Lifelong PC User and Mac Purchase - RAM Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Reg88, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Reg88 macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2010
    #1
    I'm a life-long windows guy and the time has come where I need to learn to use a Mac.

    I'm debating between a basic mac mini (2.26/2gb/160) to learn on, vs. an iMac (3.06/8gb/500) to actually use productively -- note that I don't care about HDD space -- 160GB is plenty for me.

    My biggest question is about running windows on this new mac, because if I'm going to run windows (and try to use this new mac all the time), I'd need to run my windows programs like the Adobe CS3 suite. I've read a lot and I can't seem to find the answer about whether or not the Mac can use a full 8GB of RAM.

    For example, I am well aware that 32-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7 cannot use more than 4GB (really 3GB but doesn't matter here). Assume for my questions that all windows versions I'm talking about are 32-bit. So here are the questions:

    1. If I have 4GB of RAM (e.g the mac mini) could I run photoshop cs3 on Windows (xp, vista, or 7) and have it run smoothly? Could I also run programs on the mac at the same time, or will the machine choke with only 4GB?

    2. Because it seems the only way for me to get 8GB of RAM is to spend $800 more and get an iMac (which I admit does look awesome), will the Mac take advantage of this 8GB. For example, if I'm running some program on the Mac end of things, as well as Photoshop CS3 under Windows 7 in Fusion3, will the Mac know to allocated 4GB to what the Mac is doing, and then the other 4GB to Fusion 3?

    Thanks in advance for all of your advice. I'd love to get a mini with 8GB but that doesn't seem possible. I just don't want to spend money on 8GB of RAM (which really translates to an $800 upgrade to an iMac) that I won't use -- but I also don't want to drop money on a 4GB mini and find that it is sluggish.
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    You can upgrade the mini to 8GB using 2X4GB but you will have to do it yourself as Apple does not offer this option. Look at some youtube videos of opening a mini to see if you are comfortable with the process. You may void your warranty if you damage anything in the process.
     
  3. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2010
    #3
    If the machine can support 8GB, why won't apple support you putting 8Gb in it?
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
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    Indianapolis
    #4
    There are plenty of instances where the hardware actual is much greater than what Apple supports.
     
  5. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2010
    #5
    Wow. I'm happy taking a PC apart part by part but I really would rather not learn how to open a mac with an $800 machine as my test box.

    Is it possible for someone to answer my first two questions about RAM more specifically? as that's what I really want to know. This potential "switch" thing is getting more frustrating by the minute...
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
  7. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2010
    #7
    With all due respect, it shouldn't be a comparison of what I'm running it on now. What does it matter if I'm on a P4/4GB or a Core2Duo/4GB?
     
  8. shwc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    #8
    You can set memory and cpu usage for fusion's virtual machine and the mac side of things (see this video on the fusion website). The video ought to answer your questions. According to the video 1 gig of memory on the virtual side of things is good for vista/Win7 when using office productivity applications, leaving 3 gig for mac side of things if you have the mac mini. I would expect that 2 gig would work for CS3. What "works" for you depends on your current pc rig. If you have a old pc rig the mac mini with fusion will be faster. If you have a current high end pc, you should opt for the imac with more ram and a higher end cpu.
     
  9. Lokrado macrumors regular

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    Jan 26, 2009
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    Denmark
    #9
  10. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2010
    #10
    Thank you. I will check out that video. In people's experience does 2GB do the job ?-- I'm used to running it on a 4GB windows system where CS3 can use up to 3GB.

    As for the Mac addressing "16exabytes of RAM", it doesn't matter if the Mac can address a jillion exabytes of RAM -- the question is whether or not the machine can actually take advantage of that much RAM. You can put 128GB of RAM into certain windows boxes, but that doesn't mean Office will actually use that much.
     
  11. Lokrado macrumors regular

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    Jan 26, 2009
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    Denmark
    #11
    - no 2GB would be low for any machine today.

    - to answer that look here
    - http://www.memoryupgrade.pro/apple-memory.html
     
  12. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #12
    I find 2GB is enough still (even with Snow Leopard) for people that only use itunes, web, and instant messaging. Anyone doing more then that might get upset...
     

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