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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > ? for Al 15" 1.25Ghz PB Superdrive owners about RAM...

? for Al 15" 1.25Ghz PB Superdrive owners about RAM...
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echosphere
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Jan 19, 2004, 08:44 PM
 
(I know there are alot of discussions about buying good quality/price RAM and that more is better.)

This is a particular question for owners of the stock Al 15" 1.25Ghz Superdrive who have two 256MB RAM chips in their PowerBooks.

Sometimes I feel my PB is a bit sluggish when using VPC or Photoshop CS. I think things can be improved (i.e. speeded up) by buying a faster HD and/or more RAM.

If I get a faster HD it will cost me about US$250.

The big question is about RAM. At OWC and TRANSINTL the price of 512MB sticks is about US$99-119. 1GB sticks cost US$479.

So if I want 2Gigs of RAM now, I would have to pay US$958 dollars. Too expensive, I'd just buy a G3 iBook for that much and farm my work between two machines.....

Here's the annoying point of it all...
If I want to have 1Gig of RAM. I would only pay about $200 now. But, later on (hopefully) when 1GB sticks fall in price, I know I will want, or may even need 2Gigs of RAM. At the end, I'll pay probably more than half a grand. And end up with two 256 MB, and two 512MB unused sticks.

Do you think that there is enough speed difference between 512MB and 1GB of RAM to justify this now? Would I get my moneys worth? Or would it be better to buy a faster HD (plus use the old one in an external case as I've wanted).

Sorry if this sounds like I'm whining. Feel free to post any other discussions that you think might be relevant.

Cheers, Echo
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ae86_16v
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Jan 20, 2004, 03:04 AM
 
I would definitely go with the faster HD. Not only would it be faster but everything would also including Finder and such.

I don't know exactly how much RAM does PS CS uses.

But remember that RAM would only make a machine faster if it is used. If you have extra ram just sitting there it doesn't make anything faster. So the saying "Buy as much as you can afford" is wrong, unless you just have a lot of money to spend.

You could check out how much RAM you are using in Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor (this is for Panther, for Jaguar it is in the same place except it is called Process Viewer).

Goodluck.
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wy4tt
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Jan 20, 2004, 03:28 AM
 
that's true. matter of fact, too much ram can actually hurt performance. i.e 2+gigs. however, 1 gig is certainly better than 512. imho, 1 gig is the sweet spot.
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Pierre B.
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Jan 20, 2004, 05:07 AM
 
Originally posted by wy4tt:
however, 1 gig is certainly better than 512. imho, 1 gig is the sweet spot.
Again, this depends on usage. Between 256 MB and 1 GB RAM, you wouldn't notice any difference if all you are doing is to have a single Safari window open for browsing. I would say that 512 MB is good for general usage and 1 GB or more necessary for intensive usage with many memory-hungry applications open at the same time.
     
naderby
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Jan 20, 2004, 05:43 AM
 
I ordered my PB15" SUPERDRIVE with the standard 2 sticks of 256RAM as I knew the cheapest option would be to pull them and shove in 2x 512RAM when I had raised some money.

I have since completed this and there is a big difference in performance, especially as I generally have all the AdobeCS products running at the same time.

I couldn't justify the price of 1 1GBRAM stick. When I sell the machine in the future I'll no doubt put back the original RAM and flog my additional.

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echosphere  (op)
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Jan 20, 2004, 09:57 AM
 
Thanks all for the help!

ae86_16v, your argument really has just about convinced me to purchase one of those new "Enhanced" 7200rpm 60Gig drive from Transintl.com. Thanks!

Though, the other posts really do seem to make sense, and most of you agree that 1Gig of RAM, as wy4tt said, is the "sweet spot".

So, in this case, as I don't have enough money for both, I need to decide between 1Gig of RAM OR a faster HD. Which one should I do now?
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wy4tt
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Jan 20, 2004, 04:20 PM
 
Originally posted by Pierre B.:
Again, this depends on usage. Between 256 MB and 1 GB RAM, you wouldn't notice any difference if all you are doing is to have a single Safari window open for browsing. I would say that 512 MB is good for general usage and 1 GB or more necessary for intensive usage with many memory-hungry applications open at the same time.
i agree, but he's using PS CS, not just safari.
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ae86_16v
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Jan 22, 2004, 05:17 AM
 
Originally posted by echosphere:
Thanks all for the help!

ae86_16v, your argument really has just about convinced me to purchase one of those new "Enhanced" 7200rpm 60Gig drive from Transintl.com. Thanks!

Though, the other posts really do seem to make sense, and most of you agree that 1Gig of RAM, as wy4tt said, is the "sweet spot".

So, in this case, as I don't have enough money for both, I need to decide between 1Gig of RAM OR a faster HD. Which one should I do now?
No problem. . . like I said, the faster HD will make Everything faster, just think about everything that you access the HD will be faster, including accessing the HD to fill up the RAM.

