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White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: May 06, 2012 02:53PM
I have a 2008 White MacBook 2.4 gHz, with 4GB RAM and a 7200 RPM hard drive. I use Photoshop quite regularly and am noticing some lagging when running certain actions, as well as when working with Adobe Camera Raw.

I know a new MacBook Pro with an i5 or i7 processor would be a huge help (my son has the 13" MacBook Pro from last summer with an i5 processor and it blows the doors off my MacBook) but it's not in the budget right now.

My question is how much of a boost would I see with an increase to 6GB of RAM. OWC has a 4GB module for my MacBook for $94. The maximum I can go is 6GB. I'm just wondering if it would help much. I know it's a 50% increase in RAM but I'm not sure it's enough.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thanks,
Michael
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: jdc
Date: May 06, 2012 03:31PM
Im gonna say no. I do have some questions that might influence my answer as to how the best way to speed up your MB...

How big and how full is your drive? Do you use an external for storage?

Are you shooting RAW? Have you considered whether or not you need to?





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: sekker
Date: May 06, 2012 03:37PM
You'll get a bigger speed jump going to an SSD.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: May 06, 2012 03:50PM
My hard drive is 320GB. It's currently 2/3 full but I'm about to move the photos to a 1TB external FireWire drive. I do shoot RAW primarily. My interest is in reducing the time it takes for me to process in Photoshop. Every time I open a RAW image, It takes about 3-4 seconds for an image to open up in Camera Raw from Bridge and that's using the mRAW setting on my Canon 7D (approximately 10 megapixels - regular RAW is 18 megapixels.) I usually have to work on 150 - 200 photos at a time and the delay in opening the files in ACR and then waiting while running Noiseware really starts to add up after a while.

sekker,
While an SSD will speed up the opening of the applications, it doesn't really speed up the use of Photoshop unless you use the SSD for the scratch disk. Increased RAM gives a bigger performance boost, according to Adobe.

It sounds like I'll just have to wait until I can afford a new Mac. (I want a quad core i7 iMac with 16GB of RAM!)

Thanks for the input.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: sekker
Date: May 06, 2012 04:02PM
SSD will speed up file opening times.

PS is also a hog - so if you are using a decent-sized file, it'll always use a scratch disk.

If I had a choice between a machine with 8 GB RAM plus a hard drive versus a 4GB RAM plus a 256GB SSD (with 100 GB free), I'd take the SSD any day for a serious PS project where the file is 100 MB plus lots of layers and a full history. If you are just modifying smaller PS files, 4GB of RAM is fine so long as you are not running a ton of other apps at the same time.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: May 06, 2012 04:03PM
Another vote for SSD, and use it for scratch.

Of course, you can get the RAM stick for under $50, on Ebay, if you know what you're looking for. Probably worth a try.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: May 06, 2012 04:04PM
Quote
sekker
SSD will speed up file opening times.

PS is also a hog - so if you are using a decent-sized file, it'll always use a scratch disk.

If I had a choice between a machine with 8 GB RAM plus a hard drive versus a 4GB RAM plus a 256GB SSD (with 100 GB free), I'd take the SSD any day for a serious PS project where the file is 100 MB plus lots of layers and a full history. If you are just modifying smaller PS files, 4GB of RAM is fine so long as you are not running a ton of other apps at the same time.

My files are nowhere near 100 MB so maybe the SSD is the way to go.

Thanks.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: May 06, 2012 04:19PM
I doubt it will help much, if at all.

Take a look at Activity Monitor sometime when you're running PS they way you normally do. Look at the System Memory tab. It will show five categories of memory: Free, Wired, Active, Inactive, and Used. Free and Inactive can be added together to see how much you have available. If you have a decent amount available when you're working PS then adding more RAM won't help.

Also, look at the Page outs. If there are lots and lots of Page outs that means you have a lot of memory data being swapped out to disk (meaning you need more RAM) and disk swaps will really slow you down.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: jdc
Date: May 06, 2012 04:49PM
do you need to be portable? even a $600 mini would crush your old MB.

