6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 9, 2013 1:22 PM by Bill Carter
Bill Carter Level 2 (235 points)



Have just bought a s/hand Mac Pro whch I would like to speed up a little.   I have 8Gb RAM installed and can go to 16Gb, and could possibly replace my boot drive with SSd. 


Can anyone tell me which is the better speed investment for using programmes like iMovie and PhotoShop? (not intensively, but regularly).


I have read in a couple of places that SSd's favour 'read' over 'write' so wondered whether heavy writing programmes like PhotoShop would not fare well on such a drive?



Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Kappy Level 10 (265,914 points)

    There is only one way to make the computer truly run faster - faster CPUs and faster GPUs. SSDs only improve the speed of data I/O. If you don't do a lot, then SSDs only help with the speed of launching applications.


    More RAM doesn't make the computer faster it only enables the computers to run more applications concurrently or help applications that are very dependent on the use of physical RAM. See:


    About OS X Memory Management and Usage


    Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory & determine how much RAM is used

    Memory Management in Mac OS X

    Performance Guidelines- Memory Management in Mac OS X

    A detailed look at memory usage in OS X


    Understanding top output in the Terminal


    The amount of available RAM for applications is the sum of Free RAM and Inactive RAM. This will change as applications are opened and closed or change from active to inactive status. The Swap figure represents an estimate of the total amount of swap space required for VM if used, but does not necessarily indicate the actual size of the existing swap file. If you are really in need of more RAM that would be indicated by how frequently the system uses VM. If you open the Terminal and run the top command at the prompt you will find information reported on Pageins () and Pageouts (). Pageouts () is the important figure. If the value in the parentheses is 0 (zero) then OS X is not making instantaneous use of VM which means you have adequate physical RAM for the system with the applications you have loaded. If the figure in parentheses is running positive and your hard drive is constantly being used (thrashing) then you need more physical RAM.


    Adding RAM only makes it possible to run more programs concurrently.  It doesn't speed up the computer nor make games run faster.  What it can do is prevent the system from having to use disk-based VM when it runs out of RAM because you are trying to run too many applications concurrently or using applications that are extremely RAM dependent.  It will improve the performance of applications that run mostly in RAM or when loading programs.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,629 points)

    Check to be sure you are actually using 64-bit kernel and Extensions--

    About this Mac > ( More Info ) Software:


    Screen shot 2013-01-09 at 3.09.00 PM.png


  • Bill Carter Level 2 (235 points)

    Thank you Kappy for the excellent info.  I believe PShop/iMovie are pretty heavy RAM users, so might just invest in upgrading that. 


    Thanks again...BC  

  • Bill Carter Level 2 (235 points)

    Thanks Grant for the suggestion.  I believe the default for Snow Leopard is 32 bit - how would I change that to 64 bit kernel and extensions?  And would that make a noticeable difference in speed?...BC

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,629 points)

    In 32-bit, the most an Application like Photoshop can use is 4GB RAM.


    In 64-bit, that limit is lifted.


    Starting up with the 64 or 32 bit Kernel

  • Bill Carter Level 2 (235 points)

    Much obliged Grant, for your help...BC