iMac mid 2011 27" - RAM upgrade?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sojuicy, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. sojuicy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    #1
    Hi all,
    Longtime lurker, first time poster. I was just wondering what people thought. I just updated recently from OS X mountain lion to OS X mavericks and the system seems a little bit slower than it used to be. So it started me thinking about upgrading..

    I have the base mid 2011 27" base 2.7GHz i5 4 GB ram model, and was shopping around for RAM. Crucial has 16 GB (2x8GB) for $160 .. Is that worth the upgrade? I was thinking of keeping this computer until it no longer functions (or if the rumored retina iMacs tempt me enough...). Would that be the best bang for the buck?

    I figured RAM would be a good upgrade because when I look at Activity monitor, of the 4 GB of physical memory it routinely uses up to 3.7 GB of it, sometimes, somehow, it goes up to 6-7 GB of memory (I guess it uses virtual memory?). I'm not that great with computers to be honest.

    I'm kind of scared of doing the SSD upgrade although I've been reading through the forums that people who did that say it's extremely fast and since that's where the speed bottleneck is, and thought maybe I could do it. On my old PC a long time ago, I upgraded the hard drive from a 5400 rpm to a 7200 rpm, and it wasn't so bad. I'm actually quite handy with electronics so I was considering doing it once I move and I'm in a less dusty environment :).

    What are peoples thoughts? Thanks for any input!
     
  2. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #2
    The ram is a simple upgrade and an extra 16G should make it pretty solid. I used some cheaper SODIMM's from amazon, but crucial probably has a higher chance of working out of the box, so might be worth whatever the cost delta is.

    I'd exercise extreme caution doing the internal SSD upgrade. Its certainly possible - I've done it myself. However, I've also broken the LCD datacable once, which I then had to ebay a spare and replace. I also bent one of the internal connectors - not enough to damage it, but just shy - if that'd had happened it would have been expensive.

    The problem (IMAO) is that the panel is very heavy, and there's not a lot of clearance attaching/detaching for the 4-5 connector that hook to it - the connector I bent because I didn't realize i still had it connected, and leaned the panel too far.

    So if you're going to do it, be very cautious, and read up on the disassembly guides with pictures so you know what to expect. I've been messing with PC's for almost 3 decades now, and I still dread opening up the iMac compared to even laptops. If your experience is mainly PC desktops, this is a whole new level...

    But all that said, yes, the SSD will scream, and I would almost go with less memory and the SSD if you had to make a tradeoff (say +8g, and a 100G SSD) -- a 100G or more SSD fused with a HD will give a pretty fast system, or just a big SSD in general. If you can get a good deal on a seagate goflex thunderbolt adapter I'd suggest using that to drive a external SSD. Less chance of ruining machine, SATA2 speeds. Too bad the 2011 didn't have USB3 or you could just use that and probably be fast enough.

    If you're set on putting the SSD internal, I suggest pulling the optical drive and getting one of the optical drive cad's to put it there. You don't want to replace the HD (SMC will get pissed and ramp fans up), and to put SSD under optical drive you need to route a cable, which means taking out the logic board (motherboard) - you don't want to do that if yo don't have to.
     
  3. rambo47 macrumors 6502a

    rambo47

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Denville, NJ
    #3
    I would DEFINITELY upgrade from 4 GB to 16 GB. Maybe if I had 8 GB installed and didn't tax my machine I would leave it alone. But going from 4 to 16 will make a noticeable difference in performance all around.
     
  4. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #4
    Does the Memory Pressure gauge in Activity Monitor ever go into the yellow or red when you are taxing the machine? If it does you really need more RAM, but if it is in the green you should be okay. If it is consistently in the high green I would add to make it 8 GB.
     
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #5
    Most likely you'll see a much larger effect of upgrading to an SSD, instead of getting more RAM.
     
  6. sojuicy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    #6
    Only when I am playing a game - league of legends. Otherwise, for normal browsing the web and stuff it never does..

    Thanks everyone so far for your input! I'm so torn about this, lol. More than I should be for a piece of computer hardware :)
     
  7. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Definitely upgrade the RAM but to 8 or 10 even ? 8 is 4x2, 10 is buying just one 8gb stick and keeping one of the ones you have (yes it will work). Up to you but some choices vs cost. If you are a fairly normal user I'm not sure how much of a difference you'll see between 8 and 16.
     
  8. sojuicy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    #8
    Yeah I just have the stock 4GB (2x2), but I've had it since I bought the computer back in 2011, and haven't noticed any problems until I upgraded to mavericks and it just seems slower, takes a little longer to switch between programs, etc.. I was surprised how much ram costs! It used to be cheaper before, but that seems so weird!

    I was thinking of doing the 8GB upgrade (4x2) but wanted to future proof things I guess, and run this Mac until it dies, so thought maybe 8x2 would be better..but you're right, I bet the 4x2 would be just fine to add...can anyone chime in on their experience?

    Oh yeah, I've watched videos of the internal upgrade of SSD a few times and you do have to be careful but it doesn't seem *that* bad...

    Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate the help!
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    I have used both systems with 8 GB and 16 GB. I am fine with 8 GB unless I am trying to encode video, program, and export batch files at the same time while having other programs open. Since your use seems pretty basic in comparison aside from game playing, I would do the 8 GB upgrade and if the cost isn't that far off (use Newegg) then do the 16 GB. If the cost between the 8 GB upgrade and 16 GB upgrade is within $20.00 then go with the 16 GB upgrade. Also, you do not need 32 GB if that is even on your mind.
     

Share This Page