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Does 8gb of RAM make a major real-world difference for the time being?

Whackintosh

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 8, 2009
434
14
Montreal, Quebec
Just wondering if it's worth getting a machine with 8Gb of RAM over the standard 4Gb for things like video editing, aperture etc. Can most of today's apps even use 8 gigs of memory? I assume the biggest advantage would be for running a virtual windows machine within OSX and things like that.
 

plasticphyte

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2009
272
0
New iMac's can handle 16Gb of RAM. OS X can handle OOOOODLES more than that, and so can applications.

More RAM never hurt anyone.
 

NJRonbo

macrumors 68020
Jan 10, 2007
2,451
459
For me, it's not a matter of what apps use
more memory...

It's a matter of how much multitasking I
can do without straining the resources of
my iMac.

If you have many startup programs that
you keep constantly running, open many
windows at once while encoding and
burning DVDs then the extra ram is well
worth it.

I can push the limits of my iMac with
8GB ram and not feel the sweat.
 

mr_matalino

macrumors 6502a
Oct 14, 2005
538
53
A good rule to follow it max out as much RAM as you can afford. I thought it would take years to see 8GB of RAM for $200 more in the iMacs (obviously the extra RAM slots made this possible). Any virtual machine (Parallels, VMWare, etc...) will eat as much RAM as you can give it and you will notice a definite improvement.
 

zerohp

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2008
68
0
I have two macs with 4gb of ram and have never experienced swapping when not using a virtual machine. That's why I ordered an i7 with 4gb. It's easy to upgrade later.
 

53x12

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2009
1,544
4
There are some good benchmarks at OWC showing performance on the new iMac's with various configurations of RAM.

Awesome link. Thanks for sharing! :D

From my reading, it seems in general like the biggest performance jump is seen from 4gb to 8gb, rather than from 8gb to 12gb (for both 32bit and 64bit). Am I seeing that correctly? Looks like 8gb is the way to go for now. :)
 

EliteF50

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2009
197
0
Sorry to go off topic, but which upgrade is more worth it? 3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or 8GBs of RAM?
 

fruitpunch.ben

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2008
592
165
Surrey, BC
There are some good benchmarks at OWC showing performance on the new iMac's with various configurations of RAM.

Thats an awesome link! It exactly answers my questions about how much benefit more RAM will give, thanks!
Answer: pretty much none, unless you are running dozens of apps hogging at least 50% system memory.

Sorry to go off topic, but which upgrade is more worth it? 3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or 8GBs of RAM?

i5!
Ok that doesn't answer your question, but the i5 gives a significant power increase so if you can at all afford it i'd reccomend that!
Otherwise I would say go the CPU upgrade, in 6 months 8GB RAM will be $50 from 3rd party suppliers, and the CPU can not be upgraded later without voiding warranty.
 

barefeats

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2000
1,055
17
Your original question involved video editing and Aperture. Both Motion and Aperture quickly gobble up more than the 3GB limit per app since they grab unused memory for caching.

If you are using Compressor or After Effects, both apps can spawn subtasks for each core that can grab 3GB of RAM each.

I say 8GB is the minimum for best all around performance and minimal virtual memory hits.
 

EliteF50

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2009
197
0
i5!
Ok that doesn't answer your question, but the i5 gives a significant power increase so if you can at all afford it i'd reccomend that!
Otherwise I would say go the CPU upgrade, in 6 months 8GB RAM will be $50 from 3rd party suppliers, and the CPU can not be upgraded later without voiding warranty.

I would get the i5, but 27 inches is way too big for me. I don't want to have to move my head just to see the other side of my screen. :p

Do you think they'll put the i5 into the 21.5" iMacs?
 

53x12

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2009
1,544
4
Do you think they'll put the i5 into the 21.5" iMacs?

Nope. Temp + lack of room. Get the 27'' i5. Save your money up until you can afford the difference. You won't regret it.

Im waiting for my i7 and ordered 4gbs for $85 when the machine arrives 5 mins before i turn it on it will be upgraded

Wise decision. Imho I would recommend doing a benchmark with the 4gb so you have a reference and then put the 8gb in.
 

fruitpunch.ben

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2008
592
165
Surrey, BC
Wise decision. Imho I would recommend doing a benchmark with the 4gb so you have a reference and then put the 8gb in.

Is it just me or has RAM prices shot up since the iMac was announced?
I looked at crucial's website today and it was $115 for 2x2GB for the iMac, I distinctly remember it being around $88 when I was checking the day the new iMacs were announced.
Same thing with OWC.
Oh well that just helps to save me the cost of buying my RAM just yet.
I refuse to pay much over $70 since thats what that configuration cost about 4 months ago. I'll buy when it comes back down.
 

53x12

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2009
1,544
4
Is it just me or has RAM prices shot up since the iMac was announced?
I looked at crucial's website today and it was $115 for 2x2GB for the iMac, I distinctly remember it being around $88 when I was checking the day the new iMacs were announced.
Same thing with OWC.
Oh well that just helps to save me the cost of buying my RAM just yet.
I refuse to pay much over $70 since thats what that configuration cost about 4 months ago. I'll buy when it comes back down.

Crucial is still $85.99 at Newegg.
 

nicroma

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2009
505
36
Midwest, USA
I have noticed that my machine could use more RAM. When I get some more money I am going to upgrade to 8GB of RAM. Enabling Fast User Switching and having one user that has iPhoto and Photoshop open, and another user with multiple apps open, it eats up 4GB pretty fast. I am surprised at how much RAM iPhoto uses by itself.
 

gwhitta

macrumors member
Nov 11, 2009
44
0
I put an extra 4gb of RAM into my new i7 today to boost it up to 8gb and while I don't expect to see an appreciable boost in performance any time soon, I spent the whole time installing the RAM making Tim Taylor type grunts ("More Power! Gruh-gruh-gruh!") and that alone made it worth it for me.
 

fruitpunch.ben

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2008
592
165
Surrey, BC
I put an extra 4gb of RAM into my new i7 today to boost it up to 8gb and while I don't expect to see an appreciable boost in performance any time soon, I spent the whole time installing the RAM making Tim Taylor type grunts ("More Power! Gruh-gruh-gruh!") and that alone made it worth it for me.

rofl.
classic :p
 
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