HD Upgrade vs. More RAM

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by digitaldeity, May 15, 2005.

  1. digitaldeity macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2005
    I'm debating on upgrading my G3 900MHz iBook. I have the money for only one upgrade for now but I want the one that will show the most performance improvement.

    So which one will be better? More RAM or a faster HD? I use my computer for many things at school, everything from Word to Flash, and Dreamweaver, Photoshop, iWork, etc...

    OR the alternative don't upgrade at all and save my money and buy a new G4 iBook/wait for the new iBooks? And sell my G3 on eBay to help pay for the newer iBook.

    I have called apple and they recomended me to upgrade instead of going for a G4 because I won't see much improvement.

    Any help is great! Thanks guys
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Hard to say because we don't have enough info on your present setup, but...

    First, is to get enough RAM. Your machine will be slowed down if it has too little, conversely, adding more RAM above the "enough" point will not increase speed any further (unless you use more and bigger programs).

    How much is "enough"? It depends on the number of programs you are using simultaneously, and the size of the data sets you are opening. For Photoshop *generally* you want between 768 Mb and 1.5 GB depending on the size of your projects (of course, a graphic production shop will want 2 Gb or more). If you like to have 10 programs open at once and hop between them, get as much RAM as you can afford.

    This first bump in RAM will give you better speed returns than the hard drive update would. Replacing the HD in an iBook is a nasty little job. Although there is a good improvement from 4200 RPM to 5400 RPM, and a lesser improvement from 5400 to 7200 RPM, whether you will realize much speed depends on how you use the machine.

    The hard drive is mostly the bottleneck when you start up the machine or open a program for the 1st time, when you are using scratch disk and VM files (you'll do less writing to the drive after you upgrade the RAM) and when you are writing large files.

    Boot up is manageable - it's one time only and who cares if it takes 5 seconds longer? Ditto with saving files when you are finished editing. You'll reduce VM use by upgrading RAM. You're not capturing audio or video, so your main bottlenecks for the hard drive will be Photoshop scratch files and saving as you are working. I can't see the hard drive making enough difference to be worth it. Save your money for your next machine.

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