Seems 4gb vs. 8gb makes little difference in iMacs?

mr.thedaniel

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Original poster
Feb 15, 2010
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spinnerlys

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Sep 7, 2008
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Test Conclusion: As the Photoshop process itself takes up to 3GB of memory, there is not much difference after 4GB of memory is installed. However, this test is using the machine for ONLY one process at a time.

from the bottom of the chart on the site you linked to.
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
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Shouldn't YOU be the person that can tell how much RAM you need instead of a site that only tested some random benchmarks? :confused:

Honestly, don't care about such benchmarks, update your RAM if you've got too many page outs. It the input/output ratio is ok, you won't see any performance improvements with additional 4 gigs.
 

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
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I can tell the difference between four and five gigs in a mini.

Six gigs might be optimum.
 

TMRaven

macrumors 68020
Nov 5, 2009
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I know I definitely need more ram for my i7. When I work on digital paintings in photoshop, I have rather big canvas sizes (36x24 inches at 300 dpi) and I constantly add brush stroke after brush stroke with the wacom. Usually my computer only has 1/3rd of its ram being used, but it quickly gets maxed out to 100% while I paint, and my page ins/outs quickly becomes out of whack.

Also, CS5 comes out soon and I'll be looking to buy that. Each program in CS5 can utilize more than 4 gigs of ram in 64 bit.

I'll also be getting 10666 ddr3 , so my bandwidth per stick will be 10.5gb/s over 8.5gb/s that the ram the computer comes with.
 

Thirteenva

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
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You'll want more ram if you're doing any sort of multitasking.

The most interesting thing about the photoshop benchmarks you posted is the comparison between the i5 and the 3.33ghz C2D. Seems like in those tests the C2D did pretty well.
 

Raima

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2010
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When my iMac arrives, it's going to replace my PC, so I'll be running a virtual instance of Windows 7 as well as a Windows 2000 server on the iMac 24/7. Extra memory will help :)
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
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According to OWC's RAM benchmarks here:

http://eshop.macsales.com/Reviews/Framework.cfm?page=/Benchmarks/iMacSnowBench.html#Photoshop

There looks to be very little difference in performance (really, almost none!) between an i5 with 4gb vs. an i5 with 8gb. This seems a little crazy...I was planning on putting another 4gb into my stock i5 27" since it's such a cheap upgrade, but after seeing these benchmarks, it seems like a total waste of money. Thoughts?
Thoughts? You're wrong!

Look at the other test results. If you JUST use Photoshop, then yes 4GB is *usually* enough. I don't know about you, but I use my system for more than just one application at a time....

Heck, right now I have PathFinder running, calendar, mail, iTunes, Adium and Safari, and it's using 2.39GB RAM just for those apps....
 

gattler

macrumors newbie
Feb 17, 2010
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It seems to be an old legendary tale made up by Apple's Sales strategist that 300/400 USD Ram Upgrades makes your system faster (which really cost 30per gig). Also reading people here stating 10666 something and some zeros or other fantasy numbers makes one think that Apple's Sales strategists have a really easy task. I have 4gigs of RAM with my dual core, which I bought 3 years ago. I never maxed it out, playing Mass Effect2, watching HD video and surfing the web while demanding Software Suites like Visual Studio 2008 with SQL servers open at the same time. Yesterday I booted Linux with KDE 4.3.5 and its bleeding edge Compiz effects. RAM was about 512MB while watching HD Video and running some compiling stuff.

Maybe not with Wacom Usage, Virtual Machines and other production environment software (e.g. Maya, RenderMan), but for every day tasks 4 gig seem more than enough. Everything else is marketing.
 

Yamcha

macrumors 68000
Mar 6, 2008
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Sigh, I don't know why this is surprising, its silly that Apple users don't know much about hardware, Memory will not have an effect, you will not notice a performance boost whatsoever, but if you use memory intensive applications you will be able to work with more documents.. Memory in no way makes your computer faster.. Key things are processor & hard drive.. an SSD will make things boot faster, load faster... SSD's have fast overall random read and writes which is what matters the most.. so forget about upgrading ram.. get an SSD instead..
 

Nihilvor

macrumors member
Jan 25, 2010
78
4
I don't get this thread.

These benchmarks were posted months ago, and they clearly show that there IS a real difference between 4 and 8 gigs of memory in each of the heavy memory hog tests. That's what we'd expect to see. You're not going to see gains when you're running one or two programs that aren't eating up 50% of your memory.
 

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
3,766
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Sigh, I don't know why this is surprising, its silly that Apple users don't know much about hardware, Memory will not have an effect, you will not notice a performance boost whatsoever, but if you use memory intensive applications you will be able to work with more documents.. Memory in no way makes your computer faster.. Key things are processor & hard drive.. an SSD will make things boot faster, load faster... SSD's have fast overall random read and writes which is what matters the most.. so forget about upgrading ram.. get an SSD instead..
I get beachballing when too many things are opened. I'm running a 7200 rpm 500 gig hard drive and five gigs of ram. Are you saying if I spring for eight gigs this will not speed up or get rid of the beach ball?

