Macbook Performance: The Importance of RAM


A couple weeks ago I purchased my wife a Macbook. She loved using my iMac so much that I needed to get something for her to have as her own. After talking it over with my wife we agreed that she need the basics. She only wanted to be able to browse the web, view photos, and use iMovie to create family movies and memories. I thought that the baseline Macbook with 1.83mhz Intel Core 2 Duo chip and 512mb of RAM would be great for her. She didn’t need a DVD burner as we planned on saving the files on a central home server and could pull them up on my iMac to burn any media that was needed.

We went to the Apple Store and went straight to the Macbooks. I clicked around the Macbooks next to the sign detailing the hardware specs of the base line Macbook for $1099 and it zipped a long just great. We purchased the laptop and took it home. I set it up for my wife but noticed that it was MUCH SLOWER than the machines we quickly tested at the Apple store. Opening Safari sometimes took 10 seconds and every other Universal Application was also slow.


I searched around the internet and found that many others were also reporting this problem. Some mentioned it was just spotlight indexing your files. I thought this might be the case so I left the machine on over night and in the morning no improvement was noticed. A couple people mentioned that the real problem was the limited 512mb of RAM in the system. I decided I’d test this theory and the next day I returned to the Apple store and purchased 1 gig of RAM for the system. I then tested the system one more time before installing the new RAM. It was still extremely slow. It was time to upgrade the Macintosh Memory.


I followed the instructions included with the Macbook, unscrewed a slot below the battery and replaced the memory. I booted up OS X and clicked on Safari. It opened before I could finish clicking the icon. I was amazed. The system was running in comparison with my 2ghz iMac and everything that had been extremely slow now responded amazingly fast.

This made me wonder about the Macbooks on display at the Apple store. I returned a few days later and opened System Preferences and About this Mac on the machine. It listed the machine as 1.83ghz Intel Core 2 Dou with 1gig of RAM. They also upgraded the System Memory on their display machines.


What this tells me is that buying the Baseline Macbook priced at $1099 is a complete waste of money. With the cost of $150 to upgrade to 1gig of ram it doesn’t make sense to buy that model of the machine at all. The system barely functions at a reasonable speed and the next level up for $1299 includes a faster processor, 1gig of RAM memory, a larger Hard Drive, and a DVD burner.

If you’ve had problems with the performance of your Macbook, try increasing the RAM memory. If you haven’t purchased one yet, don’t even bother looking at the baseline model. It must be their for Apple to say they sell a laptop at that Price point and nothing more as any normal user will need to purchase additional RAM to get a functional computer.