Sell it for $500, then pickup a base mini for another $100. Drop 16 gigs of ram in the mini (about $100) and stop waiting.

You are aware than current iMacs can take 32 gigs of ram...

I still wonder if you *need* to shoot raw. Or if you could shoot RAW + jpeg.

Although old, heres an interesting article on it: [www.slrlounge.com]





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: May 07, 2012 03:40AM
DO IT.

Macbook Late 2007 / GMA 965 - x3100 STOPPED ALL BEACHBALLS IN SAFARI and application switching
the moment it was installed.

Will an SSD accomplish the same thing? Good question. Since my screen still burns bright, despite the fact
it is only a SATA I port (like yours) the potential to triple HD speed and virtual memory performance is
significant.

But nobody out there should be fooled into thinking that having virtual memory at 180MB/sec is going to
compare to and extra 2GB of RAM moving at micro-seconds.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: May 07, 2012 10:48AM
Wow, lots to think about.

While I've thought about purchasing a Mac Mini to get the boost in processing power, I'm not in a position to sell my MacBook. I do photography at locations and have to be able to download the photos from the CF cards to my MacBook while there.

I do want to keep shooting RAW. I photograph a lot of live entertainment events (I'm a professional magician for my full-time living) where the lighting changes rapidly and I need the extra latitude that RAW gives me. I also get better looking images when using high ISO from a RAW file. (I shoot at ISO 6400 regularly.) I may be able to tweak the high ISO JPG settings for my 7D but I haven't found that proper combination if it really is there.
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: sekker
Date: May 07, 2012 06:36PM
Quote
Jimmypoo
DO IT.

Macbook Late 2007 / GMA 965 - x3100 STOPPED ALL BEACHBALLS IN SAFARI and application switching
the moment it was installed.

Will an SSD accomplish the same thing? Good question. Since my screen still burns bright, despite the fact
it is only a SATA I port (like yours) the potential to triple HD speed and virtual memory performance is
significant.

But nobody out there should be fooled into thinking that having virtual memory at 180MB/sec is going to
compare to and extra 2GB of RAM moving at micro-seconds.

JP, if you were having spinning beach balls in Safari with 4GB of RAM, there was something else hogging memory on your machine. I have used 4GB in a MBP for 5 years - that's not normal. I'm glad the extra RAM fixed it, but all it did was feed the system parasite (like a memory leak in Safari).
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: May 08, 2012 10:31PM
I decided to give the extra RAM a try. It's not too expensive an upgrade so I went ahead and ordered it. The SSD upgrade would have been lots more expensive.

I'll post my thoughts after I install it. (Should be here Thursday.)

Michael
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Re: White MacBook 4GB to 6GB RAM - Noticeable difference?
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: May 10, 2012 01:04PM
Okay, I got the 4GB module today and installed it. Here's what I'm finding. My Mac is running noticeably faster and Photoshop is definitely running faster. I wanted to check to see how much RAM is allocated to Photoshop and found where I should be able to get another speed boost. I found that Photoshop was only recognizing 2100MB of RAM as being available. That's when I remembered that the Noiseware plugin is not 64-Bit compatible for Mac and that I have Photoshop running in 32-bit mode. (I use Noiseware a lot - I do a lot of low-light photography.)

I checkedd Imagenomic's website and they still don't have a Mac version of their plugin that works in 64-bit mode. (It's supposed to be ready soon.)

Since I know I have lots of free RAM right now, I went ahead and allocated all of the 2100MB of recognized RAM to Photoshop and that helped a lot. (Prior to this, only about 1150MB of RAM had been allocated to Photoshop.) I can see that Photoshop is running quite a bit faster and Adobe Camera Raw is working faster and smoother so it looks like the upgrade was worth it.

Thanks for the input.
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