Recording on an Imac G5-more RAM?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Adam Thompson, May 10, 2011.

  1. Adam Thompson macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2011
    Hello everyone!

    I have a question or two about recording on my Imac (2nd generation PowerPC, I think. 1.8 GHZ). I've been linked here before so you guys seem to know what you're talking about.

    I bought a (yes, used) Imac G5 for recording my music. I have way more experience with PCs, but I'd heard Macs were definitely the way to go since their hardware is better, etc.

    I'm quite impressed with it so far, PCs don't hold a candle to this thing. And this is an old one.

    Here's the problem-

    I'm just using Garage Band at the moment but the thing lags like crazy after a few tracks. When I open a new track, it doesn't even show up until I click the show/hide track mixer button, for some reason.

    I was told that upgrading my RAM would probably help with that. I thought I had 4 Gigs max, but after browsing Apple's site it looks like I've only got 2 Gigs max.

    There's already a gig and a half in there.

    I know I've heard to update RAM sticks in pairs, which whoever I bought this from obviously didn't do, but would that half gig make much of a difference?

    I mean, would I experience less lagging problems if I bought two 1 Gig Ram cards ( If those are the right ones) or would it only make a slight difference?

    Or does anyone else have any suggestions on how to make it lag less?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    My experience is that you have to double the RAM to make it noticable in real life. A benchmark program might notice a small increses but in real life you have to double it before it makes a big difference.

    You can likely fix the "lag" by "freezing" a track. "freeze" means the same a "bounce" in other DAWS. Basically it renders the track to a WAV file and disables any modifications to it. The free up CPU time for the new tracks you are working on

    To figure thses things out run Apple's "Activity Monitor" untility. Look at CPU utilization. If it is nearly maxed out then either freeze more tracks or buy a newer Mac. That G5 is about like running a Pentium II. Look at the "swap outs" and if they are going up or if they are not very much smaller than the "swap in" number then more RAM will help. This is a case were I take back the above advice to only double RAM, the the swap outs or large and growing, add any RAM yu can. swap-in is normal that is how Mac OS X moves apps into ram but swap-out is a last ditch effort to make space in ram.

    Be sure an quit, not just close the windows of every app you don't need And "freeze" every track you are not activly working on
  3. OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

    OS X Dude

    Jun 30, 2007
    My MacBook (2GHz Core 2 Duo, late 2006) happily runs Logic Pro 9 to this day, with 2GB RAM.

    In short:
    • Using plug-ins and recording software instruments ---> more RAM
    • Recording real instruments with only a few plug-ins ----> better processor
    More RAM will always be a help in big projects with many instruments, however.

    Another big factor is HDD speed, this one change will arguably make the single-biggest speed difference across your whole computing experience, from boot-up to shutdown. The performance gains with a 7200rpm drive are modest, since you have a desktop I would recommend a 10,000rpm WD VelociRaptor. A bit dearer but you'll appreciate it, I'm sure.
  4. Adam Thompson thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2011

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