How much RAM?

bluedoggiant

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jul 13, 2007
2,534
17
MD & ATL,GA
2GB vs 4GB, i make movies, surf the net, edit photos, make websites, listen to music, Garageband, and will have parallels do play PC games, which is better for me? me problem is playling flight simulator X, it needs alot of memory, so if the graphics card has 256MB, and 512MB is required for gaming, after it takes up the video card memory, will it start to take from the regular ram? help me out on this, so answer that question, and tell me if i shud have a 2 or 4GB, also, 2.4 or 2.8Ghz, sorry if ur confused!!!
 

swiftaw

macrumors 603
Jan 31, 2005
6,309
20
Omaha, NE, USA
Get as much RAM as you can afford, however, don't get it from apple. Get it after the fact from a 3rd party vendor (I like otherworldcomputing.com) for a fraction of the price
 

blueicedj

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2007
270
1
I'd say 2gb with 2.8 ghz processor...you can always upgrade the memory later if you need to.
 

johnmcboston

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2005
396
5
Boston
I'd say 2gb with 2.8 ghz processor...you can always upgrade the memory later if you need to.
I disagree. Apple will give you 2x1GB, so if you ever upgrade, you'll have to 'throw away' a DIMM. I'd say go with standard 1GB, and get 4GB upgrade for around $270 and fill that baby up.
 

stuff99

macrumors 6502
May 11, 2007
390
0
how big of a difference does 1.5 gigs of ram have?

Right now I will have 1.5 gigs of ram installed on my new iMac but Im thinking of getting a 2gb stick for a total of 3gb of ram instead

the computer I have right now is pretty fast already...so is the change that noticeable or should I just wait it out for a bit so the ram prices drop a bit more before I buy?

I reposted this from another thread since it applies more here...(the question that is)
 

flopticalcube

macrumors G4
Look at Activity Monitor and see how much free and inactive memory (blue and green) you have when doing your usual things. If its less than 25%, then you may benefit from more RAM. Also look at the page ins/outs ratio, it should be greater than 10:1 otherwise, again, more RAM would help.
 

plinden

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2004
3,969
3
I have one of the orignal Intel iMacs, with 2GB RAM. I use it for the same things you do, and more (webapp dev with Apache and Tomcat running, DVD ripping etc) and usually I don't see many page outs, showing I have enough RAM. But, when I run Parallels my RAM usage goes way up.

If you must run Parallels a lot for some application that runs only in Windows, or are thinking of using Photoshop, get more RAM. But if you're just firing up Parallels maybe once a day for a couple of hours for some casual gaming (you're not going to be able to do any hardcore gaming), 2GB should be enough.
 

teflon

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2007
792
0
I disagree. Apple will give you 2x1GB, so if you ever upgrade, you'll have to 'throw away' a DIMM. I'd say go with standard 1GB, and get 4GB upgrade for around $270 and fill that baby up.
You can always sell the 2gb. Also, OWC have a trade in program where they give you cash if you give them your original ram. You would get $50 for 2x1gb.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,388
42
1123.6536.5321
Whenever RAM discussion come up I like to provide the link to our MacRumors Guide on the subject.

In general, always go with a trusted 3rd party who provides guaranteed Mac-compatibility and a good return policy.

As for the OP's situation, I would recommend going with 4 Gb. No matter what, you're going to have to dispose of some of the RAM Apple pre-installs at some point... as teflon indicated, you can always get something for your old RAM - even if it's not much, it's better than nothing.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,538
1,452
You can always sell the 2gb. Also, OWC have a trade in program where they give you cash if you give them your original ram. You would get $50 for 2x1gb.
The other guy was right. Think about it. If you get the 2.4 24" from Apple with 1GB, vs. upgrading to 2GB from Apple is a $150 price difference. You can order a 2GB stick for $135 from OWC. Not to mention shipping is $4 vs. paying tax on the $150 to get only 2GB from Apple. 3GB this way is then $25 cheaper than 2GB through Apple.

Then look at the 2.8 24" from Apple comes with 2GB RAM. If you configure the $1,799 model and up the CPU to 2.8 and the HDD to 500, it comes in at $150 less than the $2,299 stock 2.8 model because you get 1GB not 2GB RAM. Same thing, get 1 2GB stick from OWC for $140 or 4GB for $275 shipped. That's only about $115 more to get 4GB than to get the stock 2GB model from Apple.

I ordered a 2.8 24" with a 750GB HDD and 1GB of RAM and a BT MM when they were announced. Before tax $2,319. I also ordered 4GB RAM from OWC before prices went up for $234 shipped. When I figured in the $150 savings plus the tax on that, it cost me barely $73 more to get the full 4GB than it would have to get the same machine with 2GB from Apple.
 

BrittQ

macrumors regular
May 23, 2007
235
0
Do you have to have matched pairs of ram? Or can you have the 1g from Apple and put in a 3rd party 2g? Does dual-channel apply here? I'm new to upgrading ram...
 

JoshFink

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2007
114
1
Atlanta, GA
Do you have to have matched pairs of ram? Or can you have the 1g from Apple and put in a 3rd party 2g? Does dual-channel apply here? I'm new to upgrading ram...
From what I read on Crucial you don't have to have matched pairs because they are not dual channel.
 

