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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?" :)

Hows OSX with 512mb of RAM?

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Member Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posts: 2
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Hi everyone. I'm looking into buying a new PC or Mac within the next 2 months. My main concern is that the only Mac I can afford is the standard Mac mini which has 512mb of RAM.

Is anyone here running a similar model with 512mb of RAM? If so how's performance/multi tasking etc?

I only really use the my computer for downloading music/movies, surfing the internet and listening to music/internet radio (at the same time ). Would this model be OK?

Thanks, Mark.
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Member Since: Jan 27, 2007
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Mac Specs: 17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3

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Well I think you know with a mac mini it's byo screen, mouse and keyboard. And or basic web browsing, downloading and itunes stuff it should be just fine. But for anything else 1 GB of memory would be nice.

All that said, my old 333Mhz imac with 256 or 512 MB memory I can't remember multi tasked just fine. Though anyonlive videos were a little slow, but anything apart from that (even most photoshop work) was just fine on it. So I think the mini will do you just fine.

But there is always the worry of outgrowing the mini. And in a few months or so wishing you had an imac or something. And have you thought about a referbished mac? They are not for everyone but some people swear by them. it's a personal choice I think.

Well if you really want a mac I think this computer would do you just fine for those basic tasks. It even might be able to access windows XP (through bootcamp) ok on an intel mini.

Is there a mac store near you. If so I suggest you have a look there at the minis. And make your decision from that.

And to me a mac isn't a buy evey year computer. I's a real investmant. On average my macs tend to last 5 years before the get replaced. And yeah even at the end of the 5 years they can still keep pace with the then current applications. So I know it's tempting to get a mini now cause you can afford it. But if say you can last out a little while longer and get the mac you really want that might be a better option.

Anyways in the end it's your choice and you have to be happy with whatever mac you choose.
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Member Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 36
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I bought a Mini last December with 512 meg of ram. Figured I would want/need more. I would typically write email, browse the web, play music on Itunes. I didn't stream audio or watch movies much. I found the multitasking fine for for what I did. I noticed it would start to slow down a bit once all of these tasks were going, but not alot. Itunes was the biggest culprit in the slow down that I noticed.

I just upgraded to 2 gig and the difference is noticable. As a side note, I didn't use dashboard much to keep the ram usage down, and tried to keep the startup apps to a minimum as well.

So, it would most likely suffice fine, but I didn't try video playback or streaming audio.
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Member Since: Jun 13, 2007
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I'm running OS X on a old G4 I just got with 256MB of RAM and a 400MHZ processor. Its really not that bad neither. I got 512 MB on the way but I could honestly live with just 256MB.
You should be fine.
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Member Since: Jun 20, 2007
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Thank you very much for the answers. I guess when I go to the store(PCWorld U.K - no Mac stores anywhere near me) I'll try it side by side with the other computers in my price range and if its quite snappy I'll definately buy it.

Thanks again for the answers.
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Sherman Homan

Member Since: Oct 27, 2006
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It is going to depend a lot on what you are actually running. Launch the Activity Monitor, under the System Memory tab, take a look at the Page in/out count. That is a pretty good way to tell if the computer is so starved for ram that it has to hit the hard drive.
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Member Since: Dec 05, 2006
Posts: 96
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I have a mac mini. I used the stock 512 for about 6months and am SOOO glad I finally upped it to 1gb a few months ago. Makes a world of difference. Im not a mega power user, but when you have a handful of apps open, a browser or 2 , mail, itunes, bittorrent, iphoto, things start to get laggy.

And Parallels with 512 is doable, but not advisable. I rarely boot into windows with parallels, but the difference from 512 to 1gb is really substantial.

With ram prices as low as they are, there really is no reason not to jump to even 2gb at this point. (I should take my own advice on this too )
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Member Since: Mar 17, 2006
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Mac Specs: Mac mini i5, 2.3Ghz dual core, 8 GB RAM, OSX 10.8.2

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I lasted about a week with the G4 1.42 mini, until I went and upgraded the 512MB to 1GB. The 1.83 I have now I got with 1GB right away.

I has a signijer.
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