Mac OS X's RAM usage

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Burning Radio, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. Burning Radio macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2009
    #1
    I'm a soon to be newbie to a Macbook and was just wondering how much of a RAM hog is Mac OS X? I ask this because the base models of most Macs have only 2 gigs of RAM. Now on Windows, 2 GB won't get you anywhere.(well, maybe an hour of using a single app.)

    How much can you get from 2 GB of RAM on a Mac compared to 2 GB of RAM on a similar spec PC?

    My guess is that it uses RAM better, but I'd like to have an answer.

    Thanks!
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #2
    Until about November last year I had a Mac that would only support 2Gb of RAM. It was fine most of the time, multi-tasking and handling relatively demanding apps (Aperture etc). It would page out sometimes and now that I've got a machine with 4Gb it's better, but most people would be OK with 2Gb.
     
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #3
  4. Burning Radio thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2009
    #4
    Thanks for the replies. I may end up going for a refurbished and hope to get one with 4 gigs by mistake. lol.

    The most workload I'd throw at the system would be Photoshop, iTunes, Safari and iChat all at once. Possible with 2 Gigs? Could I run even more?
    I know there are so many other determining factors, but I figure it's a better idea to ask you power users than someone at the Apple Store.
     
  5. northernmunky macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    #5
    I upgraded my Macbook Pro to 4Gb (from 2Gb)... it's still not enough!
     
  6. emt1 macrumors 65816

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  7. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    #7
    2G only allow you to run one app on windows for an hour? what app are you running?
     
  8. Burning Radio thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2009
    #8
    Obviously an exaggeration. :D

    But usually it's more than one app. I always play music when I'm working on the computer. So i'll always have at least two fairly "needy" programs running. Photoshop can really bog down the system as well. Add that to browsing online and youtube.

    If I happen to need more RAM, it's easy enough to install and relatively cheap. I just didn't know if it would be a "no brainer" to upgrade right from the start.
     
  9. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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  10. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 23, 2008
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #10
    With the price of memory there's little reason not to max out the RAM, unless you need that $50 to eat.
     
  11. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    Aug 6, 2006
    #11
    ram price will always go down, for op's purpose, extra 1-2g makes 5% difference, really no point

    cheap money is still money, why waste.
     
  12. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    The price of RAM does not always go down. A few years ago there were some factory issues and prices went up and stayed up for quite some time. And as time goes by sometimes RAM for older machines gets hard to find or more expensive. If he has no use for it now he may have use for it later. Maxing out a $1000-$2000 machine for $50 is a no-brainer.
     
  13. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    Aug 6, 2006
    #13
    i fail to see this strange argument, on one side you guys claim OSX manages memory so effective, which probably is not clearly proved. On the other side, everybody is chanting "max out, max out". Its just weird.

    He only uses photoshop, iTunes, safari, ichat, give or take office, why does anybody need 4G memory for those? what kind of benefit would that $50 brings to him? If OSX needs 4G to run those things good, then stop saying OSX manage memory better in any aspect.

    Money is money, especially when you see no obvious result, why waste?

    yeah, as time goes by, the old model memory for old machine is more expensive because they are hard to find, but hey, is that really a reason for current MB/MBP? It aren't gonna disappear in 2-3 years.
     
  14. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 23, 2008
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #14
    1. No one is chanting.
    2. No one is saying that OS X needs 4GB because it is inefficient.
    3. No one is arguing except you.

    "Everybody" is merely pointing out that RAM is inexpensive, that it is easy to install, and that as a newbie the OP has really no idea what he might want to do with his Macbook (he doesn't even have it yet). He might discover that there are Windows programs he'd like to run (more RAM is definitely helpful for VM Fusion or Parallels), or he may end up wanting to do several things at once that he's never been able to do at once on a Windows machine. Maxing out the RAM will make all of that easier and better. He already chose the better experience, which is why he bought a $1000+ Macbook instead of a $500 Acer, so it is silly at this point to possibly restrict his options to save $50.
     
