How do I know if I need more ram than I currently have?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rotarypower101, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. rotarypower101 macrumors regular


    Sep 28, 2007
    Portland Oregon
    I know this has been asked a few times, but bear with me for a moment please.

    What are the determining factors, or telltales that would key me off to needing more RAM?

    In my experience no matter how much RAM I have thrown at a computer I seem to have lag issues here and there. I am just not sure if this is me just being overly optimistic that my machine should be flawless, or things are as they should be and a state of diminishing returns has already been passed.

    IYO what telltales mean you need more RAM? How long and often do you get beachballs before you break out the pocket book and say more RAM please?

    Also if you would, where do you usually run at in System Memory:

    And where do you like to run at in system memory in reserve/overhead

    The machine in question is a Macpro 2.8 octocore with 10Gb RAM ATI 2600 running Leopard with all current updates primarily used as a central hub for all iTunes media (streaming to multiple computers and multiple TVs) and Video encoding.

    Hardware Overview:

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro3,1
    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 8
    L2 Cache (per processor): 12 MB
    Memory: 10 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.6 GHz

    My concern is that I get beach balls where I really dont think I should, and when I play video,I get occasional non user initiated pauses even on lowbitrate files for up to 30 seconds under my “normal” user conditions.

    If you wish to know any greater detail about the system or its intended usage, please dont hesitate to ask

  2. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    You can install the iStat widget. And for a finer analysis look at the page outs in the Activity Monitor (in Applications > Utilities)
  3. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    Nice but this application seems not to be supported anymore ?
  4. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    I would imagine that for what you need 10GB would suffice but it may not.

    What are your page outs/ In's looking like?
  5. giffut macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2003
    Beachballing ...

    ... isn´t necessarily connected to low RAM issues. Your system and usage pattern seems to indicate, that 10GB RAM are more than adequate. We need to know more about what applications you use on a daily basis and whether you keep them loaded all day through; also do you shut down your Mac or does it run 24h nonstop?

    It´s quite normal, even if you have plenty of RAM, that when you keep too many applications open - and some might eat memory like cake - you loose precious system resources. Quitting/restarting those apps is the best solution, which gives you immediate free memory and CPU cycles (a couple of apps just using 5% in the background can make your system, especially the Finder, slower, even on a fast Mac Pro.

    I have 8GB RAM and quadcore, my machine runs 24h transcoding with Handbrake (DVB recordings), about five to fifteen apps open, depending on what I do (Logic Pro, Photoshop, iPhoto, Aperture, iTunes, EyeTV, Mail, Firefox, iChat, VLC, Quicktime ...). If you run your machine for 24h, you can´t avoid memory paging, no matter how much RAM you utilize.

    Memory paging is bad, when it kicks in immediately with a fresh system, no matter what you do. To best measure this, restart your system, load all your apps, perform all your duties and at the end of day check for paging. If it´s there with significant numbers (page outs way of 1000 or the ratio page in/page out close to another), you need more memory. Don´t measure paging when your system already is running for two weeks nonstop. It´s of no use at all.

    You can check with "Activity Monitor" (Applications/Utilities), Section "Memory", for all the pagings. But keep an eye on the foremost display: The CPU activity listing. Check for applications you don´t use, but a) waste CPU cycles and b) consume way too much RAM. Do quit them, and off you go.

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