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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi
We have a 3 year old 1.25 eMac. Great machine, no issues. It has 1GB RAM, a 160 GB drive with about 70 GB free. 10.4.10.
My wife and youngest monster use it for surfing, mail, iPhoto etc.

I have noticed it becoming slower with iphoto in particular. There is nothing I can do about the processor (unless I get a new Mac, which I don't want to do right now) so I would appreciate opinions on whether a RAM upgrade would help.

The eMac currently has 2 512 MB sticks: I could replace one with a 1 GB stick. The upgrade would cost $108.00 from Canadaram.

Would it speed things up a bit and maintain the usefulness of this Mac?
 

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The short story is yes.

Depending on what you're doing in iPhoto the extra RAM can help a lot - if you run out of RAM and the computer swaps out memory, getting it back into the RAM and off the hard drive (where it's stored when not needed) is quite costly in terms of time compared to actually having it in memory. The biggest slowdown on my Powerbook is the time it takes for the computer to swap memory myself.
 

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The reason it is slowing down is that you are adding more pictures. As Chealion says, iPhoto works great until it hits its memory limit, and then performance falls off a cliff as you add photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks guys.

The reason it is slowing down is that you are adding more pictures. As Chealion says, iPhoto works great until it hits its memory limit, and then performance falls off a cliff as you add photos.
Yes, I know - except that what I have done is create a second iPhoto library for my wife. The first had about 6,000 images, the new one about 300. This helped quite a bit.

I also realize that OS X is pretty good at managing RAM, so maybe the increase would not help that much. But, given that OS X is generally regarded as needing about 512 MB to run well, that currently leaves only another 512 for everything else, whereas if I upgraded there would be a juicy GB or so for the apps to use.

I'll have to Google around a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi,

I'd sell the two 512's and after buy two 1GB modules. CanadaRam will treat you well.

I hope you have those 6000 images backed up!

s.
Wow - 2GB RAM: I might have to tie it to the desk....

I just created a second iPhoto library in the Home folder and she switches between them. The eMac is cloned to an external via SuperDuper and the images are also backed up to DVD.
 

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RAM will definitely help. And it's pretty cheap, too. Either $108 or $147 per gig (depending on manufacturer, as of July 3rd, 2007) via CanadaRam. But there is a caveat, as per the CanadaRam site:
eMac - note, if you have a 1 GHz eMac you must check whether it is a PC133 or a DDR machine before ordering.
You may also want to investigate some maintenance utilities (Onyx, MainMenu, etc.) if the overall performance of the eMac seems to be declining.

And -who knows?- maybe doing a Library Rebuild will help with performance (ALWAYS back up your photos first!).

M.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks CM

Mine is the 1.25 so it can take the RAM. The eMac gets a regular dose of Onyx and is fully backed up.
 

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RAM always helps but you might have some concern over the drive at 3 years.
I would scan it for bad blocks and defrag as well.
iPhoto like Mail can end up with scattered files which are not fragmented but are also not in the optimal locations to work quickly.

Drive Genius would serve both needs, iDefrag a cheaper one trick pony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks MacDoc. I may get DG, though it's pricey.

If I go with the RAM I might do a nice Archive and Install too.
 

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Before you buy any RAM, install a program like MenuMeters to see what your actual bottleneck is.

I had an old iBook with measely RAM, and while the contemporary thought is "More RAM = FASTER", I could see that when my system slowed down, my CPU was just maxed out (because I was pushing it too hard). No amount of RAM is going to alleviate an overtaxed processor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
GT

Yes, I think this is what prompted my question. The eMac already has 1 GB of RAM, which is hardly pathetic. If it was sitting at 512 MB then of course more RAM would help.

It's not that it is annoyingly slow by any means. But I would like to make my wife's use of it a little faster. If the RAM comes down a bit in price then maybe I will jump, but even at $108 I might be better saving the cash and putting it towards a new Mac. One of the current 17" iMacs (with the graphics card) would be nice, with a second monitor attached.
 

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RAM is just a container.
What matters is how much memory is being paged out during normal use.
If nothing (or little) is being paged out more a bigger container will not help.

1) Open up Activity Monitor (in Applications -> Utilities)
2) Click on the System Memory panel
3) Look at the Page ins/outs
4) run your applications for a while
5) Look again at the Page ins/outs

- how many outs are there?
- if there are only a few thousand or less, than more RAM is not going to help you.

Example: I've been using a MacBook Pro all day and I have 0 page outs.
 

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GT

One of the current 17" iMacs (with the graphics card) would be nice, with a second monitor attached.
To get the same vertical real estate as the iMac you will need to go to a 20" monitor. The iMacs use the 16/9 aspect ratio whereas the eMac is 4/3.

Edit: OOPS missed the bit about the second monitor.:D
 

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I might be a little late in adding my 2 cents worth, but here it goes!
I too bought the same set-up as you have. My Mac-geek son told me to replace the 2x512 MB sticks with 1 GB stick. Which we did as soon as the eMac was out its box. Three years later, it's still happy running multiple apps while I do my thing in photoshop, and we all know the kind of RAM photoshop gobbles up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I might be a little late in adding my 2 cents worth, but here it goes!
I too bought the same set-up as you have. My Mac-geek son told me to replace the 2x512 MB sticks with 1 GB stick. Which we did as soon as the eMac was out its box. Three years later, it's still happy running multiple apps while I do my thing in photoshop, and we all know the kind of RAM photoshop gobbles up.
Hey - welcome to ehMac.

Not too late at all. I just want to make sure I understand what you did: you had 2 x 512 sticks, a total of 1 GB, and replaced them with a single 1GB stick?
 

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Hey - welcome to ehMac.

Not too late at all. I just want to make sure I understand what you did: you had 2 x 512 sticks, a total of 1 GB, and replaced them with a single 1GB stick?
Boy, do I feel ...DUMB!! :eek:
I added 512 MB, bringing the total RAM to 1GB. The extra 512 MB cost me $115,00 CAN, excluding taxes. The price is still the same today, which doesn't make sense, considering the much higher Canadian Dollar!
 

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I'd definitely recommend more RAM, the more the better basically.

I have a similarly aging computer (my Powerbook, still my primary computer due to its portability, turns 4 this year) and before I added more RAM to its measly 256 MB :)D) it was like swimming upstream in every application...
 

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More RAM can make all of the difrence in the world. At school we had eMacs with 1GB of RAM and they preformed at close to or better than my G5 at home with 512MB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
More RAM can make all of the difrence in the world. At school we had eMacs with 1GB of RAM and they preformed at close to or better than my G5 at home with 512MB.
Thanks. My eMac already has 1GB. When they came out, 1GB was the stated max. A search just tells me most consider this a 'false' limit imposed simply because at the time 1GB sticks were rare / expensive. I know it can take 1GB sticks, so I can take it ti 1.5 or 2GB - but will it help? I just can't find a definitive answer from someone who has put that much RAM in an eMac, and there are sources that say it can take the RAM but not use it.:( :confused:
 
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