imac intel 20" mem issues

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jlloyd, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. jlloyd macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2006
    Hey all,

    I had been looking for days on the forums on this subject. I bought the stock 20" with 512mb. I noticed that having ichat safari and a few widgets open that I would run out of ram, checking the Active Monitor tool would show I had 6mb free. So what one would do would be to upgrade the ram so I bought 2x1 gig chips and installed them yesterday. Right off the top 1g when to the kernel and I was left with 1gig free. I proceeded to do the same open Ichat safari and terminal I noticed that again I only had 40mb or so free. What gives is this something with my new imac or is this the way that OSX works? Just looking for a little feedback on what you guys are seeing.


  2. shuffle macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2006
    Its the way that OSX works. It will fill your ram, and not swap space, first. Chances are you were working into swap space before when you had lesser ram. Look at it as OS X using all of the resources you throw at it to make the experience better.

    Say, when you had lesser ram, even though you knew most, if not all, was being used up, did you machine chug away? What was your perception of how fast/slow the machine was running?
  3. iBunny macrumors 65816

    Apr 15, 2004
    Your "free" ram is your

    Free Memory + Inactive Memory

    But that is the way OSX works. The More ram you have, the more the OS will utilize it. Its all good.

    PS. I dont know how you could have lived with just 512MB anyway. I cant beleive they even sell Computers with that little of ram. 512MB was my standard in 2001.

    2GB for the Win. 4GB will be my standard in 2007.
  4. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    RAM usage falls into four categories. You'll find some RAM monitor applications that will have it in four categories, others that will narrow it down to 2 or 3. The categories are as follows:

    Free Memory: Memory that is basically being wasted at any given time, not that it's bad to have it there

    Inactive Memory: Memory that has been addressed, but isn't really doing anything at the moment. Open applications will use this memory as needed

    Active Memory: The memory that is doing work from moment to moment

    Wired Memory: also known as resident memory, holds kernel data, and is not addressed by applications

    This picture gets more complicated with virtual memory, and how the system uses shared memory, but above is how hardware RAM is distributed.
  5. jlloyd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2006

    all great posts I understand whats is going on now. I am looking at free memory and seeing 10megs free then I look at inacative and it says 900mb.

    Thanks a ton guys, you set my mind at ease..


  6. designed macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2005
    I used my (second) iMac for a short while with the stock 512 and the word I'd use to describe it would be "unwilling". It was like a car that's running out of gas: it still goes but it doesn't really want to even if you press the pedal to the floor.

    Threw in the 1GB SO-DIMM I had from the previous mac and everything changed. I can't believe how they dare to sell the iMac with 512MB, it should be a 1GB standard with 512MB and 1GB upgrade options.
  7. osxnewbe macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2006
    I just ordered a 2 GB stick for my iMac G5 from OWC yesterday, I am very interested to see how much its going to speed things up especially with rendering video....

    This will be the first time I've ever maxed out the memory in a computer as well...

    I agree with Designed that the macs should come with probably a gig of ram given how prices have dropped so much over the past 4 or 5 years.

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