Should I go from 8gb to 16gb?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by JonL12345, May 22, 2019.

  1. JonL12345 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #1
    I have a 2012 iMac i7, with 8gb of RAM. I am wondering if I should upgrade to 16gb. I run two virtual machines at the same time, using Parallels, namely Ubuntu and Windows 10. I've allocated 1gb to Ubuntu and 4gb to Windows 10.

    How do I know if I should be upgrading my RAM or not? Any tools out there to see if RAM has become a performance bottleneck? Does the System info on the iMac, where it shows me swap file usage etc help?

    Thanks,

    Jon
     
  2. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    #2
    activity monitor. Memory Pressure will tell you if you're critically in need of memory.

    But yeah, 2 virtual machines is a sign that you will need more memory.
     
  3. JonL12345 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2012
    #3
    Thanks, I just found that! It shows Memory Used 7.59 out of 8gb. Not gone into the red yet so maybe I can get away without. Although, it does show Swap Used 1.1gb. Not sure how to interpret that data set.
     
  4. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

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    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Running two virtual machines, I'd say go for the extra ram. I run VMWare Fusion with a Windows 10 dev environment on my MBP's 16GB and I find it just about right. I can't imagine running two. I give Windows 10-12GB. :p

    If activity monitor shows ram as yellow or red, that's usually a good indicator you could use more. Mine has always been green, even with VMWare usage. Swap is something maintained by the OS - it tries to intelligently put files that you won't use very often there, to free up memory. I wouldn't think anything of it.
     
  5. JonL12345 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2012
    #5
    My iMac is from 2012 but is i7. How much faster are the new iMac i7s? Are they similar since they are still an i7?
     
  6. Infinite Vortex macrumors regular

    Infinite Vortex

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    Mar 6, 2015
    #6
    When it comes to the 2012s I would first opt to go SSD and then RAM. And yes, 16GB is better than 8GB.
     
  7. JonL12345 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2012
    #7
    I went for one of the SSD/drive hybrid things when I got it configured.
     
  8. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #8
    When it runs out of physical RAM, it will attempt to use virtual RAM—much, much slower. You absolutely need more RAM. 16GB total is probably not enough.
    --- Post Merged, May 22, 2019 ---
    A whole hell of a lot.

    Your 2012 has a SATA III bus. Throwing away the HDD and replacing with an SSD increases the bus speed about 3.5x.

    A 2017 or later SSD based (no fusion or HDD) runs another 6x faster.

    And yes, the i7 is faster even if rated the same or speed. The i9 even more so.
     
  9. JonL12345 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2012
    #9
    @mikehalloran I bought the iMac with an SSD. Are you saying that it will still be using the SATA III bus?
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    OP --

    After 7 years, you might start shopping for a 2019 iMac.
    You'll enjoy the upgrade.

    And MAKE SURE you get one with a SSD inside. The most important buying decision you'll make.
     
  11. AlaskaMoose, May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 68000

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    #11
    I bough a new iMac, but still have a 2011 21" iMac that works like a champ, and is used for photo editing with CS6, Nik software package, and some of the OneOne plugins. I replaced the internal hard drive with a 1TB SSD, and added enough RAM for 18GB. Don't want to put it away because it is quite fast, even faster than the new iMac with a Fusion drive.

    By the way, to me it makes no sense to buy a new iMac with any SSD smaller than 1TB, because sooner than later I would be asking questions in this forum about "with external SSD to buy" :)

    I need at least 1TB internal SSD for working with my photos before saving or moving them to an external hard drive. What I will do with the new iMac when the warranty expires is to replace the 2TB Fusion drive with a 1 or 2TB SSD, just like I did with my 2011 iMac.
     
  12. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    Estonia
    #12
    It depends. 500GB internal SSD is plenty for most system setups.
    The real trick here is: replacing fusion with base 500GB SSD is only +100. Replacing it with 1TB SSD is +500.
    Adding external NVMe SSD (Samsung X5) will be +220 for a 500GB drive (system total 1TB) or +450 for the 1TB drive (system total of 1.5TB). So around 35% cheaper.
    At least that is how I explained this to myself when deciding.
    Internal is a bit faster, but the X5 is really snappy for an external:
    DiskSpeedTest-iMac27e19NVMe.png DiskSpeedTest-SamsungX5.png
     
  13. BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a

    BigBoy2018

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    Oct 23, 2018
    #13
    Or, do what I did > but the model with the fusion drive and upgrade it yourself. I put in a 4tb Samsung 860 EVO in place of the fusion drive at 1/10 the cost of getting that configuration from Apple. Oh wait, that's right, Apple doesn't even offer a 4tb ssd option!

