Don't Upgrade Your RAM From Apple On Your MAC PRO Until You See This

Upgrading your RAM from Apple is a lot like buying your tires directly from the car dealership. It's overpriced for essentially the same product and you shouldn't do it. In this video I cover the benefits of upgrading your RAM from a third party to maximize your computers ability for retouching and file management through various applications like Lightroom.If you are a photographer I would strongly recommend using the MAC Pro for photography, which I will cover more in depth in a future artcile. You can very affordably put in 64, 96, and even 128GB of RAM to help speed up your culling process, work on large PSB files, and multitask many software applications that utilize a lot of the computer's resource memory. I myself at any given time have 4 monitors each running multiple applications that utilize a lot of my computer's memory resources. Whether this is a better option than the new iMac is a completely different article and will not be debated here.

This article is simply why I wouldn't recommend spending more money to do it through Apple and the reasons why. I've been urging people NOT to purchase RAM from Apple since my days of working for Apple at the genius bar. It's easy to install, doesn't void your warranty, saves money, and speeds up your new or used computer. Remember that Apple isn't making unique special "Apple RAM," but is installing third party RAM purchased from a handful of other hardware companies just like they do with their Intel processors that can be found in PC's. Companies like Other World Computing have been a great resource to getting access to this same type of hardware for decades at much cheaper prices. The only catch is that you have to install it yourself. Please note that the Genius Bar at an Apple Retail store will never ever, under any circumstances, perform any upgrades on your machines after it has already been purchased so be prepared to do this yourself or call over your techie friends for help in your upgrades. Don't go into the Apple store and expect anyone to help you with this.

Why Upgrade RAM?
Simply put, RAM is your computer's ability to multitask applications and files. If you are a photographer and like to have applications with massive libraries like Lightroom open in unison with applications like Photoshop with working files bigger than 1GB then having more RAM will allow you to do this without bogging down your machine, applications crashing, or notifications that your computer is out of memory. This is something I've always done on new computers but this can also be done on older machines. Remember that the processor speed doesn't matter nearly as much at having a more RAM for things like Photography. The processor speed comes into play for tasks like saving files, rendering video, and exporting final projects. The RAM allows your computer to juggle all the tasks you are asking it to do. 

Can I Do This With Older Machines?
If you have an older machine that is beginning to slow down I would urge you to first upgrade your computers RAM and max it out. If you are unsure on what you can put into your Apple MAC I would urge you to check it out here on OWC's website. If you have a PC I would urge you to check out Crucial for a list of RAM options for you computer because OWC only carries products for Apple machines. Secondly I would recommend upgrading your hard drive to a solid state hard drive, which I will cover in a future tutorial. The combination of these two upgrades on a PC or MAC is incredible to your machine and will do wonders to your computer and software applications from Adobe.

If you enjoyed this video please make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for free videos on Hardware, Software, Photography, and Photoshop. You can also check out what I'm doing at PRO EDU.

Disclaimer: I don't care if you use PC or MAC. I think both are swell and do the exact same thing but in a different manner. You should use whatever Operating System you are enjoying the most or whatever your budget can afford. And yes I know the Mac Pro is more expensive than PC's. 

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57 Comments

J H's picture

lowering the amount of heat generated in your computer case will also increase your computers overall health and performance. SSD'S so far do not generate hardly any heat at all.

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

Great point. We have an entire video dedicated to SSD's in the near future.

Gus Munoz's picture

Upgrading my 2009 iMac with a 512 GB SSD for just $383. Here's the how to link.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ktZ6PN2zg&index=1&list=FLg92H2YfTZc-B7HSoOGClEg

Mister Mike's picture

383 is WAY too much for a 512 GB SSD.

Gus Munoz's picture

That's the cheapest price in Australia, direct from Crucial. We get ripped off with everything here. Still a small price to pay. It costs 3 times as much to pay a technician to install it.

