Will move from 12GB RAM to 16GB be noticeable?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by TallManNY, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    I'm wondering if I should spend $60 and upgrade from 12GB to 16GB RAM on my mid-2011 iMac. Does anyone think that will be noticeable? Any guess on if El Capitan will benefit from the greater memory?

    I'm leaning toward replacing the computer in 2016 in any case. If that happens I will probably hand off the computer to my Mom and it will be used for nothing more than email, web and streaming videos of European television shows (think Downtown Abbey and the like). So there won't be any performance advantages there with the extra RAM (Mom is currently using my iMac 2006 and I know she is running a risk of HD failure using such an old computer. So a switch there might be a good preventative move.)

    I game sometimes on the iMac and occasionally do a bit of movie editing for vacation videos and stuff like that. No photoshop these days so I'm not pushing my computer very hard very often except when gaming. But I assume that my GPU is the limiting factor in gaming these days and my current 12GB RAM is more than ample. But $60 is no big deal and obviously putting in the new memory takes five minutes. So should I just do it?
  2. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Depends what you're doing.

    The jump from 8 to 16 in my MBP was slightly noticeable, but it is maybe 10% of the jump you get from 4 to 8 in "general" use.

    Only when working with LARGE data sets will you notice much of a difference (and in that case it will be very noticeable, especially on a machine with a spinning hard drive).
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Given the usage you described, I would be very surprised if you could tell the difference. Look at the tests here showing how little difference there is even going from 8 to 16GB for most uses.
  4. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    Check your memory usage at regular intervals (and/or when you suspect you might be running out of memory) - are you running out of memory? It's as simple as that. If you need help interpreting what the numbers mean, post a screen shot of your memory usage in activity monitor.
  5. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Most likely you will not notice a single difference unless you had the two computers next to each other with doing a memory intensive talk and you were to time both computers at the same time; and even then it would still be too small to really be worth it imo.
  6. Suture macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2007
    I wouldn't bother, especially since you plan on gifting the Mac to someone that will just use it for everyday tasks.
  7. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    Thanks all. I'm going to keep an eye on Activity Monitor out of curiosity. But looking at the stats linked above that shows very little gain going from 8gb to 16gb, then the gain from 12gb to 16gb is going to be minimal. I made the initial upgrade years ago when memory was more expensive and because I had the two empty memory slots. But taking out 4gb to put in 8gb is looking like it won't be worth even the minimal $60 investment.
  8. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    You're not likely to notice any difference at all. I wouldn't waste the money at this point.
  9. InAustralia macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    I'm in exactly the same situation as the OP. I have a 2011 iMac with 12GB of RAM as well and wanted to know if a RAM upgrade would be beneficial.

    I have been monitoring my memory usage for a few weeks now and have concluded that the increase would not be noticeable. Whilst I don't have a lot of Free Memory, I have a lot of Inactive Memory available. My Page Outs are not that large either.

    I've decided to keep my current system and wait it out until a new iMac comes out and then probably upgrade to that.

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