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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Memory upgrade


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didymus

 
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My 24" iMac currently has the installed 4Gb of memory - what would be the advantages of increasing that to 8Gb and what would be the cheapest way to do it? Bear in mind that I live in the UK.
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blackmac11

 
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It depends on what you are using your computer for. If you are running tonnes of applications side by side or editing long HD videos, you could benefit from the upgrade. But for the average user, 4GB is plenty of RAM and it is usually pretty hard to even use all of it. It wouldn't be cheap, either, so make sure you absolutely need it.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by didymus View Post
My 24" iMac currently has the installed 4Gb of memory - what would be the advantages of increasing that to 8Gb...
If you have to ask...then you don't need 8 gig of ram! In fact...I would guess that the current 4 gig you have is more than you need.

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EndlessMac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didymus View Post
My 24" iMac currently has the installed 4Gb of memory - what would be the advantages of increasing that to 8Gb and what would be the cheapest way to do it? Bear in mind that I live in the UK.
Increasing RAM in general has the benefit of multi-tasking and feeding RAM hungry applications so they don't slowing down your computer. Once you use up your RAM things will go slow. For example, if you have the habit of opening several applications at the same time then you might benefit from more RAM if you use up the amount you have. The general public tends to confuse RAM with computer processor chip. A very simplistic way to think of RAM is that increasing RAM increases the bottle neck size of your computer so data flows through without the slowdown of a small bottle neck.

Going with that analogy, if you don't pour more than 4GB worth of data through your bottle neck then you won't notice much of a benefit of more RAM. To know how much data you are "pouring" through you need to open up Activity Monitor in your Utilities folder. Click on the System Memory tab and see how much Page out and Swap you have. If you have a lot of both then you probably could use more RAM. Basically if you have a lot of both then it usually means that you "poured" more than your max of 4GB at one time. For example, I usually get zero for both unless I'm doing RAM hungry tasks.

Check at the end of the day for about a week of regular usage and you will get a good idea of whether you need more RAM or not. Some applications eat up a lot RAM so that will throw off your test unless you use them all the time. If you upgrade RAM without needing it them you won't notice a dramatic difference.
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quin

 
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I think 4GB is plenty big enough for average user. Just upgraded from 2GB to 4GB myself. I don't think I'll ever use anywhere close to that much but it's nice to have. Plus still undecided if I want to run bloated Window on my Mac, so I got 4GB just in case =P
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DarkestRitual

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danc.coulthard View Post
It depends on what you are using your computer for. If you are running tonnes of applications side by side or editing long HD videos, you could benefit from the upgrade. But for the average user, 4GB is plenty of RAM and it is usually pretty hard to even use all of it. It wouldn't be cheap, either, so make sure you absolutely need it.
If your machine is a family computer with multiple users logged in simultaneously, then you would also see a benefit from more RAM.
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