Paulo Macedo's picture

Or, buy a decent PC and quit the iCrap iBullcrap thing! Like PC's couldn't handle files and raw files.
*EDIT*
Oh and just in case you people don't know, the ability of RAW processing and image processing is on the Processor!! RAM will only increase the amount of files you can load at once. 500RAW files from the EOS 6D only use about 4GB of RAM, leaving the other files on virtual memory!

Tam Nguyen's picture

Ha! Funny, I was just tell someone about this today. Upgrade your CPU before upgrading RAM, as CPU is 1000x faster than RAM, and image processing uses a lot more CPU power than memory.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Tam, this is true but not always. One needs to understand where their bottlenecks are in their system before making the decision to do either. If you're at the point where you are hitting swap memory and have effectively run out of physical then it makes much more sense to upgrade memory.

Of course if you have not come close to using available memory and are strictly constrained by processing speed(perhaps you're encoding a video or something) then yes, CPU upgrade is the way to go.

For general use PCs "back in the day" I used to buy cheap Celerons at a lower mhz then just put a boatload of RAM in there. These PCs would frequently perform way better than those with processors almost twice as fast. Why buy a $1000 top of the line processor only to choke it on RAM?

Paulo Macedo's picture

I've used both systems, MacOS and Windows, truth is, most of the new MacOS users were people who had enough with the Windows Vista thing, back in 2005/2006. Bottom line is, windows has improved a LOT, my windows 8.1 system is steady as a rock.
My graphics card and cpu would smash any iMac hardware they put out there, needless to say Apple uses M hardware, that stands for mobile, low heat means low performance on an overall scale. And all my hardware came for like, 700€ with a pretty decent screen with a colour gamut superior to the one presented on the Apple Cinema Display. All for some 1200€ (1500USD).
Next year, if something is broken (GPU, CPU, RAM), i can change the hardware part without bothering with compatibilities.

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

I would be interested to see how your benchmark compares to a Mac 6 core with 128GB of RAM. Care to submit your scores and see?

Paulo Macedo's picture

No need to, we all will know the Mac Pro 6 Core will win, for a margin so irrelevant that it still does not justify the premium price you pay! All I need is prices vs gain. And no 15.000USD mac justifies the price you pay for low quality hardware. 6 core?! Mine has 8! 8 core CPU at 4.2GHz, 32GB of RAM and a graphics card which memory has a 7GHz clock (Nvidia).

Drew Valadez's picture

But is it a "Mac 6 Core"?
Checkmate PC user.

Do you even Xeon bro?

Paulo Macedo's picture

Can you Cuda Core much bro?!

Spy Black's picture

Yes, but to paraphrase here, "Computer does not live by CPU alone". :-) Really, every stage is important, especially the motherboard busses. However there are four areas that are an adjustable upgrade that TOGETHER will add new life to any machine, and that is CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive upgrades.

Even if you can't change a CPU, adding a new GPU, more RAM, and using SSDs together will certainly improve data throughput. Some of these are more difficult on MACs. Didn't Apple recently start chipping their hard drives so you could only use Apple drives? If so that makes upgrading life that much more difficult. I don't think you can upgrade the graphics card on the new Mac Pros either, if I'm not mistaken.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Sorry but I had to correct you: It's Macs, as in, Macintoshes. MACs = Media Access Controls.

Spy Black's picture

Fortunately most readers here aren't IT specialists or programmers, so it's safe to say they weren't too confused. :-)

The chipped drive and graphics card restrictions seem problematic to me if you're trying to upgrade your machines.

Paulo Macedo's picture

!!!

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

Yes totally agree. I outline this pretty clearly that RAM has nothing to do with processing, exporting, rendering, etc. It's just multitasking a bunch of files.

Bavarian DNA's picture

You have a solid point Paulo, Just to clear it out, i own both systems and i must say Assembled PC with decent hardware is way better than a Mac pro hardware. But i have to give Apple a credit for their Marvelous OS and the optimization with respect to the hardware. The OS X is simpler and straight forward in respect to app operation, less Blue screen and better utilizing the hardware.

Paulo Macedo's picture

The OS is good, like any other OS out there nowadays. It's very hard to get stability if you're building a PC like you were Dr. Frankenstein.

