SSD or More RAM?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BrandinoMino, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. BrandinoMino macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2011
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    I'm currently planning to buy a 27" iMac Core i5/i7 and wondering if SSD is really worth it from Apple. I've read that theirs isn't as fast as other brands, is this true?

    I'm a average user basically and my main concerns are how smooth multitasking is and how quickly the applications open.

    I can afford both but don't wanna spend the extra $600+ for the SSD if 8-12gb ram is gonna do the same job.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    From this link, it appears you can't swap the SSD with another brand.
    27” Mid 2010 iMac Disassembled.

    It depends on what you typically run, but since the iMac comes with 4GB of RAM, you may not notice any improvement in going to 8 or 12GB. If you're not maxing out 4GB on a regular basis, you likely won't see any benefit from more RAM.
  3. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    They aren't quite as fast from what I've heard, but if you are an average user you won't notice.

    RAM and SSDs do different things. If you want to improve application and OS startup time, get an SSD. If you want to have the best multitasking experience, get RAM. If you are an average user, though, 4GB is more than enough for that.

    If I had to pick, I'd definitely go for the SSD. You can always get more RAM yourself later, if you need it.
  4. BrandinoMino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2011
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    Thanks for the quick replies. I have a late 2009 21.5 core 2 duo 3.06ghz 4gb ram iMac currently and a friend wants to buy so that's why I am upgrading.

    But I can tell it's sluggish at times, could just be processor though. Sometimes just my iTunes alone takes 20 bounces to open, and to me that's way too long to wait for a $1000+ machine. It's odd tho, cause when I do a fresh wipe and re-install of OS X it only takes 1-2 bounces to open about any application.
  5. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    I have a 17" MBP and maxed out the RAM but still wasn't happy with the speed. Having gone SSD I'm finally blazing the way I envisioned. Even with 8GB RAM I never got the speed I was after but my SSD really flies. Maybe it's a combo of both, or maybe available memory is a huge factor, but the SSD is what made my setup
  6. Nikato macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2011
    What is an SSD? I have seen it several times but not sure what it is. Does it go in a ram slot? Can they go in Mac minis?
  7. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    A SSD stands for solid state disk. It is essentially flash memory, what an iPhone or iPod uses for storage, so it's fast, and there are no moving parts. It replaces a hard drive, so yes, it can go into a mini.
  8. jmpnop macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2010
    By upgrading RAM you'll see some improvements in demanding applications else you won't notice at all. SSDs are way way ahead of HDD, OS will load in seconds, apps will load in a flash. Definitely recommended if you can afford. Upgrading SSD should be your first priority, then RAM. Apple's SSDs are old tech and really expensive, you can get much better SSD for 200$ less. I'd recommend OCZ's Vertex 2 series, they're good, reliable and are reasonably priced.
  9. Nikato macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ah okay, so you'd install it and would have to re-install the mac OS and what not on it I guess. Hmm, well considering the Mac mini im getting has just 2gigs of ram, I think i'll focus on upgrading the ram first since it will be cheaper and then do SSD later...maybe if i find I need it.
  10. stefanski macrumors member


    Apr 11, 2004
    Once you really actually had SSD you will never ever want to go back, yet alone tell somebody that it isn't worth it.

    I put an SSD into my Macbook Pro after maxing it out to 6GB of RAM. It runs in 64bit mode and you would be surprised at how quickly the 6GB are gone. Together with the SSD this beauty is now 3 years old and still going strongly. I just simply can't find a reason to upgrade. Yes, there is a difference compared to the iMac due to the 2.5" HDD which is usually a fair bit slower than its 3.5" brothers in the iMac but an SSD makes all the difference.

    You can afford both? Well there you go. Get both then. Going from 4GB to 8GB of RAM will still make a difference, especially if you boot into 64bit. Not a big one, but it will be noticed unless you're just really surfing the net and nothing else.

    Mind you, the SSD in the iMac is very expensive but it will be worth it as it seems to be rather tricky or impossible to do the upgrade yourself.

    Is it a slow SSD? It won't be the fastest in the market but that really doesn't matter at all. You will be very happy with it and certainly never look back saying "I wish I didn't get the SSD". :)
  11. Nikato macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I've never had a mac before. How much space do most of the apps end up taking? I have several TB hard drives that I would be using to store things like images and movies so maybe a cheap SSD would be okay, but the cheap ones are like...8gigs lol.
  12. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007

    SSD hands down not only because you will see a speedup for most day-to-day applications but also because it's insanely hard to upgrade after the fact. People who have done teardowns of the iMac have found that Apple doesn't even put the hardware brackets necessary to mount the SSD into iMacs that aren't configured with the SSD. You can install an SSD in the imac after the fact, but it involves tearing your iMac apart and most likely sacrificing your DVD drive to do so.

    That being said, you honestly might want to consider the low end mac pro if you already own a nice display. By the time you add an Apple-installed SSD(plus the HD) to the iMac you are already looking at $2750, the base mac pro + an OCZ Vertex 2 96 gb(which is more than enough for OS + Apps + VM) costs the exact same, and the mac pro will be significantly faster.
  13. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    CPU performance has far outstripped the ability of the system to feed it data for processing. 3 levels of cache memory, and faster levels of DRAM still can't keep up, though it's better than the next level down: spinning disk drives, shackled with rotational latency and other physical issues. Sun/Oracle/Intel estimate that the fastest 15K server drives are 100s of times slower than the CPU's ability to take the data. CPUs spend most of their time waiting.
    But end-to-end performance is what matters to most people, and everyone defines this differently. But if you're running out of DRAM memory, adding more memory is the best bet. Having an SSD won't suck as much if VM goes to spinning disk, but it won't be as good as not going there at all. Still, everyone raves about SSDs and performance. I'm just sayin' that you should first make sure you have enough DRAM.

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