Take This DIMM And RAM It (4/9/01)

Fun Fact #137 about Mac OS X: it eats RAM for breakfast. And no, we're not talking about those firmware updates that rendered many Macs too picky to acknowledge the presence of "non-compliant" DIMMs, unfortunate though that situation may be. It's particularly unfortunate, because most observers agree that Mac OS X's minimum listed requirement of 128 MB of RAM might be a tad on the low side. At least for now, Mac OS X's performance improves dramatically with extra RAM-- which makes Apple's base RAM configurations in all shipping Macs that much more frustrating. (By the way, if you're unlucky enough to be stuck with post-firmware-update invisible RAM, check out MacFixit for a repair patch that may just solve all your troubles.)

If you've been following RAM prices lately, you're probably aware that the stuff is cheaper than dirt right now. (In fact, given the price of gasoline, we find ourselves wishing the AtATmobile ran on DIMMs instead.) A quick poke around the 'net revealed that a 256 MB DIMM for use in a current Power Mac goes for as little as $75; in contrast, adding a 256 MB DIMM to a build-to-order Power Mac at the Apple Store would run you $400. In stark mathematical terms, Apple's price is Way, Way Too Expensive.

But wait-- it just so happens that Apple is now running a conveniently-timed Memory Rebate Promo that slashes its RAM prices in half! From now until May 30th, you can get half-off extra RAM on qualifying build-to-order Macs at the time of purchase. That means that adding the same 256 MB of RAM to the Power Mac G4 mentioned above now only costs $200, thus improving Apple's memory prices from Way, Way Too Expensive to merely Slightly Way Too Expensive. Then again, with Apple RAM, at least you can be reasonably certain that a future firmware update won't suddenly make it vanish in a puff of smoke.

Mind if we lob you a few facts? First Apple ships an extraordinarily RAM-hungry operating system that makes people realize they need beefier Macs. On the same day, the company releases a firmware update that makes some "non-compliant" RAM disappear, thus planting a seed of doubt in customers' minds about the reliability of third-party components. Two weeks later, an Apple RAM promotion appears which a) only applies to purchases of new Macs, and 2) which reduces Apple's RAM prices by 50% but which still gives Apple a huge margin on every DIMM sold. The construction of a healthy little conspiracy theory incorporating those diverse elements is left entirely as an exercise for the viewer...

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The above scene was taken from the 4/9/01 episode:

April 9, 2001: Linus "Mr. Linux" Torvalds doesn't dig Mac OS X, and he's got the potty mouth to prove it. Meanwhile, the GeForce3 is late, but Apple's got a nifty scheme to get backordered Macs into customers' hands ASAP, and Apple's latest 50%-off RAM promotion comes at an interesting time...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2976: There's No Need To Get Nasty (4/9/01)   As longtime viewers are well aware, the AtAT staff is as diplomatic and tactful as can be (and anyone who says otherwise is obviously an imbecile with nothing above the brainstem). For that reason, we originally chose to stay far, far away from the ugly verbal tussle brewing between Steve Jobs and Linus Torvalds, the father of the Linux operating system...

  • 2977: 2 Cards For The Price Of 1 (4/9/01)   Are you one of those lucky dinks waiting for a brand-spankin'-new Power Mac G4 complete with a groundbreaking nVIDIA GeForce3 graphics card? Please believe us when we tell you that delivering the following bad news brings us no pleasure: according to MacGamer, you're going to be waiting a while longer before you can witness the glory of reducing virtual opponents to bloody chunks at 800 billion operations per second...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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