How Much Does a Person Need? Really!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by garycurtis, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. garycurtis macrumors 6502

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    #1
    A few of my friends and I mulled over options in current Macs weighed against real world needs.

    Attached is the About This Mac info screen on my new machine.

    Somewhat modest. Certainly not an i7-powered iMac.

    I ran some tests to answer these questions —

    Do I need Fusion Drive?

    Would I benefit from an ext. SSD Boot Drive?

    Would I benefit from more RAM

    Here's some numbers I clocked the iMac I now have with the a spinning HD:.

    Wake up from sleep mode - :06 sec

    Aperture start :03MS

    Word start :04

    Acrobat Pro start :04

    PhotoShop :08
    Apple Pages :12

    Boot time from power on :45

    I also looked at Activity Monitor to see what the RAM and CPU were doing.
    RAM use was 5.3Gb (out of 8Gb onboard) with the following programs running simultaneously:Aperture, PhotoShop, InDesign,Word. So about 60% utilization factor.
    My friend who is a Mac troubleshooter advised that RAM in excess of 8Gb is a waste. Another friend who is the founder of the 2nd largest MUG (Mac User Group) in America confirmed this. "Don't waste your money unless you are doing one of these three activities: Gaming, Video Editing or Movie Streaming.




    View: original size

    So, I am more than happy with what I've got. Furthermore, OWC is not getting my more of my money; at least not this week.
     

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  2. B.A.T macrumors 6502

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    #2
    It depends on what that person is doing with their computer. Is it a work computer or a computer for the home to surf the web. However, I think more people should consider this when purchasing a new machine.
     
  3. Bear, Jan 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014

    Bear macrumors G3

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    #3
    These are your needs. Yes, they do apply to a lot of people, but even your friends advice is not quite correct for some people.

    As for you, if you got a new machine based on your current usage, I'd suggest a fusion drive. Also photo work can also exceed 8GB of RAM as I know from Aperture and photo editing with iTunes, a web browser and Mail as well as a few very small apps running concurrently.

    Also, if you run VMware or Parallels, you might need more than 8GB to allow the virtual machines to run without impacting other things you are running. Sp your MUG friend forgot this and some other situations where more RAM would be rather useful.

    Also, a persons hobbies need to be considered.
     
  4. xraydoc, Jan 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014

    xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #4
    Gary,

    No disrespect, but your friends are not giving you entirely correct information.

    There are plenty of reasons for having more than 8GB of RAM. In addition to video and high-res photo editing, anyone who uses any virtual machines (Windows, Linux, etc.) can benefit from more RAM.

    People who keep multiple apps open and in use at the same time - say a big Keynote presentation, a couple Word documents, a web browser with several tabs open and an image editor like Pixelmator with a 5+MP image and a couple layers - would benefit from >8GB of RAM. And these are not unusual use situations. These are real-world situations. Even a high school student may have all these things active at once.

    If you really think Aperture and Photoshop don't need more, then you're not the target user for either of those two apps.

    Reasons for an SSD are similar. Virtual machine performance is improved significantly. Speed of imaging editing saves and cache files is improved. File copy/transfer can be 3x or more faster than with a mechanical HD.

    Do you NEED any of it? No. You don't NEED a modern iMac either. You could certainly save a boat load of money by using one from 10 years ago. But some people appreciate high performance - and the cost of 16GB of RAM over 8GB and the cost of a 256GB SSD over a mechanical HD is not all that high to be honest.

    If all you do is browse the web and write emails, then, no, you don't need much power at all. But if you're doing anything more than basic tasks, you will see some benefit from some performance options.

    You want to save your money, it's your call. But to suggest that more than 8GB, an SSD, a faster GPU, etc., is a total waste is simply ill-informed at best and irresponsible (if you're in a position to advise people on wise purchases) at worst.

    On top of that, streaming and watching a movie (as your friend suggests) certainly does NOT require over 8GB of RAM. Not even sure why he would suggest that that is one of the situations where it would help.
     
