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Will 16GB of RAM really increase my speed?

26594 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Dec 18, 2013 8:24 AM by mnmadeira RSS
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clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 Level 7 (26,800 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 13, 2012 2:46 AM

Hello, all you MacBook Pro fanatics!


I have a late 2011 MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM installed - I bought the Corsair memory from Amazon for under $50 and installed it myself.


Amazon now has a 16GB kit fro Corsair for only $100 - the least expensive price I've found. The only RAM intensive app I really run is Photoshop CS6, but I do keep a lot of apps open at one time (Acrobat Pro X, Outlook, InDesign CS6, Illustrator CS6, Word, Parallels running XP, iTunes at the moment) and I was wondering if the extra RAM would actually help me out.


I'm looking for some advice from people who have already upgraded to 16 GB... can you actually tell a difference?


Any advice would be most welcome.



Mac OS X (10.7.4), 8 GB RAM, 500 GB int, 1 TB ext
  • wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (91,430 points)

    You can answer this question yourself. Launch Activity Monitor, look at page ins & outs, also swap used. Ideally, you don't want to page out or use swap...if you are, you could benefit from more RAM.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    To judge whether upgrading from 8GB to 16 would benefit you significantly, do this:


    Use your computer and your normal array of applications in what is, for you, a typical manner for a full day or two without restarting the computer. Open Activity Monitor, click the System Memory tab in it, and compare the figures shown for Page Outs and Page Ins. If Page Outs are more than about 10% of Page Ins, more RAM would yield a noticeable performance benefit in your normal usage of your computer. The greater the percentage, the greater the benefit. So, for example, if your Page Ins were 4GB and your Page Outs were 900MB, more RAM would benefit you significantly. But if your Page Outs were only 250MB, you probably wouldn't see a noticeable performance benefit from adding RAM.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,585 points)

    I would suggest a slightly modified approach to what  eww describes.  Use your most CPU intensive tasks to determine the Page ins/Page outs ratio.  Those are really the only applications that will benefit from 16 gb of RAM.


    If you see green on the RAM pie in Activity Monitor, that means you still have RAM to spare.



  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,585 points)

    It sounds like you will one of the few users who will benefit from the additional RAM.  Just keep your eggs and ham from your MBP!



  • Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,180 points)

    BEWARE BEWARE BEWARE before you install your shiny new 16GB of RAM and restart the Mac!


    All modern computers manage their memory using a paged virtual memory scheme. This means setting aside a piece of the hard disk drive where unused portions of the processes are paged out (as you have already found out). Plus Macs incorporate a sleep+hibernate scheme for fast and reliable recovery after the lid is closed.


    Paged VM requires setting aside room for at least duplicating the physical RAM, EVEN IF it won't be needed (like you and your humongous gob of 16GB of real RAM), since the OS will want to play safe just in case. Hibernation is independent and knows nothing of the VM; it requires room at least the size of real RAM to copy its contents.


    Now that you are going to stuff 16GB in to replace the 8GB it already had, the paging + sleep spaces are going to DOUBLE in size. That means you will see 16GB magically vanish from the amount of free disk space, the instant the Mac boots up fully decked out. So be sure there's enough room available before doing the install.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,585 points)

    "green eggs", does that mean you are a gourmet or simply like French food?



  • Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,180 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2012 10:13 AM (in response to OGELTHORPE)

    I saw some green eggs the other day....


    ... but they were being pelted at an unliked political candidate. And they did not look too edible... /___sbsstatic___/migration-images/183/18376923-1.gif


  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2012 10:16 AM (in response to Courcoul)

    Are you calling Dr. Seuss a liar?

  • JadeIIII Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2012 3:38 PM (in response to Courcoul)

    So, is all RAM created equally?  Does it matter who you buy the 16 Gigs of ram from (i.e. Corsair, Powermax, etc.)?




  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2012 4:36 PM (in response to JadeIIII)

    When I asked the same question, I was told that as long as you have a "lifetime warranty" and have no issues running the memory, then you should be alright.


    Some brands still have better reputations in this forum, but "lifetime warranty" seems the more important issue.

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