RAM upgrade worth it?

george-brooks

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 31, 2011
732
16
Brooklyn, NY
I've been thinking about upgrading my RAM in my mac pro from 8GB to 16GB but I have a couple questions:

1. I'm using this computer mostly for FCP 7, CS 5 (mostly photoshop) and Aperture, as well as Logic Studio and a few other misc. pro apps. Will I see that much of an improvement in speed by doubling my RAM and is the extra speed worth the $200-400 the upgrade will cost?? Doesn't FCP 7 only support 4GB anyway?

2. Right now I have 4x1GB cards and 2x 2GB cards installed, so I have one free slot. Am I better off buying a pair of 4GB cards to fill the last spot, or would it be best to trade in my chips and get all 2GB cards, or perhaps 4x4GB? More RAM on less chips is better, right? Are 8 matching chips better than mismatched chips of the same total capacity?

Thanks!
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,510
6,750
The answer to #1 is always the same for everyone. If you are running out of RAM, than a RAM upgrade is well worth it and often the best bang for the buck for any upgrade. If you are not running out of RAM, than a RAM upgrade will not provide any noticeable increase in performance at all. Only you know if you are running out of RAM; keep an eye on it while doing your work.
 

ssgbryan

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,303
1,246
The quick answer is always yes.:D

The more in depth answer is the underwear answer:
It Depends.

Fire up activity monitor while and see how much ram you are swapping out. 32-bit programs will have a 2GB limit per process. 64-bit programs will take what ever you can throw at it. It also helps if you purge your inactive memory on occasion.

I have 22GB in mine right now. My swap file is 15 megabytes. I can be running many, many programs & not have swap file growth.

I saw the biggest jump when I crossed over 16GB.
 

wonderspark

macrumors 68040
Feb 4, 2010
3,047
100
Oregon
Running CS5 (mostly Premiere and After Effects) I occasionally use all 32GB of RAM, and even today I had 589MB of page outs, but zero swap used. I was having some issues with only 16GB, but now things are buttery. Your mileage may vary.
 

pprior

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2007
1,441
8
Look at your memory stats: if you've got swap out, then you need more memory. If you don't then save your money.


Get 2 x 4GB chips
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,062
4
Activity Monitor>System Memory tab. Check the pie chart.
Page outs and swap used are what you need to concentrate on.
 

george-brooks

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 31, 2011
732
16
Brooklyn, NY
The quick answer is always yes.:D

The more in depth answer is the underwear answer:
It Depends.

Fire up activity monitor while and see how much ram you are swapping out. 32-bit programs will have a 2GB limit per process. 64-bit programs will take what ever you can throw at it. It also helps if you purge your inactive memory on occasion.

I have 22GB in mine right now. My swap file is 15 megabytes. I can be running many, many programs & not have swap file growth.

I saw the biggest jump when I crossed over 16GB.
Does this mean 2GB per processor or 2GB per core?
 

minifridge1138

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2010
1,077
82
Does this mean 2GB per processor or 2GB per core?
It means 2GB per program.

Let's say you have a DVD player running. Let's also say that a DVD is 4 GB.
If your DVD player is 32 bit, then it can have at MOST 2 GB of ram dedicated for it.
So it could read the first 1/2 of the move into RAM. Play it. Then move the second 1/2 into RAM and play it. So if you jumped from the opening credits, to the end credits, there would be a slight delay as the program read the movie from disk and loaded it.

If your DVD player was 64 bit, then it could allocate 4GB of ram, read the entire movie into memory, and play it. Then you could jump around all you want and never read the disc (technically you could eject the disk and still watch the movie).
 

george-brooks

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 31, 2011
732
16
Brooklyn, NY
It means 2GB per program.

Let's say you have a DVD player running. Let's also say that a DVD is 4 GB.
If your DVD player is 32 bit, then it can have at MOST 2 GB of ram dedicated for it.
So it could read the first 1/2 of the move into RAM. Play it. Then move the second 1/2 into RAM and play it. So if you jumped from the opening credits, to the end credits, there would be a slight delay as the program read the movie from disk and loaded it.

If your DVD player was 64 bit, then it could allocate 4GB of ram, read the entire movie into memory, and play it. Then you could jump around all you want and never read the disc (technically you could eject the disk and still watch the movie).
So I guess really CS5 and Aperture are my only programs that would benefit anyways. Yikes! Maybe I'll have to "downgrade" to FCP X eventually!
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,077
1,096
You'll see a benefit if you run those programs at the same time often. But I've found 8 gigs to be my sweet spot for now.
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,062
4
I often run Aperture, Photoshop and InDesign simultaneously. That definitely slows it down.
Yes but are you actually using all the memory you have? Did you check Activity Monitor after having those apps open for hours? Or check at the first sign of slow down? This will tell you if you will see any benefit or not.
 
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