OSX El Capitan - RAM Upgrade?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Braders88, Apr 21, 2016.

?

Would a RAM upgrade from 4GB to 8GB improve my Macs performance significantly?

Poll closed May 5, 2016.
  1. Yes

    68.8%
  2. No

    6.3%
  3. Maybe a little...

    25.0%
  1. Braders88 macrumors newbie

    Braders88

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    #1
    Hello Mac Community,

    I have a quick couple of questions with regards to running El Capitan on an older machine.
    I currently have an early '09 iMac (see specs below).

    iMac (24-inch, Early 2009)
    2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 256 MB

    I have began using my iMac more and more now with my photography hobby growing. However when editing pictures and photographs in Pixelmator/iPhoto I notice a HUGE drop in performance. Editing, adjusting and simply saving can result in minutes of the spinning beach ball.
    Even turning my computer on now takes a good 2-3 minutes to fully boot up (even from a cold boot).
    This never really bothered me at first until I saw how my partners brand new Macbook ran and how it booted up in seconds!
    I cannot afford a brand new machine at this point and was looking for an alternative to improve the speed of my iMac and El Capitan without breaking the bank.
    A friend of mine recommended a RAM upgrade, he said I should notice a rather large difference upgrading to 8GB over my current 4GB of RAM - can anyone else confirm this? If so does anyone have any respectable websites which sell RAM for Mac at a reasonable price?

    If anyone has any ideas on how to improve the speed of my Mac either via software or hardware then I would be very grateful.

    Many Thanks!
     
  2. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #2
    RAM will help your applications but going from 4 to 8 I don't think it will change everything. It will be better.
    If you're still using the original drive you might consider an external SSD. Internal is fine as well but its not super easy to get into an iMAC.
     
  3. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #3
    You can use Activity Monitor to check your ram usage while using these apps. If the memory pressure is red most of the time than the extra RAM might help. However , the GPU is likely to be another issue as well.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    This almost sounds more like a failing hard drive. Even on your older Mac, it should not take minutes of beachball spinning just to save an edited photo.

    Are you seeing any other symptoms like apps taking a really long time to launch. Has this slow photo saving for example, always been an issue, or is it something new you are seeing.

    Like leman mentioned, do some work like you normally do on your Mac then open Activity Monitor and go to the memory tab and look at the bottom under memory pressure. If that is in the green, more RAM is not likely to help you at all.
     
  5. Braders88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Braders88

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    #5
    I sure hope not, however it has become louder too...
    Yes, apps do take a lot longer to launch and tend to bounce more on the dock.
    I never even thought of looking in to Activity Monitor. Thank you both for your help!
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    So this never used to happen and now it does? That does sound like a drive failing.

    Are you seeing things like you click to launch an app and it sits there and beachballs for a long long time before launching?
     
  7. Braders88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Braders88

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    #7
    It seemed to be bad with Yosemite and worse with El Capitan...
    Yeah, that is exactly what I see - Firefox, iMessage and even my Mail. It bounces and takes a long time to load. The spinning beach ball truly favours hogging my screen when it comes to photo editing though.
     
  8. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #8
    The biggest difference you can make is to swap the HDD out for an SSD. The 2009 iMacs aren't too bad to get into, and the drive is easy to swap once you get in. Pop in an SSD and you'll fall in love with it all over again :)
     
  9. Braders88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Braders88

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    #9
    It's funny you should say that, after watching videos on YouTube it seems that is the most favourable solution.
    Is it difficult to install the SSD? I thought only the RAM was the easily accessible part.
    I would like for Apple to do it but no doubt that would charge me a fair amount...
     
  10. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #10
    It indeed sounds like you might have an issue with your HDD in the end. What does the SMART status say? BTW, if the HDD is fine and RAM is indeed the culprit, upgrading to an SSD will bring you almost nothing.
     
  11. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    #11
    OP:

    I agree with previous posters, HDD might be faulty. Unfortunately El Capitan Disk Utility won't show SMART values so you might need some other software.

    As for the RAM 4 Gb is the smallest practical amount for El Capitan, if you have large pictures or large iPhoto library installing more RAM will certainly help. Looking at Activity Monitor will show you if you need more RAM.
     
  12. Weaselboy, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    DU still shows SMART status for me on El Capitan.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.26.22 AM.png
     
  13. tpjets62 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2016
    #13
    I have a 2010 MBP, dual boot, 10.9 and 10.11....did a memory upgrade, 4 to 8 gig, slight improvement, then put a Samsung 850 evo SSD, in unbelievable improvement, from boot to shutdown. Worth every penny and time invested.
     
  14. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    #14
     

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