Is 32GB RAM worth it or overkill?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by eroxx, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. eroxx macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    I have a 27" i7 quad-core 2.93 2010 iMac. I just found out that although apple says it maxes out at 16gb, it in fact can be upgraded to 32gb of ram ... Thoughts?? Thanks!
  2. ConCat macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2012
    In an ethereal plane of existence.
  3. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Are you even going to come close to utilizing 32GB? How much are you actually using now at peak usage?
  4. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    If you have to ask if it's overkill, it probably is. It really depends what you do though.

    Go to Activity Monitor, click on the "system memory" tab and look at the "page outs" line. If it's 0 after the machine has been on for a while (1 day+), you don't need more RAM. Under 30% of "page ins," it's your call. Over 30%, I would get more.
  5. soulreaver99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2010
    Southern California
    Yeah it's overkill but they way I see it, it's more of an overkill buying a whole new desktop altogether especially going from 2010/2011 to 2012 iMac... depending on what your needs are of course.

    RAM isn't that really expensive. If you are not really running too many processor intensive apps, upgrading the RAM and hard drive to SSD is a no brainer.
  6. Lambros macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I'm a web developer, who simultaneously runs Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I also run Coda 2...on top of this I perform cross-browser compatibility tests, so on my Mac (not bringing my PC into this) I run Chrome, Firefox and Safari simultaneously, as well as Adobe BrowserLab (web based application). At the same time, I have Skype open in case a client needs to contact me. Additionally, I have FileZilla open, a program which allows FTP communications. I also have MAMP open, to establish a local server, iTunes to listen to music when work gets dull and Outlook, as another means for client communication. This gets me to the peak of my 8gb ram (on a MBP). I will be purchasing a 27" iMac with 16gb RAM, because sometimes (far from often) I actually NEED more than 8gb. Do you need 32gb RAM?

    Are you a professional in the film industry? Because this is the only case whereby I think 32gb of RAM is necessary. If you're in photography, 16gb is more than enough (established after speaking to a photographer, who is fine with 8gb).

    I don't mean to go sledgehammer on your idea. I just mean to express that 32gb of RAM is much more than people think! You'd be better off investing the money in a Fusion Drive or SSD, in my opinion. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't waste your money...there are other areas where it is much better spent.

    All the best!
  7. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    I don't think 32 is really needed, 16 should be enough for most things. I get by as a photographer with 8gb (and that's working on large D800e raw files, many of them at a time).
  8. Macman45, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012

    Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I do video and photographic work, and have a very similar Mac (2011 27" I7 3.4GHZ 2GB VRAM 16GB RAM) and it eats everything. I did upgrade from 8 to 16GB but I've found that to be plenty...I doubt you would really benefit from the addition of 32GB.
  9. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    even if you can't utilize all 32gb, buying 32 and add it yourself is so cheap today that there's hardly no reason not to. Apple's ram prices are just a sick joke.
    I figured out buying my own set of 32gb ram costs about half the price apple would charge for 16gb - that just puts it in perspective.
  10. pukingpixels macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2012
    The more, the better. It's actually that simple.

    However it all depends on what you're using your iMac for. If it's just surfing the web, watching porn and casually playing games then forget it - it's a total waste of money.

    If you're on the other hand a professional or aspiring illustrator, graphic designer, photographer, 3D modeller, whatever then I'd just go for it and max out the RAM cause it will make everything a lot smoother and your work flow faster. Especially if you would do like me and allocate like 90% of all RAM for just photoshop. I mean going from like 14 GB to about 28 GB allocated just for photoshop would make a huge difference in performance for me.

    I think that maxing out the RAM is the most cost effective way to increase the performance of your iMac if that's what you're going for.
  11. Slow Programmer macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2011
    Buy it while it is cheap. Several years ago I built a PC and added 8 gigs of memory which was a lot at the time. Most machines were running 2 gigs. This machine is still going strong, but now 8 gigs are just not enough at times. The issue is the memory which was cheap then now costs a small fortune because no one uses it in new computers anymore. If you plan on keeping the machine for a long time load it up.
  12. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    32GB is never overkill. Always good for future proofing your Mac. But the question that needs to be ask is will I even run short on 16GB on 16GB of ram in the reasonable expected life span of this Mac before you get a new Mac.

