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iMac Upgrade Memory?

  1. #1
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    iMac Upgrade Memory?

    I have a mid 2011 iMac 21.5"
    I really like the damn thing. Over the last year or two it has progressively gotten slower, to the point (recently) that it is not even usable (without endless frustration).

    Anyways, I made an appointment with the genius bar and took it there. They performed a couple of diagnostics test and everything came back that software and hardware is fine. Just an age thing and the fact that most websites and apps require more CPU to run today. Long store short even something like a Mozilla Firefox Update is pretty much using all of my 4gb memory.
    Having the i5 processor @ 2.7 GHz (and a pretty decent graphics card for what i do) i consider pretty good, especially when today's $1100 model has the same processor @ 2.3GHz, yet the new one has 8gb memory with 1TB hard drive or the $1500 with similar specs @ 3.4GHz.

    The guy at apple was cool enough to suggest some DIY upgrades since they dont service my current model. So he introduced me to owc.net and I am pretty happy with what I have found so far. But I have no way of verifying the results without spending some money. So I hope that the tech experts we have here will be able to give some helpful advice.

    Question A:
    8GB (4GB x 2)is $70
    16GB (8GB x 2) is $148

    is this worth it as an upgrade or it wont do anything and I have too old of a machine and i should not throw money at it?
    8gb would double my existing memory but would 16gb make it stupid fast and increase the lifetime?
    Side note: the Apple guy also mentioned that there are 4 memory slots but do not add the new memory to the spare slots as they wont communicate well and will cause more issues, he said remove the old memory and plug in the new one (video from owc.net confirmed that), so is that advice accurate?

    Question B:
    Assuming the memory upgrade is worth it and i order the 8 or 16gb, should i do any other upgrades since I am at it?

    Thanks NESR

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    8Gb would be reasonable for that machine. 16 would just be throwing more money at it.

    A solid state drive would do wonders, but since it's a Mac, they are picky about what drives they can accept.

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    One minor nitpick, a 2011 i5 is not the same as a 2018 i5...

    I like Datamem for RAM, they're out of NH and stand by their product. A dual 4GB kit (8GB total) is $53 from them. Dual 8GB DIMMs (16GB total) is $109.

    If you're going to swap HDs, then yeah, OWC is your best bet on getting something that'll be a bolt in and not trip the machine into running the fans at full speed at all times, etc.

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    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    8Gb would be reasonable for that machine. 16 would just be throwing more money at it.

    A solid state drive would do wonders, but since it's a Mac, they are picky about what drives they can accept.
    OWC SSD Upgrade Kits For 21.5-Inch iMac 2011

    which one you'd suggest?

    woof, just saw the installation video, that is above my skillset.

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    Last edited by tsorfas; 07-05-18 at 09:38 PM.

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    How much space are you using now?

    Edit: Mercury Electra 6G is the series you want to buy from.

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    Last edited by Kurlon; 07-05-18 at 09:30 PM.
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    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    How much space are you using now?

    Edit: Mercury Electra 6G is the series you want to buy from.
    I dont know how much I am using now.
    these guys ( Upgrades — MacBook Clinic ) offer the option to remove the CD/DVD drive and add an additional SSD for $150! I think I like that option.
    thoughts?

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    OWC has a kit for that as well, but you've already got an open 2.5" bay.

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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    OWC has a kit for that as well, but you've already got an open 2.5" bay.
    problem is I dont want to mess with the installation myself. its above my level.
    the memory appears super easy and simple. the SSD not so much.

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    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    is it ok to have HDD and the additional SSD?

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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    is it ok to have HDD and the additional SSD?
    Totally fine, as long as they transfer the OS to the SSD. Otherwise you're not getting the benefit of the SSD. And yes, SSD usually has a big impact on startup and load times.

    The older hardware/CPU will be a bottleneck no matter how much RAM you throw at it, but if you're at 4GB now and you can double it for $70 seems worth a shot. If you multitask a lot or run more intensive apps, 16GB might be worth it. For regular browsing and stuff, 8GB should be a cheap, easy and noticeable upgrade.

    Whatever you spend, it still won't buy you a lot of time. Might make it usable for another 1-2 years best case. 7 years is getting pretty old. I don't work with Mac's much though so I can't speak to the specific hardware stuff. But I'd say if you don't want to drop the cash on a new laptop now, either spend $70 and see if it makes things workable again, or if you're determined to get the most life out of her as possible, go all the way with 16GB and SSD and hopefully squeeze another 1-2 years out of it!

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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    16 GB + 1TB SSD+ install for the SSD = $750ish
    About half the price of what a new iMac would cost me.

