June 09, 2013 4 min read
When you buy mac memory from Ramjet and add more RAM to your system, it can boost the overall performance of the machine. When discussing the performance of the machine, however, it's important to keep in mind this can mean many different things. The "speed" of one's computer is often thought of as the key determining factor of a system's overall performance. However, measuring speed involves benchmarking software and that generally loses most Mac users. We are interested in the user experience and we concern ourselves less with the results from a benchmark study. While useful for our own test results, it is ultimately what our customers experience on a day-to-day basis that matters most.
With that said, even a machine that performs very well by objective measurements may not perform as well as a user would want, simply because of what that user happens to be doing with the machine. For instance, somebody using a MacBook Pro for simple business tasks might find the machine to be incredibly good in terms of how fast it opens and closes applications, how fast it performs on a network, and so forth, but a graphic designer may have a very different perspective. For a graphic designer, that particular model of Mac may be inadequate for their needs and, thus, their subjective measure of performance may be much lower than another person's.
There are several different performance indicators used in the computer industry to get an objective view of performance. For example, STREAM is a benchmark used by the industry for memory performance. This benchmark is designed to give an objective, quantifiable measurement of how well memory performs, but memory is only one aspect of the computer that makes it function. Because there is so much that goes on inside a Mac system, there are other ways that users can get an idea of how well it performs.
One method is to take several different measurements, aggregate them and then use that aggregate to rate the performance of the computer in question against others. There are several different benchmarking sites available on the Internet that do this and that make it possible to get a good idea of how well one Mac system will perform compared to the next. If you’re utilizing these benchmarks, it’s important to make certain that they take into account the factors of the computer’s performance that will matter the most to you. For example, if you do happen to be a graphic designer, memory performance and processing power will likely be very important to you.
It’s easier to understand the overall performance of a Mac if you understand what’s going on inside a Mac system. Here’s a brief description of what goes on under the hood of your Mac.
Mac systems, assuming that you have a current version, function on the OS X operating system. This is a UNIX like operating system and, in recent years, Mac systems have moved over to using Intel-based processors.
Some Mac systems have a server version of OS X, including the Mac Mini and Mac Pro, if they are ordered in those configurations. The OS X operating system is ubiquitous across all Mac products.
The OS X operating system coordinates all of the various hardware and software resources on your computer and makes the entire system run harmoniously. It’s responsible for allocating processor, memory and everything else that makes your computer run.
The Mac system architecture has several different layers to it, starting with the hardware layer. Above the hardware layer, the core OS coordinates all of the various hardware, driver, networking, file system and other elements that the computer requires to function.
Java plays a significant role in the Mac architecture, providing the API, the core services and other elements that form the next layer, topped off with the GUI, the part of the system architecture with which the user actually interacts.
As far as components go, a Mac does not differ significantly from any other computer out there in terms of what makes it run. In the most basic sense, to have a computer, you need memory, processor, storage – in the form of a hard drive, most often – and human interface devices. In a Mac, you’ll have an Intel processor, RAM, hard drive that can come from any one of a number of manufacturers and your keyboard, mouse and monitor, which constitute the human interface devices.
Of course, there may be many more components inside of a Mac. For example, a separate video card may be used to boost performance for demanding applications. Additional memory may be added to bring up the overall speed of the system.
Among the most basic components, there are separate roles, but each of those components also interacts with all of the others to create the entire user experience. The processor performs the calculations that actually make the computer run. Faster processors generally mean better performance. RAM provides the memory for the computer, allowing the computer to store and access information very quickly so that it can run applications and perform other functions. Again, more RAM generally means that the computer will function more quickly.
The main storage component on a computer is generally the hard drive. This is slower to access than RAM but can hold a great deal more information. Larger hard drives can hold a huge amount of information and, in fact, expanding hard drive space is one of the easiest and most effective ways to upgrade the performance of a computer.
In our experience, dual channel and tri channel technology increases one’s system performance by no more than 5-10%. If there is a choice between more memory that does not use dual channel technology or less memory that does, we advise our customers to go with more memory. It will provide a more significant performance benefit.