Mike Kelley's picture

Get em!

Jeroen Rommelaars's picture

As someone who builds all of his machines himself, this makes me giggle :P

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

I'm glad I could tickle you in a way that makes a grown man giggle.

Jeroen Rommelaars's picture

I tip my hat to your reply, sir :)

Adam T's picture

I hate the new mac trashcans. My job just got them for the edit bays and they aren't worth it. The price of them can get you a much better PC, the new standard graphics card have no gpu support. Why they didn't use nvidia which has cudda cores and is needed for adobe is beyond me. They crammed all the port into a small 4inch area. NO DVD drive can ever be installed as if mac just one day said "Oh who buys or want disks anymore (besides every damn client) we don't need that." It's clear that mac wants more consumer base people but they are really putting knives in the backs of professionals.

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

I agree that PC's are cheaper both in price and aestehtic . Personally I love the OS and the reliability of the OS in addition to thunderbolt 2 and the variety of externals available for live editing PRO RES files. As for your CD DVD comment 1.) You shouldn't be using that garbage and 2.) you can use an external if you still want to burn a DVD 3.) You can use any computer on your network to burn a DVD through drive sharing and 4.) You should consider getting a bunch of 4GB-16GB flash drives and deliver projects on those. Clients love them and you should educate them on why they shouldn't be expecting that.

Adam T's picture

1) clients love displaying their videos in lobbies and multi screen displays - hence BLueRayDVD's.
2) I shouldn't have too
3) See 2
4) price isa 1000x more when 50 or 60 have to go out.

With projects that I work on cracking over 1tb per project having to spend another 2-3 hundred dollars on thunderbolt externals because they can't hold drives is also annoying .

2 screen - 2 thunder ports, 2 drives 2 more thunder ports / or I can buy an 800 dollar raid 4 bay thunderbolt

speakers, oh wait now you need external AJA or something for DDS the internal sound of suck is all you get.
Wakom screen, time machine drive. keyboard, mouse,

need usb hub,

more overpriced RAM

All to fit in a tiny little package to look cool and portable, as if most studios carry their edit bays around. In big studios we would take the boxxTechs and put them on carts for portability but it was the whole bay screens and ll would come with.

Adam T's picture

Let's get one thing clear, I am not a MAC or PC fan, I use what works and have been using both computer systems for decades now. This is a critique of what I call an appalling new computer from MAC, the old system were worth the cost I love the old MaCpros, these things are crap.

Sean Smith's picture

I was going to buy a Mac . . . instead I purchased a comparable PC, a small call, 3 new lenses, and donated the equivalent of a small country's GDP to my favourite charity.

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

In my experience you get what you pay for. For something like a computer that I'm on ALL DAY I'm not going to jeopardize forcing myself to deal with the Windows Operating system. Once I made the transition back in 05 it was all over. I'm Apple from here on out and encourage people to use whatever Operating System they love the most.

Matthew Tapson's picture

Firstly, I don't participate in Apple vs PC flamewars and this isn't that, but I disagree on the point above because:

I don't really get that there are still people who think that Apple's OS and hardware are not separable. A lot of people prefer OS X; this doesn't need to bind them to overpriced hardware. And contrary to popular belief, kind of like the ongoing Apple right click saga, Hackintosh setups are completely pain and admin free solutions that work just as well in a professional environment as a Mac Pro or iMac.

I also don't like to work in Windows, but I like Apple's hardware less (and I know this is a purely personal opinion and choice). For comparison, here is a benchmark result for a machine I just built that will shortly have OS X installed. This machine is as much faster than the average new Mac Pro as that Mac Pro is than a 3 year old Macbook Pro. Seriously. And the system (including screens and peripherals) cost around $600 less than an entry level Mac Pro here in South Africa.

So, in my experience I don't just get what I pay for, I get what I want, which is a great operating system on goodlooking (because yes, you can get good-looking pc hardware), affordable, upgradeable components. My choice.