    For me I run my iMac and use at times around 8GB or ram. So for me having 8 extra spare for future proofing is enough I think. I think that'll be enough before I get a new Mac. And at the new Mac time in say 4-5 years I'll reassess how much ram I will need.

    I won't be getting 32gb for this Mac. Not sure if it can even hold 32. But 16 is enough for me for now.
  13. wpalomine macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2010
    My rule of thumb when it comes to Mac memory: twice the memory apple is shipping with the current mid-line product. This year's iMac ships with 8GB. Therefore, 16GB of RAM is good enough for the next 2 years.

    Yes, 32GB is overkill for NOW. However, is selling Crucial 16GB kit for $69 -$10 (coupon expiring 11/11) for the OP's iMac. Thats 32GB for $120. So why not buy the sticks while they're cheap. good mix of supply and demand.

    A 32GB iMac upgrade two years back or two years from now will/did cost significantly more. If you plan to keep the iMac for 2 more years, SSD and the 32GB might be the norm.
  14. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    If you asked if you needed 32GB of you likely don't even need 8


    If you plan on keeping it for more then 2 years? We are talking desktops not cell phones, who the hell changes their desktop every two years unless you worked for a company that supplied free desktops?
  15. wpalomine macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2010
    Cell phones? We are in the iMac forum ;)

    Some folks like to upgrade every X years. I don't want to presume the OPs preference or use. Personally, I keep my Macs for 4 years or more, laptop or desktop; I started with the Wallstreet PowerBook and currently on 2011 MacBooks and iMac.
  16. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    I plan on getting the 21.5 inch iMac with 16gb RAM and fusion drive, and I would hope it lasts me 4-5 good years
  17. APPLE-FANATIC macrumors 6502a


    Aug 4, 2012
    Same hear! I'm curious, if I plan on keeping my iMac for a good 5+ years, is the i7 processor necessary?
  18. lucasfunkt macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    When is the RAM compatible with the new 27" iMac going to appear on sites like Crucial?

    Because of course we should all be buying RAM from a third party it'd be nice to know how long after we receive our new iMacs we can upgrade the RAM in them.

    If it's only going to cost, what £100 from a third party (I'm guessing but I'm not too far off am I) then unless you're just using for iMac for internet and very light uses then surely 32GB has to be worth it, or at least get 16GB.

    What do you reckon?
  19. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    I'm mulling over putting 32GB of RAM in the new 27" when it comes. At this point a $140 is a small price to pay.

    I don't anticipate hitting the limits of 32 GB of RAM during the lifetime of the computer but what I've done is remove any doubt.

    RAM in conjunction with fast SSD is going to allow me to not worry about leaving something like Aperture open while I edit in FCPX or some other large program.
  20. hogprint macrumors regular


    Oct 25, 2006
  21. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    It depend on if the applications you use or plan on using utilize the features of the i7 processor. Namely multi-threading. If your not aware of any of your applications using it then you probably just need the i5 processor.

    If you want to work with video manipulation, mathematics, CAD and the such then yes get the i7.
  22. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    If you have to ask, then yes it is overkill. And I'm not being facetious, if you really did need that much memory you would know it already and wouldn't need to ask us over the internet if it was overkill. There are very few usage scenarios that exist which would require someone to have that much memory on a personal machine and all the kinds of individuals who do those tasks would already know that they need it.
  23. Bargle macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2012
    Get it! Because in 2 years--maybe as early as late 2013 all Mac software and osX will require a zillion ram and even if all you do is play Facebook games 32gb of ram is a wise investment!

    Or you probably won't ever even use 8 and your 120$ couldn't go to the Red Cross or anything...

    Haha! There is no limit high enough for some, if they could put 64gb in they would and call it "future proofing"--it's a type of OCD I think.
  24. Spacedust macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2009
    I bought my 48 GB RAM (6x 8 GB Micron 1333 MHz with heatsinks) for just about $250 - i don't care if I need it or not if it's that cheap :)
  25. DrRadon macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008
    32GB of ram will stop being overkill 2-3 years from now.

    My 2007 Alu iMac (i think that was the first one came with 2GB of Ram, if you have a semi up-to-date system today it´s a pain to work with such little ram, do the math yourself)

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