How do you know when it's time to upgrade memory?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by a-m-k, May 1, 2018.

  1. a-m-k macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #1
    I suppose many of you know I've have a few issues with this MBP, but only two replacements (a bracket and a charger). According to memory clean I have 1.6 gigs of a 4.0 gig hard drive free. With that app, it has probably given me time before my MBP's memory was drained to nothing.

    When did you all upgrade memory? It's a mid-2012 and I have had it (brand new) probably since January 5th of 2013.

    Its been pretty sturdy in the long run, so I think I'll keep it until it turns into a unrepairable "doorstop".

    if I need to look at an app in the MBP to tell how much memory I actually have, please let me know. I am solely depending on what memory clean is telling me.

    Thank you.
     
  2. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #2
    4.0 GB hard drive? I suspect you mean 4.0 GB memory.

    It depends on what you do with the machine, but with any of the last three OSes or so, even with light to moderate usage, 8 GB has been the sweet spot for most people. With relatively light usage 4 GB is OK but not ideal as it doesn't leave a whole lot of breathing room.

    However, even more important for that model is the upgrade from hard drive to SSD.
     
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #3
    You watch your memory pressure graph in Activity Monitor. If it stays yellow (or red) more than green, that’s an indication that you don’t have enough RAM.
     
  4. EugW, May 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #4
    Or some may say that if it is red more than extremely rarely or often yellow but only a minority of the time, then you don’t have enough memory. However, most people aren’t going to have the screen real estate and patience to have the memory stats on screen at all times anyway.

    Another decent indicator is if switching apps or loading apps causes the beachball to appear then you probably need more memory.

    In any case, in this day and age, regardless of the usage, 8 GB can be helpful as compared to 4 GB, but if all you do is email and surf with maybe 2-3 tabs at a time, then 4 GB is OK. However, even then, 8 GB can help. For my kitchen computer with High Sierra and SSD, even with just using Word, Chrome (with a few tabs) and email open, I occasionally would get the spinning beachball of death, with 4 GB RAM. After I changed that to 8 GB, the beachball has disappeared almost completely. I have seen it maybe twice in the last few months.

    However, as I've indirectly suggested before, for a light user, 4 GB + SSD is probably better than 8 GB with hard drive. But 8 GB with SSD is the best of course. ALL of my macOS machines now in use have at least 8 GB. All also have SSD as well, except for the iMac I am using only as an external monitor. My only 4 GB Mac in active use is running Linux which does a bit better with limited RAM.

    It's rather telling that you can't get a Mac laptop with less than 8 GB these days. The MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro all come with a minimum of 8 GB.
     
  5. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #5
    Thank you, I didn't see that error.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2018 ---
    I just took this screenshot with nothing else on the screen (browser windows or other apps).
    Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 2.47.09 PM.png
     
  6. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #6
    Yes, your memory pressure is fine there. However it is just a snapshot, of you doing nothing. If you continue to do nothing, then you'll be fine. ;) OTOH, if you load up other programs over time and a bunch of web browser tabs etc. the memory pressure could change.

    Basically what I would recommend is swapping your HD to an SSD if you haven't done so, and then seeing how it goes. If you still occasionally get beachballs, then upgrade to 8 GB RAM.
     
  7. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #7
    Just to reinforce what others have mentioned, you need to monitor your own RAM usage. Most users would consider 8GB RAM to be "standard" and therefore you will find people on the internet informing others that 4GB will make their system crawl by default but that just is not true. It solely depends on your usage.
     
  8. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #8
    Oh and run for a while and check your memory pressure <without> running any memory cleaning app - they often just close caches etc which the system uses to improve your experience which may be more important given you have 4GB and a spinning HDD that is slow for the system to access (in comparison).

    JUST go by memory pressure...
     
  9. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #9
    Run for awhile? Are you telling me to run a certain app or just let things be for a week or so without running Mac Mechanic and Memory Clean?
     
  10. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #10
    What OS are you running? several/a few releases ago, Mac OS X wasn't very good at cleaning up (garbage collection) memory. With an HDD and Mac OSX 10.single digit, I used to employ Memory Clean even though I had 16GB installed and watched Activity Monitor like a hawk. MC helped a lot. But with SSD and improved Mac OS X memory management (GC and memory compression) it's much less of a thing now. A later OS all but demands SSD, but everything does run faster.
     
  11. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #11
    Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 7.11.40 PM.png
    So I don't accidentally miss something important you'd like to know.
     
  12. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #12
    Do you still have a hard drive? It sounds like you do.
     
