SSD or RAM, which would be more useful?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iSayuSay, May 17, 2011.

  1. iSayuSay, May 17, 2011
    Last edited: May 17, 2011

    iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Okay, as some of you may know, I´ve had dilemma about SSD on my iMac

    I dont want :apple: offering with SSD, for the price is really insane for just one SSD. Suprisingly the price is quite reasonable compared to the market, it´s just out of my tolerance.

    Now I need an advice, which one is more important? adding RAM or SSD to your iMac? Both are not BTO option a.k.a DIY

    Adding RAM:
    + Cheaper
    + Easier to do and apple doesn´t restrict it
    + No need rip apart your iMac to do one

    Adding SSD:
    + Cool maybe?? :confused:
    + Boost booting and loading apps time
    - More expensive
    - Not everyone has the patience or ability to do it
    - If the SSD is failing, you may need to deconstruct your iMac again

    But really, let´s say I have 12 or 16Gb RAM installed on my iMac, will it perform better or simulate SSD speed, would it decrease boot or apps loading time since I have more room to cache every process available?

    If you have $100 - $200, what would you buy first? smaller SSD (64 or 128Gb) OR RAM (add 2x4Gb to stock)

    EDIT: I´d do photoshop, some design work (hardly 3d though), coding sometimes, gaming (I love game, but quit from build gaming rig, it´s exhausting and too much cost, buying another GPU every couple years aint that cool anymore) .. other stuff is general: browsing, music library, and watching movie on that lovely screen
  2. AWallen90 macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2009
    Adding an SSD makes a ridiculous difference. Go for the SSD.
  3. mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Lawton, OK
    The reduced seek time of SSDs is a constant factor. You either have it or you don't. The reduction in latency is huge. Remember, storage is the slowest part of your system (due to the rotational latency of a hard disk).

    Having more memory only benefits if you will use it. If you're asking this question, quite honestly, odds are you don't have a need for it. Even if you did, adding it is both rather trivial and inexpensive (though an external SSD could theoretically be added later via Thunderbolt).


    Do you reboot often? Do you open apps frequently? Do you access a lot of small files, or do a lot of random I/O (compiling programs, database work, loading levels in games)? If so, you'll notice the SSD a lot more. For most people, the SSD is a very perceptible difference. Adding more memory only makes a perceptible difference if you didn't have enough in the first place. Adding extra when you don't need it accomplishes nothing.
  4. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    The SSD will make the greater difference, even if it does cost a goddamn fortune (and it does - I can't afford one in my new iMac).

    Doesn't matter how much RAM you have, buddy - that RAM will always be kept waiting by an HDD. I have 12GB of RAM in my current iMac, and it's a bit quicker than it was with 4GB... but only a bit.
  5. p3t3rsn macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2011
    +1....SSD all the way
  6. Icy1007 macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    SSDs are too expensive. When I can buy a 1TB SSD for $80, that is when I will buy one.
    I would go with the RAM.
  7. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    A fair point in monetary terms... but the SSD would definitely make the greater difference to performance. Which, I think, is what the OP is concerned about.
  8. iSayuSay thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Not that I blind about computers, I built my own PC, .. but really, I jumped in from something really ancient.

    My PC is Intel Prescott CoreSolo 3GHz, 2Gb RAM, Radeon X1600 256MB and only 320Gb of HDD.

    Dang this old thing cant even play 720p without hiccup.

    I had MacMini for about 2 years and sold it for this new 27¨ iMac
    Wow, .. I think the majority here support SSD

    Long story short, I contacted local AASP and they said they don´t have the blueprint yet for the new iMac, basically they dont have the ability to install SSD inside my iMac without removing HDD, why is that? They said about no port, no empty room and something like that

    It´s possible just to add my own SSD without removing anything, right? Any limitation I should aware of?
  9. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009

    have you not been reading all the threads and seen all the pictures that show how you must remove the entire motherboard to install the SSD?

    You havent even told us what you are doing with your Mac?

    Reading what kind of box you are using now, I highly doubt that you need a SSD.
  10. Binary Ninja macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2011
    SSD way too expensive still that is why they are not the normal drive these days ....and since their launch i have seen so many fail yes a solid state drive just fail ... working in retail the pc industry and have for last 10 years they are not worth the $$$ and hence i didn't even bother when i got my recent 2011 iMac...

    ram would do more for most people
  11. iSayuSay thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    No .. of course I know .. you´d better see my first post again .. I realize I have to rip apart everything just to put SSD inside, not everyone would be able to do it, right? It´s something can easily be done with regular PC or even MacPro .. but not with iMac.

