low memory pressure = can’t use more ram?

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
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i recently bought a 2012 macbook pro. it needs to perform well so i swapped the 2 x 4Gb of
ram from my 2012 mini with 2 x 2 GB that were in the macbook

my plan was to buy more ram at a later date to get the mini back above 4GB

what i’ve noticed now is that activity monitor always shows memory pressure as green and istat shows it never going over 30%

the mini is our htpc, household file server and retro gaming machine

it usually only runs vlc, itunes, transmission, safari and open emu

given the current memory pressure, would adding more ram even do anything or in this case is 4GB as much as it can use

thanks
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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macOS is almost unparalleled when it comes to memory utilisation. The more memory it has, the more it'll eat when idle to ensure system performance is as smooth as it can be. Free RAM is wasted RAM. Conversely if you have limited RAM, it will be more conservative with that and use memory compression to avoid paging to disk.

If you upgrade to 8GB, you'll see your OS using a lot more when running just a few apps. :)
 
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nathansz

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Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
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edit

(this quoting system never seems to work correctly on my phone)
 
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NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
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If you're always in the green from your usage it means that the machine is never doing anything that taxes the RAM already there. You'd probably see it shoot up during a software update or something, but it sounds like there would be little if any benefit from your HTPC use case.

It couldn't hurt, if it's cheap enough, but I'm not sure it would actually benefit you unless your usage patterns change.
 

nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
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i think i understand but just to clarify,

if my memory pressure is always low does that mean it is using as much ram as it can,

or is it keeping some free “just in case”

and if so would adding more ram make the system seem “snappier”
because it can hold more things in memory ?
[doublepost=1541179609][/doublepost]
If you're always in the green from your usage it means that the machine is never doing anything that taxes the RAM already there. You'd probably see it shoot up during a software update or something, but it sounds like there would be little if any benefit from your HTPC use case.

It couldn't hurt, if it's cheap enough, but I'm not sure it would actually benefit you unless your usage patterns change.
i have other machines for other tasks so i don’t think it’s use will ever change

it’s too bad it can’t output 4k, other than that i can’t think of any reason to ever replace it
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,141
14,012
i think i understand but just to clarify,

if my memory pressure is always low does that mean it is using as much ram as it can,

or is it keeping some free “just in case”

and if so would adding more ram make the system seem “snappier”
because it can hold more things in memory ?
It means that your usage isn't even raising to the level where it needs to manage the RAM that's there. If you're taxing the machine past what the RAM can handle you'll see it go orange or red and performance will drop. If you're always in the green you're not doing anything to push the limits of the machine in anyway, so you're fine as-is.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
f my memory pressure is always low does that mean it is using as much ram as it can,
It mans that its using all the ram it needs, and its not in a situation where the resources (ram) is running low. Adding more ram will not impact performance and its operating at peak efficiency
 
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nathansz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 24, 2017
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It mans that its using all the ram it needs, and its not in a situation where the resources (ram) is running low. Adding more ram will not impact performance and its operating at peak efficiency
thank you for your very clear answer.
you've saved me spending cash for no reason!
[doublepost=1541183322][/doublepost]
It means that your usage isn't even raising to the level where it needs to manage the RAM that's there. If you're taxing the machine past what the RAM can handle you'll see it go orange or red and performance will drop. If you're always in the green you're not doing anything to push the limits of the machine in anyway, so you're fine as-is.
thanks
 
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