Need space for Snow Leopard: add more RAM?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by LaceyISuppose, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. LaceyISuppose macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2012
    Hi all
    I've got to upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard, and I've read that it's a good idea to have not just 5GB spare on your hard disk to do this but more like 10GB spare. I only have the factory 1GB running at the moment and it's very very full and slow so I am wondering whether to:

    1. Sift through everything on the iMac (mid 2007) and clean up enough space to install SL and then carry on as usual.
    2. Install extra RAM and just be done with it, basically make more space that way.
    3. Third option I don't know about yet..?

    Am I even on the right track here?
    Can I just chuck in some extra RAM chips and then load up SL without bothering to clean up the hard disk? (Right-brained artist, you may need to dumb it down a little!)

    Any advice would be great, thanks.
  2. simsaladimbamba, Jul 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012


    Nov 28, 2010
    You are confusing RAM with storage capacity.
    RAM is the memory active applications and open files and some parts of the OS reside on, once you start the Mac, thus you have quicker access to them.
    But once you shut down the Mac, the RAM is emptied.
    For Snow Leopard you should have at least 2 GB of RAM, your Mac (I have the same) can have up to 6 GB of RAM, but 4 GB might be more economical, as it should cost less than 50 USD to buy a pair of 2 GB DDR2 200-pin SO-DIMM modules.

    The 10 GB you refer to refer to free storage capacity, of which you should have plenty, as that iMac came with at least 250 GB HDDs.

    To check available storage capacity, go to Finder, press CMD+SHIFT+C to see a list of all connected storage devices. There your Macintosh HD should be listed. Right click on that, select GET INFO and then see what it says right of "Available".
    You can also use DiskInventory X or OmniDiskSweeper to scan your HDD for big files and folders and see, where the storage space is being taken up.

    As for seeing how much RAM you have left, go to Activity Monitor and check the System Memory tab on the bottom. This might be helpful in using Activity Monitor.

    To learn more about the difference between RAM and storage capacity, go here.
  3. LaceyISuppose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2012
    Thanks, I did have the two things muddled! I have only got something like 3.2Gb of space left, and I know a lot of that is taken up with photo files. But it doesn't quite add up, so I'll check out disk inventory and see where the bulk lies.
    Would it be easier to just add external disk space and then put SL on?
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You could store your photos on the external, thus freeing space on the internal.
    But wait until Disk Inventory X shows you what exactly does take up so much space.
    Also know, that 3.2 GB* of available storage space is quite low, you should have at least 10% of the HDDs capacity unused (25 GB free on a 250 GB HDD) for temporary files and such.
    Or just get a bigger internal HDD and replace that old HDD with a new one, if you are technically savvy.

    * GB = GigaByte, Gb = Gigabit
  5. LaceyISuppose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2012
    Again, thanks for the clarification with GB/Gb! Realising how unsavvy I am with every step of this process. lol
    Is it a major ordeal to put in a bigger HDD? How does that work, the new bigger capacity one goes in and takes everything that was on the old one with it?
  6. WSR macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    My tendency for an iMac is to store most documents, videos, music, etc on an external HD and leave the internal drive for the OS and most apps that must be stored in the applications folder.

    This way is my computer crashes I can plug the external HD into another computer and continue working.

    Also note that your internal drive is used for virtual memory. Thus having it near full can make your computer run slower.

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