What would you use 16GB for, in the real world?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by aki, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. aki macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    Ok so proud owner of an i7 iMac, refresh coming, I don't care coz I'm in love (screen fine touch wood).

    Snow Leopard is presently lounging about in the giddy excess of 8GB ram. I'm wondering, while it's nice to know I could go to 16GB, in what instance would I actually want to?

    I know more ram means you can have more apps open simultaneously, but it's fairly rare for me to want to run Photoshop and Final Cut or or what have you at the same time. (Not unknown perhaps but rare.)

    Also, I run Parallels, and I have noticed that having 8GB to toss about (vs originally 4GB) does help a lot - I can afford to throw plenty of ram at Windows 7 and still have a functional and responsive OSX desktop.

    But other than those cases, what could the ram be used for? I presume for gaming once you are past 8GB there's no performance difference is there (under Windows or OSX)? Or do I not understand how these things work?

    Basically I'm looking for someone to tell me "Yeah 16GB, go for it, it'll feel like a new machine!" :p ?
  2. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2009
    Cambridge, MA
    Yeah 16GB, go for it, it'll feel like a new machine! :p

    You probably won't need it. If you find that your system is bogging down in certain instances where more memory will help, I'd say upgrade then. Otherwise, enjoy 8GB, it's a very decent amount of memory. :D
  3. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    The more applications you have open at the same time, the more RAM will be used.

    The more files that are opened by your applications, the more RAM will be used.

    The bigger the files are, the more RAM will be used.

    That's pretty much all you need to know.

    Look at the Activity Monitor (in Applications/Utilities) and watch PageIn/PageOut. Thats your system reading/writing memory to your HDD when you don't have enough RAM. I have a ridiculously high number of pagein's/out's (15841904 pageins, 4968210 pageouts of current) since i have an Early 06 iMac with a maximum of 2GB of RAM. But if you regularly have a low number, things are peachy.
  4. plasticphyte macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2009
    Do you edit files larger than 1GB? Are you a movie editor cutting 4K footage? Do you render large images in 3D applications?
    Do you do any of this simultaneously while using your computer for word processing, e-mail and other basic tasks?
    (Slightly tongue in cheek)

    In all honesty, if you're barely using all the RAM now, why upgrade until you really need it?
  5. AlvinNguyen macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    3D rendering and massive video editing. I'm a photographer and even editing large files I find the 8GB more than enough. However, with doing videos, I go straight to the University's MacPros running 8Core and 16GB Ram
  6. GidbinN macrumors member


    Dec 25, 2009
    I'f you're OK with its current performance, I'd say update it to 16GB in 2 years or later

    well, and then you feel you'd have a new machine!
  7. mrwonkers macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2004
  8. pulawman macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
    Indianapolis, IN
    Am I right in thinking the 21.5" model can go up to 16gb as well?
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I work with massive statistical simulation involving large amounts of language data. For many algorithms 4GB becomes a bottleneck :)
  10. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    Virtualization comes to mind, and if you want VMs to run with decent performance, they need a good chunk of RAM.

    For example, I like having a Windows VM running so I can run some Windows only applications. I also have a Linux VM for some other stuff. Both tend to run all the time taking memory, but in general, not that much CPU. So, in this case, having 16-32 GB of RAM is a plus.
  11. bprice macrumors member

    May 28, 2007
    LA, Ca.
    For my home recording rig (using Logic) I'm going to get an i7 and start off with 4gb stock and add a 4gb stick.

    I'll be running sample library's like Kontakt,ESX24, BFD,Mojo horns.... etc which load sound samples into ram instead of streaming from the HD.
    I'm sure I'll be needing more than 16gb in no time!!...

  12. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    If you are doing samples, you want to max the RAM in the box if you can. Latency is your worst enemy, and anything you can do to keep the Mac from hitting the hard disk for swap (or for anything really) is something worth considering. If the Mac decides to swap while you are doing a mix, especially with a lot of plugins running, it might cost you a lot of work. Yes, it would cost around $1000, but it may be worth the cost when doing some intensive music stuff.
  13. aki thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2004
    Interesting re Logic, one use to which my Mac will not be put but interesting to hear.

    Re virtual machines this is a good point. I have discovered that giving 6GB to Parallels makes games and suchlike run very sweet indeed, but OSX can get chuggy. So there's a use for 16GB for me after all hehe.
  14. bprice macrumors member

    May 28, 2007
    LA, Ca.
    Thanks..I'm not too worried about having 8gb ram.I know folks running that with a LOT of orchestration on MP quads.
    My bigger mod will be replacing the optical with a SSD and getting a BIG ext SSD for samples.

    Since Logic is MT capable the HD seems to be the biggest bottleneck.Hopefully the SSD's will make it blaze.The iMac i7 looks like the best deal out there for a recording rig if you don't need cards....AND you get a killer monitor!!...:)

  15. zappster macrumors newbie


    Mar 23, 2010
    Niverville, MB, Canada
    If you have the need for it, do it now. Otherwise, 8GB is more than enough for most current tasks. OSX and other applications will get updated over time, and their resource requirements will go up. That's when you may need to get more.

    As someone once said "Why would anyone need more than 16 megabytes of RAM to run Windows?". :p
  16. UltimaLink macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2010
    Somewhere in PA.
    I'm going to say that having more than 8 gigs of ram on a mac is pretty much a waste of money. OS X uses up less resources than Windows (It's unix based) so you can run off 2 gigs and still have a fast computer.

    Though, in the future 16 gigs will become a standard (Like 4 gigs is now) so you might want to upgrade later but not now.

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