how much memory should I buy?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ravinder08, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. ravinder08 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #1
    About to upgrade the Ram on my 2012 iMac, it has the standard 8GB of Ram at the moment the computer has been running slow lately and am think of doubling the ram to 16GB. I only do the usual stuff of interenet, emails, web browsing and office stuff, nothing intensive. Should I get more now or will the extra 8GB enough or should I have bought 2X8 GB so adding another 16GB to give 24GB.
     
  2. oVerboost macrumors 6502a

    oVerboost

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    #2
    Get the most that you can afford, but generally 16GB should be more than enough for your usage. You'll probably find it's the old hard drive slowing your iMac down rather than the RAM, unless in Activity Monitor your seeing your RAM being used up (which it shouldn't be just browsing the net etc). Maybe consider an external SSD and copy your existing hard drive over to that.
     
  3. wardie macrumors regular

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    Aug 18, 2008
    #3
    Doubt it is memory as if you have maintained the same usage pattern for what you do then memory would have been a problem since the start (or not). Above post seems more likely, buy an external SSD. If you’ve only got USB2 interface but Thunderbolt on it then you may want to use an external drive with Thunderbolt as it will be faster but more expensive to buy. Or USB3 will be fine and cheapest way to go for external drives. Then clone your current system onto it and change the startup disk to the SSD. Once your happy with it you can use the internal HDD as more storage or a backup of the system drive on SSD. Whatever, always have a backup :)
     
  4. RobbieTT macrumors 6502

    RobbieTT

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    #4
    As said, it is not the memory. MacOS and standard apps will happily run on 4GB and the current de facto standard of 8GB just gives some breathing room. MacOS is both memory efficient and capable of utilising any extra as a cache. Back in the day getting more memory was always seen as a good thing and I think too many of us have just got in the habit of advocating more RAM. Realistically the only group of people who need more RAM are those using one of the very few memory sensitive apps or, more likely, for those of us running virtual machines.

    Running 'slow of late' usually points to a software issue somewhere so finding the source of that can only help. Getting an SSD on a system is one of the few 'must have' upgrades. It is the only new upgrade in the last few decades that produces an instant improvement in capability and usability to any computer.
     
  5. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #5
    Many thanks for all you helpful replies.
    From what everyone is saying I think I’ll buy an external SSD (not sure which one to buy) the late 2012 iMac I have is USB3 so should be ok
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    The OP wrote:
    "...the computer has been running slow lately"

    IMPORTANT QUESTION:
    What kind of drive is inside?

    If it's a platter-based hard drive, that's why it's "running slow" -- probably NOT the RAM.

    What you need is an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD.
    Plug that in, set it up to be the boot drive, and EVERYTHING will run MUCH faster.

    You don't need to spend a lot -- a 500gb SSD will do the job and do it well.
    I'd suggest a Sandisk Extreme or Samsung t5 drive.
    (If you buy the Samsung, be sure to REFORMAT it and get rid of any factory-installed software BEFORE you put the Mac OS onto it).

    If you have large libraries of movies, music and pics, LEAVE THEM on the internal HDD.
    They don't "need speed".
    Keep the SSD "lean and clean", and it will run at its best.

    You can use a piece of velcro to secure the drive to the back of the iMac's stand.
    You won't even see or know it's there.

    You won't believe the performance improvement you get from doing this.
    You'll be back here telling us how great a difference it made... ;)
     
  7. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #7
    This iMac can handle 32G max. If you're going to keep it, max it out. 16G is the minimum if you're going to be on the internet.

    RAM is not the reason that it's running slow — doesn't work that way. Besides, you have that old spinner inside—get rid of it.

    Memory leaks, especially through browsers, are a fact of life. Word is a major culprit and there are many others. Not enough RAM can cause your system to freeze. Mine did occasionally until I upgraded to the full 32G. Sometimes, when I had 24G installed, my free RAM was less than 100mB (I have tools that can test this). Besides web sites, AU and VST memory leaks are major contributors as is Word. Who knows what old crap installed that is also causing problems?

    Rebooting every day helps as does upgrading to High Sierra or Mojave on an SSD.
     
  8. RobbieTT macrumors 6502

    RobbieTT

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    #8
    If you need to add RAM just to do basic stuff then something is wrong. Again, 4GB is fine and 8GB is smooth running. Only spend money where you need it. I run 9 Macs, 7 run with 8GB, the one MBP that I may run VMs on has 16GB and the iMac Pro (with a demanding workload) has 32GB.

    The SSD upgrade is worth the money but save the rest towards your next Mac.
     
  9. Kurri macrumors 6502

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #9
    Question, will more RAM really help a 2012 imac that much in speed? Isnt the processor pretty old at this point? Just curious.
     
  10. iTurbo macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2008
    #10
    I went ahead an loaded my 2012 27" iMac with 32 GB RAM soon after I bought it. Was cheap enough at the time although prices fluctuate. It is a build-to-order machine, but I only got it with 8 GB because of Apple's exorbitant prices on RAM upgrades. It is super easy to do yourself and I only had to buy 3 more 8GB sticks to fill it IIRC.

    If you plan to use it till 2020 or beyond I'd go ahead an just get it.
     
  11. Fried Chicken macrumors 6502

    Fried Chicken

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  12. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    Mar 12, 2005
    #12
    I don't think you understand how RAM is utilized in modern operating systems. If you have very little free RAM, the OS is doing its job and properly cacheing data to RAM. Rebooting it just causes everything to be need to be reloaded from disk.

