Recommended Amount of RAM

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by mikeyman13, May 18, 2008.

  1. mikeyman13 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    #1
    Hi,

    I just bought the 24 inch 2.8 iMac with the upgraded nvidia graphics card. I have received varying views about replacing the current 2gb of RAM with 4gb. I only really play WoW in addition to my graphics work and some people have said neither of these two tasks should utilize more than 2gb of RAM.

    I am still new to computers and was trying to figure out whether or not the upgrade is worth the cost. Any thoughts?
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    If your Page outs come close to or exceed your Page ins after a bit of regular use, more RAM would be beneficial (check it in the System Memory section of Activity Monitor) :)
     
  3. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #3
    Why not try it out for a while, and upgrade if it feels sluggish...graphics work could utilize it depending on what you are doing...
     
  4. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #4
    WoW itself never uses more than about a half gig no matter how much RAM you have, so it really comes down to what other apps you want to have open at the same time. As psychofreak says, open the things you want and open Activity Monitor and look at the memory section. That will give you an idea of how much RAM things are using.

    Personally I tend to have a lot of stuff running along with WoW including Mail, Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, Cinema 4D, Unison, Xcode, Safari, TextMate, iTunes, QuickTime Player, and other stuff (usually not all of those at the same time, but often many of them). And WoW generally still runs well with 2 GB, although if any of those apps have a lot of media assets loaded (particularly AE and PS), that can get tight.
     
  5. mikeyman13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    #5
    Thanks so much for the feedback . . . I was simply trying to figure out if I added the extra RAM would it get me above an average of 50 fps, and I was not aware of a way to check whether or not the extra RAM would be beneficial or even if it affected fps.

    Anyway, I appreciate you help!
     
  6. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #6
    I run a LOT more than that at the same time, and have never seen my 2GB RAM max out.

    Frequent spinning "beachball" cursors are a symptom of RAM paging. General "subjective sense of speed" is NOT a good way to judge, since many factors affect speed, and RAM won't affect most of those factors.

    RAM will affect little "hitches" when data that SHOULD be in RAM is being pulled from hard disk instead. It won't boost ongoing frames-per-second.
     
  7. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #7
    More RAM is always worth it for me, as I usually multi-task. Even for gaming I'd recommend it. Plus RAM is dirt cheap now.
     
  8. redsteven macrumors 6502a

    redsteven

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    #8
    I couldn't disagree more : \

    When I bought this iMac (first gen intel) I got it with the stock 1 gig of RAM.

    After a short time I purchased an extra gig, and noticed a HUGE difference with all games, INCLUDING WoW.

    This was about 2 years ago, but one example that I remember very, very clearly is that my gryphon flights were also laggy... I'd slow down to ≤10 fps or so. They were super smooth once I upgraded my RAM though.


    I suppose you could make the argument that the OS was leaving less than 512 megs for WoW. Still, I think that's sort of ridiculous : \

    If I still had an active account I'd check and let you know the RAM utilization, but I haven't played in a while now.
     
  9. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #9
    I'd say 1GB vs. 2GB is very useful for most people--and certainly in this case.

    But 2GB vs. 4GB... I see that as future-proofing, not currently much of a difference for MOST people. I've certainly never has more than 2. And if it's for future needs more than current ones, I say wait and let it keep getting cheaper.

    Now, if you run Windows and OS X simultaneously, and work on huge print-resolution Photoshop docs, and keep all that running in the background while you game... then the more RAM the better! :)
     
  10. Krevnik macrumors 68030

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #10
    Well, define "max out" and "LOT more". :)

    Outside of pageouts, there is no good way to say "I have enough RAM", which is thanks in part to how OS X and other similar systems manage memory. If you get near-zero pageouts you are in great shape. Of course, the uptime you have had will help determine how much you are actually paging as well.

    The apps you run and how you use them make most of the difference. I can run 20 apps that don't use more than a few MB of RAM each to do their thing, or I can run 5 apps that each need 256MB, and the 5 will run worse than the 20. Plus, good paging systems will hide most of the perf hit from swapping when switching applications. An example on OS X is that Handbrake 0.9.2 will occasionally leak memory, and eventually crash when it uses 4GB of memory. However, only 120MB are in RAM at any one time when RAM gets constrained, and performance was actually still very good because all the leaked pages weren't touched at all and reloaded.
     
  11. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #11
    The good way to determine if you need more RAM is checking the page-in/page-outs in Activity Monitor:

    If page-out number is over 500 MB and is approaching the number of page-ins after a couple of days of regular use, you need more RAM.
     
  12. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #12
    They have improved the asset loading, unloading, and cacheing in WoW since its release. And of course, yes, the OS itself is going to use up a lot of RAM. With 1 GB, it's going to run but be tight. With 2 GB you will have plenty for WoW (again, in isolation, you have to take other apps into account). Because of the OS requirements, going from 1 GB to 2 GB does much more than double your available RAM, it's more like 3x-4x.
     
  13. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #13
    You can't universally say everyone who gets a high page-out number needs more RAM. You also have to ask what slowdowns the person is experiencing. If it's frames-per-second they care about, RAM is not likely to be the answer. Not everyone will care equally about the symptoms of many page-outs.

    Some people definitely do need 4GB--but at the moment they are a minority.
     

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