RAM amounts

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by themoffster, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. themoffster macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2011
    Please correct me if i am wrong here, but I can't see the benefit of selecting more that 4GB of RAM with any iMac.

    The reasoning for this is because the OS may be 64 bit, but the vast, vast majority of the software that runs on the machine will be 32bit (there are only a few 64bit mac applications).

    Basically unless you are running a lot of programs at once (each taking up the maximum 4GB of RAM), there is no need for upping the RAM in the machine?

    Can anyone confirm whether i am correct or not?
  2. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    It depends on how RAM hungry the applications are you run. Take a look at the page ins and out in Activity Monitor.
  3. Abacab macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2008
    Ram Amounts

    Ram is relativity cheep. The problems with most machines "running slow" is a lack of ram. You will really see this if you run VMware or Parallels. I say max it out if you can afford to. If you want to save a little buy directly from Crucial.com.
    (Note the ram on my tower).

    Mac Pro Tower 2.8 Quad Xeon
    Apple raid Card
    20 GB RAM
  4. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    I heard and consent to that "most people do not need more than 12 GB RAM for ordinary daily uses". But professionals such as in the video editing business may need much more memory.
  5. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    As mentioned above, look for Page Outs in your activity monitor which will tell you how much the hard drive is being used. If that number is in the MB range then you are fine but when it goes to the GB range then more is better.

    Also, keep in mind that RAM is cheap and with 4 RAM slots then it will cost only about $45 to add 2 more 2GB sticks making a total of 8gb

    Also, keep in mind that once you open a program it gets stored in RAM so if you have extra RAM that program will remain in RAM so if you quit and then reopen the program then it will open in about a second because it is stored in RAM - just like an SSD.

    See the screen shot below from my MBP. It is 'Actively' using more than 4GB (yellow), the inactive RAM (blue) is storing previously opened programs and my 'Page Outs' are low so it is not accessing the hard drive as a scratch disk for photoshop or any other software

    Attached Files:

  6. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    it really depends on the user, surely your assumption is partially correct, as some mac owners do not exceed or come close to 4gb ram, but it's not the same for everyone.
  7. Hirakata macrumors 6502


    Mar 17, 2011
    Burbank, CA
    I have 12GB and will soon max out my iMac to 16. When I use CS5, Photoshop gobbles up RAM when working on multi-GB files. Logic Studio loves RAM as well. I allot large amounts of RAM to Parallels when using it. And, unless I'm doing serious work (CS5, Logic), I'm one of those people that doesn't quit my applications, so I need as much RAM as my iMac can take.
  8. Seo macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2009
    Cupertino, California
    Thing is, there are apps that use plenty more than 4GB of RAM. After Effects likes having at least 2 if not 3GB of RAM per thread, which means for just a quad core proc you would want at least 12GB of RAM, plus around 4GB for the OS and everything else running.

    Same with Photoshop. Stitching 10 or so full frame shots at well over 20MP eats RAM, with 16GB gone in no time. Page outs will slow your machine to a crawl, so ample RAM is crucial.

    Even if you don't use any high intensity applications, OS X has a very smart way of using RAM in the form of caching applications. After you close iPhoto or Pages, the next time you open it it'll be very fast. Course, SSDs may make this less important, but SSDs are also more expensive than RAM (most of the time).
  9. maclaptop macrumors 65816


    Apr 8, 2011
    Western Hemisphere
    2GB is Plenty According to Fanboys and Other Experts Here...

    This topic was argued over and over in this forum just a few months back when the current MBA's were being released with a measly 2GB of ram.

    Apple users were very adament that 2GB was a very ample amount of ram. When I suggested that 4GB was a more appropriate amount, the attacks were relentless.

    Even though the price to upgrade to 4, was only $100 and of even greater concern was the fact it's not user upgradeable, the rants went on and on about how 2GB had been serving them all quite well, with plenty to spare.

    When I bought up the fact that Lion would most likely require more resources, that was shouted down.

    Therefore it seems that anything more that 2GB of ram is a total waste of time and money according to the "pros" here.

    I on the other hand, I routinely add a total of 8GB to my MacBook Pros I use for design and rendering tasks, the performance I enjoy is stellar.

    For me it's well worth every penny to enjoy a fast, fun new MacBook Pro.
  10. themoffster thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2011
    Thanks very much for the replies boys and girls. I never took the quad core thing into account and was thinking just in terms of a single core machine.
    Does this mean that running a 32bit application in a Quad core machine will use up to 4GB RAM per core? I always assumed that regardless of cores you would use 4GB total.
  11. ghostlyorb macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2010
    Virginia, USA
    no.. not PER core.. just 4GB in general. If you won't be editing video or pics.. 4GB should be enough for you. When Lion comes out, iTunes and other apps are already 64bit. So you will be able to use more. I recommend at least 8Gb RAM.. and since the prices are gettings lower.. not a big deal anymore. My personal opinion. I have 8GB ram in my 2011MBP.. and it's a power house.
  12. Seo macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2009
    Cupertino, California
    Sorry for not clarifying, but Adobe has as of CS5.5 rewritten its apps in Cocoa, so they do support using more than 4GB of RAM. When I made the 2 or 3GB per core statement, it was just a general rule of thumb to be applied to After Effects renders.
  13. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    I basically needed to upgrade from 4 to 8 GB in my late-2008 MBP so I could run Aperture 3 more smoothly. It quickly sucks up 4 or so GB of Ram itself - leaving the remaining for running other programs I have open. I think more ram is better if you are the type to have multiple programs open all the time and hardly ever shut down you machine. The virtual memory accumulates a bit of junk, as far as I can tell, over continued (e.g. weeks and weeks) of never shutting down.

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