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/How+to+Add+An+SSD+To+The+27-Inch+iMac+(Late+2015)/67309

    (This is on a 2015 model but the process is identical for the 2017 and 2019 versions - with the extra bonus that you don't need to add the temp sensor).
     
  14. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    #14
    That is another option, indeed. If you can live with SATA speeds and do not really need NVMe speeds, this will be another alternative.
     
  15. BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a

    BigBoy2018

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    Oct 23, 2018
    #15
    In real world experience, sata ssd speeds feel virtually no different from nvme drives. So you can absolutely ‘live ‘ with it.

    The only time you may actually notice a quantifiable benefit from the nvme ssd is when you,re copying a huge file (tens of gigabytes) onto another equally fast nvme drive. For most anyone, they’re copying from an external ssd that has similar speeds as a sata drive, so all that nvme ‘speed’ is left in the pantry.
     
  16. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    #16
    I think, as soon as you start photo-, or better yet : 4K Video editing, you will start to appreciate the NVMe speeds.
    I love how the 24MB raw files fly open on this machine. Before, I used to have 2 850EVOs in RAID0 connected to MBP over original Thunderbolt, and these would take some time to open. 36 and 42 megapixel raw files were almost painful to work with.
     
  17. AlaskaMoose, May 26, 2019
    Last edited: May 26, 2019

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 68000

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    #17
    500GB is not worth it to me, and any larger SSD from Apple is overpriced. I edit very large photos for archival (TIFF) and place them in folders on the desktop. Later I moved them to external hard drives that don't have enclosures, and plug to a powered USB-3/SATA dock. To me it makes not difference having an external SATA hard drive or SSD, simply because I just drag the files or folders to the external, and take a break while the process takes place. At the end I eject the external hard drive and stack it out of the way. Where I need the speed is with the internal drive, and that's why I haven't gotten rid of the 2011 iMac that has an SSD inside.
     
  18. BigBoy2018, May 26, 2019
    Last edited: May 26, 2019

    BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a

    BigBoy2018

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    Oct 23, 2018
    #18
    You are mistaken. i’ve use both types of machines, those with the so-called ‘super fast nvme drives’ and those with sata ssds, and the comparative experience is virtually identical. And yea ... Im a video producer so I’ve seen and done plenty of 4k editing on both types of machines. You think the nvme drives are the difference, but the transformational leap is going from a fusion/spinning drive to ANY full ssd.

    Trust me, if you compared a nvme equipped computer next to an identical one with a sata ssd in a blind test, you would struggle to notice any real world difference

    You all have been sucked in by apples marketing and the disk speed tests, which dont translate into the real world.
     
  19. AlaskaMoose macrumors 68000

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    Apr 26, 2008
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    Alaska
    #19
    What I like about an internal SSD, one that is 1TB (or larger of course), is when adding layers to an image using OneOne or the NIK plugins. The adding layer process that takes place within CS6 takes just a fraction of a second on my 2011 iMac. The same is saving the completed image to the folders I have on the desktop. In addition to that, startups take just a very few seconds.

    There is no way I would buy a 2019 iMac with an Apple-installed SSD inside. The 2019 I purchased a few weeks ago will have a 1 to 4TB SSD installed by me once the warranty is over. I will also continue using the 2011 iMac I have until I can't repair it any longer, although I have never had a single issue with it (will keep my fingers crossed, I guess)
    :)
     
  20. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    #20
    I've not used HDD for long time now (except for long-term archival),
    But you are right, upon closer inspections, my excitement about flying workflow must be attributed to the i9 and Vega 40 muscle, and SSD plays minimal role if any. Tried my old 950EVO RAID0 tandem in TB-enclosure and the new X5 in TB3 enclosure.
    This was now with Aperture 3.6 ;)
     
  21. BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a

    BigBoy2018

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    Oct 23, 2018
    #21
    Right. The huge payoff from ssd’s comes from the virtually instant access speeds, which even a garden variety sata ssd will give you. The massive transfer speeds that you’ll see in bkackmagic dsik speed test will give you very little noticeable difference in real world use.
     
  22. cinnabun814 macrumors member

    cinnabun814

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    Apr 2, 2018
  23. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    Estonia
    #23
    That is a good start for any Mac in 2019, but for the price you'd pay apple for this upgrade, you'd end up with 40GB if you source your RAM from elsewhere.
    32GB Upgrade kit costs 200 on Amazon.
     
  24. JonL12345 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #24
    I ordered 8gb RAM and it arrived today. Cost me about £45. I found when I was loading up a game, there was a little bit of stuttering and the activity monitor program was showing some red sections on the memory pressure. I'm hoping it will make things a little more fluid.

    I have Parallels running Windows 10 and Ubuntu. Not sure how many cores I should be assigning to each and how much RAM. Any suggestions?
     

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23 May 22, 2019