Difference: free/inactive RAM?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rowlander, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Rowlander macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007
    I´m still getting used to my new Mac Pro but like it a lot so far.

    I am under the impression that it is being held back though. It´s not as responsive as I would have hoped. I am working with HDV-Video in Final Cut Studio applications. On the one hand, I will need to buy two internal harddrives for a software RAID 0. I am currently working on the system-drive and it´s clearly not fast enough to handle fluent pro-res work.

    I´m not so sure about RAM: The activity monitor shows that when I´m working, I have very little "free" RAM (green). Almost none. But I always have around 500 MB "inactive" RAM (blue).

    Can anyone explain the difference to me?
    I assume, most people will tell me to buy more RAM, but how much more will be sufficient for my kind of work?

  2. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Free RAM is obviously free and has not been used at all. Inactive RAM is RAM that has been used but is now free for other applications to use if they wish.

    Free + Inactive RAM = Total available physical RAM on the system to use.

    In order to test if you need more RAM in your system, open Activity Monitor and look for page ins and page outs. If you have a large number of page outs compared to page ins then you definately need more RAM. If you have a low number then you could probably do with some more but it is not as urgent.
  3. Rowlander thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007

    I have currently Final Cut, Motion and Soundtrack running.
    My page ins are 500 MB, my page outs more than 3 GB! I guess, I´ll need more RAM. :D Just need to decide if 2 extra Gigs will be enough or if I should invest extra money in 4 extra Gigs. I don´t have an unlimited budget.

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