When would I feel a difference between 512 MB RAM and 1 GB RAM?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Gary King, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. Gary King macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2004
    When would I feel a difference between 512 MB RAM and 1 GB RAM? Is there only any point to getting the 1 GB of RAM when I'm using heavy duty software, like Photoshop CS 2 AND 3DS Max at the same time? Or Photoshop and Mathematica? etc.? Since I mostly just do programming, but a little bit of Photoshop?

    I hear that the Mac OS X is really RAM hungry, and feeding it more would only increase the speed dramatically?
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
  3. Apple macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    You would feel a difference with programs such as iMovie, login, the time it takes a program to startup. A gig of ram is worth it.
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia

    Aren't login and program start up times more dependant on CPU and hard disk access speed though? Unless of course, you've done wither of these very recent;y and they've been kept in the RAM.
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Yes but it still seems to open faster; perhaps just perception but my iPhoto opening time seemed to decrease when I went from 512Mb to 1.25GB of RAM.

    As far as when you'll see a difference? Do you see spinning beachballs regularly or hear the harddrive spinning up when you change focus window? If so, you'll notice the benefit of extra RAM. How much extra RAM is another question...
  6. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    It not just preventing swapping; OS X, like all modern unix variants, uses extra RAM for disk caching (and hitting your hard drive for any reason is the slowest operation around). In fact, it will swap out old programs to have more space available in RAM to disk cache files/modules/resources relating to open programs (which is why there is comparatively little harm in leaving programs open; they will get swapped out if left idle).

    RAM is the single best value upgrade you can make on your Mac, at least up to 2 GB. Past that point, it does begin to depend on your program use - do you use programs that regularly mmap() more than 2GB net?

    I'm using Omniweb 5 to view this website (and have over a dozen sites open in tabs on a few windows). Its memory use is around 100MB. It's mmap()ed memory use is 500MB. What are those 400MB? Memory-space entered access to cache files, preference files, etc. OW doesn't try to load them into RAM; instead it "maps" them to the memory space and would (theoretically) hit the hard drive for any read or write operation - except that almost certainly the disk cache will clone at least part of those files.

  7. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    in a word, yes

    i went from 512mg to 1.25gb and i really did notice the difference!
  8. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2003
    Cardiff, Wales
    I agree. Login also got faster on my G5 when I went from 512 to 1Gb... maybe it was just an illusion though! (BTW, Tiger boot ups are muuch faster than panther! amazing). I'm glad I upgraded from 512 to 1gig... and I'd love to stick another gig in here when I have the cash!

    The more ram, the better!
  9. MrCommunistGen macrumors regular


    Mar 14, 2004
    "Wherever you go, there you are..."
    Check PriceGrabber.com for the best prices on memory... remember that if you have a G5 you need a kit and not an individual stick. I recommend Corsair Value Select memory. Go for the model that doesn't have "C3" at the end if there is little to no price difference because the ones that don't have the C3 have lower latencies (faster).

  10. neoelectronaut macrumors 68030


    Dec 3, 2003
    Southeastern Louisiana
    For Panther, I found that 768MB was the sweet spot.
  11. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Playing Devil's Advocate, I'd say that, if you don't have any problems with 512MB, you don't need to upgrade. You'll see an improvement if you ever have a few apps open at once, but 512MB is certainly usable for OS X. 768 is, I agree, better, and 1GB+ is best. But 512 is fine if it works for you.
  12. mac15 macrumors 68040

    Dec 29, 2001
    The more the better dude, you just can't have enough RAM.
  13. iBunny macrumors 65816

    Apr 15, 2004

  14. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    Little grey, chilly island.
    The difference is amazing if you upgrade the Ram:

    I run an eMac side by side with an ibook - and the 1GB ram stick just trouces 256Mb in everything. Its literally like buying a whole new computer.
  15. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Memory makes a huge difference

    I went from 512 Mb to 2 GB on my PB and I can work with full page scanned 1200 dpi images with no problems. My G5 with 1 GB struggles with these images and my PB at 512 MB took forever.

    To had some fun with my PC loving friends by having them open one of these images up with their Pentium 4 2Ghz desktop with 512 MB of memory. It froze up their machine and they got "Not responding" messages. I brought up the same image on my Powerbook and it loaded in about 4 seconds. I tricked them into thinking the Powerbook was a hundred times faster than their Windows 2000 desktop. It changed how they looked at Macs forever (at least until the following week when Apple announced the switch to Intel, they probably don't understand why???)

    I plan to upgrade to the full 8 GBs of memory on my G5 to see it reach it's full potential. Memory is much cheaper now and it's cheaper than upgrading to a new G5 for a minor speed bump.
  16. Mac_Freak macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    On my PowerBook I have 1gig (2x 512MB) and I am happy with its performance. I have to be little carefule when working in Photoshop because I tend to work on a number of files at the same time and have Safari and iTunes open. Upgrade for me i little more expenisie caouse to go up to 1.5GB
    I have buy whole 1gig stick or two to max it out.
    So I am actually considering buying an external RAID 0 harddrive (like the G-RAID from G-Technology) to use it as Photoshop scratch disk and perhaps while at home also use it as boot disk since my PB has only 80GB @ 4200rpm HD
  17. Jschultz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Is it possible to go to 2 gb on a PB? I thought it was only 1.25?

    and also, 8 gb of ram? :confused: You planning on taking over the world?
  18. Ti_Poussin macrumors regular


    May 6, 2005
    12' can go to 1.25 Go and other go to 2 Go. 1Go dimm are expensive through.

    I upgarde from 512 to 768 on my powerbook and notice a difference. yeah it's worth the upgrade, two 512 is affordable. 1Go dimm are expensive for portable right now. Tiger is getting more RAM ungry, widget take a lot of RAM (I hate that, so I don't activate Dashboard right now for this reason, it swap too often with 768Mo.).

    The best thing with having a lot of RAM is EsperanceDV with wich you can create RAM Disk. I like that it work really fast for photo editing or keynote presentation with Animation inside them. I do LiveType stuff in uncompress for my presentation it's leave people totaly breathless compare to Powerpoint ;)
  19. G5Unit macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I went from 256 to 1.25gb. I just have to say WOW!
  20. plastique45 macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2005
    I saw a big difference between 512 & 768mb, so you can imagine up to 1GHz.
  21. The_Man macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2005
  22. StarbucksSam macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    I think you need to reduce your dosage. 512mg of anything is a lot. ;)
  23. slipper macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2003
    i think barefeats.com had a mac mini RAM comparison. 256, 512, and 1024mb. each increment made a significant difference. im kinda thinking the RAM made such a significant difference because of the 4200rpm HD.
  24. JackSYi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    In my experience, even going from 768 to 1.25 made a huge difference, I saw less of that damned beach ball and programs ran way faster, especially when you open it. Also World Of Warcraft ran amazingly fast. My 2 cents.

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