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

Well... technically it is possible to install Mac OS X on custom build PC but it is against Apple's EULA. Apple is giving the OS for free because it is meant to be installed on Apple's hardware.

"2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.
H. Other Use Restrictions. The grants set forth in this License do not permit you to, and you agree not to, install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so."

Drew Valadez's picture

"In my experience you get what you pay for." Says the guy who is willing to spend 1k on RAM

Sorry, you can't use that excuse with the "Apple tax" and frankly that spreads misinformation to consumers who don't know any better.

Windows Vista was a joke, that is fairly known OS that took tons of patching. Apparently by the time SP2 was deployed it made Vista much more usable and operate as intended. Although at that time Windows 7 took off and is a great OS and the only people that are using Vista were probably uninformed on upgrading the OS or who couldn't afford to do so.

If you stopped at Vista to consider the switch over to OSx and say that Windows is a hassle, that is quite an old statement to keep tossing around some ~6 years later. Need I remind you that Leopard in itself had tons of issues (in comparison to Tiger) like Vista (ok, maybe not as bad) that was then resolved with the Snow Leopard upgrade?

I had the opposite transition from you. I left when Leopard came out and moved over to Win7. I know I wasn't the only one because I got that same idea from people on the Mac forums venting frustrations about Leopard.

Before you even claim me as a Windows fanboy, I have a Macbook Pro (2012), iMac, Desktop home built and a laptop. They all serve the same purpose with really not much different operations. I could grab any one of them and do 90% of the same task across them all (not including gaming)

OS choices are totally subjective. Just because YOU can't handle the Windows environment doesn't mean that it is somehow inferior to Macs. As a writer you should be standing neutral to the full facts on them both.

Jason Ranalli's picture

This is all sound advice. I've been recommending to folks for years to add more memory when their computer is slow rather than the whole thing or even the processor. Once you hit swap you're toast and no processor is going to make the magnitude of difference that a memory upgrade can. This is assuming you're hitting your memory limits of course and not just processing speed limits.

Westley Jerdon's picture

Hey, Gary! Great video! I am curious, I haven't checked out the new Mac Pros but are you able to upgrade the CPU & video card or is all that soldered in there?

Bavarian DNA's picture

Finally someone take it to the surface, Thank you. Im a computer geek and i always perform upgrades to my machines, i own both Apple and Microsoft hardware. Apple is a bit complicated to upgrade their hardware now days, excluding the ram and hard drives of course. As much as i love Mac, i refuse to upgrade to the new Mac pro, the hardware is so poor against an assembled PC. I don't wanna bla bla bla, My question as follow, is it possible to upgrade the processor in the new Mac pro yourself, regardless of the operation process to depart the hardware ? ( I also run mac from Hypervisor VMware and it works marvelous on my PC) . Thanks again Gary for the thorough article

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

Yes technically you can upgrade your processor in the Mac Pro. You can actually also ship your Mac Pro to Other World Computing and have them upgrade it and get a rebate for swapping our the stock CPU in it. So my advice to anyone is buy the base and do the upgrades through a place like OWC.

Anonymous's picture

Good read and vid. Plenty of RAM is essential in photo and video applications. Macs historically have been the go to because of how they use RAM more efficiently and make sure the data you need is truly on demand. PCs have more or less caught up recently. Since 64bit processing has been around, theres no reason not to max out the RAM the motherboard and chipset will allow.

Spy Black's picture

"Macs historically have been the go to because of how they use RAM more efficiently.."

I guess you never used Macs before OS-X. ;-)

Anonymous's picture

About a year ago I upgraded my mid 2010 mac with 64GB OWC Ram with the option to go for the full 128GB, dropped in a GTX670 and got a nice fast system, works well with editing 4K even. Put in a USB3.0 card and have to say can't complain. For something 4 years old it is damn good and reliable.

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

Point and Case!!! Boyaaa

Anonymous's picture

Read a comment somewhere that I liked: Bigbox Mac Pro's are now basically a dongle for RAM and videocards. With OpenCL & CC I say that is completely inaccurate but so true.

