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Tips and Tools
Our customers frequently mention that their machines are performing poorly after upgrading to Yosemite. If you’ve recently upgraded your Mac to OSX Yosemite, we’ve got a few tips to keep your machine performing at its best.
As you may know, upgrading your memory is the most affordable and effective improvement you can make to your Mac. With Ramjet, we make the process easy and convenient. Simply head over to our site, find your Mac’s Model ID, choose your memory size, and select the option that’s best for you. If you need a recommendation, we’re happy to help!
Memory. Yosemite requires a LOT of memory compared to previous versions of Mac OSX. Yosemite requires 3.75GB of RAM for the operating system alone! If you have less than 4GB of RAM, a memory upgrade will offer a massive improvement in performance.
Reduce transparency. This appearance enhancement to Yosemite requires a shocking amount of system resources. Other than upgrading the RAM, reducing transparency is the single biggest improvement you can make in system performance under Yosemite. Reduce window transparency by clicking Apple > System Preferences > Accessibility, and check “Reduce Transparency.”
Clear your desktop. It's common for desktops to become cluttered, as it’s the most convenient place to put frequently accessed files. However, did you know that all items on the desktop occupy valuable system memory? Clearing up the clutter can be the key to substantial performance improvements.
Disable widgets. Widgets are mini-programs or extensions that can be useful when you need them, but can drastically bog down your machine. Disable these by clicking Apple > System Preferences > Extensions > Today, and uncheck all the options you don’t care to see.
Turn off minimize window genie effect. Another visual effect in Yosemite that can slow things down is the minimize window genie effect. Turn this effect off by clicking Apple > System Preferences > Dock and next to “minimize windows using” select “Scale Effect.”
Keep an eye on the activity monitor. The activity monitor on your computer will tell you which programs are using the most memory. To access Activity Monitor, open a new Finder window and click Application > Utilities > Activity Monitor > Memory. If you have programs open that you aren’t using, they may be slowing you down. Many Mac users cite the Google Chrome Helper plugin as a culprit.
Another great option for improving performance in older Macs is replacing your conventional hard drive with a Solid State Drive. Ever wonder why the new mac portables perform pretty well even though they have low speed processors? SSD storage is the key. Now you can have the same blazing fast performance for a fraction of the new machine price.
The new OS X Yosemite has been touted as an elevated experience from previous OS. The design updates, simplified interface, and overall refinement are meant to provide the best user experience. With all these great new upgrades, OS Yosemite is sure to impress. But, before you upgrade, it’s important to make sure your machine is ready too.
After working with OS Yosemite, it appears the upgrades to the user experience do require increased amounts of memory. Ramjet+, a Ramjet Labs exclusive, tests Mac models to determine the maximum amount of RAM that can be installed. Many times this number surpasses Apple specs giving your upgraded device increased speed and performance. Higher performance is just an upgrade away - increasing memory to 4GB or 6GB will significantly increase performance in OS Yosemite.
Minimum requirements for upgrading to OS Yosemite as indicated by Apple are 2GB of RAM and 8GB of available storage space. To check how much RAM your Mac currently has, click on your Apple menu in the upper left-hand corner and click "About This Mac". The line that reads ‘Memory’ will tell you if your Mac has the necessary 2GB of RAM or if you will need to upgrade before you can install OS Yosemite.
Increase Speed for Older Models
For older machines, there are a number of troubleshooting suggestions that can ensure OS Yosemite is running quickly and smoothly. One of the most effective is disabling extraneous widgets and extensions. By accessing the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Extensions and deselecting options like Weather and Stock updates, the notifications panel will not need to be refreshed continually, increasing overall speed.
Alternatively, simple desktop cleanup can increase load time as each icon requires memory to store and load each time the Mac is rebooted or files are accessed. Utilizing external storage options, like Ramjet’s Thunderbolt Storage, can also be used to free up storage space on your bootable drive and increase user experience. Simple file organization and re-distribution can go a long way for increasing usability on any OS, and Yosemite is no exception.
Accessing the Activity Monitor (Command+Spacebar > Search “Activity Monitor”) will allow users access to information regarding CPU, memory or disk I/O. Apps, windows, and web pages that appear to be using more system memory than normal should be exited to free up space and increase speed. Keep in mind, some programs including mds and mdsworker will use significant amounts of CPU - this is normal as these programs will be running as they index hard drives. These should be left to run their course.
Read on to find out if your Mac's Model ID can upgrade to OS Yosemite.