  5. Bear macrumors G3

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    #5
    Good catch. I missed that the first time through.
     
  6. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #6
    Just for fun, I took at look at what the 2011 Mac mini I have at work is doing right now.

    I have open: two Safari tabs, iMessage, Excel, PowerPoint, Activity Monitor and Citrix with one window open (for access to work email). Also running in the background is the Dropbox client, the Google Drive client and iStatMenus.

    So not a very sophisticated load of apps at the moment.

    The machine is using 7.41GB of RAM out of 16GB. If I had only 8GB of RAM, just one more reasonably sized app would push me over the limit and the machine would start paging out virtual memory.

    That, plus it's meager 120GB SSD, everything opens and closes instantaneously. Data files are stored on the stock 500GB mechanical HD. Makes a machine with a somewhat dated processor (2.5GHz dual-core i5) feel nearly as responsive as my 2013 3.5GHz quad-core i7 iMac.

    Not to belabor the point, but modern machines will happily make use of more than 8GB of RAM. And fortunately, RAM is one of the cheapest upgrades you can give your computer. For those looking at non-RAM-upgradable machines, you'd be wise to think ahead.
     
  7. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    #7
  8. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    All these observation and preferences are helpful. And perhaps my friends who said I had enough horsepower are minimalists. Or maybe even cheapskates.

    So, I'll open my mind a little and listen. Before going further, though, let me assure you I will never run Windows, or Virtual whatever. I won't.

    The part about the RAM doesn't warrant any more discussion. But what about an SSD attached as an external drive? I'm not going to sell my machine to buy another iMac just to acquire FD. I won't. Therefore do I want an SSD attached with a wife to ....

    a) work as a boot drive?
    b) just to store my applications?
    c) which cabling type --- USB 3 or Thunderbolt?
    d) I run Aperture all day long. Is bumped up RAM adequate without the SSD? I was thinking of adding 16Gb for a total of 24Gb.
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    a) Yes, you might want to use it as a boot drive, but only if your current boot drive is a HDD.
    b) Perhaps.
    c) Thunderbolt. It's got double the bandwidth of USB 3.0. Thunderbolt is rated at 10 Gb/s, while USB 3 is rated at 5 Gb/s. A SATA3 SSD is rated at 6 Gb/s, so you'll want Thunderbolt.
    d) You could, but 24GB is an unorthodox configuration, and afaik, I don't think you'll benefit from dual-channel this way. I suggest total RAM values in the power of 2, such as 8, 16, 32....etc.
     
  10. Bear macrumors G3

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    #10
    Actually you would benefit from dual channel with 24GB. And for a single disk (SSD or HD) USB 3 is faster than the SSD, so it doesn't matter which is used.
     
  11. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Got it about the RAM. But what about the ext SSD? Is the gain from having the OS on it and booting external? Or by having the Applications on it? Or, are both to one's advantage.?
     
  12. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #12
    I know we're not supposed to do this, and so I do it with great good humor, and I've made more than my fair share of plain old typos, but . . .

    you have to admit that wanting an SSD with an attached wife is a pretty good one.

    Having struggled all day installing balky sliding glass doors, I was very pleased to find something on MacRumors that made me laugh. So thanks.
     
  13. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Yeah. An SSD with a wire is an asset. An SSD with a wife attached could spell trouble. But what do I want the ext SSD for;
    1) the OS?
    2)Applications?
    3) Both?
     
  14. yjchua95, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #14
    How sure are you?

    http://www.hardwareheaven.com/revie...derbolt-ssd-hd-patu3-review-full-article.html

    Buffalo HD-PATU3S with a Crucial M4 128GB SSD.

    Thunderbolt's faster, as seen in the chart :)

    Edit: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/buffalo-ministation-thunderbolt_3.html

    If you scroll down to the part with SSD, Thunderbolt is also significantly faster here, but in reading only (which is more important to see performance benefits)
     
  15. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #15
    Connect the SSD over Thunderbolt in a quality enclosure and install the OS and applications on it. It'll run a maximum speed and should function just as good as an internal SSD.
     