    The simplest way to tell if you could benefit from more RAM is look at the Memory Pressure graph in Activity Monitor. If it goes red, you could benefit from more. The Swap used is also a good indicator which ideally would remain close to zero.
     
  13. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #13
    Thanks for this information
    I may get an external SSD first before upgrading the Ram if it runs quicker then I’ll be happy. That might give me better bang for buck I can always upgrade memory later but I think Ssd is a better upgrade.
     
  14. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

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    Jul 15, 2018
    #14
    I think it depends what you're running. I'm still using a late 2012 Mac mini. It was a high spec version with 2.6mhz i7 and I filled it out to 16gb of ram. For most basic stuff it runs fine. Lots of stuff on the internet is more dependent on network connections than computer specs. If I do something really cpu intensive (like exporting files using Prime noise reduction using DxO) it can be pretty sluggish. And if I were editing video I'm sure it wouldn't suffice. But I'd say the gpu and hard drive are bigger bottle necks than the cpu for the vast majority of normal day-to-day stuff.
     
  15. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    #15
    An SSD will have a much bigger impact on day to day performance than adding more RAM unless you or so low on RAM you are swapping to disk.
     
  16. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    Sep 27, 2008
    #16
    I loaded up mine with 128GB of RAM and suggest you do the same!

    Just kidding about you doing the same. In all seriousness, given your listed usage of emails, internet surfing, and general office work, currently you should not need more than 8GB of RAM. As the user above me suggested, you will see a lot more improvement in speed just by installing an internal SSD. They are quite inexpensive these days.
     
  17. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Unfortunately, your statement tells me that I know far more about this than you do. What part of my statement that I have tools to test these things was not clear?

    I am an experienced Mac tech with clients who need me to know and understand such matters. 16G is the bare minimum as far as I'm concerned unless a sealed system that never accesses the internet. The apps I use to make my living would cause my system to freeze if I did not have 32G on board—as they did before I upgraded.

    My opinions are based on my testing and experience and not nonsense that others found on the internet written by guys in their armchairs.

    The OP swaps in and out of an ancient (over 5 year old) spinner. So, while 8G RAM shouldn't be the cause of his slowness, having no idea the health of that drive nor knowledge of the apps being run, I can only take a blind guess and state that it probably isn't the problem—but it can be. Only on my bench could I be certain.
     
  18. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Many thanks I only use the stock Apple Apps. No music or video production or photoshop. I don’t do anything intensive.
     
  19. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I never challenged the fact that you have tools to test these things. I challenged your understanding of what your tool are reporting to you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the OS or tools reporting there is no free RAM in the system. The OS is designed to use all available RAM.
     
  20. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #20
    When there is very little or no free RAM, Macs freeze. They do.

    I'm sorry if this challenges some armchair expert you've read on the internet.
     
  21. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    Mar 12, 2005
    #21
    No reading necessary here. My systems stays up for months on end with no free RAM. Running anything under the sun photo editing/video editing, Virtual Machines, Docker Containers. If your system is freezing their is something corrupt in your hardware or software it is not because you don't have free RAM. Your system literally will use every bit of RAM it has available to it as cache.

    One of my systems is used for exactly what the OP wants to do general purpose MS Office, Internet etc and runs perfectly fine on 4GB of RAM. I'd recommend 8GB for general purpose PC usage. 16GB for heavy users doing photo-editing or video editing, and 32 or 64 for those running VMs or multiple VMs.
     
  22. EightyTwenty macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 11, 2015
    #22
    That is definitely not true. Only 4GB of RAM plus a spinning 5400 HDD is hell on earth for an average Mac user. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. The experience is atrocious.
     
  23. RobbieTT macrumors 6502

    RobbieTT

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    #23
    MacOS with normal office apps and web surfing will indeed happily run on an older Mac with 4 GB and I have a couple of 2012 Mac minis that will do just that. Any spinner feels horrific once you get used to an SSD but until recent years we all did just that.

    As I said, upgrading to an SSD should be considered a must but there is too much nonsense peddled about RAM and many users would not notice the difference between 4GB and 16GB on MacOS with standard apps. Many of us have a specific need for more RAM (sometimes loads) but in truth we are not the majority. Absolutely everyone would benefit from running MacOS on an SSD.
     
  24. RobbieTT macrumors 6502

    RobbieTT

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    #24
    A simple and accurate description.

    Time to treat yourself to some armchair-reading in an effort to understand Daniel's message. I agree that reading random information on the internet can be counterproductive so just stick to Apple's OS Developer Documentation. My suggestion is to start here:

    https://developer.apple.com/library...tual/ManagingMemory/Articles/AboutMemory.html

    Or more put more simply here:

    https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201464#memory

    But in truth the quote above from danielwsmithee pretty-much nails it in remarkably few words.

    ;-)
     
  25. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #25
    If only that were true.

    Read and learn:

    The way that Macs work in the real world does not agree with your opinions. I have fixed way too many problems on too many Macs by simply adding more RAM to machines that you guys would declare ok.

    The diagnosis is easy— frozen Mac with very little free RAM. Reboot and there's plenty and everything's fine.

    The cure— add more RAM. Reboot daily. Call me if it happens again (it doesn't happen again). If that wasn't the problem, it would be another service call on my dime.

    The real problem is that memory leaks are pervasive—browsers, apps, plugins etc. and it's getting worse. I can't fix that but I can keep my clients' machines running.

    I like happy clients and have many years experience in this.
     

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25 October 15, 2018