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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Hint for better performance with only 512 RAM

Hint for better performance with only 512 RAM
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monkeybrain
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Jul 27, 2006, 05:01 PM
 
For those of you (like me) who only have 512 RAM, I have found that you can get a performance increase my turning off the option to sleep hard disks when possible in the Energy Saver Preference Panel.

I find this helps a lot when using Rosetta apps like Word, which eat up the RAM.

I believe the logic behind this is that with only 512 RAM the 'book is swapping out more RAM to the swap file on the hard disk. If you are working in a single program for a while and then switch out of it you may notice a hang as the hard disk is spun up to access that swap memory. By not sleeping the hard disk, you get a slight but noticeable improvement.

This wouldn't be a good idea when running on battery, but when you have the cable plugged in, give it a go.
     
fox-orian
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Jul 27, 2006, 05:40 PM
 
Seems to make sense to me.

I have 1GB so... I cant test it for myself.
Haha, I also never even know when the HDD's spin down, I cant hear/feel them to begin with!

Good advice, though. Maybe some thorough testing [like with open programs] might be useful[?]
     
ChasingApple
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Jul 28, 2006, 04:24 AM
 
I found the only thing I would need more memory for is importing / editing DV video. Honestly most the other Apps dont need all that memory to run, and other then seeing the occasional 2 second beachball Im satisfied. Perhaps one day I will max out my iBook with 1.5GB but for now the 512MB seems fine.

I also never notice the HD spinning down, another reason I love Apple so much, unlike the PC / Windows crowd, I can ignore all the tasks Apple has set into place in my OS and just use it!
iMac G4 / Macbook
     
amazing
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Jul 28, 2006, 02:07 PM
 
If you don't use Dashboard, turn it off using Onyx. Don't know how much RAM you'll save, but at 512 MB, every little bit helps, especially if you use Dashboard only very rarely.
     
andreas_g4
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Jul 28, 2006, 04:45 PM
 
I will never understand why someone buys a MacBook without upgrading the RAM. The machine is crippeled from the beginning. It would be totally unaceptable for me. Good thing is that people are different and so it probably is acceptable for some folks, I just don't get it. RAM is cheap now a days and it makes hell of a difference.
     
praxela
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Jul 28, 2006, 05:03 PM
 
Yes the machine is crippled fromt he start but so was my wallet after buying the computer. As a college student, I'll take whatever free performance upgrades as I can get. Thanks for the tip!
     
Arju
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Jul 29, 2006, 12:46 AM
 
With 512MB it wasn't too bad... you could do light multitasking but get used to the beachball when apps start piling up.

I leave a good 5-7 programs running at one time so 2GB helps A LOT... along with a 2nd display.
Notebook: MacBook White 2.0Ghz | 2GB RAM | 120GB HD | Superdrive
HTPC: AMD 3800X2 | Asus A8N-SLI Premium | 2GB RAM | Asus N7800GT | 900+ GB of Storage | Sony 60" Grand WEGA
iPod Video 80GB
     
monkeybrain  (op)
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Jul 29, 2006, 06:28 AM
 
512 RAM is hardly crippled. The majority of Macbooks will have 512 for their whole lives, if they were crippled no one would buy them because word would soon go around about slow they are.

I think my hint helps if you run Word a lot, or indeed any Rosetta app.

And RAM isn't that cheap, in the UK it would cost be half a weeks wages to upgrade the RAM, not helped because we have to pair the RAM with these 'books. I would normally use 1 gig, but seeing how I can cope with 512.
     
cyberwarrior
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Jul 29, 2006, 07:12 AM
 
I use Widget Killer to free up RAM, it is a simple AppleScript. Found here: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macos...getkiller.html Quick to execute from Spotlight "widgets on" OR "widgets off" or the AppleScript menu in your toolbar (if it is enabled). My widgets consume ~100Mb RAM; significant for 512Mb installations.

I am in no way affiliated with WK, merely appreciate its functionality
MB 1.83GHz/2GB
ACD 20"
     
ChasingApple
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Jul 29, 2006, 03:56 PM
 
Well, I also do not use Dashboard, I dragged it to the trash upon first boot and have been happy since. Never did like widgets
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masugu
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Jul 29, 2006, 05:07 PM
 
Widgets...the modern-day equivalent of "DA's - Desk Accessories one used to pull down from the Apple menu. Anyone old enough to remember these??? Forgive me for waxing nostalgic.
masugu - "Straight Ahead"
BlacBook Core Duo / Original Intel-based MB - DIY Core i7 PC |
     
monkeybrain  (op)
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Jul 29, 2006, 09:22 PM
 
You know, dragging the icon of Dashboard into the trash doesn't delete it, it is a part of the Dock. But unless you open it and use some widgets it uses no memory, no resources. I only have a couple of widgets open at the moment, and combined they use about 10 MB of RAM, which is completely acceptable.

To masugu: yeah desk accessories bring back memories. I guess calculator is still like one of those, wasn't it only DA that were supposed to quit when you closed the window? More consistency back then I spose...
     
ChasingApple
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Jul 30, 2006, 02:04 AM
 
Actually, I dragged the app itself inside the applications folder to the trash and yes it is deleted for good
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monkeybrain  (op)
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Jul 30, 2006, 04:41 AM
 
That icon in the application folder isn't an app. It's just a shortcut to open Dashboard. Dashboard is a part of Dock.app, just like Exposé is.
     
Proteus4
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Aug 8, 2006, 07:27 PM
 
512mb certainly feels crippled. Hell, I have had the beachball when trying to switch between tabs in Safari during certain situations.
     
dale_nx26
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Aug 8, 2006, 09:09 PM
 
I agree. 512 ram is not enough. My G4 1.25 GHz mac mini with 1 GB is noticably faster than my Macbook. I expect my recently-ordered 1GB will make my MB "scream."
     
luckyjoe
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Aug 9, 2006, 08:53 AM
 
Masugu,

Thanks for the DA analogy - answered my question before I could ask it...

Tom P.
     
amazing
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Aug 9, 2006, 03:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Proteus4
512mb certainly feels crippled. Hell, I have had the beachball when trying to switch between tabs in Safari during certain situations.
Safari hogs way too much RAM. Open Activity Monitor (in the Utilities Folder) and list "all processes" at the top. After a bit of usage, you'll find Safari running 250 MB of RAM. Solution: use Firefox.
     
iREZ
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Aug 9, 2006, 04:21 PM
 
firefox is dogslow on every mac ive used...i prefer shiira or camino over firefox when it comes to 3rd party browsers.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
   
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