sodimms. My iMac came with just stock 8gb ram and I was going to upgrade to 24gb but though I may as well just max it out.

    So now I have loads of ram. Any suggestions on how to use it all/optimise the machine? I don't do anything complicated on the mac tbh. Perhaps Aperture is the most hungry but even with that and lots of browsers open, only about 11gb ram is used. There used to be some swapping going on with 8gb ram but thats now gone which is great.

    Could I perhaps set up a ram drive? Not really sure what I could put on that though. I have a 3tb fusion drive if that helps.

    thanks
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    You could use a RAM disk as a scratch space for working on Photoshop files. I do that myself too.

    Just remember to export it back to the desktop before you eject the RAM disk.

    An easy way to create a RAM disk is to use tmpdisk.
     
  3. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I don't know if what i'm saying is pure "schlock", but if you have that much RAM (32GB), won't Photoshop use by default all that RAM as a "scratch disk".

    I mean, I thought that the Photoshop scratch disk was simply the disk it used to store data when RAM gets filled completely. Basically making a Ram Disk as scratch disk exactly the same thing as having just... a lot of RAM.
     
  4. Knara macrumors member

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    Feb 12, 2010
    #4
    So, there's two different terminologies going on here.

    It's true, Photoshop will gobble up as much RAM as you allow it, but what yjchua95 is actually talking about is a RAM Disk.

    If you look inside Photoshop (I only have the CS6 Windows version here at work) you'll see two different sub-windows:

    [​IMG]

    See the one where it says "Scratch Disks"? Those are what yjchua95 is talking about. On multi-disk systems, people usually will put the scratch disk on a non-boot/OS drive (or, at least, a drive that Photoshop isn't running on) in order to increase performance (because then the system isn't competing with the OS for seek time on the drive). Since a RAM drive would present itself as a disk drive to the system, and since RAM is much faster than a magnetic drive, you could use that as a scratch drive (in theory).

    I'm not sure how much it would help for PS use except for very large images and/or transforms, but hey.
     
  5. topmounter macrumors 68020

    topmounter

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    #5
    I bought a new iMac and left it at 8GB in anticipation of buying 3rd-party RAM (which I did for my 24" iMac) and Aperture is the single most demanding application that I use on my iMac.

    Since this machine has 2 open memory slots, I'm trying to figure out whether it is worth saving some money and adding 8GB more RAM (2x4) for a total of 16GB or should I go ahead and spring for the 16GB kit (2x8) for a total of 24GB? I'm assuming of course that 2x8 RAM kits will be less expensive in the future.
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #6
    Yeah, that's what I meant.

    Although using a RAM disk as a scratch disk will not bring significant performance increase compared to a PCIe SSD, it helps reduce writes to the SSD, hence prolonging the SSD's life.

    That said, modern MLC SSDs (like the ones used in the Samsung 840 Pro and the XP941-based PCIe SSDs in the iMacs) nowadays will still last for around 7 years even under heavy writes.
     
  7. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Ok, you really didn't understand my message.

    I know all of this.

    My point is simple :

    the Photoshop scratch disk is the disk photoshop use when the RAM gets filled. Let's say you have 8Gb of RAM available for Photoshop, it will use it and then use a scratch disk (Hdd, SSD, Ram disk, whatever) to compensate the lack of memory in RAM.

    The problem with the suggested solution here is that we are not talking about an external Ram disk, we are talking about converting a portion of the 32GB of Ram to a Ram disk.

    Something that won't give you any real performance boost (probably the opposite), since all the RAM you used to create the Ram Disk would simply be used as regular RAM by Photoshop. It's simply a complicated way to achieve the exact same thing.

    ---

    Example :

    Let's say Photoshop need 24 GB of data space.

    System 1 have 32Gb or RAM + regular HDD scratch disk.

    System 2 have 16Gb of RAM + 16 GB Ram disk as the scratch disk.

    Then, in System 1 : Photoshop simply use 24GB of RAM and don't even need to use the scratch disk.

    in System 2 : Photoshop use all of 16GB of RAM + 8 GB on the Ram disk.

    = same thing.
     
  8. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Another example :

    Let's say Photoshop need 50 GB of data.

    System 1 : PS use 32 GB on system RAM, then 18 GB on HDD scratch disk.

    System 2 : PS use 16 GB on system RAM, 16 GB on Ram disk scratch drive, then 18 GB on HDD as the second scratch disk.
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    Jesus H, that wasn't what I meant. What I meant was that the PSD file be put into a RAM disk so that when working on it, all the changes (which can add up to a hell of a lot) will be written to the PSD file in the RAM disk instead of the SSD, hence reducing the amount of writes to the SSD and prolonging its life.
     
  10. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

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    Chicago
    #10
    So in other words, you've bought a solution and you want us to help you find a problem to make it useful?

    Just use your computer the way you normally do and how it makes you happy. Just because you have 32GB of RAM doesn't mean you have to take time out of your day and go out of your way to make sure all of it is being used as much possible. Thats counter productive.
     
  11. silvetti macrumors 6502a

    silvetti

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    #11
    You should have saved yourself the money and bought a nice dinner... :D
     
  12. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #12
    You would spend more money on the ram disk when including both the ram itself and the ramdisk enclosure. Just load it until PS doesn't touch the ssd too much. The other way isn't as cost effective.
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #13
    No, there's no RAM disk enclosure involved. All you need to do to create a RAM disk is to use a utility called TMPdisk. How does that cost money?
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #14
    Oh the old ones I saw required that. If it's just installed as ram, I'm not sure why you wouldn't simply set it up to use it as ram. Scratch disks are a secondary mechanism. It was different with CS4 and earlier. At this point it's a better idea to just use ram as ram, which obviously requires setting the allowed amount high enough.
     
  15. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Best thing is to just stick it in and use it. I don't see any optimisations that would be necessary. RAM disks, etc are just a pain and they will go wrong. If your apps aren't using most of the 32GB, then perhaps you need less RAM and you could put this money towards an SSD. Put the scratch disk for PS on here, it's a much safer option.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #16
    I mean, changes made when applying filters or other tweaks will be written to the PSD file which normally resides on the SSD. By moving the PSD file to a RAM disk, it reduces writes to the SSD, hence prolonging its life. Besides, RAM disks operate at much higher speeds too, although it isn't that noticeable. (I did a Blackmagic test on a RAM disk and it went past the 3GB/s mark).
     
  17. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #17
    I need to check on that, because it should be able to cache things to primary ram rather than disk space when adequate space is available.
     
  18. benjai thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #18
    That's a decent way to sum it up although 'want' is probably a bit of a strong word. I guess I was just kind of curious as to what other people with that much ram normally do and if they actually used much of it.

    Am quite happy with it as is, I suppose it also futureproofs it a bit.

    ----------

    Oh, and thanks everyone for the feedback. Incidentally, I don't use Photoshop too much, and certainly not enough to have to worry about performance issues there. =)
     

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