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Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:41 am
by pierovera
Hi everyone,

I've thought to upgrade my RAM for a while now and I finally decided to do it because my computer was running a bit slow with Photoshop CS2 and other programs I like to run (eg. Minecraft). Finally I decided to do it, but I thought I'd ask for some advice first.
I have a Mac Pro with quad-core PowerPC processors, right now I have 2 out of 8 RAM slots in use, each with a 256 MB card (or I guess it's called a card, not really sure).
I wanted to know how much RAM should I buy and what brand/type would be the best option. Consider that I need enough RAM to run Photoshop as smooth as possible (and Minecraft as well :) )

Thanks :)

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:34 am
by EvanK
Hi, pierovera,

Good choice on deciding to upgrade your RAM. It's probably the best investment that you could make to improve performance on a budget. In fact, the two most important elements to run Adobe CS well are a good CPU and lots of RAM.

You should be looking at DDR3 RAM, that's the fastest type currently available, and for the most part comes cheap. First of all, what's the RAM limitation on your machine? If it's 4GB, put in 4GB. If it's 8GB, put in 8GB. In general, it's best to put in as much as you can afford, especially for apps like Photoshop. Generally, games like Minecraft are designed to take advantage of no more than 4GB as that's the limit for 32 Bit Windows machines, so high amounts of RAM are no use for games. If you'd like to improve the performance of your games, throw in a better CPU, or ideally a new high end graphics card.

You can really use any brand name, Corsair, Crucial, OCZ, Patriot, Kingston, assuming that you don't pick some strange budget no-name brand. You don't need to spend top dollar for RAM just because it comes from a big brand name, it makes no difference. Just get something that fits the bill and isn't a budget brand that you've never heard of. You can find RAM pretty cheap from Newegg, and it's all quality stuff.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:42 am
by robbon44
get as much as you can afford and your motherboard will handle.

i just upgraded my pc and the cost of putting 4gb to 8gb was not the end i stumped up a few more $$ and put 16gb in. My pc runs super smooth. :)

whilst RAM is only one part of the equation it helps to have as much as you can muster especially if you multi task.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:12 pm
by pierovera
Well I guess I just have to find out how much RAM my computer can handle, but anyways, thanks guys! :)

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:38 pm
by lagnificent
I've jumped on this thread to say that if your processor is a Power PC model, do not buy DDR3. G5 Power Macs were introduced from 2004-2005. DDR3 didn't exist until 2007.

From what I've been able to gather, the G5 power macs used DDR1 or DDR2 depending on the model and have a max capacity of 4, 8, or 16 GB, depending on model. This is old technology.

Wikipedia link, consult your owners manual for better info.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:51 pm
by lagnificent
After looking at wikipedia's table, it looks as if your model MIGHT be the
DP DC "Quadcore" 2.5 GHz PowerPC 970MP (G5).

This model uses
512MB of 533 MHz PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM
Expandable up to 16GB

Which would require 8x2GB 533MHz PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM. Each dual-core processor have 8GB for a total of 16GB.

Keep in mind, I'm using wikipedia, and it may not be accurate. Use your product's documentation. Try Apple's website with your product model.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:03 pm
by lagnificent
Anyways, here's the official RAM upgrade list from Apple.

If you look at the table, only 1 model has 8 slots AND is Quadcore. In fact, there is only one quadcore model, on the very bottom.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:21 pm
by pierovera
Hi lagnificent,

That's actually very helpful, thanks! I am almost 100% sure my computer is actually the model you're talking about, but I'd like to check anyways because I don't want any surprises when I try to install the RAM.

Anyways, thanks a lot :)

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:12 am
by lagnificent
More stuff from their memory page. Although I'm sure anything from their store would be rediculously expensive.

Additional Information
Note: When purchasing DDR SDRAM for use in Macintosh computers, make sure the memory vendor conforms to the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) specification. Check with your memory vendor to ensure that the DDR SDRAM supports the correct timing modes and that the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) feature has been programmed properly, as described in the JEDEC specification.
To check compatibility with Apple's DDR SDRAM DIMMs, see the Macintosh Products Guide on Apple's website at . You can purchase Apple-branded memory online from the Apple Store at

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:46 pm
by pierovera

Actually I do not have any background programs running in my Mac apart from essential stuff that is impossible to stop from running. I have confirmed this through Terminal using the "top" command, which basically displays all processes running.
I guess that the graphics card might be an issue as well, my graphics card is a NVIDIA GeForce 6600, which I don't know how good it might be.
And I'd like to ask a question, where can I find the computer's internal HD speeds? I know that my external HDD has a 400 Mb/s speed (that's FireWire 400's speed)

Anyways, thanks :)

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:35 pm
by Plymer
Pierovera, which version of Mac OS X are you running?

Click the Apple icon up top left and then click "About this Mac"

You should then see some model numbers, RAM info, CPU info, and basic things like that. You can get a deeper drill-down into *all* the nitty-gritty stuff by clicking on More Info. You may have to further click on "System Report" depending on your OS X version (I'm on 10.8.2)

You should be able to get model numbers/serial numbers from that :)

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:22 am
by pierovera
Hi guys and thanks for answering!

ZEMBANU wrote:For me to help you further I need to know the model number of your MAC PC and the hardware specs, especially processor(cpu) and RAM, you already told be your graphics card.

My computer is a Power Mac G5 (go to older posts in this thread for a Wikipedia link to the info about it). I currently have 512 MB of RAM, it's 2 cards (I still don't know how to call them) of 256 MB each. CPU specs can be found in the Wikipedia link.
Plymer wrote:Pierovera, which version of Mac OS X are you running?

Currently I'm running Mac OS X 1.5 (Leopard). I found the place to check my specs, thanks.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:48 pm
by pierovera
I'm sorry, but I'm not going to buy a new computer just yet. 8 years might look like a lot, but it still works and I know that with some fine tuning (upgrading RAM, for example) I can make it run smoothly again. I'm not falling into consumerism, sorry, there's no real need to buy a new computer.
I know that it won't work with new technology, actually it's kind of better because old technology is cheaper.
Also, my computer cannot run DDR3 RAM, but it can run DDR2 RAM, and from where I'm standing, it looks pretty good.
By the way, my computer was really expensive and to renew it, it would cost a ton of money, so it's not an option. Maybe my Mac Mini will be replaced with a new one soon, but my main computer (the Mac Pro) isn't. This is because upgrading my Mac Mini isn't worth it, I'd better buy a new one. In the other hand though, upgrading my Mac Pro is definitely a good option. Also I'd like to state that ALL my files are backed up, so no problem if my computer stops working. Either way the internal hard drives can be removed so there would be no problem.

Anyways, thanks for all the help! If I ever go for a custom PC, I'll let you know! :)
If you can help me further, I would appreciate it, but keep in mind that I will not buy a new computer just yet.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:09 pm
by pierovera
It's the Mac Pro 1.1, the first one I assume.

Re: Upgrading RAM, any advice?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:13 pm
by pierovera
Wait, I messed up, It's actually the Power Mac G5 (the name the Mac Pro had before being Intel-based) and it's the "Cypher" model, the last one that was produced.