    Besides web browsing I use iMovie for video, iPhoto and another free software for photo editing, and couple programs for music editing (very rarely lately).

    I consider apple products far superior to others in terms of life expectancy (there’s probably a more accurate term). To think that this became a problem in 7+ years when I felt every PC I ever owned needed replacement after 1-2 years I’d say I got my money’s worth. Just trying to figure if i should put money in this or buy new. Idk if I wanna drop $750 on it. Couple hundred is reasonable if it can give me a year or two. But if 8/16gb won’t do much then i am not sure.

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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    16 GB + 1TB SSD+ install for the SSD = $750ish
    About half the price of what a new iMac would cost me.

    Besides web browsing I use iMovie for video, iPhoto and another free software for photo editing, and couple programs for music editing (very rarely lately).

    I consider apple products far superior to others in terms of life expectancy (there’s probably a more accurate term). To think that this became a problem in 7+ years when I felt every PC I ever owned needed replacement after 1-2 years I’d say I got my money’s worth. Just trying to figure if i should put money in this or buy new. Idk if I wanna drop $750 on it. Couple hundred is reasonable if it can give me a year or two. But if 8/16gb won’t do much then i am not sure.
    My PC I had built for a grand 6 years ago is still going strong... Replaced the hard drive with a SSD when that failed and using the graphics card on the motherboard since the other one failed a few months ago. Still using it for 3D modeling and browsing.

    Don't hate what you don't know..

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  13. #13
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    I specified in my experience and opinion. I’m not a fan of PCs. I prefer the Mac for what I do. It’s not a status thing or something silly like that. Thing is hidden in my office lol

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Also worth checking on before you cough up $750....go to eBay and search for "imac" and you'll find a shit load available.

    You can filter by build year, processor, memory, disk drive type, and so on.

    Here is and example of a decent upgrade for $440. 4th gen i5, 1 TB SSD, 8 GB Ram, 2013 build. Figure you can probably sling yours and recoup $100 or so.

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Yeah, $750 is WAY too much to spend and get that little.

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    If you want to just get by for a while, do the 8GB upgrade and call it a day.

    Otherwise, just get a new one. Don't bother putting big money into it. You'll just end up with an expensive old computer.

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    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    If you want to just get by for a while, do the 8GB upgrade and call it a day.

    Otherwise, just get a new one. Don't bother putting big money into it. You'll just end up with an expensive old computer.
    I think I’m pretty much at the same conclusion. If $70 makes it usable and gives me another year I’d be very happy.

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  18. #18
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Memory arrived this afternoon. Followed the video and installed it in 2 minutes. Took longer to find a small screwdriver than anything else.
    Powered up. Nothing blew up.
    Got to start up screen in about half the time it has been taking lately (still of course no comparison to when the machine was new).
    Opened Firefox, instantly popped up, clicked a few sites, very happy with performance.
    Opened up iPhoto. Took a bit for it to come up, but once it was up it was fairly ok and certainly usable (was not before, just clicking the auto balance on a photo was pretty much freezing up the machine).
    I didn’t run iMovie because I didn’t have anything to do on it.
    Overall this was probably a decent move and it will allow me to finish the year in this machine.
    Gotta find a hook up and look for a deal to get a new machine sometime within the next 6 months though.

    Thank you for the advice NESR!

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  19. #19
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Dank!

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    Lifer
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    Opened Firefox, instantly popped up, clicked a few sites, very happy with performance.
    Opened up iPhoto. Took a bit for it to come up, but once it was up it was fairly ok and certainly usable (was not before, just clicking the auto balance on a photo was pretty much freezing up the machine).
    I didnít run iMovie because I didnít have anything to do on it.
    Adding more RAM won't impact load times on a single application after a fresh boot. Instead, it adds more room so you won't see as big of an impact when you're trying to run Firefox with 20 tabs open, while iPhoto runs in the background, and you've got iMovie minimized from something you were working on earlier.

    In other words, RAM helps when you have more stuff open. If you were running 4GB before, it's likely that you didn't have enough 'room' for more than one or two things at a time. Once you run out of RAM any computer usually slows to a crawl. It may show a performance increase during iMovie processing. The bottleneck for decoding/encoding video is typically the CPU, but it's possible you were running out of RAM as well.

    If you still find it slowing down, use the Activity Monitor to determine what you're maxing out.

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  21. #21
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    This site is awesome!!!
    Good deal for anyone loooking: Configure Apple iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013) at MacSales.com

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  22. #22
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    $1k for a 5 year old used computer?

    oooooook

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  23. #23
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: iMac Upgrade Memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    $1k for a 5 year old used computer?

    oooooook
    It was $699

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