Dumb question about RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Melan, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Melan macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #1
    Okay so this is a dumb question. It is because I am pretty dumb about hardware stuff. I've tried googling questions about RAM, but everyone keeps talking about video editing the whole time. It's always like "if you are video editing you want more RAM". Well I don't video edit and I'm still wondering if I should get more RAM.

    Here is my problem: my favourite thing to do on a computer is have like 10 things open and switch between them rapidly. It makes me feel like I'm more efficient or something. I like opening stuff and not watching bouncing icons. I like having a bunch of excel spreadsheets open and a bunch of word documents open, then itunes and whatever else. Problem is my computer starts having problems even when it's just got word and excel problem.

    Soooo will RAM make this better? If I upgraded from 4gb to 8 or 16gb would I be able to open a whole load of stuff without slowdown? Would I be able to have word, excel, scrivener, omnifoucs, ical and itunes open, then have skype boot up in a second or two when I clicked the icon? Or is that unrealistic without an SSD? (I cannot afford an SSD)

    I'm on an 2.4 GHz i5 core with 4GB RAM.

    Sorry, I know I'm dumb and should be able to work this out on my own. Which is true, but I really am quite dumb when it comes to this stuff so pleeeeease help me.

    If someone says something like "well if you are just using email and internet 8gb is overkill but if you are video editing then you want more RAM" I will find them and I will kill them.

    If no one says anything I will kill myself.

    Thanks very much!

    ps I really can't afford an SSD
     
  2. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #2
    RE: death and RAM...

    Hi Melan,

    Please don't kill me! And while your at it, don't kill yourself either. I promise not to mention that which is not to be mentioned (to paraphrase JK Rowling).

    More RAM will definitely allow you to keep more apps open on more windows simultaneously without significant delay (lag) when switching between them. The way it works is when your computer runs out of RAM through opening enough apps and windows to fill up the available RAM, then the OS starts writing out what is stored in RAM to your HDD (disk drive --- much slower than RAM), a process known as "paging". If you later need to read a page of memory that has been written out to disk, then it takes time (lag) for the OS to read the page from your HDD back into RAM. So, if you double your RAM, you essentially double the amount of apps and windows that you can keep open and residing in your RAM before the OS starts to offload that RAM to your HDD.

    That said, having more RAM will not affect how fast Skype opens the first time you start it, since that first time the Skype app must be read from your HDD into your RAM. After the first time, however, if Skype is still in RAM then second and third openings will occur much faster.

    By the way, you can kind of test to see if more RAM will actually help you. Basically, you open all of your apps and windows, and then you look at your Activity Monitor's System Memory tab and see if all of your RAM is in use and if there are "Page outs" and "Swap used". If not all of your RAM has been used and there are no "Page outs", then adding more RAM to your computer is not going to speed things up for you. If, however, your RAM is completely used (no Free RAM left) and you have "Page outs", then adding RAM should indeed speed up your machine.

    Regards,
    Switon
     
  3. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #3
    Switon! Extremely clear, instantaneous reply, exactly the information I wanted, described so simply even I could understand. Thank you!!

    Have some apples of gratitude my friend :apple::apple::apple::apple::apple::apple:
     
  4. switon macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Whew! I survived another answer...I was concerned about my life for a few moments there. But glad it all worked out.

    Thanks for the thanks. I always enjoy it when I can help someone and they are appreciative.

    Let me know if your computer has "Page outs" after you open all of your windows. As I said, if you don't have any Free memory left and your computer is paging, i.e., you have "Page outs", then more RAM will indeed help you.

    Regards,
    Switon
     
  5. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #5
    Well I'm especially glad I don't have to off myself because of something I posted on the internet. One must keep one's real life and internet personas consistent, you see.

    I'm going to try the page outs tip next time I'm in the throws of work and start getting frustrated again. I bizarrely find myself hoping I will discover a bunch of page outs so I have to buy more RAM.
     
  6. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #6
    Yeah, when your Avatar dies, so do you...

    I, too, hope you find Page outs, and I suspect that if you find your machine slowing down as you open more and more apps/windows, then you should indeed find that your RAM is used up and you are paging to your HDD.

    By the way, just so that you know, if you want Skype, or any app for that matter, to start in a second or two the first time you use it, then you really will need to get a SSD. Only the SSD is fast enough to load apps the first time in a few seconds. But after that first load of the app, as long as you have enough RAM to keep all of your apps and windows in RAM memory, then all subsequent loads will be from RAM and thus very fast.

    Switon
     
  7. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

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  8. Mrbobb macrumors 601

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    Aug 27, 2012
    #8
    That's like TSA, "We don't know what to look for, so let search everybody baby and old ladies to cover our butts!"

