iPad What will 2GB of RAM do?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Kendo, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    I'm considering picking up a used 64GB iPad 4 once the iPad 5 hits because I am guessing these models will drop heavily on CL and eBay.

    The A6 is plenty of powerful but it is the 2GB of RAM on the iPad 5 that makes me hesitant. Will 2GB (compared to 1GB) simply allow more tabs to be open without a refresh? Or are there other benefits?
  2. lewisd25 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2007
    Tabs being refreshed in Safari has less to do about the iPad's RAM, it's an intentional design consideration on Apple's part. I used to hate the constant refreshes, but I would hate even more having to manually reload each page all the time.
  3. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    If (and it's a big IF at this point) Apple do go to 2GB they'll likely have a really good reason for it. Not only is it extra cost to them but it's possible it'll need more power as well so there's got to be a benefit to balance that. That reason may just be future proofing or it may be something much bigger and more immediate.

    I suspect we won't know the real answer to this question until after the event. The key will be the rest of the spec on the A7X and in any software that they launch. My own personal theory on this is they may (note: may) position the iPad as a full-blown content creation machine with pro apps and a 'desktop class' SoC, maybe even a quad core CPU if they can pull it off without negatively impacting the rest of the device. If they're going to introduce iOS versions of Aperture and Final Cut Pro they'd likely need the extra memory headroom.

    Honestly if you're considering picking up a 4 after the event then you're best off just waiting for the reviews to hit. Bear in mind though that the A7 is a pretty big jump forward from the A6 and (speaking as someone who's owned an iPad 1,2 and 3) the benefits of potential weight reductions from adopting the mini design shouldn't be underestimated. That said the 4 is a really nice machine (I've set up a few in work so have a point of comparison with the 3) and if you can find a decent price it'd probably see you through at least a couple of years. Just remember if they do go to 2GB you may start seeing higher end apps that will require that, especially after a year or so as the A8-based devices start coming out.
  4. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Yes, that's one user benefit. More RAM enables your iPad to remain a viable device for longer. For example, my iPad 1 was great until iOS 5, which the 256 MB struggles to handle. Yes, a device's processor also affects lifespan, but RAM is a major factor, too. I'm not interested in dropping several hundred bucks for every or every other new version of a device, so RAM is something I consider.

    As for Apple benefits, more RAM means that the OS and apps can do more things, thus helping the iPad differentiate itself versus Android and Windows in the eyes of users and developers.
  5. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    Not to thread hijack, but if the A7 already has quad-core graphics, what would be different about an A7X variant? Honest question.
  6. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Well said - its kind of strange too that after a while, the extra horsepower does NOT benefit you since as you said, the apps will simply get bigger and use more RAM. So, really, you havent "gained" any RAM, the apps use it up anyways. I dunno, something like that.

    Im very curious what the hardware specs are. many of us with older iPads are waitng to see if the 5 really is a must-have or if a refurbed 4th gen(at a way lower price) would be good enough.
  7. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Bearing in mind this is all speculation...

    Most obvious change would be to go to the (AFAIK) only GPU in the current range higher than the 6430 in the A7, the 6630. Effectively a six core design versus the four core of the standard A7. Relatively simple change if they don't mind building a bigger SoC and have the battery power to run it.

    In previous designs the clock speed has tended to be a bit higher though that's mostly been an attempt to provide enough grunt to keep up. Now that that's not really necessary I wonder if Apple will prefer to keep power requirements down as low as they can manage... Also they've traditionally gone for quad channel memory instead of the dual channel in the stock SoC to drastically increase memory bandwidth. Again, not sure if they still need to do that with the A7.

    Possibility of going quad core on CPU but that'll depend on a few things, power requirements and the required SoC size to accommodate it being high on the list.

    Fundamentally I think it's going to come down to two things: 1) What market Apple are aiming at. If they're going 'Pro' I can see them wanting to deliver something big with the A7X and driving home their 64 bit advantage. 2) How much power they have to spare. Remember that they're going to be shrinking the physical space available for the battery pack so there's going to be a delicate balancing act going on here (plus reduced space could cut back on the thermal envelope they have to work in as well).

    It's a really interesting puzzle this one and I can't wait to see what Apple come up with...
  8. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    X just signifies significant GPU boost.

    It could have faster clocked 4 core.
    Or 6 or 8 core GPU.
  9. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Speaking as a mini user, ram effects the ability of an app to keep info loaded when working in another app. The classic example is safari reloading content, but it happened last night in tapatalk. I had just typed up a large post and before hitting send, switched to google to research a word. Came back and had to log all the way back in. The text was gone. Yeah, 512 kb sucks big time.