Are you confused about how to identify your Apple machine? One of the most effective ways is to find your Model Identifier. For example, the most recent release of the 27" iMac is the Late 2015 version and has the Model ID 17,1.
If you're not sure, we can help by following these three easy steps.
Step 1: Click on the Apple menu in your toolbar, then click on "About This Mac."
Step 2: On the About This Mac screen, click on the "System Report..." button.
Step 3: The second line listed will be your Model Identifier (Model ID).
The answer is "No, not if you buy your Mac RAM upgrade at Ramjet.com! We can't vouch for the other guys. There are many factors that affect your machine's operating temperature. The two most common culprits for overheating are CPU load and substandard materials that come from buying cheap mac memory. "CPU load" is a fancy way of saying that the more your machine is doing, the hotter it will get. "Substandard materials" is a fancy name for the cheap parts you get from budget vendors. Let's talk about each of these in more detail.
How does memory affect CPU load? Some suppliers will provide a faster clocked memory module for your machine because those modules are more commonly available and it makes life easier for them. However, problems begin to surface when these are used without careful testing. MacBook machines, for instance, will attempt to overclock their CPU to match the faster speed of the memory when a non-spec part is used. The machine is not designed to do this, and while it does not increase the performance of the CPU, it does increase the load on it, which in turn causes the temperature of the machine to rise. This will shorten the lifespan of your memory, your CPU, and even your motherboard.
This is why Ramjet rarely uses higher speed parts than Apple's specification. When we do provide faster clocked memory, it's only after rigorous testing in the actual machines they'll be operating in. This testing ensures that the upgrade will improve overall performance and keep temperatures within the recommended guidelines. Ramjet memory is tested so they will not shorten the lifespan of your machine!
Another concern when upgrading your memory, no matter what type of Mac you have, is the quality of the components on the DRAM memory module. When DRAM chips are manufactured, they do not all come off the line at the same level of quality. The chips are made from a wafer that holds thousands of die. Not all die are the exact same quality. Before the die are extracted from the wafer and packaged with silicon into chips, the lower quality die undergo a second and third round of testing and repair. The repaired die are made into lower quality chips that are not combined with the top quality grade chips.
These lower quality chips are sold in the open market at bargain prices to companies that use them to make inexpensive, inferior modules. Many resellers choose to carry these chips because it enables them to offer a lower price. Unfortunately, what customers don't realize is that these chips are more prone to failure and system errors. And yes, they absolutely will cause your Mac to run hotter. As we mentioned earlier, this will shorten the lifespan of not just the memory but also of your entire Mac system.
Choose Ramjet Quality
Always be sure when upgrading your Mac that you use high quality memory modules that have been tested for compatibility with your machine. Faster memory modules are not always backwards compatible and compromising quality will lead to heartache down the road. Choose Ramjet and rest easy!
Apple RAM for Mac Pro 4,1 (when upgraded to Lion and above) and Mac Pro 5,1 can use 8GB and 16GB modules. These modules are a great Mac Memory upgrade for your Mac Pro, packing a large RAM upgrade into one slot, allowing you to boost your machine's memory incredibly high - but they present a unique challenge smaller sized modules do not have.
16GB DIMMs currently only come in a non-mixable (sometimes called registered) variety - at this time, there is no manufacturer producing mixable (or unbuffered) 16GB DIMMs. This means 16GB DIMMs can only be installed in your Mac Pro with other 16GB DIMMs that are identical (i.e. purchased at the same time.) Even 16GB DIMMs from the same manufacturer but purchased at different times will frequently not work together.
8GB modules are slightly more challenging because they are currently manufactured both in mixable (unbuffered) and non-mixable (registered) varieties.
Currently, Ramjet only carries 8GB mixable modules. Our 8GB DIMMs can be mixed with any other size DIMM - 4GB, 2GB, or 1GB. Our 8GB DIMMs can also be mixed with other 8GB DIMMs provided those DIMMs are also mixable. If you have previously bought 8GB DIMMs from another manufacturer, there is a possibility that they are non-mixable - therefore those non-mixable DIMMs will not allow you to mix in any other DIMMs. Non-mixable 8GB DIMMs, just like the 16GB DIMMs, will not work with any other size, and even from the same manufacturer but purchased at different times frequently will not work together. Non-mixable 8GB DIMMs will not recognize a mixable 8GB DIMM as compatible.
Ramjet has in the past carried non-mixable 8GB DIMMs, but at this time, the only 8GB DIMMs we carry are mixable.
It is important to note this only applies to the Mac Pro. 8GB DIMMs for the MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, or iMac do not present the same challenge of mixable versus non-mixable.