Anonymous's picture

Your article has just some theory about what RAM is (oh wow) and opinion, opinion, opinion. How about some facts I could chew on? Like a little table with manufacturer, price, benchmark. This is full of empty.
AT

Justin Haugen's picture

I built my rig last year and run windows 8.1. I also work on a mac often. I don't agree with the notion that Windows is a liability and that the Mac OS experience is without any hiccups.

I believe the kind of computing experience you derive from your OS is relative to the level of user you are.

Anonymous's picture

Agreed. The nature of an OS like windows which allows you to change everything about it to suit the needs of the user means a higher potential for problems. Honestly, a substantial portion of Windows is above the head of the casual user. The alternative is to dumb it down, dictate what they can and can't do with the product and lock out the ability for the user to alter anything (aka Apple). Windows provides the power of choice and is a far more versatile platform but draws the wrath of the masses when the numerous alterations and combination of 3rd party components go wrong. MACs are stuffed with the same parts as PCs (usually midgrade PCs at best) so you really are paying a premium for the MAC operating system inside a slick looking case. Adobe software could care less though and I've never had a problem running my photos through a PC that has the same specs as a MAC costing twice as much. Buy a used or broken MAC to display at the front desk though. They do make a nice impression on clients.

Justin Haugen's picture

If Apple really cared about the perception that their OS is better than Windows, they'd allow you to purchase it standalone.

It's no mystery their business model revolves around absorbing people into their eco system and to profit off their markups on hardware. But I'm not one to argue with that. If you want that as your user experience and want to pay a premium for it, you're welcome to it.

One thing I think that Microsoft is quite innovative in recognizing the need for convergence of touch screen, mobile, and desktop computing experiences. I see Apple innovating less and becoming late adopters to industry trends. I'm thoroughly enjoying the touchscreen experience on my Asus laptop, and I find it a feature that is sorely lacking in the macbooks and factored in my purchase earlier this year.

Elias Duran's picture

I'm amazed how "PC users" love to comment on everything that has Apple in it, yes we know your PC is superior in every way because you bought the different parts at a lower price and build it yourself with your angelical hands, but sometimes people don't want to be looking for every single part that conforms a computer and something that works out of the box even if it costs more, insulting and denigrating people's choice are plain rude and asshol-y.

I had to make this post because this one is getting an unusual attention from PC users insulting the article and author, and I'm not defending Apple in any way, they have their issues and problems but they have built a brand that people like to use because of their ecosystem and how every device of theirs sync perfectly, yes it's a really bad move to overprice RAM over nothing but tell me one company that don't try to get profit over little things.

If you want to help people get things that will benefit them for a lower cost, make an article, a post, something that is beyond the theme "PC is better than Apple" which gets you nowhere.

If you are still reading, please don't be an asshole. ;)

Drew Valadez's picture

Because Apple people keep yelling that their solution is the magic bullet. But it isn't the magic bullet. Nothing is. The OS choice it totally subjective and articles with authors like this claiming that "you get what you pay for" is so far from the truth and misleading. Then Apple people get pissed whenever PC people want to shine their side of the story which then turns it into the OS HOLY WAR.

Another note: Look at how many "iMac Ram upgrade DIY!" or "Macbook Pro upgrades today!" you see in comparison to PC. It almost seems like the same amount which is funny because they are PRACTICALLY THE SAME DAMN COMPONENTS. You can upgrade a generic laptop the same damn way as a Mac but Apple users feel like special flowers for some damn reason. There is nothing that a Mac can do that Windows can't do. And vice versa.

I'm sorry, if you "need" 64GB of RAM and need to read this article, you don't need 64GB of RAM.

I am not a PC Fanboy FYI, 50% of my house is Macs, I just hate the misinformation from both sides. It's literally like watching kids argue over which Power Ranger is better.

Mike Kelley's picture

you're stupid
no you're stupid
no you're more stupid!
mac vs pc, ad nauseum...

Stephen Cameron's picture

It drove me insane listening to this guy talk. He would repeat himself so many times and stop midway through sentences. Most of what he was saying was just noise!

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