Should I upgrade my RAM>

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JamesHume, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. JamesHume macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #1
    I'm currently working on my MacBook Pro and lately it's been getting really slow. I don't have 1 solid program open that slows it down, it's just a bunch of small applications open. Here is what I have open right now:

    Adium
    Colloquy
    Dreamweaver
    iTunes
    Mail
    Word
    Excel
    Photoshop
    Safari
    Transmit
    Transmission
    VMWare Fusion with Windows XP virtual machine

    My workflow requires all of these programs open at one time because I'm constantly switching between them. I also have multiple files open in each program such as: 3 spread sheets in Excel, ~20 tabs in Safari, ~3 tabs in Transmit, ~10 files in Dreamweaver, ~5 files in Photoshop, you get the point.

    My CPU Activity Monitor Shows:
    % User: 13.50
    % System: 11
    % Nice: 0
    % Idle 78.90
    (Percents don't add up as they were changing while I was typing)
    Threads: 379
    Processes: 75

    RAM Activity Monitor Shows:
    Free: 9.71 MB
    Wired: 358.14 MB
    Active: 1.09 GB
    Inactive: 556.96
    Used: 1.99 GB
    VM size: 55.96 GB
    Page ins: 1.09 GB
    Page outs: 543.45 MB
    Swap used: 1.19 GB

    Well I've really slowed down my work pace as I finished most of my tasks today, so those numbers aren't true reflections, I'd say things get a lot busier while I'm in the middle of working. I'm guessing that my CPU is plenty powerful enough for what I'm doing, yet I could really benefit with a ram upgrade from my 2 GB's, correct? What would you recommend, 4GB or 6GB? And am I correct in assuming my CPU load isn't bad and it's not contributing to lag spikes? Every time I check my CPU meter it shows both cores at 25-40% usage.

    Well, thanks in advance for the advice.
     
  2. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502

    ceezy3000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Location:
    The Valley!!
    #2
    i would personally from a practability standpoint get the 4gbs. i have 4gbs and even on my hardest days i dont think i get past 3.. ever
     
  3. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    The place where Apple designs stuff
    #3
    Woah, you're doing a lot of memory intensive tasks there bud, I would definitely recommend you go 4GB.
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #4
    You will definitely see a performance increase with 4GB running Fusion/XP

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  5. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #5
    yes upgrade the ram, it is very cheap to do so, and it will help with so many programs you use.
    4Gb will be OK (depending on your system 6GB would not be fully usable not to mention it would disable the double channel feature and 8GB could cause incompatibility issued and it will be prohibitively expensive)

    Also you should consider changing the HDD for an SSD (check this thread for a cheap one I bought as well as my impressions about it: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=661948)

    With my settings (see my signature) I can run safari (several tabs) + mail + adium + ical + itunes + word + uTorrent + belking control center + iphoto + hadbrake rendering a movie + 2 virtual machines (one with windows xp and other with ubuntu) before computer freezing (when trying to open a third machine doing all that computer starts to feel slow sometimes I have to quit something in order to get it running smoothly again but again my machine is not top of the line.

    oh. by the way, my machine boots in less than 45secs (45 to be fully functional) and safari + mail + adium + ical + itunes + word + uTorrent + belking control center + iphoto all open at login.
     
  6. JamesHume thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #6
    So now I suppose it's time to do research on 4GB's vs 6GB's. Based on the above data, would I even benefit from having an additional 2GB's of memory (if I went with the 6GB kit over the 4GB kit)? Another thing to take note is that I plan on upgrading my external display to a larger one, so that should mean more multi tasking and more memory usage.

    And finally, are my CPU loads good or should I start saving up for a Mac Pro :cool:? And thanks for reminding me about an SSD, I've been doing some research about them lately and seems like an excellent upgrade, albeit it's pretty expensive compared to traditional hard drives.
     
  7. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #7
    I don't think you can ever have to much ram :) If money isn't the issue go for 6 and be done with it.
     
