Power Mac G5 - Increase memory from 2GB to 4GB?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NATO, May 12, 2006.

  1. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    I'm just posting to ask for some advice regarding Power Mac G5 memory. I currently have a Dual 2.0Ghz G5 Power Mac with 2GB RAM. I have recently started getting into photography and am finding the Mac invaluable for editing images etc. This is my question - Would there be any point, or significant performance increase by upgrading the memory from 2GB to 4GB?

    To give you an idea of how my Mac is typically used, I normally have Safari, iTunes, iCal, Address Book, Quicktime, Preview and BluePhone Elite open along with a few 3rd party apps which reside in the menu bar. Of course I haven't had any issues with performance with 2GB RAM, but recently I have been using Aperture and Photoshop CS2 running simultaneously alongside the apps mentioned earlier.

    Given this scenario, would it be wise to increase the amount of memory in my system?
  2. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Give it a try without upgrading anything, and you will notice if it begins to slow down. Upgrading ram never hurts, but you will only be losing money if current ram is enough.
  3. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    run the activity monitor

    hi nato,

    run the activity monitor after about 20 minutes of 'working'. i think you need to check for the # of page outs...the more, the not merrier and a good indicator that ram would help.

    i don't know the full explanation, but if you check the apple support boards under G5, expansion and search for page outs, i've seen a detailed description.

    good luck,
  4. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    I have exactly the same machine (probably; PM G5 2.0x2 from july '05) and I am upgrading from 2.5 GB to 4 right now (RAM is ordered, arrives next week).

    I didn't upgrade for the last 10 months, but as more and more pics ended up in my iphoto library, as I got used to leaving more and more tabs open on Omniweb (or Safari, really in RAM consumption I haven't noticed a difference), I've been needing more RAM.

    It can't but help, but do realise, your machine is perfectly useable (or should be!), so consider that $200 vs saving towards a nice lens or somesuch.

    I'm lusting after the EF 24-105 L; I'm a walk-around sorta fellow, never have a tripod. IS, a wide range of focal lengths, it's the best!
  5. NATO thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland

    You could be right, that money would probably be better spent on a new Lens for the camera, but I always like to know that I'm getting the best performance possible. I'd hate to think that there's a bottleneck which could easy be fixed by adding a bit more memory.

    I'll run the Activity Monitor tonight and do a bit of work for about 30-60 minutes and check the page outs. If theres a large amount it might be time to visit Crucial.

    By the way, the 24-105mm IS L Lens is fantastic, it's my primary lens :) Very sharp and the IS is superb :p
  6. Cooknn macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2003
    Fort Myers, FL
    I have the same box, and I do photography as well. I pumped the RAM up from 2GB to 4GB and it's been much easier to work with large images while running other app's like iTunes, Safari, Mail, etc. Actually in addition to the app's above at any given time I could have Photoshop, Illustrator, GoLive, Flash, and several other app's related to pano creation - all running simultaneously with no problems whatsoever.

    I say do it.
  7. ziwi macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    Same, Same

    I run a G5 and have 4.5 GB and it does make the usage of the machine much easier - especially if you use Adobe to do anyhting with your images. As the above poster mentioned as well it does help enable having many things open and useful at once - really got the Ram for video - but it works well for photo work too.
  8. Demoman macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2005
    Issaquah, WA
    Same here. I have 2 PM's 2.0 x 2 and a 2.5 Quad. I upgraded from 2 to 4.5 in the first and noticed a definite improvement. I did not mess around the with the 2nd one and bumped it up to 6 with OEM ram (leaving room for another 4 later). I use the second machine for most of the small-mid compressor jobs. For large jobs I add the first machine. It is pretty easy to find attractive deals on OEM memory, especially if you have a few open slots and can use 512's.
  9. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Aperture is great, but it LOVES to eat up RAM. I bumped from 1.5GB to 3.5GB and saw a significant improvement.
  10. RiggedProductio macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2005
    Will this help video editing?

    I'm at 2gb right now on my Power Mac Dual 2.5ghz. I was thinking about bumping it up to 3gb...maybe 4gb.

    Will I notice much difference?

    I do a lot of multitasking, but I'm most interested in how it would effect Final Cut Pro's render times, etc. Would it help out at all?

  11. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    I'm sorry to say that I don't have much experience w/ render times; I do an iMovie->iDVD project 2-3 times a year.

    I can say that the extra RAM was brilliant. My computer went from -on-the-verge-of-thrashing to completely smooth operation. For that benefit, I have to say 3 GB would have been enough...

    Back to your query about render times, I can't imagine that a process working on such large files wouldn't benefit from OS X's disk cache grabbing bits before and after the process-point, and thus allowing less (or at least more optimised and more asynchronous) disk access. If the render process ever blocks on hitting the HD (as it must, at points), that slows it down immensely.

    Good luck :)

  12. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    [Whoops... didn't notice age of the thread and the different-topic resurrection--my previous answer wasn't relevant.]

    I haven't used FCP, but I can say that raw render times are probably much more processor bound than RAM-intensive. That said, I assume FCP uses RAM for all sorts of caching, so more RAM will probably make everything else in the app peppier.
  13. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    upgrade the video card 1st?

    Hi there,

    i have the same machine, but with 4.5 GBs right now.

    I do notice a difference, but only really in running more than 1 program at the same time.

    From my understanding, this is where RAM will make the biggest difference. Maybe someone else can confirm or shoot my thinking down :)

    I read that for 'instant', direct performance change, that an upgraded video card will make a huge difference.

    I think someone else also recommended checking the apple boards in the g5/expansion section...i bet some great and in-depth answers are there.

    I don't think you'd lose by upgrading the ram, but it might be a matter of which one has 'more bang for the buck' :)

  14. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    Dual 1.8 4.5GB RAM

    I upgraded from .5 to 2.5 within a week of getting my Powermac. I then upgraded to 4.5. From 2.5 to 4.5, for MY money, I would rather have saved it toward my next computer and the RAM on it.

    At this point, how much more do you want to put toward your 2.0 PowerPC? Once everything runs natively on Intel, the speed difference will be significant. I understand keeping what you have already have and upgrading to keep it useful, but I believe your money would be better spent on investing it toward your Mac Pro & the RAM it'll need sometime in the future.

    From 2.5 to 4.5, I did not notice enough of a difference to warrant the cost. PS, iMovie, and Bridge. If you do feel the need for more RAM, please keep in mind that most programs are limited in the amount of RAM that they can use directly. Having extra for the operating systemm is great of course, but there is a sweet spot and a definite point of diminishing returns.

    No tests or anything, just a gut feeling, but it seems to me like 2.5 is the sweet spot for what I do.

    Good luck. 2GBs is plenty

    Any less than 2 & it starts to get iffy for me. Kinda why I'm reluctant to get a laptop. I like my 8 slots.

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