Why don't you take a look and see if 512 is enough for you right now. Look how much is free, if there is a lot free then definitely get the HD. If there isn't much free/or nothing at all then get the RAM.

By the way, RAM prices usually fall, but I heard that the next two quarters are so are going to be pretty constant. HD prices will probably stay the same but in terms of drives space will increase.

Since you are doing PS maybe you should get a larger FW800 scratch disk?
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echosphere  (op)
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Jan 22, 2004, 09:42 AM
 
ae86_16v, dug deep and decided to get both and get it taken care of. Thanks for the suggestions though!

Found Samsung 512MB sticks for $99 online from http://www.memorysuppliers.com/sa51pc33200p.html

Sweet deal and should arrive before the weekend. Will let you know how faster it feels with both in.

Yeah, I looked at the FW800 Lacie D2 drives at the Apple store. For space and price, it's sweet deal. But I hate having extra devices that need to be separately powered, plus it's quite heavy and no way portable. The bus powered FW400 enclosures look cool ( like the blue Pro Mouse, why did they stop making those, looked so much cooler than the new white ones?) and are much more portable. Though of course more $, slower and less storage space. But I thought that since I bought a laptop, I wanted to be as mobile as possible.

Thanks again for you recommendation, it really did put me over the top in deciding to justify the cost of a faster HD.

Cheers, Echo
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Chulo
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Jan 22, 2004, 11:25 PM
 
echosphere,

"Found Samsung 512MB sticks for $99 online from http://www.memorysuppliers.com/sa51pc33200p.html"


Will that Samsung memory work? Why don't they have it listed in the MAc memory section? It does sound like a good deal but I'm a little skeptical since it only says it's for Pentium 4 and Athlon 64. Let us know how it works out, I'm definitely interested.
     
krux`
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Jan 23, 2004, 03:14 AM
 
lol i have a 1.2515" and do Notget the faster harddrive unless your going for video, i put money into another 512 i have 1GB of ram, it makes things Much faster. Everyday things, like PS, DreamWeaver, iPhoto, Games, etc.. You wont notice faster HD, plus its 180$ more,,, go for theRam you will notice the difference there!
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echosphere  (op)
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Jan 23, 2004, 12:18 PM
 
RAM just arrived at work, two 512MB sticks. Will install them this weekend and let you all know.

Chulo, it's a PC world, so I guess they never posted that in the details. IT IS the correct one they specified for my powerbook. If you are not sure, go to the main web page and find your Apple PB model that way to be sure.

Thanks Krux, actually decided to splurge and get both.

From what I've read, a faster HD will speed routine tasks up quite abit. Plus the new "Enhanced" Hitachi 7200rpm drive are designed to be spinning "24/7" (well that's what their marketing gurus claim) so that mean I probably don't need to have the drive heads spin down. I hate that. Everytime I'm online play RTCW, I reguarly have to wait till my HD spins up on new rounds (if they are long). Ugh!
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ae86_16v
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Jan 23, 2004, 04:41 PM
 
Originally posted by echosphere:
ae86_16v, dug deep and decided to get both and get it taken care of. Thanks for the suggestions though!

Sweet deal and should arrive before the weekend. Will let you know how faster it feels with both in.

Thanks again for you recommendation, it really did put me over the top in deciding to justify the cost of a faster HD.

Cheers, Echo
No problem. Glad that I could help.

But yeah, definitely keep us inform of how fast it "feels' .

Krux: As a matter of fact everything that access the HD should be a lot faster over the current 4200rpm drive.

I point to evidence of numerous testimonials on this site and others (do a search). And here are some benchmarks just to show that I am not pulling numbers out of my ass.

http://www.barefeats.com/hard34.html

As you could see, both the 7200rpm and the 5400rpm drives beat the stock 4200rpm drive in everything except the Random read and write.
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krux`
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Jan 23, 2004, 08:24 PM
 
i See, thanks for the info. However it still remains, is that moderate speed boost worth 180$?
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echosphere  (op)
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Jan 26, 2004, 02:46 AM
 
And the answer is.......

NO! Installed the RAM and the HD this weekend. And Krux is right. I don't feel that much "zippier" than before. The RAM, I can tell is helping apps to launch faster, VPC6 is speedier and optimizing when apps install is better. But, from what I can see there wasn't much of an increase. Was it worth $180? No, actually I paid $369 for the 60Gig drive plus a portable Firwire case (to put my old HD in).

And what did I get? Well, a really great, cool looking external HD (so much nicer to do back up to than DVD-RW).

Oh and what else? Lets see... A scratched up slot drive from taking the machine apart, a vibrating keyboard and trackpack (thanks to the 7200 drive) and an occasional sizzling sound from somewhere under the keyboard.

Crap.
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ae86_16v
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Jan 26, 2004, 05:26 AM
 
Eco, did you install the RAM and the Drive separately?