  8. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #8
    What system do you have?
    If it takes DDR2 check newegg, I recently bought a kingston kit (2x2GB) of low latency ram form $39 shipping included (if your system takes DDR3 then it might be almost twice that for a decent brand, and about ~50 for a crappy one).

    SSD are more affordable, really check the thread 128GB for $220 thats pretty good (obviously is not at the same level as HDD, but if you see it as a performance upgrade not as an storage upgrade is easy to swallow.)
    And about the CPU load, i think its not easy to say since at any given time you can only do 1 thing at the time (the computer can multitask but you cant) and none of the programs you described contributes to multitask (execpt for VMware fusion if you running a program on windows) for instance you cannot browse the internet and send a message in adium at the very exact instant, you have to do one first then the other, and the CPU will handle it in that way as well (if you render a video and run VMware at same time, then thats another story)
     
  9. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #9
    6GB will disable the dual channel feature, whatever speed he gets on one side he losses in the other side (in fact my system running all the programs I described usually have ~1GB free out of 4GB so if he uses similar config as I do, he would actually lose performance from 4GB to 6GB since he would have 3GB of free memory and not dual channel....
     
  10. JamesHume thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #10
    That makes perfect sense. By the way I have the 2.4 GHz Penryn with 2 GB of 667 MHZ DDR2 SDRAM.

    If I were to get an SSD drive, it would be a boot-only drive and I'd use it for applications only (and for keeping my files that I create while on the go, but transfer it over to the external when I get home). I'd use my external drive for file and data storage. So $220 really isn't that bad, and 128 GB is plenty of space for my apps.
     
  11. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    Bristol, England
    #11
    If you do need more space, a 7200rpm drive will give you a performance boost over the stock drive, although not as great as SSD, you will get more GB for your $.
     
  12. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #12
    Your system should take this ram:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134605
    it is even cheaper than what I paid for mine 1 week ago (you still can go cheaper and buy the G.Skill for ~$34 but for $2 i'd go for the more known Kingston brand) though i think they are not offering free shipping anymore on it, anyway check it.

    Did you check the thread on the G.SKill drive? Trust me you will feel in heave, today i booted off a regular HDD because of a test I was doing and I could not believe HOW SLOW it was..... I guess there is no way now I could get use to HDD again...
     
  13. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
  14. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #14
    7200rpm will also give you the noise boost, the vibration boost, the heat boost.
     
  15. JamesHume thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #15
    Still going through the thread, sounds very promising so far. I'll look into it further tomorrow. Thanks a lot for your help xoggyux!
     
  16. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #16
    my pleasure.
     
  17. shaunymac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #17
    Yeah, yeah...my 7200rpm gets a little warm. Ok, it gets down right HOT! Hot enough for me to wonder why they call it a laptop? :rolleyes:

    Mine boots quick and loads fast but it doesn't have the benefits of SSD. If I could get away from the heat on my macbook pro, I would do it.

    As far as the ram goes, if I already have 2gigs, can't I just add 2gigs more to attain the dual latency. Surely, I don't have to buy the same brand. Photoshop is hogging all of my ram right now. :D
     
  18. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #18
    I'm betting you have two 1GB chips in there. So to get 4GB you have to replace the 1GB chips with 2GB chips.
     
  19. shaunymac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #19
    For some reason, I thought I looked before and only saw one. You are right. I have two 1gig sticks.

    I guess not the question will be, should I consider waiting until snow leopard to see if my machine "will support" 8 gigs or is it going to be limited to the unibody macbooks. If that is the case, I guess I'm better off just saving money and getting 2x2 gig sticks.

    Thanks for catching that brop. ;)
     
  20. lazydesi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Gr8 Adelaide
  21. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #21
    8GB of DDR2 is still expensive. Just go with the 4GB.
     
  22. Ekos macrumors newbie

    Ekos

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    #22
    Definitely do it. I just did it today, and it is great. The difference was noticeable immediately, and parallels was enjoying the boost as well. I have a black MacBook, and it came with 2gb. I run AutoCAD through parallels and it was struggling. I just upgraded to 4gb from newegg for $45, and I am glad I did.
     
  23. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #23
    Good point, forgot about that. :)
     

Share This Page