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #15
    The efficiency of MacOS X's memory management system is not an open question for anyone who understands virtual memory. You are, however, correct that there is no need to max-out the physical RAM in your Mac. There is, however, one exception. The exception is if you are running an emulation like Virtual PC or a virtualization app like Parallels Desktop. In either case, your computer is simultaneously supporting two operating systems, their applications, and storage requirements and possibly two ISAs. For the user working exclusively in the MacOS X environment, 2 GB RAM is more than ample.
     
  16. McKnight macrumors member

    McKnight

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    Mar 29, 2009
    #16
    Obviously you have no real technical abilities or experience in a Windows environment. Since when does time active relate to RAM usage? That's total BS, either you have no real clue what you're talking about or you've been using some real crappy applications that have tons of memory leaks.

    2GB of RAM is by far enough for a developer, tech or gamer if you properly configure the OS. I'll admit that your system will run slow under 2GB of RAM if you use Norton and still haven't uninstalled the bloatware your PC came with on 0day (I.e. have no technical knowledge).



    Please, for all our sakes save us the BS and keep it technical. I'm running an iBook G4 with 750MB RAM & a PPC 1Ghz processor. With these specs I actively use Firefox with multiple tabs and addons, Adium messaging client, Mail (With PGP decryption actively decrypting mail), iTunes, Kismet and various 3rd party scripts/tools (Such as dashboard widgets, RDC connections & InfoSec tools).

    I have a desktop with a Pentium Dual-Core (2GB RAM) & it's running multiple firefox instances (With approx. 100 tabs total), media player classic (watching 24), winamp, MSN, multiple explorer windows, various system utilities, mIRC & a few custom apps. My total system load is 10-15% CPU & 1.15GB RAM usage.



    I really have to say I hate the way the consumer market's going, screw it. Let's just throw a few more GB RAM in there, they don't need to know why, how or in what manner it'll affect their system, infact I dont really care even if they do need to know. Let's do it anyway.

    It's only helping towards a world of idiotic consumerism and mis-understanding (or perhaps lack of understanding).
     
  17. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #17

    whoa whoa whoa. i think you search MR to find reasons to freak out at people about windows.


    i have only 1GB of RAM on my family's laptop. and that thing is sloooowww

    some of us don't have dual core CPU's.

    it's running a 1.66 intel chip.
     
  18. McKnight macrumors member

    McKnight

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    Mar 29, 2009
    #18

    I'm not looking for reasons to get annoyed at peoples lack of understanding. I just happened to stumble accross this thread and thought it was particularily full of mis-guided information and poorly placed opinions.


    If you have a computer with a 1.66Ghz chip & 1GB RAM that's running slow you need to have someone (who has a GOOD level of experience with Win) take a look at it who can sort it out, you're probably running an AV that takes up great resources, have lots of old and background applications running & are running out of date software.


    Yeah, you're right. Some of us don't have Dual core CPUs, but from your signature I can see you have at least two yourself.


    You could make that computer so much more.. if only you knew..
     
  19. Burning Radio thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2009
    #19
    Wow. What an *******!


    Honestly, I'm not computer illiterate. I'm just speaking on behalf of past experience with an older machine (2.4 GHz Pentium 4 non HT, 1 GB RAM, with Windows XP) running all of those apps at once. I would deal with fairly large images (300 dpi/40 MB) in photoshop as well and run iTunes (the bloated peice of windows software that it is) at the same time while working in Word, and browsing multiple websites. I definitely had AV running (it's XP for godsake) and probably some other background tasks installed by other users unbeknownst to me. I was just WONDERING how well Mac OS X managed RAM, but you (McKnight) decide to blow out of proportion a sarcastic statement I made in my post that had nothing to do with the question I asked. Find something better to do with your time.

    I guess this is a good time to say I'm new to the community. :D

    Thank you to all of you that gave me your answers to the question. I think I may just save my money and install more RAM if I need it. (or i could just spend that money on iWork ;) )
     
  20. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #20

    if only i knew...

    as a microsoft certified professional for the last year, and making over 25% of my income for PC repair+diagnostics - i think it's safe to say that i know how to open the control panel.

    thanks though ;)
     

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