    As mentioned above, PAGE OUT. It's quite simple actually, dunno why it took OP so long to ask the Q here, why go any where else for your answers? Duh.
     
  9. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #9
    Hello so I have been using my mac for 2 days now without switching off. The page outs have gradually gone up. Page outs are currently at 3GB and swap used is 3.81GB. My normal usage seems to leave a very slim chunk of the memory pie green. However often when i look it says (0 bytes/sec) next to it, suggesting whenever i look my comp is not stressed, right?

    -Melan
     
  10. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

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    MacWorld
    #10
    That's pretty high. You need more RAM.
     
  11. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #11
    I may! Does that suggest I should get 8gb or would you say I should venture up to 16?
     
  12. bobcan macrumors 6502a

    bobcan

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    #12
    To be honest, RAM is so cheap right now, JUST DO IT!! :D

    ** However, you say it is a 2.4/i5 so I will assume that yours is a MacbookPro6,2 and uses 1066 MHz PC3-8500 DDR3.. and if so it may only support 8GB MAX:

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...5-2.4-aluminum-15-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html

    However, if I am incorrect, then for about $60++ for 16 GB you will 'never have to wonder'.. :apple:
     
  13. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Ah, mine is definitely a late 2011 model which I *think* allows 16gb of RAM according to everyone but Apple. I'm not sure how to check whether my model is "6,2" though...

    ps you guys are much more genius than apple geniuses
     
  14. davidlv macrumors 65816

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    Kyoto, Japan
    #14
    Apple menu / About this Mac / More info / System report
    Should produce: MacbookPro8,2 or something similar higher than 6,2.
    My late 2011 2.2 GHz shows MacbookPro8,2, and I have 16GB installed and working no problems. :cool::apple::cool:
     
  15. zackkmac macrumors 6502a

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    Tulsa
    #15
    If yours is a late 2011 then definitely go for 16GB RAM. You'll never have to worry about needing to bump the RAM again and the price jump is minimal. I haven't bought an 8GB set in a while but I know the 16GB from Crucial I just bought was around $45.

    :)
     
  16. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Ah, It's an 8,1. Nice!

    zack, can I ask where you got the 16gb cruical ram at that price? I'm on the crucial site now and the RAM is there for 80 bucks
     
  17. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #17
    It's not that high for a couple days of use. It matters if you notice intermittent slowing.
     
  18. richnyc macrumors regular

    richnyc

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    NYC
    #18
  19. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #19
    4GB of ram is cramped for current versions of OS X when running lots of apps/tabs/etc.

    8gb is "enough" but if your machine will take it, 16gb is not much more expensive (under 100 bucks for MBP ram, for example).


    More ram will be used by the OS for caching, so it won't go to waste, you get just diminishing performance returns as you go way above the amount of RAM you actually need.


    edit:
    +1 for just going to 16gb in a recent MBP. you can pretty much be sure you'll have enough ram for the life of the machine. I would have bought 16gb when i upgraded mine if it was so cheap back then. When i upgraded mine, 16gb of ram cost $1200. Prices have crashed in the past 18 months or so.
     
  20. bobcan macrumors 6502a

    bobcan

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    #20
    Ahhaa.. OK.. I was 'assuming' that it was a 15" I guess.. accordingly if it is a 13" and Late 2011 it would be a: MD313LL/A - MacBookPro8,1 - A1278

    ~ and it would use: 1333 MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM

    I think.. Hopefully.. :apple:

    And this is what I see listed on NewEgg.. I am using the Mushkin RAM Kit here @ $61.99 with my 2011 2.2 i7 and it has been perfect!! Ad the Crucial Kit is even a lower price than FROM Crucial.. apparently!!

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...7&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&Order=PRICED&PageSize=20
     
  21. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #21
  22. Melan thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2007
    #22
    OK I am on the cusp of buying 8gb of RAM. One last question: I have 82gigs of page ins and 11 gigs of page outs, 5.4gb swap used. This purchase decision makes sense, right?
     
  23. michial macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #23
    I just bought 16GB of RAM for my 2012 mbp from OWC. Lifetime warranty and free 2nd day air same day ship as order. They stand behind their product I hear and if there is ever a problem will overnight a replacement for the lifetime warranty. Its worth paying an extra 20 for it.
     
  24. zackkmac macrumors 6502a

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    Tulsa
    #24
    eBay is where I bought mine, however Amazon does sell some reasonable cheaper brands of 16GB RAM for $40-$50 and they get great reviews. I would recommend going with 16GB, because as software and OS X itself progresses they will require more RAM, and 8GB will become today's 4GB and need to be bumped again.
     

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