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

Started May 12, 2013 | Discussions
CoolHandLu Regular Member • Posts: 387
Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

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.

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.

Thanks!

Brian

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,985
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

I would add RAM.  I currently have 32 gb, which many feel excessive.    Nothing exceeds like excess.  

I have never timed a transfer, but my uninformed reaction is that 15 min strikes me as a bit slow.  I gather this is a USB 1.0 reader ?

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Jen Yates Senior Member • Posts: 1,414
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

16GB is the sweet spot really. Some things won't be any faster with 16GB but at other times you'll see a slight improvement.

Don't listen to anyone telling you to get 32GB. You won't need that much unless you are doing something very specific.

Most of the time you'll get by on 8GB but the cost of an upgrade makes going to 16GB a no brainer IMHO.

Mark K W Senior Member • Posts: 1,715
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

In my view, if you are going to be running LR4 with anything at the same time and expecting reasonable performance, you will be much better off with more than 8GB. LR is generally not a memory hog as it is parametric editing. More-so with LR4 it need cores and MIPs. It is pixel-editors like Photoshop that need plenty of RAM.

I would have thought 16GB is fine - unless once in Elements you are building up monstrous numbers of full 36MP layers. Even if you have only 16GB and go crazy on the layers, I think performance will be OK, just it will use the scratch disk so will be slower. I would again think 8GB will be leaving Elements a bit short for even "normal" processing of a few layers of 36MP, especially if LR is running at the same time. If you don't use layers much, then 8GB might be OK.

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OP CoolHandLu Regular Member • Posts: 387
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

Okey dokey!  16 gig of RAM, here I come!  And yes, my iMac is running USB 1.0.  I looked into upgrading to 3.0, but that's' not possible with an iMAC.

Thanks for the feedback!

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Riquez
Riquez Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

CoolHandLu wrote:

Okey dokey!  16 gig of RAM, here I come!  And yes, my iMac is running USB 1.0.  I looked into upgrading to 3.0, but that's' not possible with an iMAC.

Thanks for the feedback!

Your iMac is not USB 1.0 its USB 2.0

It also has Firewire 800 which is about twice as fast as USB2. So if you can get a Firewire800 card reader, that will help.

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Howard Moftich Veteran Member • Posts: 8,766
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

Good luck w/ that.  The FW card readers seem to have gone extinct about 3 years ago.  Check the big auction site.

OP CoolHandLu Regular Member • Posts: 387
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

Man, you are right Howard!  Firewire readers are a rarity, and expensive!  However, a German company just came out with THIS:  http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11673-12298  May just to the trick!

Brian

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

CoolHandLu wrote:

Man, you are right Howard!  Firewire readers are a rarity, and expensive!  However, a German company just came out with THIS:  http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11673-12298  May just to the trick!

Brian

Yes, I purchased one of these readers this last year from Amazon.com's French website. It works very well.  It should cut your upload times by at least 60%.

theswede
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,006
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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mholdef Senior Member • Posts: 1,950
Re: Will 16 Gig of RAM in my iMac be plenty for a D800?

Going up to the D800, you will  notice a slowdown with Lightroom and some heavy images in Photoshop.  I have an iMac i7 from mid 2010 and generally things are OK, but when working with stiched images and plugins things slowdown quite a bit.  You can see thread below which I started yesterday :

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3492672

Mark

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