How much RAM? 24 GB? 40 GB? Other?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by EugW, Jul 2, 2017.


How much RAM?

  1. 8 GB

    0 vote(s)
  2. 16 GB

    13 vote(s)
  3. 24 GB

    25 vote(s)
  4. 32 GB

    17 vote(s)
  5. 40 GB

    34 vote(s)
  6. 48 GB

    0 vote(s)
  7. 64 GB

    4 vote(s)
  8. More than 64 GB

    3 vote(s)
  1. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    Just curious. How much RAM did you get? I went with 24 GB for my 2017 iMac as I figure that'd probably last me the life of the machine with my moderate usage. No 3D and only light video editing maybe. Plus, if really needed, I could always upgrade later.

    However, I see an awful lot of people going with 40 GB right off the bat. I'm thinking this is way overkill for most (although not all) people, but it's probably because the up front cost isn't enormous, not because of need.

    OTOH, for my 2017 MacBook I went with 16 GB, because I keep my laptops a long time, and 8 GB is only sufficient in 2017 with my moderate usage. In 5 years, I'm thinking it will be OK but not ideal and the memory is not upgradeable. Also, with two users, you can add around 2 GB to those requirements if the second user doesn't log out. With 24 GB RAM that isn't not an issue, but with 8 GB that would be a big deal.
  2. mollyc macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2016
    I have 32 in my 2012 iMac and will likely get 64 when I upgrade this summer. The aftermarket price of 64 is the same price as Apple for 32 so I'd be getting double the memory for the same price.
  3. c613m macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2011
    I went with ordering an extra 16GB of Crucial from for 161.99 for a total of 24GB's.
  4. cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    16GB for now - the stock RAM plus one 8GB DIMM. I can add another 8GB later if it's needed.
  5. Bob418 macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2015
    I ordered the 32GB package from Amazon, but have to wait for 4 weeks. Anyway I believe 40GB is going to be enough for my usage.
  6. macsplusmacs macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    40. have it on my desk right now. (ok 32G x 2) but my new iMac won't be here till Thurs so....

    I have to say that I am pleased that at the time I took the poll the number for 40gigs was 30%
  7. iemcj macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2015
    Anything beyond 16 is overkill for the sake of overkill. I use FCPX extensively editing 4k video from my canon 5d mark 4 and rarely does it actually use up more than 7 gigs. I'm a professional photographer but I have no idea how someone can possibly USE anything beyond 16, cuz if UHD video editing doesn't do it then what does?

    I bought 16 gigs to add to my stock 8 simply because I wanted to be future proofed. But good lord the people buying 32 gigs on up, what possible tasks are you doing that ram is your bottleneck? We all know it's not for gaming.
  8. macsplusmacs macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Well I page out my 16gig Mac after a week of use. (Development)

    and my work Mac with 64gigs is fine for weeks or even more doing same kind of work.

    its worth $300 to me to get 40 gigs and not have to worry about such things for a long time and provide to an overall snappier experience as I grind out my work product.
  9. Buxley macrumors newbie


    Jul 22, 2013
    I'm trying to find Crucial memory, verified by them for the 3.8 i5 27" iMac, and having no luck. That being said, I'll be upgrading to hopefully 40gig. ...I say "hopefully" because someone around these forums said something about getting an 8 gig machine with all the RAM slots full, meaning they had gotten a 2gigx4 install. I was kinda surprised to hear that, and could have misread/misremembered what was said.
  10. EugW thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    Yeah, some multimedia content creation, software development (esp. with a lot of virtual machines), some scientific software, etc. all can easily max out 16 GB. So not overkill for a lot of people to go over 16 GB.

    For my more moderate usage, 12 GB usually is actually fine but occasionally becomes a limitation, esp. with a second a user (my wife, who never bothers signing out), so 16 GB probably would have been fine for me for now, but it was actually cheaper to go to 24 GB anyway. And with 24 GB, I'm probably good for 5 years or more. BTW, I semi-retired my PC to make room for a two-iMac setup so, I may start using one VM too for Windows. I'd allocate 4 GB to the Windows VM. Mind you, the second iMac will just be used as a monitor, so theoretically I could put the VM on that one instead to save memory on the primary machine.

    For my MacBook m3, while I think 8 GB is going to be a bit limiting in 5 years, 12 GB would have been fine for me, but you can't get 12 GB so I went with 16 GB. With a single user on the MacBook I'm usually in the 4-6 GB usage ballpark, but with a second user it may be 7-8 GB. My guess is by 2022 we'll be using at least 2 GB more on average, possibly more.

    The 8 GB 27" iMacs come with 2x4. In fact, I think the 16 GB 27" iMacs come with 2x8 but don't quote me on that.
  11. kblbn86 macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2016
    I decided to go for 24 GB.

    16 gigs is probably enough but I don’t know how long I will be using this machine for. 6-8 years? Idk.