    When I asked ¨without removing anything".. I referred to stock HDD and ODD inside, not the chassis, display, boards etc.

    I played with a Macbook Air, havent personally owned it yet, but long enough to feel the fun of using SSD. I was just trying to compare the importance or priority between having SSD and RAM

    Oh please dont be mad, sir :D
  12. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    SSD will speed up booting and loading.

    RAM will speed up processing.

    What do you spend more time doing?

    I deal with editing large video files and still images, for me System RAM is more important than an SSD.

    AFAIAC - SSD's are way overrated and way overpriced.

    It's your money, spend it wisely.

  13. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    RAM won't give you bragging rights though! :D
  14. Binary Ninja macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2011
    but with a 27" iMac no bragging rights are required the screen is enough
  15. iSayuSay thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    How about using external SSD that use Thunderbolt .. that would double your brags right?

    Friend: ¨Hey .. I´ve installed SSD with my laptops. Have you used one for your iMac? Too bad, it´s fast but wont be as fast as my laptop now!¨
    Me: ¨Well .. I dont have it inside¨
    Friend: ¨Pity, such a waste for machine as fast as yours, you know?¨
    Me: ¨It´s okay .. I still have it around, plugged into my Thunderbolt¨
    Friend: ¨ ... *gulp* ...¨

  16. kevin2223 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2010
    Personally, I'd steer away from opening an iMac and potentially voiding the warranty. Unless Apple gets SATA III drives in their BTO models, their SSD solution is slow *relatively speaking — ~200MB/s read/write compared to 500MB/s+ (BareFeats).

    The best option would be to get an external Thunderbolt enclosure with a 120GB+ SATA III SSD. If they are priced in the $500 range and bootable you'll be getting a superior drive, won't be voiding the warranty, and be able to use the drive on other computers once you are no longer using the iMac.

    We'll know more details about the pricing of these external Thunderbolt drives in three months to a year, as they come to market, if you can wait that long.

    RAM is really only beneficial if you are running out of it, otherwise it is being wasted. So, this can be upgraded anytime in the future (prices continue to drop). Right now, 2x4GB (for 12GB total) is the best option for around $100.
  17. iSayuSay thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Wisely said sir, I was just thinking about having SSD inside the iMac to keep my table clean and, as apple said .. hassle free.

    But if the enclosure is looking good as Lacie´s .. I dont mind of putting it on my table for a boot drive. Clean solution also, nice post sir

    I just hope Apple wont restrict OS boot from Thunderbolt drive .. i really do
  18. Dresevski macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2011
    Do what I did: +8GB RAM now and +SSD later when we know more about 1) the installation process (how Apple does it when the factory-equipped ones ship out) and 2) the quality of these new SATA III SSD's, since they haven't been out very long.

    I want to see if there is some new type of cable/connection Apple implements and for the price of SSD's to drop a little more before I tear my iMac apart. When that happens I'll just on it, put the SSD inside and have the maximum amount of bragging rights (I guess).

    These things are brand new and very fast as it is, although I have not spent a ton of time with any SSD-equipped computer. You can wait a few months to tear apart your computer and get it done right the first time when everyone's more knowledgeable. RAM is relatively cheap too, in addition to being the easiest install on the planet!
  19. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Elyria, Ohio
    My vote is for the Ram. Also, Ram is cheap and the affects are across the board. Not to say an SSD is not an affect across the board, unless one uses the SSD as a primary drive. :)
  20. tsugaru macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2003
    An SSD (to me) is the most important leap in computing since the multi-core era. If you can afford a good one, by all means, do it.
  21. imaginex20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    I just got the 2011 27" 2.7 GHz i5 iMac without the SSD drive and compared to my macbook pro 13" with SSD, my MBP definitely feels faster. Everything on my MBP loads so much quicker in comparison. Now to play the waiting game to see if I have the balls to open up the iMac to add an SSD boot drive.
  22. twohealthyfeet macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2011
    RAM will be good one in comaprison to SSD.It increase the speed of your CPU to a great extent.And as i think it also comes in less price.
  23. mankymanning macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2008
    The best upgrade for a computer be it desktop or laptop is an SSD. They are simply awesome. Maybe not quite as much if all you do is surf and mess around with a few photos.

    I run different Virtual Machines with other OSes as part of my job and running these on SSDs is amazing, in terms of time saved alone I reckon SSDs pay for themselves very quickly.

    Awesome devices. Just make sure you backup anything that is on them fairly regularly as overall the reliability is not as good as traditional hard disks.
  24. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    How does ram increase the speed of the CPU?
  25. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    May 10, 2011
    SSD, without question.

    Ram is very cheap and very easy to install. An SSD can't be installed after you buy the computer.

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