A Way Of Saving Money: What's The Most Proper Amount For Macbook Pro RAM Upgrade

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    Each Mac (or each personal computer) will find that handling of a large number of tasks at the same time will slow down the speed of the computer. Increased severity of this problem reminds you that RAM needs to be expanded.

    To increase RAM is the simplest method to improve Mac performance. The key to it lies in how much RAM should be increased to make the old Mac rework. According to the action test of Mac with different RAM configurations: the amount of RAM to be expanded depends on tasks to be dealt with by Mac. Of course, it would be better if you can afford more RAMs. However, we should wonder houw to make with limited budget.

    Before disclosing the test results, let’s have a quick look at what RAM is and why RAM is so important to Mac. (This paper mainly illustrates the influence of RAM on system performance, though RAM is only one of the factors influencing performance.)

    What is RAM?

    RAM is short for Random Access Memory. CPU of Mac is used to gain quick access to random storage media processing data. When CPU gets access to data stored in RAM, its speed is even faster than that to data stored in traditional hard disk and even solid state disk. The modern RAM has almost the fastest writing and reading speed among all access devices. Compared with other storage devices in mechanical operation, access delay seems insignificant.

    When you are editing a text, your computer will copy the file (and necessary information of the text editor you are using) to RAM. Next, suppose that you start to run Photoshop and keep the text editor working. Photoshop, like the text editor, loads data to RAM. At this moment, two programs of your Mac are loaded to RAM. The more programs you operate, the less remaining space of RAM has and the poorer the performance is.

    When RAM is full by data of some programs, there is only a little space for newly-started programs, as a result of which paging will occur. CPU of Mac will transfer inactive data of RAM to the paging file of the storage device (hard disk or solid state disk) to load data of new programs to RAM. The paging will suddenly and tremendously slow the computer’s operation speed .Therefore, the less RAM is occupied, the less CPU depends on paging.

    Can RAM be upgraded?

    Apple limits users to upgrade Mac computers by “locking”, including MacBook Air and RetinaMacBookPro. RAM of the locked Mac is directly sealed on the mainboard upon ex-factory. Although this method makes MacBook thinner and more portable, users are not permitted to upgrade RAM. Among the current computer family of Apple, only MacPro, 27-inch iMac and Macmini permit users to upgrade RAM at their own discretion.

    Macbook Can RAM be upgraded

    The online tool on the official website of Kingston enables users to detect whether Mac can automatically upgrade RAM and search the RAM model for Mac upgrade.

    Action test: influence of RAM

    Larger RAM of Mac represents stronger performance. But how about the amount of perceptible improvement? To find the influence increased RAM, we use Speedmark8 to test two Macs with RAM being 4GB, 8GB and 16GB respectively. The first test machine is iMac of 3.1GHzCorei5 with 1TB hard disk manufactured in the middle of 2011. The second one is MacBook Pro of 2.4GHzCorei7 with 750GB hard disks manufactured at the end of 2011. Both the two machines have standard configurations, with the original RAM of 4GB.

    Group 1: speed of PhotoshopCS6 in processing files of 100, 250 and 500MB (calculated by second).

    speed of PhotoshopCS6

    According to the test of processing files by Photoshop, the larger the file is, the more obvious the gap between different RAMs is. Photoshop is the most suitable software to test the influence of RAM, through which, the largest available RAM can be designated for the software, and otherwise, the software may occupy all the RAM space. Therefore, Photoshop users need to set the largest available RAM space for the software.

    macbook pro ram upgrade

    We install Windows7 by VMware virtual machine to conduct the relatively light task test. The virtual machine usually requires a large amount of RAM space, but it is not always the case. Even if the internal storage going beyond 4GB is distributed to the virtual machine, no notable performance improvement is found. However, the more the better. To process a large number of tasks in the operating system of the virtual machine, distributing more RAM to the virtual machine is recommended.

    Mathematica

    Mathematica (a scientific calculation software, which well combines the numerical value and symbol calculation engine, graph system, programming language, text system and advanced links with other application procedures) represents the only test to show speed improvement of above 5%, while the overall improvement is merely 6%. When it is upgraded from 4GB to 8GB, only 2.5% improvement is found; when it is upgraded from 4GB to 16GB, it is only improved by 6%.

    Other tests do not make remarkable improvement.  

    After the action test of Speedmark speed under different RAM configurations, a conclusion is drawn that maximized RAM does not speed up the handling of many calculation tasks. Among15 tests upgrading RAM from 4GB to 8GB and then to 16GB, 12 tests see speed improvement by less than 5%.

    The following are the results of 12 tests. In some tests, the speed is even decreased by upgraded RAM.

    iTunes

    iTunes

    HandBreak (video compressed software) calculates speed by second.

    HandBreak (video compressed software) calculates speed by second.

    Cinebench CPU (a set of assured test system for CPU and graphics card) calculates speed by second.

    Cinebench CPU

    Cinebench OpenGL

    Cinebench OpenGL

    Copy 6GB folders.

    Copy 6GB folders.

    Decompress 6GB files.

    Decompress 6GB files.

    iPhoto import

    iPhoto import

    Aperture (picture editing software of Apple) import

    Aperture (picture editing software of Apple) import

    iMovie (picture editing software of Apple) import

    iMovie (picture editing software of Apple) import

    iMovie export

    iMovie export

    Portal2 (a game, and calculate by frame per second)

    Portal2 (a game, and calculate by frame per second)

    What’s the size of ideal RAM?

    The standard RAM for many new Mac is 4GB or 8GB, which is quite enough for common users. In fact, different Macs have different setting and use conditions. To upgrade RAM, you need to check the usage conditions of RAM of your Mac first. If you often operate a large number of programs in the backstage and are not used to firstly closing and then starting other programs, or several windows of the browser with a large number of tags need to be operated simultaneously, increased RAM will naturally render a smoother feeling. In case of need to process programs holding bulky files in work, increased RAM is necessary.

    It is very simple to check the usage conditions of RAM. Start the application program-utility software-activity monitor, and then click “System Memory”. If there is almost no available space during your usage in daily life (for example, you do not use Photoshop to process large files), upgrading RAM is helpful to improve the system’s operating speed.

    macbook Activity monitor

    However, your Mac may rarely use and even will not use the increased RAM, which is merely a waste of money. Even if you consider that sometimes the system may occupy almost all the RAM, just imagine how often will this occur? Is it worth upgrading the RAM for these rare possibilities? Take some time to diagnose your system to learn the current internal storage and make a plan on what you are going to do with this Mac in the future and how long you will use it before replacing it. Only by learning what you need can unnecessary waste be avoided.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Admin admin.
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