I make the Macs we use at Gear Live work pretty hard, and am always looking to squeeze out any extra performance that I can. I've used SSD drives for about three years now, long before they were as available and affordable as they are today, even in a Mac Pro. I recently downgraded from a 2009 Mac Pro to the 2011 iMac, and had to make a few concessions as it related to a bunch of things. I mean, the Pro was a beast with an SSD, 3 HDD drives, 16 GB RAM, 3 video cards, etc. Going from that to an iMac gave me some concern. Using the iMac, though, had been fine, with the exception of slowdowns once the computer was out of RAM. Even matching it with the 16GB RAM that was in the Mac Pro wasn't enough for what we do. Granted, right now I've got about 15 tabs open in Chrome and over 40 tabs open in Safari, while iMovie is exporting a 1080p video episode of Bleeding Edge TV, with 20 apps running in the dock. I may be an edge case, but I deserve a speedy computing experience just as much as the next guy! I recently maxed out the RAM in the iMac to a ridiculous 32GB, and now things are flying.
I took a chance on an unknown (to me) brand called KomputerBay that I found on Amazon, and they sell 8GB RAM modules in sets of two (so 16GB total) for less than I've seen anywhere else, by a substantial margin. After installing, performane was markedly improved, and I have yet to experience any of those "out of RAM" slowdowns that plagued me before. Not bad for inexpensive RAM. If you've got a 2011 iMac, your system has four RAM slots and can support up to 32GB RAM. Alternatively, if you're running a recent MacBook Pro, you have two slots and can bump it up to 16GB using these modules. Each 16GB set currently costs $139.