iMac RAM options


I have a customer with an old iMac which he want to use for some new Adobe software. The iMac is maxed out at 4GB so this give you some idea of its age but the software recommends optimum 16GB RAM.

My question is this is it possible to partition some part of a drive to be used exclusively as RAM like the swap file in Windows or is there some alternative way around this?
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An SSD drive would greatly improve swap speed, but I am not sure how cost effective that would be on an old Mac.
Gordon710Author Commented:
Hi Strung

Thanks for your reply. I take it then that Mac OS uses a swap file just like a PC. If so is it possible to dedicate one solely for that purpose, perhaps even an external one?

I don't think you can redirect the swap file on a system-wide basis. Individual applications may have that facility in their preferences. Any external drive is going to be slower than an internal due to limitations of the interface.
SSD drives would generally just double performance on an old Mac, but that's for normal RAM usage.  The costs may not be worthwhile and I haven't tried running that much swap.  Going to SSD is still an order of magnitude slower than going to RAM.  You're also going to wear out the SSD much faster, since RAM is more frequently accessed.  It will still be faster than a spinning disk, but it will still be quite a bit slower than RAM.

The Swap file on Mac is dynamically allocated and should expand to what you actually need.  If you really want to, you should be able to disable it temporarily and create a symbolic link to a separate partition, then enable it again.  You could probably also edit the plist to point the swap file to another location, but it's less work if you just create the link when you have to recover.  It's also not going to help you much if it's on the same disk.

Your customer should really just get a new iMac.  If cost is a factor, just have him upgrade with a new $699 Mac Mini with the $200 upgrade to 16GB and use the old imac as a monitor.  That should be a few hundred less than a new iMac.

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