I Only Have 4GB of RAM...is that enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ghsNick, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. ghsNick macrumors 68020

    ghsNick

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    #1
    Here's what I do on my MBP.

    iTunes, Safari, Mail, iCal, School Work, App Store, and Netflix.

    I don't edit or make any videos or anything often. I do occasionally but not a lot.

    Here's my iStat :

    Obviously I'm using 1.06GB
    I should have 2.94GB free.

    Whats Wired and Inactive?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Combine Free and Inactive to find what's available for apps to use.
    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor

    Launch Activity Monitor and look on the System Memory tab at the bottom. If your page outs and swap used is significant, you may benefit from more RAM. However, if they're low numbers or zero, you're not maxing out the RAM you currently have, so adding RAM won't make any difference in performance.

     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    Wired is memory used by the system and it cannot be freed. Active memory becomes inactive when you quit an application. The data used by the app will still be in the memory so if you relaunch it, it will open faster than from the HD. Other active tasks can, however, overwrite the inactive memory if needed.

    It looks like you have enough RAM though.
     
  4. Badbaw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    #4
    For what you do, 2GB is sufficient.

    You really don't need to pose that question unless you're performing graphic intensive tasks, such as using Final Cut, Photoshop, etc.
     
  5. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
    #5
    4GB is plenty for what you are doing. The only time you're really going to need more is if you were working with large HD videos or photoshop files and other 3D rendering.

    Wired is the amount of memory that the actual OS and basic computer functions are using, active is the amount being used by applications that you are running at the time and inactive is memory that has been used by applications you may have closed recently- it simply keeps the allocation of that until it is needed elsewhere, just in case you open that application again.
     
  6. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #6
    congrats on the new mac... the best way to find out is to let it run for a while, then look in activity monitor and get your ratio of page outs to page ins... if its greater than 5% you probably need more ram (though you probably have enough for what you're doing)
     
  7. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
  8. kdoug macrumors 6502a

    kdoug

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA USA
    #8
    4GB is enough but I have a theory on this. When the current RAM is obsolete next year or the year after, prices on the obsolete or non-current RAM skyrocket. Since it's not produced in huge quantities like the most current RAM, manufacturers can charge a premium. It's why I always buy the most RAM I can afford when I buy a new computer.
     
  9. AttilaTheHun macrumors 6502a

    AttilaTheHun

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    i think or as i remember 32bit system cannot see more then 3 gb
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #10
    The ratio is meaningless. You will always have page ins. If you have significant page outs under normal workload, you need more RAM, regardless of the ratio.
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #11
    What does that have to do with anything? OS X is 64-bit. The CPU is 64-bit. The EFI is 64-bit. Besides, the 32-bit limit is mainly a Windows thing. OS X has supported +4GB of RAM for ages, even when it was mainly 32-bit.
     
  12. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #12
    the ratio is important because it helps determine what is significant... If i just said I had 673MB of page outs, you wouldn't be able to tell if i needed more ram, but when you compare that to 44GB of page ins its clear that more ram isn't necessary.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    The ratio is not important. Both page ins and page outs are cumulative figures, since the last restart. If it has been weeks since your last restart, the ratio can vary widely. Only the page outs under normal workloads are important.
     
  14. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #14
    In that case, what would be deemed a significant number of page outs?
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #15
    While there's no hard and fast rule, I'd say anything around 1GB or more in a day of normal use, and you may see some benefit to more RAM. Understand that page outs may happen under abnormal workloads. For example, I occasionally have a need to open 50+ Safari tabs simultaneously, which may cause paging. However, that need is so infrequent that it would be a waste to increase RAM for such an infrequent need. On the other hand, if normal daily use includes regular page outs of around 1GB or more, more RAM could produce noticeable improvement in performance.
     
  16. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    32-bit limitation, even Linux ran into it. Unlike Windows client OSes, Linux (and OS X) has PAE enabled. (PAE is 36-bit, but runs at the cost of some performance... Windows kept PAE enabled for server OSes, but given the wide range of hardware and drivers, especially poorly written drivers, Microsoft disabled PAE so people wouldn't complain of crashes... well, more than usual... :D )
     
  17. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a

    dlimes13

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Perrysburg, OH
    #17
    As others have said, 4GB is plenty. 3 or even 2GB should suffice, but 4GB is well enough. Plus, if you happen to run into RAM issues down the line, it's not that expensive. Go to 8GB for only around $70-$80, or even 6GB for $30-$40.
     
  18. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #18
    interesting... i was curious to see if there's any relationship between paging ratio and installed ram whatsoever, so i posted a poll
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #19
    A poll isn't necessary. You can test it yourself. Just reboot your Mac, then track your page ins and page outs over time. You'll see there is no relationship between them.
     

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