How much memory to add to 2011 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by senorgreg, May 30, 2011.

  1. senorgreg macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    I am just about to order 8gb of Ram from Crucial for my 2011 BTO iMac, which would bring it to 12gb total ram, I can't see any reason why I would need more than 12gb at this stage, right?

  2. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    It is a common misconception with a number of users that boosting RAM is going to result in an increase in performance. This is far from necessarily true and is often a case of money not very well spent.

    It all depends on what the computer is going to be used for and what Applications are going to be used. For general use, the supplied 4GB is usually adequate.

    The correct approach is to get used to using the machine, keeping an eye on the Activity Monitor which will indicate if more RAM is actually required.
  3. sth, May 31, 2011
    Last edited: May 31, 2011

    sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    General rule: As long as the swap usage is zero or close to zero in Activity Monitor (under the "Memory" tab), adding more RAM won't do anything.
  4. Kerel macrumors member

    May 19, 2011
    Weimar Germany
    I can't see any reason why you need more than 4gb ram or 8?
    Where do you need 12gb for?
  5. Yuppi macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2007
    Virtualization is a good reason...
    At least that is why I am going to do the exact same. If I really happen to need more than 12, I could upgrade the other 4GB to 8GB, but I doubt that would happen anytime soon...
  6. bakura macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2011
    It depends on what you are using. Aperture 3 uses a lot of memory (with very large RAW, Safari, Mail and some other applications, I only have around 600 Mb free - I have 8 Gb -).

    Otherwise, if you are only surfing on the web, reading mails... 4 Gb is enough.
  7. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    You can easily get a 4gb machine to swap with applications like Photoshop, Aperture, Logic, etc.

    Depending on what you do with these, even 8gb may not be enough sometimes (although 8gb is usually fine these days, even for most powerusers)

    For running virtual machines.
  8. elithrar macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2007
    Modern OS's cache in RAM aggressively. "Free" RAM is not a good metric to use for determining whether you need more; page ins/outs as a percentage of regular IO operations are, however.
  9. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    True, monitoring swap usage is the much better metric than just looking at the amount of free RAM.

    However, especially Aperture 3 easily makes a 4gb machine use swap.
  10. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Without knowing what you run, it's hard to say how much you need. The price for the 8GB kit is pretty inexpensive so it's not that much money extra spent if you only need 8GB. Plus it's a machine you will use for how many years?

    As for more than 12GB? since you would have to replace the 4GB in the system to go past that, I'd recommend seeing how the 12GB holds up for you. You can always order more ram later. If you do replace the original memory, save the original memory while the system is still under warranty/Applecare. Apple sometimes insists on having the original memory under certain conditions.
  11. nyukfui macrumors member

    May 10, 2011
    Why not sell the 2x2GB and buy 4x4GB RAM? RAM is never enough for me.
  12. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    This can cause issues with warranty repairs in some cases. Also if the Mac needs to be replaced Apple tends to want to see Apple ram in the system.

    In theory if the issue has nothing to do with memory it shouldn't matter. In reality Apple isn't the only company that wants to see the system tried with the original parts.

    Oh yeah and since the original poster hasn't stated what they are using the machine for, for all we know 4GB is more than enough. It's easy enough to go from 4GB to 12GB then to 16GB if the person really needs more than 4GB.
  13. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    May 10, 2011
  14. shaunb83 macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2008
    If you're running RAM hungry applications - pretty much anything made by Adobe or Microsoft, and you like to run lots of them together (e.g. photoshop, illustrator, acrobat, word, excel, iphoto) together with other standard applications (mail, itunes, safari), then you can easily get to 8 GB of ram, particularly if you like opening lots of tabs in Safari.

    Alternatively, some types of applications (e.g. 3-D visualization) can also chew through RAM.

    So it really depends on how easy you want your machine to be to use - if you detest having to quit and reopen applications like I do, then the extra RAM will be very useful.

    If you just use mail/safari/itunes/iphoto, then most of the time 4 GB would be more than ample.
  15. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    You could do all that and then some on just 2GB. Less even.
  16. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    May 10, 2011
    8MB actually. Thats all my Centris 610 needs.
  17. stir fry a lot macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    He could be like me and use the following programs (many times in conjunction with each other)

    After Effects
    Mocha Pro
    Cinema 4d
    ..just to name a few

    12gb is working well for me so far.
  18. senorgreg thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks for all the replies. I have been working all day and only just got back to the site. I have ordered the 8gb.

    I use a very large iPhoto library which since the iPhotos 11 has been very memory hungry with my old machine. I also use iMovie with alot of 1080i content, so I figure both could use it.

    Also, as someone above pointed out, it is very cheap, so I figured for less than $100 it was a worthwhile upgrade.

    Thanks again.
  19. Georgio macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2008
    Essex, UK
    As I always say, system RAM is like horses under the bonnet, the difference being that more RAM doesn't use more juice but does give you a smoother machine especially if your using a lot of media content.

    Plus while I'm working I like to have iTunes/mail & Firefox open, 12GB gives me more overhead if I have to open and work on some large Photoshop files.

  20. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    It never hurts to have too much RAM is what i always say. So as long as the cost is reasonable...why not?
  21. bakura macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2011
    Of course, but you can't buy an iMac with 2 Gb or RAM :p.
  22. abthegreat macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2008
    2X2gb standard and i can add 2X4gb on the i7 ?
    no matching issues right as long as the 2X2gb and 2X4gb are on the same channel
  23. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey

    What is apple ram?
    oem ram is a better term.

    apple no longer labels the ram with the apple logo. most likely the ram will be

    samsung, Hynix or micron. this has been true of imacs ,mac minis, mac pros , macbook pros for around 4 years.

    (I do agree with you that setting a machine back to oem is best when asking for a repair)
  24. makingmusic macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2008
    Which slot original RAM

    After 33 days of my new iMac 27" the hard drive is DEAD! I need to remove the RAM I purchased and install the RAM that came with the system.

    Question - was the original RAM in the top or bottom two slots? I believe the pair of original RAM was in both right bays or left bays.
  25. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2008
    Ranchi, India
    Value seems to be at 12GB...

    I just bought 8GB (plus the stock 4) of highly rated (5-egg, 200+ review) RAM for $67 shipped from NewEgg. Do I need 12GB? No, but that should last me 3-4 years and won't have to pull out any measly 2GB dimms in a year or two when I decide that 8GB is insufficient.

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