iMac memory questions, can someone help?

Geek spoken here
Post Reply
User avatar
Brooke
Posts: 21580
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:51 am

iMac memory questions, can someone help?

Post by Brooke »

My iMac is slowing down and I ordered more memory from Apple, but it will not be shipped until January 10. If I order from another source on the net can I trust that the quality will be the same? And there are so many choices! Fully buffered and not buffered?

Also according to Apple my iMac can only handle 8 GB of memory, but one of the stores has the option to add up to 16 GB! What is up with that?

Is anyone knowledgeable enough to answer my questions in everyday English without geek talk?
Who in their right mind uses a welcome sign to mean people who would come into their home uninvited, paid by their neighbors who are using their illegal labor, overrun the neighborhood, and refuse to leave?
User avatar
Brooke
Posts: 21580
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:51 am

Re: iMac memory questions, can someone help?

Post by Brooke »

Isn't anyone here a Mac expert?
Who in their right mind uses a welcome sign to mean people who would come into their home uninvited, paid by their neighbors who are using their illegal labor, overrun the neighborhood, and refuse to leave?
User avatar
GOODave
Posts: 26392
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:21 pm

Re: iMac memory questions, can someone help?

Post by GOODave »

Brooke wrote:Isn't anyone here a Mac expert?
Yes.

There are at least two of whom I'm aware.
User avatar
pattywannamack
Posts: 1571
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:31 pm

Re: iMac memory questions, can someone help?

Post by pattywannamack »

First off, it depends on what year your iMac is. Different iMac iterations have different memory capacities and use different kinds of memory. For instance maybe your particular iMac iteration may have only had an 8GB memory capacity while the latest iteration has a 16GB capacity.

With that being said, you probably don't need anything more than 4GB of RAM. I am running a windows 7 machine with only 2GB of RAM and it's running very swiftly. 4GB should be more than enough for common day uses. The only reason why they have the option for 8GB and 16GB of RAM is because some professional grade programs, such as video editing software, greatly benefit from the extra RAM space. However, RAM is one of those things that provides increasingly diminished returns which means while the jump from 2GB to 4GB may be noticeable, the jump from 4GB to 8GB might not be as noticeable, with the jump from 8GB to 16GB being even less noticeable.

As far as quality is concerned, as long as the memory speeds and timings are the same as the RAM that you already have in your computer, you should be fine with getting your memory from a source other than Apple. For instance say you have DDR2-667 RAM in your computer already, if you buy DDR2-800 RAM, that new RAM will be forced to run at the same speed of the DDR2-667 RAM which is slightly slower than the DDR2-800 RAM that you just bought. At the same time, if all of your RAM is DDR2-667 and you bought new DDR2-533 RAM, your older but faster RAM would be forced to run at the slower speeds of the DDR2-553 RAM that you just purchased, which could actually slow your system down or make the impact of the additional RAM negligible. Just as a reference, the higher the number after DDR2, or DDR3 the better. So DDR2-800 is faster than DDR2-667, while DDR3-1333 is faster than both DDR2-800 and DDR2-667.

I can't remember if Apple RAM is buffered or not, but just make sure whatever RAM you purchase is confirmed to work on Apple computers. I remember reading something saying that Apple used slightly different RAM than from what's available for PC's.

As a general rule of thumb, what affects the performance of your memory (in order of importance) depends on your storage size (the more GB you have the better), the speed (the higher DDR2- or DDR3- number the better), your timings, and whether it's buffered or unbuffered (I believe buffered RAM is slightly faster).

I hope this helps, and just keep in mind that you may have to take your computer into an Apple store to actually get the memory upgrade installed because Apple has historically made everything but the Mac Pro, nearly impossible to upgrade on your own.
There is nothing uglier in this world than a parent riding on the success of their child.
User avatar
Brooke
Posts: 21580
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:51 am

Re: iMac memory questions, can someone help?

Post by Brooke »

pattywannamack wrote:First off, it depends on what year your iMac is. Different iMac iterations have different memory capacities and use different kinds of memory. For instance maybe your particular iMac iteration may have only had an 8GB memory capacity while the latest iteration has a 16GB capacity.

With that being said, you probably don't need anything more than 4GB of RAM. I am running a windows 7 machine with only 2GB of RAM and it's running very swiftly. 4GB should be more than enough for common day uses. The only reason why they have the option for 8GB and 16GB of RAM is because some professional grade programs, such as video editing software, greatly benefit from the extra RAM space. However, RAM is one of those things that provides increasingly diminished returns which means while the jump from 2GB to 4GB may be noticeable, the jump from 4GB to 8GB might not be as noticeable, with the jump from 8GB to 16GB being even less noticeable.

As far as quality is concerned, as long as the memory speeds and timings are the same as the RAM that you already have in your computer, you should be fine with getting your memory from a source other than Apple. For instance say you have DDR2-667 RAM in your computer already, if you buy DDR2-800 RAM, that new RAM will be forced to run at the same speed of the DDR2-667 RAM which is slightly slower than the DDR2-800 RAM that you just bought. At the same time, if all of your RAM is DDR2-667 and you bought new DDR2-533 RAM, your older but faster RAM would be forced to run at the slower speeds of the DDR2-553 RAM that you just purchased, which could actually slow your system down or make the impact of the additional RAM negligible. Just as a reference, the higher the number after DDR2, or DDR3 the better. So DDR2-800 is faster than DDR2-667, while DDR3-1333 is faster than both DDR2-800 and DDR2-667.

I can't remember if Apple RAM is buffered or not, but just make sure whatever RAM you purchase is confirmed to work on Apple computers. I remember reading something saying that Apple used slightly different RAM than from what's available for PC's.

As a general rule of thumb, what affects the performance of your memory (in order of importance) depends on your storage size (the more GB you have the better), the speed (the higher DDR2- or DDR3- number the better), your timings, and whether it's buffered or unbuffered (I believe buffered RAM is slightly faster).

I hope this helps, and just keep in mind that you may have to take your computer into an Apple store to actually get the memory upgrade installed because Apple has historically made everything but the Mac Pro, nearly impossible to upgrade on your own.
Thank you so much, your information helps enormously. I am good to go. :D
Who in their right mind uses a welcome sign to mean people who would come into their home uninvited, paid by their neighbors who are using their illegal labor, overrun the neighborhood, and refuse to leave?
Post Reply