Mac Musings

Daniel Knight - Tip Jar

Newer Macs, Less Costly RAM

Oct. 25, 2000 - Dan Knight

Sometimes the price of memory can make you cry, either for joy or in anguish. I remember how awed I was buying a pair of 1 MB SIMMs for just $77 each ten years ago, and how I thought nothing of paying $67 for a 64 MB DIMM about a year back.

Memory prices are volatile. I'd love to have enough memory in my SuperMac S900, now at 144 MB, to set up a 100 MB RAM disk for my Web work, but 128 MB would cost at least $130 plus shipping.

That's not a terrible price, buy my wife paid under $100 to drop the same amount of memory into her iBook a couple weeks ago. And today I find prices as low as $73 for a single 128 MB memory module!

If you look at the table below, you can see that memory, especially the DIMMs used on my SuperMac and the Power Mac 7200-9600 range, can cost twice as much as the memory for current computers.

Current ramseeker lowest prices, shipping excluded (10/24/00)

Computer         8MB  16MB  32MB  64MB  128MB  256MB  512MB
FW iMac/G4                   $25   $34    $73   $169   $379
iMac (old)             $10   $29   $39    $93   $195       
7200-9500         $5   $19   $40   $70   $130              
72-pin SIMMs      $5   $15   $25   $50                     
PowerBook/Pismo              $30   $38    $81   $169   $375
Lombard/WallSt.              $29   $39    $93   $195       

I have a nice collection of older computers, some of which could use more memory. Today's prices are the best in some time, but I'm stunned at how much less costly RAM for current Macs is - as low as $169 for 256 MB!

If I were weighing the cost of upgrading an older Power Mac or clone, I'd have to factor in memory. Adding 256 MB would cost almost $100 more than on a Cube or G4. That's not enough to get me to abandon my SuperMacs - and I just might pick up some of those $5 8 MB SIMMs to fill up my empty memory sockets - but it has convinced me that, since I hope to move to a newer computer in January (assuming Apple announces a large-screen PowerBook), I'll be able to get a lot more memory for my dollar by waiting until I have a newer computer.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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