    The question is, how much is needed for this not to happen. 1 mb may do the trick, making 2 mb irrelevant for all but he most demanding tasks.
  10. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Yup. That happens all the time on my iPad 1, to the point that I no longer use it to type anything other than emails and when working in Quickoffice. No more using it to post on here and other websites.
  11. TroyBoy30 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2009
    Atlanta GA
    id be very surprised if they put 2 gig in the new ipad
  12. yegon macrumors 68030

    Oct 20, 2007
    Really hope the 5 does have 2gb, it's a no brainer purchase then. If it's still 1gb, and the mini is retina/some variant of A7, the choice of one or the other is slightly trickier for me personally.

    Thing is, would Apple actually make any mention of ram in the keynote or will we have to wait for scuttlebutt/iFixit/Anand?
  13. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Good question - is RAM an official spec of the ipad? I didnt think it was. But, Apple might use the RAM upgrade as a bulleted selling point. Maybe its like this:

    1) They'll make SURE everyone knows about big RAM upgrades OR
    2) You hear nothing at all and can assume the RAM is the same or trivially higher.
  14. teknikal90 macrumors 68040


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    considering Apple never made a point about RAM in the 6 years of iOS being on the market, from the time it had only 128mb to now with 10x more at 1gb, i doubt they'll announce anything
  15. pikachu2k7 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Carolina
  16. Fruit Cake macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2012
    I don't think they will either. People will speculate as they do but if apples past is anything to go by, they only seem to increase RAM when the screen resolution does. Ie the RAM needed by the GPU is greater.
  17. djtech42 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2012
    West Chester, OH
    It will handle more apps at the same time. You won't have so many apps being purged from memory and the iPad should be smoother overall.
  18. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    I believe the ipad5 will have 2gb of ram for the simple reason that Apple will eventually want to transition over to full 64-bit computing (and one of the benefits is support for 4+ gb of ram), as well as start providing the hardware for developers to design even more powerful tablet apps.

    IOS7 is beginning to lag on my ipad3. Apps close all too often, and I think A7X and 2gb of ram is what will make the ipad5 work smooth as butter. :)
  19. Kendo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    If this is true it makes my next purchase much easier. Would rather get a used 64GB iPad 5 on the cheap. CL and eBay will be flooded with these models.

    The 2GB is what would hold me back.
  20. Powrie macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2012
    Of course they are going to up it to 2gb.

    That is why its going 64 bit.

    Its future proofing for all the way up to 4gb.

    And they will use it for Gaming.

    Open GL comes with the 64 bit upgrade.
  21. Fruit Cake macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2012
    I'm not even sure this argument makes much sense..2GB ram runs just find under either 32 or 64bit instruction sets. The ram is not upgradable so whatever apple peg at us your kinda stuck with it.

    Not against having more RAM, it's just our dear friend apple will only upgrade if there's a very good reason to do so.
  22. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    I think they will put 2gb in.

    The 5S and iPad 5 having 1gb each will point to a slight disadvantage for the iPad due to it's much larger resolutions etc.

    Plus I think the iPhone will bump to 2gb next year if they do indeed increase the screen size and resolution.
  23. JulianL macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2010
    London, UK
    I wonder how Apple allocate memory to iOS in a "political" sense rather than a computer science sense, or if they do any sort of "political" allocation at all. What I mean is, do they say to the iOS team that the footprint absolutely has to be as small as possible or do they say that they're allowed up to <x> of RAM to be permanently allocated to iOS on a particular model of idevice?

    The reason I'm wondering this is because one thing that could be done with 2GB of RAM is to use some of it, maybe 100MB or whatever figure is chosen, to speed up iOS and improve battery life a bit. This is because a classic tradeoff in programming is whether you want a particular piece of code to be space efficient (use as little memory as possible) or time efficient (use as few CPU cycles as possible when it is executed) or some compromise between the two which is where many decisions end up. By allowing iOS to grow bigger it would be possible to look at relaxing space efficiency for some key parts of the code (where it hasn't been relaxed already) in favour of better time efficiency.

    I'm really hoping that Apple either already have or will soon put in place some sort of SWAT team to take a global view of iOS and try to squeeze out every last saving of CPU cycles while iOS is running to make it as battery efficient as possible. Such a project would also speed up iOS a bit but personally I find it plenty fast enough already so it's more an issue of battery life for me. Having a bigger memory footprint to play with for iOS would be very useful for such an exercise.
  24. rovex macrumors 65816

    Feb 22, 2011
    Nothing if the animations stay as slow as they are.
  25. Fondaparinux macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2013
    Nothing. iPads don't run the real multitasking with side-by-side window. The only real use for more RAM would be for Safari's multi-tab feature.

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