When should I buy more RAM?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Michael73, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #1
    I've got the factory pair of 512's and a second pair of 1GB for a total of 3GB.

    The issue is that I'm heavily using spaces which of course leads to lots of open programs but many are in use at once. Just last night I had the MiniDV camcorder hooked up transferring home movies via FW & iMovie, I had Toast 8 open and burning out a DL disc. I had Handbrake encoding one an existing movie and my second drive was ripping another movie. On top of that I was toggling between an excel spreadsheet, Mail and Safari while listen to some random music on iTunes. Needless to say, things were running pretty slow.

    Activity monitor said around ~1.5GB were in use, ~700MB were wired ~35MB were free and ~750MB were inactive. It also said there were a ton of page in and page outs and some like 65GB were being used by VM.

    Also, I noticed that when using finder in the coverflow view file/folder previews were taking some time to render.

    Today I saw that OWC has a pair of 2x2GB RAM for $159. I guess I'm wondering do I need more RAM and if so, how much?
     
  2. Jonny427 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #2
    OWC just lowered their prices within the last week or two. 2x2GB used to be $199, now its $160. I'd say now is a great time to buy.
     
  3. astrostu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    #3
    When should you buy? When you need it. From what you describe, you need it. If you have the money, seems like a no-brainer.

    And I've been watching OWC's RAM prices (for Mac Pros) for the last few months and they seem to go down by around $5-10 about every 2 weeks.
     
  4. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #4
    I have the same thing. I currently have 3gb of RAM. And my page ins are sitting at 415mb to page outs at 1.08 gb. MUCH better then it was when i lived on 1 gb of ram for 8 months. But i wouldn't mind more RAM. Not that i am noticing performance problems. :D
     
  5. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #5
    Yes. I would add 2 x 2GB minimum.

    I think I paid about $600 or so for 4gb of ram for my mac pro about 9 months ago, so quit yer gripin. :eek:
     
  6. Michael73 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #6
    In addition to the programs that I mentioned in my original post, I've been thinking for some time about getting either Adobe Lightroom or Aperture. I'm not sure how much RAM this program will take but I'm guessing it will be substantial. The good thing is that I'm not shooting RAW (good in that processing RAW files would likely take up even more RAM)...yet but I do want more tools and workflow management than iPhoto currently offers.

    I think all this spells a machine that wants more RAM.
     
  7. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #7
    Yep, from the sounds of all the apps you want to run at the same time, you need 32GB in a MacPro :p. When you get down to under 50MB of real Ram some flakey things can start to happen (yeah, I know, VM is supposed to work around this, but it never really completely does so with 100% stability), for instance, when I see I'm down to ~32MB, which happend just yesterday, my USB wired mouse started flickering and just stopped working, went dead, no power to the red LED light. Then I tried to disconnect from the internet and restart, but internet connect got stuck in an endless loop and wouldn't quit until i did a force quit (Camino browser, after 10 open pages/tabs was gobbling up 200+MB of real ram!!!..VM was 400+MB allocated to it). Once restarted, everything was fine. Always get as much RAM memory as you can afford, you can never have too much.
     
  8. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #8
    I'm thinking of buying a 2x2GB RAM upgrade since this thread has brought their price to my attention. I've been running my MP with the stock 1GB for so long now. I'm hoping this is going to make looking at 10 megapixel images in Aperture less painful, and that maybe I"ll see fewer beachballs.
     
  9. Plzen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #9
    I'm currently waiting for the new Mac Pro (if it'll every come) and if I was sure which RAM the new Mac Pro uses, I'd definately buy RAM right away because the prize will probably rise soon. Can't go down forever, right?

    I pray every day that the new MP comes out before RAM prices are out of this world again. :)
     
  10. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #10
    If you have 750MB of inactive memory, then you don't need more RAM. You didn't say what the CPU usage was - Handbrake will use lots of CPU but not very much memory at all. You also didn't say how much "a ton" of page ins and outs are. And DVD burning and reading from a MiniDV camera both need highest priority because they can't wait, the DV tape won't stop if the Mac can't keep up, and the DVD needs its 4MB/second or so every second. Everything else will slow down, because these two activities need high priority.

    And if you look at the 65 GB of VM memory, that doesn't mean anything. It's like having ten credit cards with $10,000 credit limit on each - as long as you don't spend the money, you're fine. Look at "RSIZE" instead. Right now, I have 17 processes running which each take about 600MB of VM, but only use a total of 10MB of real memory.
     
  11. astrostu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    #11
    I don't think RAM prices will go up any time soon. My understanding is that RAM prices steadily decrease until they plateau, usually around the time the next generation of RAM becomes wide-spread.
     
  12. johnkountz Guest

    johnkountz

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    Additional memory will probably NOT help you much

    The applications you are running simultaneously are very disk and cpu intensive; additional memory may only provide a marginal performance boost.

    Suggest you open 'Activity Monitor' before you start these app's, and monitor system resources. You should be able to identify where the bottlenecks are definitively using Activity Monitor.

    If your system is CPU bound, more memory will not help. Select the CPU view, and check % Idle. If you see a number approaching zero (10% +- 5%) on a sustained basis, your system is CPU bound - more memory will not help.

    If your system is Disk I/O bound, ditto. If your [read,write]/sec are approaching the maximum supported by your drive, your system is I/O bound.

    Finally, look at System Memory. If you find Free memory approaching 10%
     
  13. johnkountz Guest

    johnkountz

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    Additional memory will probably NOT help you much

    The applications you are running simultaneously are very disk and cpu intensive; additional memory may only provide a marginal performance boost.

    Suggest you open 'Activity Monitor' before you start these app's, and monitor system resources. You should be able to identify where the bottlenecks are definitively using Activity Monitor.

    If your system is CPU bound, more memory will not help. Select the CPU view, and check % Idle. If you see a number approaching zero (10% +- 5%) on a sustained basis, your system is CPU bound - more memory will not help.

    If your system is Disk I/O bound, ditto. If your [read,write]/sec are approaching the maximum supported by your drive, your system is I/O bound.

    Finally, look at System Memory. If you find Free memory approaching 10% +- 5%, you may be memory bound.

    Handbrake is both disk and CPU intensive, Toast is similar. I suspect you are simply maxing out your system. I doubt you will experience much of a performance improvement by add memory, you may see a marginal improvement but nothing earth shattering.
     
  14. astrostu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    #14
    I was under the impression that you can make a virtual disk out of RAM (if you have enough RAM) and then use that, which would be much much faster than physical hard drive I/O ... a situation then where more RAM would be a nice addition.
     
  15. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    In my imagination
    #15
    The apps you were running are all processor based, and that was slowing your machine down.

    When you rip a DVD, burn a DVD, bring in DV footage into the HDD, and run all the small little things that you were running ALL off of the main drive you were just killing your system's processors and the HDD to a lesser extent.
     
  16. Crawn2003 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, California
    #16
    My rule of thumb has always been to look at Activity Monitor.

    In there under the memory tab is called System Memory. Look for something called Page Outs. In a perfect computer world that should be 0bytes. Page Outs is when the computer has to use the Hard Drive to use as memory since the system's RAM is being used up.

    For what I do, Photography and some video work, I keep it above 8 gigs in my Mac Pros. The 8-core, my main machine, I have 9 gigs and the 4-core 2.66, I have 8 gigs in it.

    Or as someone said a while back, like 6 years ago, buy as much as you can afford without going bankrupt but only if you really need it, i.e. video, photography, high computer usage basically.

    ~Crawn
     
  17. Weezy F Baby macrumors member

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    Nov 17, 2007

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