Speed is a relative term when a lot of apps are open and the spinning ball locks in.
 

Mrccartel

macrumors member
Feb 15, 2010
38
0
columbia SC
just enough

When im running Fusion3 and windows 7, and photoshop work, which i do all day long it takes up to 12 gigs so i needed 16 gigs of ram in my core i7.
 

mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,501
156
Melbourne, Australia
Well, are you experiencing any freezing, apps quitting or lag? If so then yes, you may need 8GB of RAM. If not, then you probably are fine with 4GB. I've got 4GB and it can handle pretty much anything I throw at it.:D

By the way, there is quite a price tag on an extra 4GB of RAM:rolleyes:

Good Luck!
 

Nihilvor

macrumors member
Jan 25, 2010
78
4
Yeah, it was benchmarks like these that satisfied me that I was making the right choice for me with the 3.33ghz C2D (with my current budget and space).

Many programs just don't take advantage of the extra cores, at least not those run one at a time. Even in the stress tests they list, the 3.33 Radeon works as well or better than the better machines (especially when each has only 4 gbs). The Adobe After Effects benchmark, however, shows the advantage of the extra cores. Of course, over time, my machine will age and not keep up with the i7 with newer software.

You'll want more ram if you're doing any sort of multitasking.

The most interesting thing about the photoshop benchmarks you posted is the comparison between the i5 and the 3.33ghz C2D. Seems like in those tests the C2D did pretty well.
 

MacHamster68

macrumors 68040
Sep 17, 2009
3,252
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if you have a mac or a pc doesn't matter really maxing out the ram to whatever is possible and fits in ,will give each app running space enough without having to use much/no virtual memory and therefore the processor and harddrive will have less work and the result of that ... your mac/pc will run faster
there is no sales strategy behind , apart from modern operating systems use more ram and modern apps use more ram , so it is a vicious circle

so at the end of the day you have no choice other then to upgrade upgrade upgrade as in one /two years time from now your mac/pc won't be able to run modern programs at full speed without substantial upgrades ,
modern apps/os simply get bigger, bigger ,bigger with every release and not necessary better , just more and more eye candy so they make you believe they are better then the previous generation
 

mr.thedaniel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2010
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Interesting to hear such different opinions. Sounds like fans of overkill multitasking will need the ram, but aside from a few super RAM intensive tasks (like the wacom situation, or virtualization) 4GB ought to do fine.

I do loove seeing a comp with an SSD start up :) I just could never justify having an SSD big enough at the prices they're currently going for. When a 500GB or 1TB comes down to a reasonable price it becomes a more practical option...anyone paying the money for that speed should've bought more than an imac
 

MacHamster68

macrumors 68040
Sep 17, 2009
3,252
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on the new iMacs which use the expensive ddr3 ram the upgrade to a ssd is not that expensive compared with the price for the ram and would give you faster access to the virtual ram , which will speed up things too ,not only for booting,
its only a shame that there is no space at all in the iMac ..not even in the 27" to fit a ssd as bootdrive and for apps and using the existing normal harddrive for storage
 

newuser2310

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2010
195
2
I'm experiencing lag with logic 9 with my more complex projects. I've only noticed this within the last day or so. I'm not sure if its my imac just playing up but another 4 gigs will certainly help with logic as well as my Win 7 vm.

I wouldn't say extra RAM will transform your computer but it certainly helps with intensive tasks.
 

farmermac

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2009
774
2
Iowa
Ram only comes into play to make your system "faster" when you use up the first 4gb of ram. And it's not making it faster but allowing your system not to slow down. I would never expect a test result to be faster if you have more ram in one machine then the other.
 

kemo

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
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ProtonVPN
exactly

Ram only comes into play to make your system "faster" when you use up the first 4gb of ram. And it's not making it faster but allowing your system not to slow down. I would never expect a test result to be faster if you have more ram in one machine then the other.
try to run 3 virtual machines of Windows 7 / XP in Parallels, load firefox 4 with firebug (constantl about 800MB of ram :X.. this really sucks...)add there photoshop, itunes, mail, ichat, Forklift, textmate, versions and skype and there u go .. u will feel the difference between 4gigs and 8 gigs dude.. it basically doesnt slow down when u add another ram to use.. so I really dont understand guys who are saying - for what another 4 gigs? I really dont see no difference....think twice before saying this *********..
 

mrfoof82

macrumors 6502a
May 26, 2010
574
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Lawton, OK
Ram only comes into play to make your system "faster" when you use up the first 4gb of ram. And it's not making it faster but allowing your system not to slow down. I would never expect a test result to be faster if you have more ram in one machine then the other.
This.

If you have no need for more than 4GB of memory, more doesn't make anything faster.

It'd be like buying two treadmills to exercise on instead of one. Since you're not using more than one treadmill, you're not going to burn calories any faster.

More memory helps when you run out. When you run out of physical memory, the operating system writes memory pages to disk, and constantly tries to switch out what it has on disk and what it has in memory. This is a big performance hit because hard drives are 100 to 10,000 times slower than memory.
 

Zelnaga

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
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If you deal with VMs. I'd make all the difference.