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Upgrade: RAM or Graphics?


Act your wage.
Political User
I was just looking around on eBay to see what kinds of deals I could get on hardware upgrades. It looks like I can get an additional 1GB of RAM for $80-$90, which would bump be up to 1.5GB. I haven't really looked into a graphics card upgrade, but I've been thinking about it because I "feel" like my card is a bit outdated. Basically I'm just looking for an excuse to spend money. :p

Anyway, just looking for some input on whether I will see a good performance increase from either of these upgrades. Most of what I will be doing is working in the iLife apps, editing images in Photoshop Elements, running iTunes and Safari. It's possible that I'll be doing some video editing later this year, but that's not certain. Also, it's likely that two user accounts will often be logged on simultaneously.

My current specs:
1.8GHz G5
512 RAM
64MB GeForce FX5200 graphics
The FX5200 is fine for the tasks you are doing. 1.5 gigs of RAM would really come in handy when you video-edit, so thats probably the logical choice.


Act your wage.
Political User
Any other recommendations? I was hoping to hear from a Mac user who has gone through a memory upgrade.


There is no answer!
Political User
muzikool, i'll tell you straight out, unless you are processing hd level videos for hollywood, 1gb of good 3200 mem is enough, 1.5gb cant hurt but unless you really need it, for video editing i would go out and buy a better card.

It all depends on how much you want to spend, you could buy both memory and a new card although perhaps a cheaper one. how much do you have to spend?


Act your wage.
Political User
Well, from what I understand about memory handling in OS X, the full amount of RAM can be utilized. The way I interpret this is that performance will always increase with added memory. If that is truly the case then adding that memory is very appealing.

What I'm uncertain of is what improvement I will notice with an upgrade from a 64MB to 128MB graphics card. I'm not a gamer or heavy video editor, so I'm not sure what reason I have to upgrade.

As far as spending money goes, I've got the money to upgrade both memory and graphics, but I don't want to spend the money to upgrade both. I'm probably going to spend less than $100 with whatever I upgrade.


I may actually be insane.
In my PowerMac, when I upgraded from 256mb memory to 768mb there was a HUGE improvement in overall performance. Then when I went from 768mb to 2048mb again there was an improvement (not as noticeable at first as I didn't utilise it fully).

However, going from a 64mb 9000Pro to a 128mb 9800Pro I didn't notice any improvement other than in UT2004, Doom3 and Exposé, however I am running at 1920x1200 and have a lot of windows open all the time.. the 9000Pro never liked that much :D


Act your wage.
Political User
I imagine that Exposé is the only thing that might noticeably benefit from a graphics upgrade. I see a lot of potential with an upgrade to 1.5GB of RAM, especially with Dashboard and maybe even Spotlight? I've got iLife '05 coming in today and will start playing with iDVD, perhaps apps like that would benefit from the memory as well. :)


There is no answer!
Political User
ok i thought you used the graphics a lot in that cae, upgrade the mem and dont bother with the memory, they only benefit to upgrading from 64mb to 128mb in your situation, will be that the graphics card can better suit or newly suit mpeg4 format, which is dvd quality making any movies in this format play better, but other than that, i wouldn't bother.

Upgrade the mem instead.
your using a mac; i would have thought all initial ideas would have pointed to RAM ;)

So in that case jumping from 512, to 1.512MB of Ram will benifit you the most i feel :)
muzikool said:
I got two sticks of Kingston 512MB PC3200 RAM in today. I'm at 1.5GB now and I definitely notice the difference!
Sweet. I really need to bump my mini from 512MB -> 1GB sometime.

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