Need clarification re extra 6GB / Snow Leopard

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by AppleLemming, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. AppleLemming macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2009
    I am a new Mac User and I am not well versed with technical lingo at all... so if you're answering... please bear this in mind, k? lol My question is this: my macbook pro came with 4 GB of memory and 250 GB of hard drive (does that mean ram?), and I am wondering how that extra 6 GB (by upgrading to snow leopard) will affect me. Will this give me extra room on my hard drive (ram) or extra memory?

    And what is the difference anyway... between hard drive (ram) and memory? Is 4 GB more than sufficient for the average user like me? Same question for the 250 GB of ram.

    I have really enjoyed reading the threads here and I look forward to hearing from anyone who could provide me with clarification... without getting too technical. ;)

    Many thanks!
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    You'd get more hard drive space back.

    Bye, bye PowerPC binaries short of Rosetta (Optional).
  3. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    first off, hard drive space is not RAM, memory is RAM. You will get more hard drive space back when you install snow leopard. This extra 6GB will come from the system files that Leopard already has on hard drive. These system files will be replaced by Snow Leopard system files which take less space. Yes, 4GB is very sufficient for an average user and even some users who use more memory intensive programs, like me. I have 4GB of memory (RAM) in my unibody macbook and I am just fine. I run VMWare Fusion, Final Cut, and Adobe Flash and they all work fine with 4GB.

    So recap:
    Hard Drive space is not RAM
    Memory is RAM
    Snow Leopard will give you some hard drive space back
    4GB of memory is more than enough for you
  4. TheDoubleEm macrumors newbie


    Jun 23, 2009

    imagine it this way: ram can do 15 apps at time, but if you run more than 15, hard drive must help (but hd is slower, so you basicly don't want to run out of ram)

    2 GB of ram should do the trick for average multitasker
    4 GB is ok if you're running any virtualization or pro audio/video apps
    8 GB is nonsense
  5. AppleLemming thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2009
    I can see clearly now :)

    Thank you so much for the clarity - I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions in a way I could understand. lol

    Just to make sure I understand:
    Ram is Memory, not hard drive
    4GB of ram (memory) is more than enough for the average user (like me)
    8GB is nonsense lol good to know
    I will get some extra hard drive space with Snow Leopard because it doesn't require as much as Leopard does

    I still have a question though...
    What is the purpose of hard drive? Is that the space in which applications are stored on the computer, opposed to Ram which is used to actually run the applications? (Less Ram = slower system?)

    Am I getting it?! :)
  6. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    The hard drive is the large (250GB in your case) storage area on your computer. Your operating system (Mac OS X Leopard), Applications, and files are all stored on this. Snow Leopard is a more streamlined version of Leopard, so once installed you will reclaim storage space on your hard drive.

    Memory (or RAM) on the other hand is not used for storing information (well not permanently). Your memory is used for 'loading' applications and files as you use them. Therefore, the more memory you have, the more applications/files you can access simultaneously (simplified this here).

    Every time you restart your Mac, the memory (RAM) in your Mac is cleared. It is not used for the permanent storage of data, just as you use it when your Mac is on.

    On the contrary, the operating system, applications and files remain on your hard drive when you shut the Mac down. They are only removed if you delete them, or if the hard drive fails (which is why you should keep a backup ;)).

    Hope this helps. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  7. AppleLemming thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2009
    I actually get it... thank you!

    Okay, I think I actually understand!! Thank you for breaking this stuff into english for me -- techno lingo makes my eyes glaze over. I've never really paid much attention to this stuff (shamefully so), despite having used a PC on a daily basis for the past 20 years. But now that I have a Mac, which feels like the dreamiest little gem compared to any PC I've ever used, I want to make sure I understand these things so I can better care for it. You have all been super helpful, thank you!!

    Oh... and I'm backing up as we speak... time machine is heavenly. :)

    Many, many thanks!
  8. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    Glad I could help, and good for you for backing up. It's always a good idea to have a backup strategy and time machine makes it very simple.

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