I have a 27″ late 2012 iMac with 16 GB of RAM (System Memory). Since I started using El Capitan and the new Photos app I consistently run out of memory during the day. Yes, I know that OS X can use Virtual Memory and all that, but the bottom line is my machine just bogs down after several hours of admittedly heavy use.
On the modern day Mac the more RAM memory the better. I use tons of apps and they all seem to need more memory than their previous iterations. Having more RAM allows you to run several applications at once, especially photo editing stuff. Don’t get me wrong here, when I am finished with an app I do not just leave it open, I always quit it.
Yes, I have applications that can recoup unused memory. I end up using them all day long, but eventually I have to restart my Mac. Sometimes 2-3 times a day. So, I guess I am saying that El Capitan and Photos are memory hogs. But, to be fair I am working with 23 MB RAW images, they really are huge and it takes some horsepower to manipulate them.
I did some research on my iMac and discovered (I didn’t know this before) that it can be upgraded to 32 GB of RAM! Cool! So, I went to OWC (Other World Computing) and bought 32 GB of RAM. Here is the install process for my 27″ iMac.
After disconnecting everything I set the iMac face down on a bed. Note the small door on the back of the iMac.
To get that door open you need to push on that small button where the AC plugin is located. I used a small screwdriver, the door just pops open:
Your RAM slots are exposed. Currently I had four 4 GB chips in each slot.
You just push those little levers outward and the RAM bay pops up. The only way to get the RAM out is to grab it and pull staright up. Just a heads up here, there is a ton of dust in there! I don’t see how dust can get into a sealed compartment like that, buy you know dust, it can get just about anywhere. Be sure and blow out the dust after removing the old RAM and before installing the new RAM.
This is what OWC RAM looks like:
After removing the old RAM, I installed the new, connected the iMac back up and started it. But, I got the 3 beep RAM error. The machine would not boot. I opened up the RAM compartment again and reseated the RAM. One of them seemed like it was not seated all the way. You have to push down on them lightly and they snap into the slot. After I did this the iMac booted right up.
After The Install
After installing the RAM I “zapped the PRAM” on a restart by holding down the Command, Option, “R” and “P” keys immediately after the boot chime. This resets the hardware on your machine. I booted into the Mac, all seemed well, but a few things seemed to be a bit clunky. Thinking that there may be a cache issue (the iMac may have been retaining an old memory cache or something) I did a Safe Boot holding down the Shift Key which removes and resets certain cache files. After a Restart, the iMac seems to be doing very well.
One more thing here. I can get a rebate on my old 16 GB of RAM from OWC. Just have to fill out a form and send it back in. That helps with the cost for sure. Will probably do that in a couple of days when I am sure the RAM is happy in my iMac.
Let me tell you, I no longer run out of RAM! This is so cool. Editing in the Photos app is quite a bit more responsive. I don’t have to do 2 or 3 restarts a day. Having more RAM is very good. I highly recommend buying and installing as much RAM as your Mac will hold and/or as much as you can afford.