To find out, we ran tests, including our Speedmark 8 benchmarking suite, on two computers equipped with three levels of RAM: The first system we tested was a mid iMac with a 3. The second was a late MacBook Pro with a 2. Our Photoshop test consists of performing a series of actions on a file.
As the test results show, the effect of additional RAM on performance depends on the file sizes you typically work with. Photoshop is a perfect example of an app that can take advantage of having a large amount of RAM available.
Lab Tested: The ramifications of additional memory on a Mac
It even lets you specify a maximum allowable amount of RAM for the app to use. Otherwise, Photoshop might eat your entire RAM pie, leaving just the crumbs for your other applications. We ran Windows 7 using VMware with a relatively light set of tests.
Virtual machines can require a lot of RAM, but not always. Mathematica was the only other test that saw a speed boost of greater than than 5 percent—but the overall increase on this test was only about 6 percent. After quadrupling it from 4GB to 16GB, we saw a 6 percent increase.
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Of our 15 test results, 12 failed to show at least a 5 percent increase in speed when we upgraded our test systems from 4GB to 8GB or 16GB. Below, we list the results for the 12 tests where our systems showed minor or no improvement after we added RAM. Hot Deals 4 Less. Best Price.
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Crucial 8GB RAM Upgrade for MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac: $98
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