Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
johnfoster

the "get more RAM" discussion

Recommended Posts

many older Macs have a RAM issue because they shipped with just 256M, 512M or 1G. if you haven't already bumped the RAM now is the time to do that if you plan on using it for the next year or three.
one of the problems with an old Mac is that what used to be "a lot of RAM" isn't so much RAM anymore. most Mac owners will dutifully upgrade to a new OS or new Applications but they won't touch the hardware because of the "it's expensive" myth. or their "computer guy" doesn't do Macs. or they just lived with the slowdown because that's the way it was.
when we talk about adding RAM anyone will tell you to get as much as your computer will take for two reasons. 1) it makes it slightly more future proof and 2) because there isn't that much cost difference between double what you have and all that it will take. remember, the shipping and installation (if you aren't doing it yourself) cost is exactly the same.
upgrading RAM in older Macs will have limits as to the maximum amount. for example the 2006 MacBook Pro max's out at 3 gig because of the chipset used for the CPU. a Mac made just 9 months later has a max limit of 4 gig. sometimes the max RAM listed by Apple is half of what is possible only because at the time the Mac was made 4 gig of RAM was the most possible because of bigger chips didn't exist. Apple does not change product specs retroactively so check with your RAM supplier for what is possible.
there is a point of diminishing returns for how more RAM will help. the CPU is only so fast, the hard drive will always be a bottleneck and many apps weren't made to deal with large amounts of RAM. there was a time when Photoshop would not utilize bigger than 2 gig. but I'll get back to PS in a second. and if your tasks are primarily typing having more RAM won't get your fingers to move any faster.

also, don't be surprised when you notice that your Mac runs exactly the same. of course it will. RAM isn't the only thing that is making your experience slow. your hard drive might be completely or nearly full. this will have a bigger impact on your day to day no matter how much RAM is installed.
on a MacBook Air… the RAM is stuck. but keep in mind that an Air isn't a workhorse. it's just a tiny Mac. use it that way and if you get to the point of needing more POWER hand-me-down (or flip) the Air allowing you to get a newer, better, faster Mac. personally, I think the sweet spot of this machine is the cheapest one. you might make a case for more storage. but I'd rather spend the cost difference money on AppleCare.
on Photoshop. the app is stupidly configured. by default it used 70% of real RAM. for most of us doing work this is causing a RAM starving situations for no reason. when an artist complains about their Mac being slow I change Photoshop from 70% to 20% and restart the app. after doing that the artist never complains about slow. to fix it go to the menu Photoshop --> Preferences --> Performance --> move the slider to 20% or close to there. if you "feel" that it's slow after using it for a while then give it more RAM. but if what you are doing is "web work" even 20% is over overkill.
on Browsers. close some damn tabs / windows. you DO NOT need all of them open.
Edited by johnfoster
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

upgrading RAM in older Macs will have limits as to the maximum amount. for example the 2006 MacBook Pro max's out at 3 gig because of the chipset used for the CPU. a Mac made just 9 months later has a max limit of 4 gig. sometimes the max RAM listed by Apple is half of what is possible only because at the time the Mac was made 4 gig of RAM was the most possible because of bigger chips didn't exist. Apple does not change product specs retroactively so check with your RAM supplier for what is possible.

 

One great way to find out a lot of details about Macs you're looking to upgrade and their capabilities is to use Mac Tracker (http://mactracker.ca). It will list what Apple says is the RAM max vs. what the machine will actually take, among other things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

×