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Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

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Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby Matthew Seed » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:15 pm

Hi guys I have an apple Mac iMac 27inch 2011 2.7GHz intel core i5 with 20GB of RAM & 1TB of storage, of which 1000GB is still available.

My computer is very very sluggish, even just loading google mail apple is painful, never mind Logic Pro.

I have noticed that I have 4 slots for memory and I have X2 2GB and X2 8GB

Is that a bad thing having different memory amounts in different slots and could it be contributing to my painfully slow iMac.

If not, then any tips on getting this thing fast again, I know its old being 2011 but it was a LOT faster and snappier than this years back.

Thanks for any help
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby desmond » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:42 pm

No, mismatched RAM won't have that dramatic effect.

Did it start slowing down when you added more RAM, then?
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:42 pm

Matthew Seed wrote:Hi guys I have an apple Mac iMac 27inch 2011 2.7GHz intel core i5 with 20GB of RAM & 1TB of storage, of which 1000GB is still available.
100GB? (1000GB+1TB)

My computer is very very sluggish, even just loading google mail apple is painful, never mind Logic Pro.

I have noticed that I have 4 slots for memory and I have X2 2GB and X2 8GB

Is that a bad thing having different memory amounts in different slots and could it be contributing to my painfully slow iMac.

Has it got slower since you added the extra memory (I'm assuming you did as from the factory it would, indeed, have matching memory)? If so then yes it's possible, more likely if one or more of the memory sticks are the wrong type of memory though. The mismatch in sizes shouldn't make much, if any, difference.

Does your iMac have access door to the memory? If so it's easy enough to take a pair of sticks out and see if it improves things. If it doesn't then I assume you (or a previous owner) paid a tech to upgrade and he should be responsible if he got it wrong (even if it's past any warrantee period).

Finally, it could be that a memory stick is failing (or the MB memory controller is failing, that happened to my older MBP and replacing the memory with a single 4GB instead of 2 x 2GB leaving the dodgy slot unpopulated cured the problem). This last is the most probable reason IME.
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby phil kirby » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:42 pm

I have two iMacs, on the newer one I found that mixing RAM from different manufacturers resulted in the memory running at a slower speed. Check the quoted speed of the RAM and have look at the actual speed in the system report (in the about this Mac menu). That shouldn't make a huge difference to the machine's overall speed though. My older iMac was running noticeably slower than it did when I got it and was also taking quite a while to boot up and shut down (I also accidentally did something fatal to Safari). So I wiped the system drive and reinstalled the OS. This made a huge difference to the overall snappiness of the machine. It also boots up a lot faster and shuts down quickly now too. If you wipe the drive don't reinstall any software you don't really need and the Mac seems to benefit from having a lot of free space on the system drive.
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:36 pm

The other massive upgrade you can make to an old Mac, if it doesn't involve major surgery (which it might in an iMac), is replace the system drive with an SSD (assuming it's a spinning iron HDD) well worth the effort.
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby Matthew Seed » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:04 pm

Hi guys , thanks for you input, much appreciated.

Sorry, yes i did mean 100GB remaining....not 1000GB.

No it wasn't when i upgraded the RAM that it started running slow, I did that about 6 or 7 years ago and back then it was still all good. Its over the last 2 or 3 years its really started to go slow. Its one of those things that before you know it....its painful.

I know its old but I feel the spec is pretty good still and its even opening small programmes etc that its really slow.

The ram is 3rd party and not Apple's.

Not sure what to do next.

I looked on the About this Mac, system report. I am sorry but I am not sure what to look for. Under memory I can see this, doesn't mean much to me.

BANK 0/DIMM0:

Size: 2 GB
Type: DDR3
Speed: 1333 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x02FE
Part Number: 0x45424A3230554638424353302D444A2D4620
Serial Number: 0xDCF70CE7

BANK 1/DIMM0:

Size: 2 GB
Type: DDR3
Speed: 1333 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x02FE
Part Number: 0x45424A3230554638424353302D444A2D4620
Serial Number: 0xDEF70CEF

BANK 0/DIMM1:

Size: 8 GB
Type: DDR3
Speed: 1333 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x802C
Part Number: 0x31364B544631473634485A2D314734443120
Serial Number: 0xE2A3E882

BANK 1/DIMM1:

Size: 8 GB
Type: DDR3
Speed: 1333 MHz
Status: OK
Manufacturer: 0x802C
Part Number: 0x31364B544631473634485A2D314734443120
Serial Number: 0xE2A3E881


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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:12 pm

You could run a RAM test app to see if any of your RAM is failing, or just pull each pair and see if it makes a difference.

It would also be worth a backup and reinstall of the OS as per phil kirby's suggestion (don't forget to run a thorough HDD check).

Is you HDD user replaceable? If so then an SSD will be the most effective upgrade you could do IME. If not then definitely try reinstalling first 'cos that costs nothing and if it does resolve the issues the consider finding a tech who can swap the drive.
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby desmond » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:52 pm

CPU's or RAM don't really age. So, a slow computer might be down to:

- There's more software installed/running, which means the CPU is doing more for more of the time, leaving less CPU available for general work (check Activity Monitor for running stuff, remove software you're not using or that's taking up a lot of idle resources). Also, more stuff running uses more RAM, but it seems like you have a decent amount of ram, so this shouldn't be an issue

- Disk problems (disk drives slowly failing will cause slower disk I/O). Run Disk Utility and perform some scans on your drive to check it's ok. (You seem to be ok on free disk space, low free space can also decrease performance).

- User account problems (cruft and a lot of software can cause a flaky account. Try creating a new test user account and running some stuff in there. Does the computer also seem slow here, or does it perform better?)

- It's not *actually* slower, you're just getting more impatient so it *seems* like it's slower. :) Solution - get a new, faster machine

An SSD is the single best speed booster, but I'm not sure offhand if your iMac has replaceable drives.

it might be worth trying to figure out exactly where it is slow - run some tests of disk speeds to see whether it's in the expected range. Run some plugin tests to see whether the CPU can run the amount of plugins you expect. Run some network tests to check internet speeds etc etc. This can help narrow down the cause.
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:53 pm

I suspect that your 100GB left on your SSD is the culprit, because you will be writing scratch files etc.. and you don't have the space.

You will have backed everything up, though....

Buy a Samsung T5 1TB SSD, offload your infrequently files there, free up space on your main 1TB SSD and go from there.

Only a suggestion. I don't think your RAM is relevant because that it an instant stop.
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Re: Is Mis Matched RAM a thing, if not why so slow ????

Postby desmond » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:18 pm

100GB free space is fine; when you get to 10GB it’s borderline...
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