Do I need to upgrade my RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by evilweasel47, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. evilweasel47 macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    Hi guys,

    Long time reader of the threads, first time posting a question. I have a Late 2009 MBP with 2gb RAM and 160gb HDD. The machine has been running sluggishly lately. I used to use Safari but due to some flash problems, I switched to Chrome. Found it was no better, so using FF now, which I found was the least sluggish among the lot. I currently have a dozen tabs in FF,, Trillian, Skype and Tweetie open, which is the least load I put on my Mac. I checked out Activity Monitor now and this is what I found:


    Do I need to upgrade my RAM? I do a lot of programming, use Dreamweaver and Eclipse. I don't shut down my Mac often (current uptime is over 11 days). Please do keep in mind that I am a student, and funds are very limited. If there is a way by which I can put off my RAM upgrade until later, please do let me know. Thanks! :)
  2. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    Yeah you need to upgrade. 2gb is low for today's standards, even more so for what your doing!

    Try OWC or newegg, I got my 8GB for under $200
  3. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
  4. AdamRock macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2010
    you only have 2gb ram? atleast get 4GB, mac runs best when it has atleast 4GB of ram. also make sure to quit apps that you arent useing instead of just closing them
  5. devilstrider macrumors 6502a

    May 12, 2010
  6. evilweasel47 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate it. A couple of questions more. :)

    1. Most of you seem to suggest an upgrade to 8gb over 4gb. I don't think I can afford that much money right now. Should I just wait till I save up some more or just buy the 4gb kit? I don't think I will be running very memory intensive apps. I don't even use VMware.

    2. Will RAM prices ever drop? I am looking to get this -

    Is the price reasonable? :confused:
  7. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    How about buying one 4GB module. That way you'll be able to add another one when you have more cash and you feel the need for more ram.
    Another possibility is to see if anyone is selling 2x2GB modules that became useless after upgrading to 8GB.
  8. fedup flyer macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2008
  9. evilweasel47 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    Thanks guys. Is installing 2x2gb modules necessarily better than just installing 1x4gb module? I found this - Technology/8566DDR3S4GB/ which seems on par with the prices of 2x2gb modules. Or can I install this with one of the older RAM modules that I have to make it a total of 5 gb memory?
  10. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    and kill dual channel memory in the process, no...
  11. yiagoulas macrumors newbie


    Sep 21, 2007
  12. CW Jones macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2009
  13. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    In all seriousness, try restarting before you buy more RAM. Things can get stuck in there, you know. :)
  14. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    that would work, and would give you a cheaper upgrade path later

    yes it kills dual channel, but that is usually negligible, especially if it's only internet use, not photo/video editing.
  15. evilweasel47 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    I restarted my mac yesterday evening. It is okay till now but I haven't fired up any heavy apps yet. Though it already has a swap of 1gb and free memory of 9mb. :(

    Anyway, I have shortlisted it to 3 options.

    1. Get the Mushkin 2x2gb memory from newegg. It costs $70 and is the cheapest deal I can get.

    2. Get the Crucial 2x2gb memory from amazon. It costs $84.

    3. Get NuRam 1x4gb module from OWC and use it either alone or along with one of the 1gb modules I have in my MBP right now. (5gb RAM, does it make sense? :confused:)

    Please help. Thanks!
  16. winterlocked macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2010
    Definitely get the single 4gb ram chip, and run a 5gb setup with your single 1gb. You'll be better set up to upgrade down the road, and 5gb running at single channel is WAAYYYY faster than 2 gb running at dual channel, and much faster even than 4gb running at dual. Dual channel is maybe a 10 percent performance improvement over same capacity at single channel - Basically more ram will trump dual channel mode.

    Futhermore at this point in the game, buying 2x2gb is a huge waste of money if you ever plan on upgrading.

    I made the same upgrade to my 2.26 mbp and it was an unreal difference. Then you can toss in another 4gb chip when the price goes down in the future - you'll be much better off.
  17. ynk1121 macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2008
    From that pic, you aren't using more than you have. More ram never hurts though. I could be wrong but the way I understand it is this: The red and yellow is what you are using (OS, open programs, etc). The blue chunk is memory that contains data but isn't being used. That's from programs that were open and are now closed and stuff. There is no point in the OS clearing that out unless you needs the space. Unused ram is just wasted ram. This way if you decide to reopen those programs it will make it launch way faster.
  18. evilweasel47 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    As I had mentioned, that is the least amount of load I put on my MBP. When I am working, I usually have at least two of the following programs open : Dreamweaver, Xcode, Eclipse, MS Word, MS Excel. An Excel document takes at least 30 seconds to open. :(
  19. kepner macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2003
    You might want to look into an SSD. Made a huge improvement in app launch time for me. (Boot time was also drastically improved, which means I can shut down my machine knowing that it no longer takes minutes to boot back up.)

    Also, I used to notice when I was running low on RAM, because Safari would freeze for a good 10+ seconds when the RAM was swapping. But the SSD drive does the swapping so fast that I can't tell anymore.

    This is the SSD I bought.
  20. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  21. evilweasel47 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    I am impressed with the performance of a SSD but I really cannot afford that much.
  22. evilweasel47 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010

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