Is it time to buy more RAM?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by apenaroks, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. apenaroks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #1
    Because I sometimes check into Activity Monitor to see my iMac's (Aluminum) performance, and this is what I see a lot on memory:

    [​IMG]

    not that much free space

    I always leave mail open in the background, and safari is usually open, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint are sometimes open when I do homework, and that te average amount of free space I get. The process (When Activity Monitor is set to show all processes) that uses the most memory is "kernal_task"

    I know it would be suicide if I quit the process because it is kernal related, but why is my kernal so high? Is that usual and i need more RAM or is that a problem and I shouldnt need more RAM?

    P.S.

    I only have 1GB of RAM
     
  2. I'mAMac macrumors 6502a

    I'mAMac

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Location:
    In a Mac box
    #2
    Yeah you probably should upgrade to 2gb. I have 1.5 and I am getting more in the mail soon. http://www.crucial.com

    ^^They sell very cheap RAM (1 gig for $20) and its high quality and you can get it for the exact model mac you have. Just for reference here are my RAM numbers as well.

    Also i don't know why your kernel is so high but mine is too, sorry. I'll leave that to ones wiser than I.
     

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  3. iGrant macrumors 6502a

    iGrant

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Abingdon
    #3
    I would MAX out the Ram, its really not that expensive. Here is what I would get for you iMac:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220229

    I mean come on, 80 bucks and you have yourself 4GB of ram in your iMac!!! OS X will fly and love you at the same time.

    -iGrant

    PS I recommend Patriot ram to everyone for any model of Mac.
     
  4. rfruth macrumors regular

    rfruth

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    max out the RAM (with good stuff, RAM is cheap) X will thank U
     
  5. FlintAlt2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    #5
    Hey I know this doesn't have anything to do with what the OP was asking but by looking at your RAM usage I was a little worred about mine.

    Mine is double what yours are. Is something wrong?
     

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  6. I'mAMac macrumors 6502a

    I'mAMac

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Location:
    In a Mac box
    #6
    Lol dude you have 4 gigs of RAM the numbers are gonna be bigger. You just have a lot more free RAM than him because u have 4x as much RAM ;)
     
  7. FlintAlt2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    #7
    I know but how comes his System uses like 180MB and mine like 430MB?

    I didn't know the OS used more RAM depending on how much you have.... seems weird.
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #8
    Don't concern yourself with the Active, Wired, Inactive and Free space figures.

    The thing to look at is the ratio of Page outs to Page ins. You want this to be 10% or less, 5% or less would be ideal.

    Your Ratio is 68:278, or 24%, which is not great. You would benefit from having more RAM.

    The Page outs represent how much of the time, over the course of using the machine, the OS is forced to go and retrieve memory space from the hard drive. Since a hard drive is much slower than RAM, this represents a slowdown of your machine.
     
  9. apenaroks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #9
    u guys are probably right, i should get more ram. at least two gigs. but i still dont understand why "kernal_task" is so dang high? My iMac has only ever kernal panicked on me twice in the lifetime of my ownership of it, maybe I should do a fresh re-install of Leopard?
     
  10. gehrbox macrumors 65816

    gehrbox

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Charleston,SC
    #10
    2GB would be plenty in your situation. If you run Parallels or Fusion get 4GB. If money is not a problem just go ahead and opt for the 4GB.

    With the same apps open that you mentioned here is how my memory usage looks (my iMac is on 24/7):

    http://att.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=127016&stc=1&d=1217372032
     

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  11. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #11
    I've had 4 GB since December 2007 when it cost $80 and shipped for free.

    If you can't afford 4 GB then I understand but if you can just get the 4 GB.
     
  12. phalewhale macrumors 6502a

    phalewhale

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    #12
    I also agree you should max out your RAM. I have 4GB and have the following open:

    Safari; Firefox; Mail; Messenger; iCal; iTunes; iPhoto; Adobe Photoshop Elements; Word; Excel; PowerPoint; Terminal

    I still have 1.45GB free. Plenty room for VMWare. Admittedly things start to slow up a bit though but I rarely have this much open at once.
     
  13. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #13
    kernel is like the brains of the OS, let it be and don't re-install :)
     
  14. apenaroks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #14

    you should really give your mac a break every once and a while
     
  15. apenaroks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #15
    Well, from apple, there is no way in hell i can afford it, but im going to go to macsales and buy it, WAY CHEAPER FOR MY iMac MODEL!!!

    4GB at macsales compared to apple

    holy cow! id rather save $301.01!!!!
     
  16. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #16
    49 : 301 = 16% Page Out ratio, a little higher than ideal, you'll be running into occasional slowdowns with 2 GB.
     
  17. megamanbnmaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #17
    If you live in the California regions or know a Fry's electronics somewhere, usually they have great sales on RAM.
    I paid $44 for 4 gigs of ram (crucial brand!) for my iMac. It was $42 for each 2 gig stick - $20 rebate.
    Although I did need to send one of the rebates to a different address (one rebate per address).

    The only problem was that this sale happens like once a month, so you have to check the newspaper ads.
     
  18. chkdg8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #18
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    Which an occasional reboot will fix.

    I promote what I think is a better and far easier way to determine when you need to upgrade RAM and/or restart your Mac to clear virtual memory swap files, which is to monitor the creation of these files.

    First download a freeware tool like OnyX or TinkerTool. Click the show hidden files setting. Then navigate to the directory private/var/vm. Add the vm directory to your Sidebar. Then uncheck the show hidden files setting. You now have on-demand access to the vm directory.

    On a recently rebooted Mac, the directory will appear as below. When OSX starts borrowing hard drive space, new swap files will be created in successively larger sizes. They get the names swapfile1, swapfile2, etc. I reboot whenever I see more than two swap files beyond the first one. If you're building more than a couple of these every day or so, then you probably need more RAM. If you see this maybe once a week, then save your money for something else (unless rebooting that often is a problem for you).
     

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  20. gehrbox macrumors 65816

    gehrbox

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Charleston,SC
    #20
    Like I said the iMac is on 24/7 and I have run other programs then what he said he was looking at. Fusion w/ Vista and XP VM's, EyeTV and Turbo.264 recording and rendering in Mp4 regularly, FCE, PSE and iPhoto and the occasional xcode session. Those in/out numbers represent usage with those apps.

    My intention was to show memory available with 4GB system running mail, firefox, safari, itunes and word.
     
  21. I'mAMac macrumors 6502a

    I'mAMac

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    Aug 28, 2006
    Location:
    In a Mac box
    #21
    I tried to do my page in out ratio (190000in/25out) on the calculator and i got a negative exponent:confused: But i think that ratio is good
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #22
    As above, I don't think page in/page out ratios are very meaningful. What you really need to know is how much the OS is borrowing from your hard drive. At the moment Activity Monitor shows a page in/out ratio on my Mac of 2:1, but since the system has created no extra VM swap files, this supposedly "high" ratio is of no real consequence.
     
  23. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    American Riviera
    #23
    Does a new swapfile get created every time data gets written to the HD?
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #24
    I don't know exactly how it works, but in principle the system steals some hard drive space whenever physical RAM is overflowed, and I presume it takes no more than is required. The files double in size each time they are created, beyond swapfile1. I notice degraded system performance when three or more swapfiles have been created and the largest is 1 GB in size. That's when I reboot.
     
  25. I'mAMac macrumors 6502a

    I'mAMac

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    In a Mac box
    #25
    How do you check how many swapfiles have been created? My activity monitor doesn't show that.
     

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