Which drive did you get by the way?

Now, I am seriously surprise that even with a 7200rpm drive you don't see difference in bootup, copy/paste, etc.

Wow. . . this is the first time I heard of otherwise.
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echosphere  (op)
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Jan 26, 2004, 10:19 PM
 
I bought this:
http://www.transintl.com/store/categ...estTimeOut=500

And this together:
http://www.transintl.com/store/categ...estTimeOut=500

The drive is great, the case is great.

But, if you have the Hitachi 80GN in your PB by default, I would suggest not to upgrade. Max out the RAM to 1 or 2 Gig. But do not open your PB. I REPEAT don't. For some strange reason, when I was about to close the PB after installing my new HD, the sizzling sound started (no not plugged in, or on) it just started to sizzle. Now it does it all the time. The drive sometimes vibrates my desk, seems to go in bezerker mode, or sometihng sometimes, and also I can feel it when I'm typing.

Someone else just posted how they installed a new HD and how "fun" it was. Do you know that there are three prongs holding the lid on that are located where the optical drive is? You have to stick a screw drive in the optical drive, feel around (estimated time: 15 minutes) before you find them) to pry it up. I thought I was cool and superior, thought I could do it just fine. I was wrong....
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ae86_16v
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Jan 30, 2004, 12:25 PM
 
Eco,

I am sorry that you didn't see the improvements that you were expecting from the Drive. The results should be there, but it is simply that it does not "feel" faster.

About the vibrations and such, you might want to take it apart again and "re-tighten" all the screws. That might help.
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tooki
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Jan 30, 2004, 01:28 PM
 
Originally posted by Pierre B.:
Again, this depends on usage. Between 256 MB and 1 GB RAM, you wouldn't notice any difference if all you are doing is to have a single Safari window open for browsing
Obviously you haven't looked at Mac OS X's RAM usage. Just surfing with Safari, OS X will easily take up well over 300MB of RAM.

OS X alone -- with no apps running! -- will eat up about 250MB of RAM.

I consider 384MB to be the rock-bottom minimum for running OS X. 1GB is really better if you're going to be doing anything more intensive, and Photoshop is without a shadow of a doubt a very RAM-intensive application.

Remember this little thing about RAM -- having too little RAM will slow things down, but having more than you need does nothing (it neither helps nor harms). I do not know of this 2GB+ RAM nonsense... the only problem I am aware of is with some installers that misinterpret the 32-bit integer that tells it how much RAM the computer has, so it thinks the computer has -1.5GB of RAM, which is less than the 128 or whatever the minimum requirement is. Updated installers fixed this, and I have heard of no other bugs since.

A faster hard drive helps, but not as much as relieving a lack of RAM.

tooki
     
wy4tt
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Jan 30, 2004, 04:16 PM
 
here's the nonsense:
http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_cont...00myths&page=6

of course, this is with pcs, but the increase in ram (above 1gb)leading to worse latency could be relevant to osx as well. besides, the obvious issue here is not just that performance can decrease, rather get what's appropriate for your use...more isn't always better.
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ae86_16v
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Jan 30, 2004, 09:08 PM
 
Originally posted by tooki:
Obviously you haven't looked at Mac OS X's RAM usage. Just surfing with Safari, OS X will easily take up well over 300MB of RAM.

OS X alone -- with no apps running! -- will eat up about 250MB of RAM.


A faster hard drive helps, but not as much as relieving a lack of RAM.

tooki
Ummm, Safari w/ one window open takes 70MB of Real Memory. . . the Window Server takes up 26MBs

Right now, I have Safari, Adium, Mail, Finder, Snard, Dock, and a few other small processes and it is taking up 295.95MB USED.

I don't know where you are getting your stats, but Activity Monitor shows otherwise. Please explain.
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krux`
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Jan 30, 2004, 09:48 PM
 
actually now that i looked, safari takes 101.37MB's of Real memory, Mail takes 41.20, photoshop 63.08, dreamweaver 65.95, window server (whatever that is) 59.15, and about 7 Mid 20's which are also core task's to me.

So in that view i have 500 inactive, and 231 free

i Have 1GB of Ram
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ae86_16v
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Jan 30, 2004, 11:43 PM
 
Originally posted by krux`:
actually now that i looked, safari takes 101.37MB's of Real memory, Mail takes 41.20, photoshop 63.08, dreamweaver 65.95, window server (whatever that is) 59.15, and about 7 Mid 20's which are also core task's to me.

So in that view i have 500 inactive, and 231 free

i Have 1GB of Ram
Yeah, that sounds about right. Window Server seems to be the shell that you are running, when you log in.

I notice that Safari fluctuates a lot depending on how many windows/tabs you have opened.

I have 512MB of RAM. 48MB Wired, 101MB Actice, 123MB Inactive, 273MB Used and 240MB Freed.
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