  16. analog guy macrumors 6502

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    #16
    not as simple as it sounds! in my testing (see the peripherals thread) at least one TB enclosure performed SLOWER than the same drives in the same enclosure in USB3 mode.
     
  17. lefty224 macrumors member

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    Sep 20, 2013
    #17
    Final answer?

    So adding a 16GB kit to the existing 8GB on the computer will result in a benefit or no?

    there's 2 conflicting answers here and no one has confirmed either way.

    ----------

    Is this the Lacie Little Big Disk or the Elgato Thunderbolt+?

    Both of those are pricey. Is there a cheaper alternative?
     
  18. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #18
    There's no such thing as cheap Thunderbolt peripherals. Thunderbolt controllers are pricey and complex stuff, that's why it's so versatile and fast.

    Take the Thunderbolt cable for instance. Each end of the cable contains a Gennum GN2033 microchip to facilitate the blazing rates of Thunderbolt. So it justifies the $50 price tag for just the cable alone.
     
  19. Bear macrumors G3

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    #19
    Yes it will be a benefit. The iMac can access memory modules in pairs for a small performance increase over individual access, For this to work, each pair has to be in the correct sockets and the modules within a pair have to have identical specs. If you added a 4GB and 8 GB module, then that pair wouldn't be matched.

    So 2 x 4GB and 2 x 8GB would work for the improved performance. Also, if you need more than 8GB of RAM, extra ram would help even if yo didn't get the dual channel access as itt would still be faster than going to disk for paging.
     
  20. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I am sold on the extra RAM and will order an additional 8Gb this week.

    And I understrand and am impressed about the Thunderbolt peripherals. That is some complex technology. Logic chips in the cable ends!!!! Wow.

    So, if I were to buy a 120Gb SSD to be used externally — but not in a RAID configuration — what are leading brands of smaller Docks or Enclosures with TB ports?
     
  21. lefty224 macrumors member

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    #21
    Any internal options?
     
  22. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #22
    Only if Samsung XP941s are readily available on the market. All Haswell Macs will only take PCIe SSDs with the M2 form factor like the XP941 used by Apple.
     
  23. lefty224 macrumors member

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    #23
    So basically here's my options:

    1. Get an external thunderbolt ssd drive like the Lacie or Legoto but are very pricey

    2. Wait for the samsung xp941 to be available but we don't know when, how much, and for a non techie like me, how to get it installed.

    3. Stick with the current 1 TB HDD 7200 rpm that I have right now and learn to be happy and love it.

    Does this sound right?
     
  24. yjchua95, Jan 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #24
    Option 1 and 3 are the most feasible ones.

    It's very much impossible to open up the iMac, because you have to take apart the screen first. And putting it back is another big challenge.

    EDIT: For the Thunderbolt SSD, I suggest getting a Buffalo HD-PATU3 spinner drive first, and then buy a Samsung 840 Evo and then stick it into the HD-PATU3.

    Update: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/buffalo-ministation-thunderbolt_3.html

    A Kingston SNVP325-S2 SSD was put into the HD-PATU3 and tested over Thunderbolt. This SSD has a sequential read throughput of 230MB/s and sequential write throughput of 180MB/s. As you can see in the chart, over Thunderbolt, the SSD is performing at a near-maximum rate of 219MB/s and 128.5 MB/s, read and write respectively.

    To see performance benefits, such as launching apps faster and faster startup times, the read speed is more important. You'll only see a benefit in increased write speed when writing large amounts of data to the drive.

    The HD-PATU3 contains both Thunderbolt and USB 3 ports.

    If you buy the HD-PATU3S, which comes with an SSD already, I wouldn't really recommend it because it uses a Crucial M4 SSD, which is slower. You can buy the standard HD-PATU3 and fit a Samsung 840 Evo into it.
     
  25. lefty224 macrumors member

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    #25

    Can you send me a link on which hd-patu3s to get and which ssd?
     

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