Recommended RAM size for general purpose use

Discussion in 'iMac' started by deltauser, May 14, 2012.

  1. deltauser macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    Greetings, I am buying an iMac for general purpose use. Shall I get 4 or 8GB?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    4 GB shall suffice, but if you buy RAM, buy it somewhere else, as you can get 8 GB RAM (two 4 GB modules, 12 GB total with the already present 4 GB) for less than 50 USD via Newegg or Crucial or other sources, and Apple wants much, much more for less (8 GB total for 200 USD).

    You need 1333 MHz 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM RAM modules.
  3. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    There is no problem of mixing RAM?
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Yes, there is no problem mixing RAM, especially as one uses two of each capacity (2 x 4 GB and 2 x 2 GB).
    And if one would just use one 2 GB and one 4 GB module, it would be that bad either, one just loses dual channel ability, and dual channel usage adds just 10 % performance, not really that much for general purpose usage.

    I even ran one 2 GB and one 4 GB 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM RAM module in my 2009 MBP for several months and it was okay. They were even clocked differently (1066 MHz and 1333 MHz).
  5. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    That's a tough call. "General purpose" doesn't say much. Is photo editing part of the general use of the machine? or is it just email and web browsing?
  6. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    I don't have any experience running Mountain Lion but for $50, it's hard not to recommend adding another 8GB for the future.

    The correct answer I suppose would be to start with your 4GB and monitor your pageouts to determine if you needed more.
  7. deltauser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    email, web browsing, skype and watching dvd. I plan to install Windows 7 now and Windows 8 later. When I run Windows, I will do it natively via bootcamp rather than via virtualization.
  8. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    The 4 gb the iMac comes with will be fine for your general purpose use. You really don't NEED extra ram on day one. However, for less than $50 you can go to 12 gb (with a 4 gb x 2 upgrade kit) and not have to worry about the amount of ram you have.

    It's easy to put in and is a cost effective upgrade (as long as you don't buy it from Apple). I think I bought my 4x2 upgrade from Crucial for $31 + Shipping.

    Having extra ram will probably help with your Windows installation, although it's not really needed there either.
  9. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    OP I do some light photoshop and Aperture photo editing and I have 8GB of RAM and it handles it pretty. I primarily use my MBP for photo and video work because its upgraded with RAM and SSD and in convenient but when I can't my iMac with 8GB of RAM does just fine. I will even do some video work in Final Cut Pro and I don't have any problems. For the price you really can't go wrong upgrading to 8GB of RAM its nice to have.
  10. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    For general home users (with NO gaming), I see consistat 6 - 8 GBs is optiminal. If upgrading RAM and knowing its current low purchase cost, I'd upgrade to total of 12 GBS. re: Apple factory 2x2 + 3rd party 2 x 4s. If wondering, my iMac has this combo and its Swap File size = 0 and its Swap outs = 0 as well. Thus, meaning NO need to page to its HDD (at 12 GBs).
  11. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    If you're gonna do the upgrade skip the 8/12 GB and go to 16GB

    Guaranteed to be more than you need, however it is better to have more and not need it then it is to need more and not have it!

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