4GB RAM for Mavericks? Forget about it!

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by codo, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. codo macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2006
    England, United Kingdom
    Hi All,

    I just wanted to share my recent OS X experience for the benefit of others. I've got a 2009 MacBook Pro 15" (2.66 Intel Core 2 Duo) which has severed me well up until now. It's been into Apple under AppleCare for a few issues over the years, but otherwise it is still a very solid machine which meets my needs well.

    My computer requirements have changed in the last few years as my job has changed, so I rely on this machine much less as a power house for photoshop and video editing and much more as a recreational machine for web/email/viewing video etc. However, since updating to Mavericks I was finding doing just that difficult - even loading a few web pages was causing the machine to beach ball, stutter and splutter! Opening even the most basic of apps became a painful experience which I tried to avoid wherever possible. It was becoming frustrating, so much so that I started looking at new Macs as I had (prematurely) reached the conclusion that the machine's life was nearing an end.

    Well, how wrong I was. £50-ish of RAM later (direct from Crucial), doubling my memory from 4GB to 8GB has worked wonders. With only a few Safari tabs, Mail, iTunes loaded, my MBP appears to consistently use about 5.4-5.8 GB memory - this obviously means 4GB was not enough for my requirements. My Mac feels as good as it did pre-Mavericks (if not better!) and the machine easily has a few years more use for me. It's clear to me that the operating system really does require 8GB to run a more than one or two processes smoothly.

    I know it really does seem obvious to the power users out there, but I just wanted to reassure anyone experiencing issues with Mavericks to pop some extra RAM into their machine as it has worked absolute wonders for me with very little cost.

    My final comment would be that this has really made me question ever wanting to buy an rMBP. Knowing that in future, if I purchased one, I would not have the option to add extra memory as software evolves means I have serious doubts about the longevity of such a machine.

    I would certainly welcome anyone else's experience of RAM/performance with Mavericks.
  2. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2011
    I have a 4 GB mid-2013 MacBook Air and it seems to do fine with Mavericks. Of course, I am mainly doing stuff like office and scrivener. I did play some Diablo 3 and I do run Parallels with Win 7. Seems to do fine...
  3. matt2053 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2012
    Just because Mavericks is using 5.8 GB RAM now does not mean that it was trying to use 5.8 GB RAM before and was unable to do so, and it does not need that you need more than 5.8 GB RAM on your system.

    I have 8 GB RAM on my MBA. Right now, at the end of a long day working on this machine, Mavericks is reporting 7.31 GB of Memory Used. I can't stress enough that this does not mean that I'm "almost out of RAM" or that I need more. The more RAM you have, the more the OS will try to use it. It's faster to load from RAM than from disk. The more RAM you're using, the better your performance will be in most cases.

    What really matters is "memory pressure." As you can see mine is quite low. OS X feels it could easily make room in RAM for more stuff.

    I guess my point is that your OS behavior and RAM storage will be very different with 8 GB vs 4 GB and comparing your RAM usage now to RAM usage before is comparing apples to oranges.

    Attached Files:

  4. Twimfy macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2011
    4GB works find for me my 2.66ghz iMac. I'm pretty heavy on dev tool use and gimp editing too.
  5. codo thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2006
    England, United Kingdom
    Thanks for this interesting reply. I absolutely take your point, and perhaps 'Memory Used' is not the best metric for illustrating my point.

    However, for me it is simply more qualitative. After updating to Mavericks, my Mac was very unresponsive yet the way I used my computer had not changed. Increasing the machine's RAM returned my computer to the level of performance I was accustomed to.

    This can only leave me to conclude that, given how I use my computer, more RAM was required under the new operating system. I do not believe it to be an apple to oranges comparison - same machine, same tasks, same OS. Increasing the RAM significantly improved performance.
  6. matt2053 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2012
    Yes, I didn't mean to argue against what you said. Just pointing out another perspective. The more RAM available, the better performance you will see in many scenarios, for sure.

    Edit: PS you should update your signature! :)

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