How much performance increase can I expect by going from 4 GB ram to 8 GB ram?

WizardHunt

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 11, 2007
1,683
35
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
I am going to change my iMac's Memory from 4 GB to 8 GB. I have the March 2009 version of the iMac. 3.06 Ghz, ATI Video 4850, and so on. I would like to know in everyone's opinion how much of a performance gain I could get?

This is the software that I use that may be memory dependent, PhotoShop CS,
Final Cut Express 4.0, Other Video Editing software, I also use Handbrake to convert my presently owned DVD's into a iphone format, would that convert any faster or is that only a processor factor?

Any and All opinions are welcomed.
 

slicecom

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2003
2,058
90
Toronto, Canada
You should keep an eye on your RAM usage (easy to do with iStat). If you regularly exceed your 4GB of RAM in memory usage, you'll notice huge performance increases. If not, you won't really notice any.
 

iShater

macrumors 604
Aug 13, 2002
6,967
370
Chicagoland
If your VM usage is high, then you will notice a speed bump, however, if memory is not your bottleneck, you might not notice much improvement.
 

pionata

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2005
446
0
Montreal
If you don't know if you need 8 gigs of ram there is good chance you do not need it. Honestly, I don't think you will notice any difference with the applications you are using - it will not process faster.

Only people doing professional Music, Video editing or 3d rendering really need over 4 gigs.
 

Alvi

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2008
1,202
307
Mars
Yes, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro really eat ram, you'll feel the performance increase
 

pionata

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2005
446
0
Montreal
Yes, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro really eat ram, you'll feel the performance increase
While they do eat ram to a certain extent, unless your a power user working on multiple 8000x8000 images or 20 tracks video projects there is no way you'll need more than 4 gigs.
 

tucker3434

macrumors regular
Dec 23, 2009
182
0
When I open every available application, I'm using 3.8gb of ram. The extra 4 probably wasn't worth it for me. It all depends on what you do I guess.
 

TMRaven

macrumors 68020
Nov 5, 2009
2,099
1
Check to see if your computer has any page outs, a page outs mean it's forced to use memory from the hdd rather than the ram, which is a very inefficient process.

I'd say if your page outs are below 5% or page ins, then you shouldn't have to upgrade ram right now.
 

mabaker

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2008
1,113
261
It’s actually very ironical cuzz once you’ll get 8 GB, the OS will adjust to that and will fill up the whole RAM accordingly.
 

WizardHunt

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 11, 2007
1,683
35
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Check to see if your computer has any page outs, a page outs mean it's forced to use memory from the hdd rather than the ram, which is a very inefficient process.

I'd say if your page outs are below 5% or page ins, then you shouldn't have to upgrade ram right now.
How do I check for page outs?
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
8,990
2,400
Seattle
For what it's worth, here are some benchmarks. I know that the source could be suspect, since it's from a store, but they actually don't show improvements in many of the tests; it really depends on what you're actually running and on what system.

http://eshop.macsales.com/Reviews/Framework.cfm?page=/Benchmarks/iMacSnowBench.html
Those benchmarks show that 8GB is definitely better than 4GB, with 16GB not being worth the money at this time. Since you can upgrade to 8GB on a 2009 iMac for less than $100, it's a no brainer if you ask me...
 

aki

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2004
687
0
Japan
just repeating but yes, extra ram is a nobrainer if you are doing final cut

(or photoshop i gather not that i use that much)

do it
 

WizardHunt

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 11, 2007
1,683
35
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Just to update you on the reason why I want to upgrade, is for now I want to enjoy the extra ram on my imac 3.06 Ghz March 2009 version, which can only be maxed out at 8 GB. However I plan to buy another iMac and this time it will be the 27" Oct 2009 Quad Core and I will order it with the 4GB x 2 option leaving the last 2 ports empty which I will then remove the 8 GB from this iMac that i upgraded with and put back in the original 2 x 2Gb (4 GB) since my wife does not need the extra ram and I can then put in the extra 8 GB into the new iMac and have 16 GB ram with my Quad Core iMac I7 and it will be cheaper to do it this way. I may even order the new iMac with only 4 Gb ram and buy 8 More GB from OWC for $359.99 instead of upgrading with Apple for $600.00 thereby saving me even more money.

Later on I plan to buy Final Cut Studio but I am using Final Cut Express 4.0 for now. Then I should be able to take full advantage of the Ram increase and the Quad Core iMac. Opinions? Am i crazy? Or Smart like a Fox? Boy did I open myself up for that one! :D
 

zaaria

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2009
8
0
I have a late 2009 27 imac with 4gb originally, i´ve upgrade to 8gb.
I don´t notice any improvement. Same improvement than before the upgrade.

I use final cut, aperture, parallels, visualhub and others common applications (safari, mail, itunes)
 

Alvi

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2008
1,202
307
Mars
I have a late 2009 27 imac with 4gb originally, i´ve upgrade to 8gb.
I don´t notice any improvement. Same improvement than before the upgrade.

I use final cut, aperture, parallels, visualhub and others common applications (safari, mail, itunes)
Now downgrade to 4GB and you'll feel the difference
 

savar

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2003
1,954
0
District of Columbia
I am going to change my iMac's Memory from 4 GB to 8 GB. I have the March 2009 version of the iMac. 3.06 Ghz, ATI Video 4850, and so on. I would like to know in everyone's opinion how much of a performance gain I could get?

This is the software that I use that may be memory dependent, PhotoShop CS,
Final Cut Express 4.0, Other Video Editing software, I also use Handbrake to convert my presently owned DVD's into a iphone format, would that convert any faster or is that only a processor factor?

Any and All opinions are welcomed.
Open up activity monitor and see how many page outs you have. If you have a lot, then getting more RAM will speed up your computer noticeably. If you have only a few or none, then the extra RAM will make no difference at all.
 

Ecoh

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2009
650
23
USA
CS - CS4 will only use up to 4 GB RAM, the about to be released CS5 will use up to 16 GB RAM. I don't know about the other programs.

If you upgrade to the latest versions of software, I think you will be more likely to see a difference with more than 4GB RAM.
 

splitpea

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2009
990
226
Among the starlings
CS - CS4 will only use up to 4 GB RAM, the about to be released CS5 will use up to 16 GB RAM. I don't know about the other programs.
That's per app, not overall. Two CS apps open at the same time can use 8GB. And that's not including the memory used by the OS and any other apps you have open (browser, mail, iTunes, whatever).
 

WizardHunt

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 11, 2007
1,683
35
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Open up activity monitor and see how many page outs you have. If you have a lot, then getting more RAM will speed up your computer noticeably. If you have only a few or none, then the extra RAM will make no difference at all.
Here are my monitor readings.

VM Size: 120.58 GB............. Free: 5.78 GB
Page ins: 506.4 MB............ Wired: 527.7 MB
Page outs: 372 kb............. Active: 942.6 MB
Swap used: 2.3 MB......... inActive: 803.2 MB
....................................... Used: 2.22 GB

This was taken with PhotoShop CS3, and Premier Pro CS3 opened at the same time. and I think I also had Word opened as well as Safari opened.
 

tiggger

macrumors G4
Feb 19, 2010
11,111
1,944
Those benchmarks show that 8GB is definitely better than 4GB, with 16GB not being worth the money at this time. Since you can upgrade to 8GB on a 2009 iMac for less than $100, it's a no brainer if you ask me...
can u post where u have found where u can upgrade a 2009 iMac from 4gb to 8gb for less than $100? thanks...