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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #1
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Quick RAM question...

I would like to know what your thoughts on 4 gig of RAM being "more than enough" for an i7 iMac?
If I am running final cut as well as other apps and searching safari as well as exporting and using photoshop... would I see any realworld improvements by bringing it up to 8 gig?
My it guy says no since fcs only can see 4 gig anyways...
My point is I would imagine then that a few more gig for the rest of the system would be a good addition...
please let me know your thoughts....
Thanks

I know this has been discussed else where but i Could use some straight facts.....
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Old March 24th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #2
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Do you keep a bunch of other apps open in the background? Like Photoshop?

On my offline system (20" iMac 2.16GHz CoreDuo w. 2GB), I often have FCP, LiveType, PhotoShopCS3, Digital Juice's Juicer3 and iPhoto open at the same time and I wish I had more memory but as I'm retiring the system as soon as the new Nehalem powered Mac Pros start shipping, I'll make do.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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Thanks shaun but I would like to know will i be able to actually use more than 4 gig if fcs only uses 4 due to 32 bit right now...

And sorry to answer your question yes there are often several apps open at the same time.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 09:36 PM   #4
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Yes, more memory is good. Your computer is using virtual memory right now when it needs more than 4gb. Nothing wrong with that but hardware RAM is better and faster.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #5
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Thanks William.
So would you (or anyone wanting to weigh in here) recommend I spend the 150.00 to add 4 gig?
I have the money but also have a million other things I would like to purchase and want to make sure its not spent on something that just sits in there looking pretty with no realworld help to me.
Anyone know of a site that specifically would show tests done on an export or timeline render with 4 gig vs 8 gig?
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Old March 24th, 2010, 11:07 PM   #6
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Not sure that RAM has an effect on rendering within FCP if you are already at 4gb. With Compressor, RAM does affect renders especially if you have QuickCluster enabled. I haven't seen a real benchmark comparison of FCP in years, every benchmark is for Compressor.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 11:08 PM   #7
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There will be *zero* difference in render/encoding times between 4 to 8GB of RAM, and the reason isn't because of the hardware it's the FC suite. Until the new version of the suite is released - which we all hope will allow true 64-bit asset allocation - there's no reason to get more than 4GB of RAM for your machine. It won't hurt but you won't see any noticeable boost in performance.

Unfortunately in an iMac architecture there's little you can do to boost native performance since you can't add extra internal HDD's which would otherwise help spread the load of encodes/renders immensely along the front-side bus by splitting up things like cache/render/OS locations, and the only external option is Firewire which is no faster than your single internal drive.

I'd say put your money into the other things you need because the extra money you spend in RAM won't amount to a performance boost that justifies the cost.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
There will be *zero* difference in render/encoding times between 4 to 8GB of RAM
I can't talk to RENDER times (and I always believe Mr. Lane in these matters...) but LATENCY between commands and seeing the result will in all likelihood improve IF you are maxing out memory due to other applications being open, which was the reason for my question/dissertation.

Performance is NOT ONLY render time - how quickly the interface responds certainly counts as a performance indicator for ME. And I KNOW I'm using a ton of virtual memory, but it's a means to an end.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 03:35 AM   #9
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$150 for another 4GB of RAM is great value for a performance boost on your machine. In fact on an iMac there is little else that you could spend your money on to improve the performance e.g. faster graphics card or RAID storage array. I suppose the luxury performance upgrade might be a Solid State Disk to replace the 7200rpm S-ATA

Like Shaun I too disagree with Robert's analysis. Taking a view of the system purely for FCP then extra RAM will of course not alter the render/encoding time as that is mostly a function of CPU & graphics performance. However the OP's system is being used simultaneously for a bunch of other things besides FCP. Extra RAM will allow you to keep more applications open without having to think about closing some to free up memory when the system slows down.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #10
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Guys thank you very much for the feedback.
As my it guy correctly assumed FC will not run any faster on its own BUT as I correctly thought it CAN be slowed down by other apps using up its share of the 4 gig.
I had felt that at the "X" dollars per hour that they are paying me I would like to think that in a very short time the ram will have paid for itself in zippy handling of the iMac.
I export via compressor so that alone will make the ram worthwhile.
I appreciate your input on this as I feel I now can speak with some knowledge on this when asking for the ram to be installed. all the best to everyone who continually helps with answers on this forum!
Thanks Chris Hurd as well for putting this out there!
GO DVINFO!

:o)
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