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How much memory?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by kerpow, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502

    See my sig, my PB is constantly low on memory. Last night I had iTunes, Firefox and Dashboard (8 widgets) running and it was out of memory.

    Other times I'll have just Azureus running and no free physical memory.

    This seems to be the norm. I find myself constantly restarting my computer to reclaim memory.

    Do I really need more than 768mb of RAM for day to day stuff like this? I have Windows 2003 servers running quite happily on less memory.

    I'll buy a 1gb stick if I have to, though its not cheap and would have to try to sell the 512mb I have in there already (which I'm sure I wouldn't get much for). I'd rather wait until Leopard next year to spend more money on my Mac.

    This is, however, the only complaint I have about a fantastic machine.
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    As OSX is a Unix it's default state is to use all the available RAM. If it can't use it for anything else it'll use it as disk cache! This is actually better than Windows in some ways (just think about it, all that RAM you paid for doing nothing most of the time). You need to look at the number of times you machine needs to page in/out or the size of the swap files on disk it's using.

    Personally I tend to leave a lot of things running at once (Mail, Safari, iTunes, iPhoto, iSync, iCal, Address Book, 10-12 dashboard widgets, XCode with 2-3 projects open, Text Edit is normal, sometimes a few more apps as well) and find that 1.5Gb means that my machine rarely pages out.
  3. macrumors 6502



    I am running my G5 20" iMac 1.8 with 768 M RAM and I frequently run Photoshop CS, Illustrator, iTines, Quicktime, usually with Safari, and even more sometimes and have never had a problem with a lack of RAM???
    Something dosen't sound right, I am not a real "expert" so I can only say it sounds strange!
  4. macrumors G4


    More RAM is always a good idea, but your PowerBook should be fine w/ 768MB of RAM- something smells a little fishy. Do you have any renegade apps that are hogging up more than their share of your RAM (besides Azureus)?
  5. macrumors regular



    sounds like either some faulty memory sticks or something really whacky n the software. :D
  6. macrumors 68040


    sometimes chat clients can be memory hogs- do you use any of them? i think AIM used to have a problem (or still does) with hogging memory
  7. macrumors 601


    Agreed, 768 should be plenty unless you're doing something extreme (in which case you probably have a dual G5 PowerMac anyway). I have 768 MB on my old PowerBook G4 Titanium and often run tons of stuff simultaneously with no problems. And I'm talking stuff like Cinema4D, Photoshop, After Effects, Xcode, etc. I'm not saying it's impossible get low on RAM, but in my experience it takes a lot to bring down OS X once you're over a basic amount (proabably 512 MB with Tiger). Now Dashboard widgets do tend to be resource hogs, I truly hate them, and Safari is something of a pig, too, especially if you like to keep lots of tabs open as I do. But here's a screenshot from my 800 MHz TiBook happily multitasking away:

  8. macrumors 6502

    Thanks for the input. I really am careful about what apps I leave running, MSN Messenger occaisionally but not all the time.

    I guess it must be the widgets.

    The thing that annoys me is that most of the memory is taken up by inactive processes. I always set Activity Monitor to run at startup and leave it running in the Dock with the color coded memory "pie" and its usually half blue, quarter yellow (active processes), a little red and a slither of green (free).

    The system doesn't feel slow, per se, I get a few beach balls in Firefox or iTunes so its not that bad.

    I'm also very good about about updates, Firefox 1.06, Tiger 10.4.2 (even got this weeks security patch).

    Is it worth calling Apple? I think I'm still within my 90 days.
  9. macrumors 601


    If it's not all that slow, I wouldn't worry about it. OS X is made to work constantly and efficiently with virtual memory, and if all your RAM is being used, that's not necessarily a bad thing (as Robbie said, OS X will sometimes put unused RAM "to work" while it can, until it's needed for an application). But there is the occasional application and the less-occasional widget that has memory-leaking problems that you do need to watch out for, or just ones that are overly resource-hungry.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    There is nothing wrong with your system or your RAM. Robbie spelled it out clearly.

  11. macrumors regular

    I have seen this problem before and it is not the RAM ;) What is happening is a misunderstanding of what inactive ram means. Rest assured that to OSX inactive ram is a good as free ram :) So even if it says it is using your 768 MB and half of that is inactive ram then you still have half your ram available if you start a new task. Hope this eases your mind. Don't bother with more ram yet unless you are going to start some SERIOUS multitasking (see screenshot above, man that is awesome! :D)
  12. macrumors 6502

    OK, point taken. I guess I don't have a true understanding of how the FreeBSD kernel actually works, or how it addresses memory.

    Having used Windows and Novell alot I've seen alot of memory leaking apps.

    No harm done.
  13. macrumors 603


    I am assuming that this is an external monitor :D
  14. macrumors 601


    Nope, that's the internal 15" LCD, the windows are just shrunken by Exposé.

    EDIT: Now that I look at it, it's 4x3 aspect, so I probably did capture it with an external monitor attached, although it would have been at 1024x768, even less than the internal display.
  15. macrumors 601


    Here is my iBook running great, and this isn't on an external screen, just the 14" 1.42GHz, 1.5GB RAM :)

    Attached Files:

  16. macrumors 68000


    What's the thing in your menu bar, on the left of iChat, airport, etc..?
  17. macrumors Penryn


    I guess you must have skipped RobbieDuncan's post entirely...
  18. macrumors 601


    Adium :)

    I have 2 screen names, and like to use them both w/o having to use iChat and AIM together... so this was the solution.

    Hope that helps! :)
  19. macrumors G4


    Wow HiRez, you are indeed a multi-tasking maverick! :eek:
    I don't know if my G5 could handle all of that! ;)

    Well okay,
    my Power Mac G5 would be up to the task- I on the other hand... ;)
  20. macrumors 6502a


    768MB-1GB is pretty good for most things.
  21. macrumors member


    But here's a screenshot from my 800 MHz TiBook happily multitasking away:


    HOLY ****. :p

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