Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

Started May 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
theswede
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,005
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

CoolHandLu wrote:

I'm currently shooting with a D300s/D700 combo, using Lightroom 4.0 and ELements 11 for post. I shoot RAW.  Wondering if my 27 inch iMac (late 2009, 2.66 GHz Intel Core i5 with 8 gigs of RAM) will do the trick?  An upgrade to 16 gig RAM is fairly inexpensive and an easy decision, but I don't want to throw money away if it won't noticeably speed up things as I download from my cards and post process my photos.

You will notice a speedup, especially from the caching. You'll find moving back and forward between photos a lot smoother, and editing will have fewer hickups. If you get 32GB RAM you will have larger cache, and navigation will become even faster. 64GB might be a bit overkill, but I'm hoping I can have that on my next photography workstation. 128GB is a bit much, I wouldn't recommend going that far, even if your machine supports it. There are no diminishing returns if you work on large datasets, but the cost gets prohibitive.

But generally, the more RAM the better, as OSX is very efficient at using RAM which the application and OS does not need to cache data. It makes moving back across already viewed photos instantaneous (until the cache runs out, which takes longer the more RAM you have).

An SSD is another very good upgrade for working on photos. However, you will need to have some other storage to move the library to as it grows, unless you get a very large SSD right away. It will speed up loading and working with photos very much.

Do you think I'll be fine as is, or do I really need the 16 of RAM upgrade?  Even then, will my Lightroom processing be noticeably slower than it is now?  It's not bad currently - took about 5 - 10  minutes  for my Lexar card reader to transfer 300 shots from a session I had yesterday.

Transfer speeds will not be affected by RAM (and probably not by getting an SSD either). But yes, 16GB or 32GB are both very much worth your while. The more the better, as OSX does not waste RAM.

Jesper

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