  13. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #13
    Upgrading your RAM is a good thing to do, particularly if you look, while doing actual work, at that memory pressure graph, and see it in the red area, or even yellow.
    You might notice that your system would be a bit more stable and smooth, maybe allow you to do more things at a time and those working together for you.
    But, easily the Best Thing™ that you can do for your MBPro, and will make your laptop feel better than you ever remember, with faster booting, quicker app launch, and just generally much better response to most everything you do - replace the hard drive with an SSD.
    And, if you don't want to spend all that money (and it may be cheaper now than a few months ago for the SSD- finally), Upgrade to the SSD, and forego the RAM upgrade. 4GB is quite usable with an SSD, and RAM challenges would not be as noticeable when the the SSD response makes that less likely for you to notice any issues.
    (Oh, and you can go ahead and get rid of that Memory Clean - good riddance... :cool: )
     
  14. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #14
    In the past, you have mentioned that "Mac Mechanic" program.....and have been told that it is not considered to be quality software, and that it is not necessary in your Mac at all. I'd say ditto for "Memory Clean." IMHO both of these are junk programs which are probably adding more problems to your machine than they are resolving. For one thing, they are probably sending messages home to the mothership, with the result that you probably are getting a lot more spam and such than you ever should be seeing.

    My recommendation would be to delete both of them from your computer and then see how things go for a short time before making any decisions about adding more RAM. Since your machine is already five years old it might just be a wiser financial move in the long run to simply replace that computer and start afresh without junk software cluttering things up and with newer, faster drive (SSD now standard in all of Apple's notebook computers) and newer, faster RAM (8 GB minimum right out of the box). Either that or do a complete changeover in your current machine by doing as has been suggested above, adding RAM and swapping out that dog-slow hard drive for a speedy SSD. Also I would suggest that you do a complete, fresh reinstallation of the OS to clean out accumulated old stuff ("cruft") and those two unnecessary programs.
     
  15. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    Yeah, uninstall those memory cleaners. They have no place with modern OSes.

    BTW, here is MJ with her magic disappearing yellow nail polish demonstrating how to swap the HD:

     
  16. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #16
    I'd go 24hrs without running any cleaning tool, make sure you have loaded and used all your common apps, then check your memory pressure while you have various combinations loaded.
     
  17. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #17
    Open all the apps you use daily and watch the memory pressure, that will be more indicative if you need to upgrade.
    Also, do look out for swap too, if its too high(in gigabytes), thats also another sign you need to upgrade.
     
  18. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #18
    Yes, the original one. I've only had the hard drive bracket (I'm going on memory, this was a year or so ago) replaced and I am going on my second charger.
    --- Post Merged, May 3, 2018 ---
    Open all of them at the same time then take a screenshot of activity monitor?
     
  19. EugW, May 3, 2018
    Last edited: May 3, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #19
    It's time to replace your HD with SSD. That old HD is the biggest bottleneck.

    You seem to be very focused on memory. While memory is important, the switch to SSD is likely even more important for performance for your usage.

    I'll say yet again, for your type of usage, usually 4 GB RAM + SSD is better than 8 GB RAM + hard drive. Even better would be 8 GB RAM + SSD, but that may not be absolutely necessary in your case.

    Honestly, by the sounds of it, you'd be better off just deleting those memory cleaners and forgetting about Activity Monitor (for now), and just doing the SSD upgrade. Then AFTER the SSD upgrade, go about your daily activities and see how it goes and if you get beachballs. If you don't get beachballs and the performance is good, then stop worrying about it. If after the SSD upgrade you still get slowdowns and beachballs, then at that point you can upgrade to 8 GB RAM.

    tl;dr:

    Stop worrying about memory, memory cleaners, and Activity Monitor, and replace your HD with an SSD. That SSD will improve performance more than a memory upgrade would for your usage if you still are using the original HD, because the HD is the biggest performance bottleneck for your usage.
     
  20. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #20
    OP:

    I've tried to tell you this before, but for some reason you ignore my posts.

    If you're having any slowdowns, or the performance just doesn't seem to be "as it should", the problem is the DRIVE, NOT the RAM.

    You need to replace the platter-based hard drive with an SSD.

    If you want better performance, that's what you have to do.
    You aren't going to GET better performance UNTIL you do it.
     
  21. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #21
    I think I know what you mean about being focused on memory.... Its not actually me that steered me into the direction of memory being low. I've had a feeling my HDD needed to be replaced with an SSD for awhile now. It was just a coincidence that my MBP went down (because of not being able to charge) roughly the same time.

    I've got the memory pressure tab up like it was suggested earlier, and the memory pressure window shows a green line.


    Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 11.22.55 AM.png
    I just have the activity monitor up as I type this
     
  22. duervo macrumors 68020

    duervo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    #22
    They don’t get notifications if you don’t use the quote function in the forum software.

    Chances are good that if they don’t get notified that you replied/quoted them, then they may not be searching for your replies.
     
  23. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #23
    You'll always be in the green with nothing but the activity monitor, that's normal. You have nothing running, thus you're not using much memory.

    Use your computer as you normally would for the day, and check the memory pressure graph as you are using the computer normally. That'll tell you whether you need more RAM or not.

    Chances are, you don't, and your computer is showing slowdowns because of your old platter hard drive.
     
  24. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #24
    Ironically people have tried to tell him that before, but for some reason, he ignores their posts. ;-)
     
  25. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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