Sean Dempsey

macrumors 68000
Aug 7, 2006
1,617
3
everyone considering getting ram NEEDS to do this: Get iStat pro in your dashboard, run the computer for a day or two with normal usage, and look at your page in/outs. You'll always have alot of page ins, but pages outs, how many do you have?

If after a few days of use you have gathered up a few 10k outs, you are probably low on ram. If it's a few hundred, you are probably fine.

My iMac with 1GB got about 300,000 outs in just 1 night of work... def needed more. My Mac Pro with 5GB has 2.7 million ins and zero outs... so I haven't hit my disk in nearly a week.
 

stuff99

macrumors 6502
May 11, 2007
390
0
"All Intel Core Macs will run with mismatched RAM, at the loss of the dual channel speedup. These Macs can run a 3 GB configuration (1 GB + 2 GB), which on average can be faster than a 2 GB matched pair if you are using heavy programs like Photoshop that can benefit from the extra 1 GB"

I got the above from a website....so does that mean that if you have mismatched ram it just barely runs as fast as a lower amount of ram but that ram is a matched pair?
 

phytonix

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2006
377
6
Is the restriction of 3GB on former iMac because of hardware?
Can't they unlock it to 4GB with firmware update?
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
"All Intel Core Macs will run with mismatched RAM, at the loss of the dual channel speedup. These Macs can run a 3 GB configuration (1 GB + 2 GB), which on average can be faster than a 2 GB matched pair if you are using heavy programs like Photoshop that can benefit from the extra 1 GB"

I got the above from a website....so does that mean that if you have mismatched ram it just barely runs as fast as a lower amount of ram but that ram is a matched pair?
If you look higher on that page it says that Dual Channel gives an average 6% - 8% speed up.

So if you go mis-matched, then you lose 6% to 8%. But then *depending on the programs you are running* having the extra 1 Gb RAM may more than make up the loss.

If you only use less than 2 Gb of program and data RAM, then it'll be a bit slower, because you wouldn;t be leveraging the 3 Gb.

But the times when your programs and RAM exceed 2 Gb, the machine could be quite a lot faster, because you are avoiding PageOuts to the hard drive.


Is the restriction of 3GB on former iMac because of hardware?
Can't they unlock it to 4GB with firmware update?
Y'know, I thought I saw someone link to the
earlier in this thread, maybe even twice....

Seriously, please read the thread, people -- the answers have been given -- much as I like repeating myself, this is the 20th time I have posted the same info.

everyone considering getting ram NEEDS to do this: Get iStat pro in your dashboard, run the computer for a day or two with normal usage, and look at your page in/outs. You'll always have alot of page ins, but pages outs, how many do you have?
If after a few days of use you have gathered up a few 10k outs, you are probably low on ram. If it's a few hundred, you are probably fine.
My iMac with 1GB got about 300,000 outs in just 1 night of work... def needed more. My Mac Pro with 5GB has 2.7 million ins and zero outs... so I haven't hit my disk in nearly a week.
Good advice Sean: Couple of things: You don't need iStat, the same PageIn/Out information is in the Activity Monitor: System Memory.
The number of PageOuts isn't as significant as the ratio of PageIns to PageOuts. You are ideally looking for a 20:1 ratio (PageOuts at 5% of Ins, or less). If you start exceeding 10%, that means it is time for more physical RAM and/or reducing multitasking, background processes and (ahem) Dashboard Widgets.
 

teflon

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2007
792
0
I'm just afraid the ram I need will be discontinued in the future as I wait...
You can still get ram for the G3s, so I wouldn't worry not being able to buy ram. The price might change, but you would still be able to get your ram.
 

ndriver182

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2007
552
1

J33p86

macrumors newbie
Aug 21, 2007
2
0
My thoughts

I just ordered a 15" macbook pro 2.4/160 HDD 7200/2GB to replace my black macbook which also has 2GB. I've already decided on maxing out my RAM through OWC later myself, but I just put my macbooks 2GB to the test to see how far it can be stretched.

I opened every application in my dock which includes some heavy apps like photoshop, aperture, and final cut studio as well as lighter apps like itunes, pages, imovie, etc... until I had every app that I ever use (a few more than 20) spread out in expose. This just barely maxed out my RAM and I started to see a low number of page outs in activity monitor and the only noticeable slowdown I found was in photoshop while everything else ran smooth and normally.

My conclusion is that for 98% of mac users, 2GB is more than substantial, but I'll pay the $230 after rebate from OWC for bragging rights anyways!


Macbook 2.16 / 160 HDD 5400 / 2GB
Macbook Pro 15.4" 2.4 / 160 HDD 7200 / 4GB
46" Samsung LCD 15,000:1 / 1080p
 

joesenior91

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2007
67
0
I'm currently using my mum's iBook G4 with 512mb of RAM, but i'm gonna get the new iMac pretty soon and this computers fine for my mum, i've been using this all day, surfing the net, listening to itunes etc. nothing too heavy, apart from maybe the 20 or so firefox tabs i have open. I checked activity moniter to see the page in/outs and i was socked to see that i had 500,000 page ins, and a whopping 355,000 page outs! thats a 10: ratio! lol. Also i was wondering if it would be worth getting the whole 4 gigs of ram for the new iMac, i'm considering just getting 2 and keeping the 1 gig it comes with. i could easily upgrade later.