    Better leave some overhead and futureproof.
  12. macsplusmacs macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    the nice thing is on the 27" its user replaceable. so this year you get X gigs. and next year it will be even cheaper to swap out and add more.
  13. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    The two large RAM sweet spots for the 2017 27 inch iMac in terms of capacity per $$ are 24 and 40 GB. I'm going with 40 on my new iMac even though it is more than I really need.
  14. Lando555, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017

    Lando555 macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2017
    I ordered the iMac with 8 GB (2x4) and additionally got a 32 GB (2x16) Micron Crucial kit from Amazon Germany. Actually, I think 40 GB is overkill for me. Yet, with 24 GB I might think about upgrading in the future, especially for VM. And then I would need to replace modules. Also, the 32 GB kit was 210€ while the 16 GB kit was 129€.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 2, 2017 ---
    I decided to get the regular version and not the Mac version because a) a lot of users here have reported that it works just fine, b) it is available and c) it is cheaper.
  15. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    For the use you describe, you'll probably be fine with 8GB - frankly its all you need for "general purpose" use. I'd quite agree with going 16GB on a new computer, especially a non-upgradeable MBP, for future-proofing, though.

    The people who actually need 32GB or more know who they are.

    For the iMac, since Apple's upgrades are so expensive, the obvious thing to do is to get the 8GB version and add a crucial/kingston/OWC 16GB kit - which will take you to 24GB for less than the cost of Apple's upgrade to 16GB. That will probably be all you need - if not, just replace the original 8GB with bigger chips, as and when.
  16. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    BTO without touching the stock 8GB, then bought myself 2x16GB modules in fill in the empty slots, so 40GB for now. I doubt I will need to max it to 64GB any time soon, but the option is there whenever I feel like to. And when that happens the 2x16GB doesn't need to go, unlike if I go for 2x8GB now.
  17. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2014
    How much does going with uneven sizes of ram sticks impact performance on the iMac?
  18. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    I went with 24GB for now. I live with 16GB on my MBP for the same tasks, so I'm fine. At some point I'll probably bump to 48GB, but I'm averaging about 50-60% utilization right now.
  19. starwager19 macrumors newbie


    Jan 1, 2016
    I went to 64GB, with full knowledge that it's overkill. I almost did 40, but at the last minute decided to just max it out from the beginning so I never have to think about it again.
  20. snap01 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2017
    Given that individual files in PS can easily be a couple gigs (I regularly run into the 4gig limit for psd and need to use psb format), I would think it no problem to take advantage of 16gb.

    Add PS + Lightroom + OS + web browsers + crash plan (they recommend 1gb ram per TB of files allocated to client) + virtual machine and I think you get there pretty easily.
  21. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    When I upgrade I'll probably end up doing 40gb. If you are going to do something you might as well overdo it!

    I currently have 24gb and rarely notice swap being using but it does happen on occasion. Even if you only use a lot of basic programs its hard to go over board with RAM because the memory management of MacOS will just hold onto programs longer in cache making them reopen faster when you need them again vs purging them.

    Because of the way Safari works and the amount of tabs I use the more RAM the better. Safari is my preferred browser but it will eat RAM like its nobodies business.

    Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 5.03.09 PM.png

    Ignore photos and iTunes and you'll notice 138mb to 448mb PER TAB, ~1800mb of RAM is being used just by Safari currently.

    Point is even saying "if you only use Safari and Mail" then 8gb is fine may not always be the case. If you have a HDD having a lot of RAM is especially nice since the longer stuff can stay cached in it prevents relying on the slow HDD as much. Even SSD performance will be hindered if you are running out of RAM though.
  22. geoelectric, Jul 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017

    geoelectric macrumors 6502


    May 19, 2008
    I have 2x8GB of Crucial in hand and was going to try running at 24GB to start, but realized with a Fusion drive configured I don't want any memory pressure (ie swapping to disk) whatsoever if I can help it.

    Since I run VMs for dev and frequently have a ton of browser tabs open I can easily push past 16GB and up towards 24GB. I caught Chrome chewing 8GB on its own the other day after significant uptime, and JetBrains IDEs and Electron-based editors tend to gobble RAM. Plus LLVM compiles with whatever it can use, which is nice for homebrew if nothing else.

    So I decided to play it safe and exchange the 16GB for 32GB, for 40GB total. Otherwise my upgrade path if I'd started feeling cramped would have been chucking the stock RAM for another 2x8GB kit and only having 32GB for the same total price, which seemed silly.

    That said, if I were just running standard apps and gaming I'd probably have left it at 8 or 16GB and called it a day. My MacBook Pro runs great at 16.
  23. EugW thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    Yeah, VMs. These days I don't run them usually (but may start with a single 4 GB Windows 10 VM), so my usage is much less.

    12 GB is OK for me most of the time on my desktop but I can occasionally page out on that. So 16 might be OK for the near time, but 24 GB is a good bang-for-the-buck and gives me a bit more room to grow.

    On my laptop, 8 GB is fine for me most of the time, but 12 GB gives more breathing room, esp. for a couple of years down the line. Unfortunately, you can't spec a MacBook with 12 GB RAM.
  24. mpe macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    There is no universal answer. Use RAM size that fits your apps.

    Personally, I have 32GB, but could just as well live with just 16GB (Xcode, Lightroom, normal desktop usage).
  25. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Well of course there is no universal answer to "how much RAM did you get?" but if you mean the general question of "how much should I get?" then I agree. Adding RAM has diminishing returns for most people, once you are at 16gb it will be hard to notice any benefits without specific workloads.

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