Buying a 3GB RAM kit vs. 4GB RAM kit - Quick question last post

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Khryz, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Khryz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    #1
    This is my first laptop and my first computer that I actually give a damn about. It's a Macbook 2.16 Intel C2D with only 1GB of RAM.

    When I bought it I told myself I'll try 1GB and I could always upgrade later. Well I wish I shelled out the money before because I am no idea what I would be doing in order to install more RAM myself, how much to get, where is the best place to buy, etc.

    I'm a complete n00b when it comes to this stuff. Right now I have Mail, Adium, Firefox (obviously), and iTunes open with my Dashboard almost full of widgets and my Memory on iStat Pro is telling me it is around 260 Wired, 475 Active, 245 Inactive, and 30 Free. Is that normal? Honestly I don't know how to read most of the stuff on iStat besides the temperatures and stuff.

    So basically I'm looking for some advice on if I should go through Apple to get more RAM, if not what other sites/stores do you recommend, and how much everyone recommends I get? Can you only have 2GB of ram and then 4GB? Can I have 3GB installed?

    THANKS!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    You'll find answers to this and many other commonly asked questions under the Guides tab at the top

    Guides : Hardware: MR Guide to Buying RAM

    Guides : Hardware: MR Guide to Understanding Intel Mac RAM

    Apple charges $200 for a 4GB RAM upgrade, which is more than double the price you would pay with other reputable RAM providers.

    A great source for Mac-compatible RAM is OWC. Their MacBook and MacBook Pro 4GB upgrade kit is $99 (£50).

    Another source is Crucial memory from newegg.com.

    Installation for a Macbook or a MacBook Pro is easy and does not void the Apple Warranty or the AppleCare Protection Plan, unless you damage something in the process.

    In the future, it's recommended to search the forums and/or look at the MacRumors Guides before posting a new question.
     
  3. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    #3
    Thank you very much for your post, I really appreciate it.

    EDIT: Just one question - the Guide says that my particular Macbook is limited to 3.3 GB of RAM. If I buy a 2GB x 2 sticks (4GB) setup, that means 700MB of RAM will be wasted. Is that still a lot better and will give my computer more performance than if I ordered 1GB x 2 sticks (2GB)?

    Would anything bad happen if I got the 4GB setup even though my computer wouldn't handle it?
     
  4. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    #4
    Sorry to double post and bump but I'm in the process of buying more RAM now.

    My question is what is "better"/smarter: Buying a 4GB upgrade kit for $90-100 even though my Macbook can only utilize 3.3GB of RAM (2.16 GHz), or buy a 3GB Upgrade kit with 2GB and a 1GB stick. The 3GB is obviously cheaper but is there anything bad/wrong with using two sticks of different GB's as opposed to using the 2GB x 2 (4GB) setup because they're the same but even though I can't use all the RAM?

    Sorry if that is confusing!!!!

    Need help though! Want to order ASAP.
     
  5. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #5
    Nothing wrong with either option. Personally, I'd go the 3GB route.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    While it's usually recommended to use matching RAM sticks, it's not mandatory. In your case, I'd go with 1x2GB and 1x1Gb.
     
  7. ChrisN macrumors 65816

    ChrisN

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Location:
    Demarest, NJ
    #7
    Go for 4GB, newegg, owc are both good. and go to youtube find some videos, it is very easy to do.

    3GB, no you shouldnt do that because then it will be uneven the 2 slots ie. 2gb in one and 1GB in other which wouldn't be optimal i think.

    ChrisN
     
  8. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    #8
    I ended up getting the Crucial 4GB set from Newegg for $82, ~$96 total with shipping and tax. I figurd that it's just a couple bucks more than the 3GB set and I get to squeeze an extra 300 MB of memory out of my computer (can only use 3.3GB of RAM) and plus having them both be equal so as to not upset the dual core specs.

    Excited to put them in! With only 1GB of RAM now my computer is constantly using 70-80% of it's RAM just browsing and listening to iTunes.
     
  9. merl1n macrumors 65816

    merl1n

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #9
    Wrong. There is nothing wrong with 3GB and it won't affect performance that you will notice. I run that myself. The only thing you gain from matching RAM modules is for memory interleaving and unless you are using memory intensive apps you won't notice a thing.
     
  10. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #10
    Dual channel access (with the 2 x 2 GB configuration) will get you a real world 6% - 8% improvement in performance. Small, but real boost. It's more noticeable on the machines with integrated graphics, because they use the System RAM for video RAM, so the video reads/writes are sped up as well.
     
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #11
    Have you tested this using benchmark software, such as Geekbench? Dual channel performance for MB/MM should be about a 5% gain in video.
     
  12. merl1n macrumors 65816

    merl1n

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #12
    1. I can't test this since I also have an MBP with the memory addressing limitation.

    2. If there is a memory addressing limitation, it will not use Dual channel for 2 x 2GB dimms since you can't use some of the memory. It would work with 2 x 1GB dimms though.

    3. For a meager 5% increase as you state, it is a waste of money to buy 2 - 2GB dimms and be limited to 3.3GB of memory.
     
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #13
    Are you certain of this? That's not my understanding.

    Well, 5% is 5%. Perhaps it's a waste of money to you, but to others it might be well worth the $25 or so.
     
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #14
    Wrong. Dual channel access is a hardware function, and it will continue to use dual channel across the 4 GB (check what Apple System Profiler says) however the OS will only be able to use 3 GB of that.
     
  15. dmw2692004 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #15
    ask yourself if you are going to actually going to utilize the full 3.3GB of ram..
     

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