Fire Your Mac Up! 9 Essential Mac Upgrades (Plus More Power Tips)

Zack Stern's picture

Fire Your Mac Up! 9 Essential Mac Upgrades (Plus More Power Tips)

RAM: Multitasking Made Easier

 

Random access memory juggles nearly every computer process. Want to have lots of windows and applications open? Add RAM. Want to get the best performance out of RAM-hungry games and audio, photo, and video apps? Add even more. RAM behaves like extra arms on a champion hot-dog eater, holding wieners at the ready so he doesn't have to slow down to reach for one at a time.

 

A hard drive works as a buffer for the processor. "Virtual memory" does the same thing, using part of the hard drive in the same way that your Mac uses RAM - but it's significantly slower than actual RAM. Instead, the processor shuffles information back and forth to RAM with minimal delays, speeding up certain applications.

 

It's best to have least 1GB of RAM - and, ideally, a total of 2GB or more. Older Macs and notebooks are no doubt limited in the number of slots available, but you should jump up to 1GB whenever possible. Visit Ramseeker or dealram to compare prices. Top Mac memory vendors include Other World Computing and Crucial Technology.

 

TO INSTALL If you're adding RAM to a Mac tower, look for an open RAM slot parallel with the current RAM, and literally plug the new RAM module right in. Apply even, firm pressure over its top edge, and it will lock into place, lifting the two latches into place. To remove RAM, gently push apart the release latches (both at the same time) to unseat the chip. Some Macs - mostly the newest ones - require you to add RAM in like-sized multiples of two; check your manual to verify your system's needs. In notebooks and certain iMacs, the RAM slot sits at a slight angle to the rest of the computer, instead of a 90-degree angle the way RAM sits on a tower-style Mac. In that case, insert the new RAM module into place at that angle, then tilt it flush against the machine. If you're removing RAM, first push the release levers to unseat the chip.

 

> WHO'S IT FOR? Everyone
> PRIORITY: High
> OPTIONS: Prices and models vary. Check Other World Computing and Crucial Technology.
> SUPPORTED MACS: Towers, iMacs, iBooks, PowerBooks

 

The more RAM the better.

 

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