How important is memory?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ukmaestro, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. ukmaestro macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2006
    Huddersfield, UK
    My brother has a Macbook Pro Core Duo, near to when they were first released. He constantly complains that it goes so slow which puzzles me a little and I just assume it needs more memory as it only has 512mb. But surely it should go faster than my iBook 12" with a 1.24 G4 processor and a 1Gb of memory? I just wondered thats all! Thanks
  2. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2006
    Memory is very important. He should upgrade at least to 1GB, or go all-out and get 2GB. Some people will say that 2GB is a minimum for having a happy experience running OS X these days.
  3. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Tiger, in it self, is fairly RAM hungry, and even if you'll get by with 512 MB RAM for light use, you cannot have many applications open before things start to slow down, because the Mac needs to read and write to the HD to use that as virtual memory, and accessing the HD is - quite literally - thousands of times slower than accessing RAM. So the more real memory you have, the more data can be stored in RAM and the faster your computer experience will be...

    If he uses any non universal applications, depending on Rosetta, like Word, than this is even more true.
  4. junkster macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2006
    Depends what's he's running. With PowerPC software being emulated via Rosetta, 512MB is not enough. And emulated software can be painfully slow anyway, at least in my experience.
  5. emotion macrumors 68040


    Mar 29, 2004
    Manchester, UK
    With an intel mac i'd say 1GB is the minimum. I have that in my macbook and it sometime isn't enough (beachballs etc).
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I've never really heard anything better than the standard answer, which is to whip out activity monitor, check your page-outs, and determine for yourself if you need more RAM based on objective criteria.

    And yeah, if there is substantial paging out going on, it won't really matter how fast the processor is. It'll be choked by the availability of memory.
  7. isleofjib macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2007
    what would be "substantial" page outs?
  8. EstorilM macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2007
    Woot, everyone go to and pick up a gig for $89! :D :eek: :cool: :apple:

    It's good stuff too, for a few bucks more you can get the OCZ too.
  9. Speedracer04 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2006
    Just curious....I have 1GB ram right now, if I were to upgrade to 2GB, is it obviously more noticeable with everyday use? I dont think Im ever thaaaat memory intensive. Is it only noticeable in these situations? I think the most Im ever running at one time is, itunes, safari, MS word, and possibly iphoto. If I ever have to do photoshop work or anything I close everything down except itunes.
  10. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Safari can be a memory hog, especially if you have lots of tabs open. I tend to quit Safari often (say, once every 2 or 3 days) as that does seem to speed things up again.

    I have 1GB on my MBP, and am blissfully happy with it. I wouldn't consider 2GB necessary for general usage.
  11. BFG macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Yea just upgrade the ram - you'll see a huge difference.

    my ibook g4, is much faster than a new macbook with only 512mb ram.
  12. osxnewbe macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2006
    Another vote for adding RAM....

    I added 2GB to my iMac (512 mb to 2.5 GB) and saw a HUGE increase in day to day performance....

    It was well worth in my opinion.

    Shop around because you can find better deals that what Apple has for their ram. I got my 2GB memory from OWC for around $240 where Apple a lot more for the amount of memory...
  13. phungy macrumors 68020


    Dec 5, 2006
    Definitely upgrade the RAM. 512MB is the bare minimum. I would suggest at least 1GB or maxing out at 2GB (was about to say 3GB but remembered the CD MBP only maxed out at 2GB). I have 2x512MB "Apple" RAM that were pulled from a brand new Macbook, never used, if he's interested.
  14. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    From experience, any of the Intel-based have poor virtual memory statistics so far, at least that I've seen. Remember how long it took Apple to get it right for PowerPC machines? Hopefully, it won't take that long.

    I figure that Leopard will be far more efficient with memory on Intel-based machines than Tiger is. Right now, 1 GB is probably acceptable unless you're running PowerPC-only applications and 2 GB is much better. Eventually, they'll be able to get much better performance.
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    What Bousozoku just posted definitely has merit...I was speaking more to whether or not you will see an immediate gain with more memory.

    The specific answer to your question is hard to determine, but the basic answer is that if you are *accumulating* pageouts just doing what you normally do -- that is, if the number is going up by more than a few (e.g. by a few thousands or more) without having to do anything "especially" taxing, you have too little memory. If the number is in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, without having done something very unusually taxing compared to your normal work, you definitely need more memory.
  16. isleofjib macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2007
    thx. that helps a lot.
  17. redmeister macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2007
    it doesnt matter what you are doing application wise, 512 really isnt enough in the long run... id say 1gb is sufficient for *most* ppl but others swear by maxing it out 2 gig (like me haha)

    all personal preference really but 512 will bog down eventually once you fill up your hd and are constantly runnin various apps. so i say 1gig minimum
  18. jhande macrumors 6502

    Sep 20, 2006
    Max it out if you can afford it. You will never regret it.
  19. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    I wanted to echo this point - there is no magic number. I keep Activity Monitor running and have the dock icon set to processor usage. When the machine begins slow down, I look to see if I'm using all of my processor. If it isn't maxed out and the slowness is more than "reasonable", I know that the problem is with the amount of memory.

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