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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 25, 2006
I dont know in what forum to post this question. Maybe here...

So, I was wondering what in the computer makes what faster. Instead of asking "Do i need more RAM?" Im going to flip it around and ask this:

- If i want the scrolling in Iphoto go faster - what should i consider upgrading?
- If i want the thumbnails in finder to show up faster - what should...
- If i want the opening of huge files (50mb) in Illustrator to go faster - .....
- starting up programs..
- watching a movie while i render files in PS without lag...



Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
Processor speed does effect all of the above but in general it has much less effect that adding RAM or speeding up the harddrive as these are normally the major bottleneck. If you are ripping DVDs or rendering lots of video the CPU speed can be the bottleneck but again lots or RAM and fast hard drives help.

If you do not have enough RAM your CPU will be starved of things to do as it will have to wait for instructions to be loaded of your harddrive. If your harddrive is slow then it will take longer to load each image etc which will again leave your CPU hanging around. If you have lots or RAM and a fast harddrive then your CPU can be kept busy. At this stage either a fast CPU or more CPUs may help.

In the example of watching a video file whilst rendering something once the IO subsystems are fast enough 2 resonable CPUs will probably be better than 1 amazingly fast one as there are 2 tasks happening at once. More and more apps these days are multi-threaded which means that we are likely to see increases in overall speed by increasing the number of execution cores. Which is why we will get quad-core CPUs next year :D


macrumors newbie
Apr 29, 2013
How to make it faster:

what you need is either more RAM, you should check to see how much you have first. if you have more than 8 GB of RAM than that is standard issued, but you can never go wrong with just getting more.

you could also get a cashe drive which will make everything load amazingly fast. it would make it boot up faster, open things faster. just overall speed enhancement.

But what you should do before you go out spending all that money is to defrag you computer and see if that is it, and make sure that you computer is scheduled to do it automatically at time it would be on, and you were't using it.


macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2012
But what you should do before you go out spending all that money is to defrag you computer.
Nonsense. This isn't Windows 95. OS X automatically minimizes fragmentation when saving files, and the effect of fragmentation has very little effect on the performance of the system.
Last edited:


macrumors member
Aug 12, 2012
I have to toss in the obligatory question. You know this thread is over six years old, right?
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