Memory HOG! I think I spoiled my Mac

Bushwood

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
47
1
I have an early '11 MacBook Pro 15", running Mavericks.

Last week, I'd had enough of the slow running, pausing, crashing and, with the help of a "Genius" determined the problem was DRAM. The machine had 4 GB and was using 3.60-3.99 GB during normal usage. For me, normal usage is Mail, Safari, Word and PowerPoint. I'm a marketing consultant, so the computer doesn't have a lot of heavy lifting - just words.

I upgraded to two 8 GB chips. The "About This Mac" shows Memory at 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3.

The computer is MUCH faster. Everything moves like it's new again. But the memory usage is climbing... fast! I installed the 16 GB yesterday. It showed usage at 3.85-4.10. By the end of the day, memory usage was at 5.5 GB. Today - right now, it's at 8.62 GB.

Is this normal? Is my laptop going to max out by Friday and have me ordering 32 GB?

Thanks!
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,306
8,950
California
Totally normal. Mavericks is very aggressive about using memory to cache data and apps and it is normal to see that number climb as you use it.

As long as that green memory pressure bar at the bottom of Activity Monitor stays green, you have plenty of system memory. Give this a read.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,588
2,345
Delaware
That won't happen, for one main reason.
You have the maximum of 16 GB of memory installed, and upgrading to 32 GB is not possible, at least on your model.

Most users here will say that free memory is just wasted memory, and you can see your MBPro use plenty of memory, and now you have given your Mac more to use. Expect it to use that memory.
The problem (and your question) is if by using up all the memory, that your system begins to slow down again. I don't expect that to happen with your use.
Even should a slowdown begin, you can open your Activity Monitor, and watch the memory window to see what happens to the Memory Pressure indicator there. You can also watch your various system processes (also in Activity Monitor) to watch for processes and apps that are grabbing huge chunks of memory. You can come back with that info, and someone should offer suggestions about how you can proceed (or if you even need to do anything)
Again, the important issue is NOT how much memory is in use, but if your system performance is noticeably affected.
 

Bushwood

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
47
1
Thanks DeltaMac. So, when the computer had only 4 GB, were the processes essentially taking turns - sharing the inadequate memory? And now, it's a bit of a free for all... in a good way? There's more than enough memory to go around?
 

heisenberg123

macrumors 603
Oct 31, 2010
6,495
9
Hamilton, Ontario
macs love RAM look at mine its used all 16GB but that doesn't mean it needed 16GB it pretty much uses more than required if its available, my MBP is not slow or does not have beach balls the RAM will just reallocate as I run more applications or tasks

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 4.31.10 PM.png
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,588
2,345
Delaware
4 GB with Mavericks, would likely have a lot of swap outs for memory.
You run low on memory, and the system makes more memory by taking some of the data, and writing it to the hard drive, reading back from the hard drive, and then taking data to and from RAM to the hard drive and back to ram. When you run really low on memory, then you get a lot of that. The hard drive is 100 times or more slower than the RAM memory. And - you see the result with slowdowns, pauses, and even instability/crashing. Adding any more RAM to your Mac makes a difference. You added a considerable amount of RAM, so you shouldn't see slowdowns again, at least for the same reason.
 

Bushwood

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 26, 2014
47
1
WeaselBoy, heisenberg123, DeltaMac... thanks! Now I just wish I'd have asked you guys before making the trip to the Genius bar. The guy was right... but it cost me a whole lot more time.

As side note, the Genius (quietly) told me he loved this particular machine for how upgradable it is - "Dude, you swap that 4 GB for 16, ditch the hard drive for an SSD, even swap the optical drive for another SSD... "

I only caught part of what he was saying (as evidenced by my paraphrasing) but it felt good to walk in thinking I might need a new laptop, and leaving without spending a dime - knowing the machine had much (!) more life in it.
 

heisenberg123

macrumors 603
Oct 31, 2010
6,495
9
Hamilton, Ontario
WeaselBoy, heisenberg123, DeltaMac... thanks! Now I just wish I'd have asked you guys before making the trip to the Genius bar. The guy was right... but it cost me a whole lot more time.

As side note, the Genius (quietly) told me he loved this particular machine for how upgradable it is - "Dude, you swap that 4 GB for 16, ditch the hard drive for an SSD, even swap the optical drive for another SSD... "

I only caught part of what he was saying (as evidenced by my paraphrasing) but it felt good to walk in thinking I might need a new laptop, and leaving without spending a dime - knowing the machine had much (!) more life in it.
yup my early 2011 was very frustrating even with 16GB of RAM my old HHD, I now have a SSD in the main bay and that 1TB HHD is now in the optical bay and just stores my movies so its plenty fast for that

I actually feel like I have a new laptop, I am getting better battery life and I love my machine like I did back in 2011
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,536
412
Atlanta
The next upgrade that will really made a huge performance gain....replace the HD with an SSD. With 16GB of memory and an SSD you will done about all that can be done to the MBP to give it more performance and perhaps a longer life.
 

Barney63

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
799
1
Bolton, UK.
yup my early 2011 was very frustrating even with 16GB of RAM my old HHD, I now have a SSD in the main bay and that 1TB HHD is now in the optical bay and just stores my movies so its plenty fast for that

I actually feel like I have a new laptop, I am getting better battery life and I love my machine like I did back in 2011
Do you mean HDD?

Barney
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
WeaselBoy, heisenberg123, DeltaMac... thanks! Now I just wish I'd have asked you guys before making the trip to the Genius bar. The guy was right... but it cost me a whole lot more time.

As side note, the Genius (quietly) told me he loved this particular machine for how upgradable it is - "Dude, you swap that 4 GB for 16, ditch the hard drive for an SSD, even swap the optical drive for another SSD... "

I only caught part of what he was saying (as evidenced by my paraphrasing) but it felt good to walk in thinking I might need a new laptop, and leaving without spending a dime - knowing the machine had much (!) more life in it.
Here's a video of my 2011 15" MBP booting up with a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD. It boots in seconds and goes into a useable state immediately after login (as evidenced in the second video)

http://1drv.ms/1mgZece
 

saberahul

macrumors 68040
Nov 6, 2008
3,610
88
USA
yup my early 2011 was very frustrating even with 16GB of RAM my old HHD, I now have a SSD in the main bay and that 1TB HHD is now in the optical bay and just stores my movies so its plenty fast for that



I actually feel like I have a new laptop, I am getting better battery life and I love my machine like I did back in 2011

Can you recommend a good 512GB SSD? I want to change the HDD with SSD and keep the optical drive. Now expensive are they?
 

davidlv

macrumors 65816
Apr 5, 2009
1,241
20
Kyoto, Japan
Can you recommend a good 512GB SSD? I want to change the HDD with SSD and keep the optical drive. Now expensive are they?
There are several very good SSDs on the market, see some reviews here:
http://solid-state-drive-review.toptenreviews.com/
or do a google search for SSD reviews.
Do you have any preferences? Crucial is an American company I believe, with a good reputation. I don't think you could go wrong with one of their 480GB SSDs. Plextor is a Japanese company, and I have been very happy with two of their 256GB models. Trim works fine on the Plextors and it is very fast.
I have heard good things about the Sandisk Extreme II and Apple uses Sandisk in their rMBPs along with Samsung, a Korean company.
There are other good SSDs out there too. Time for trip down to the local parts shop?:cool::D:cool:
 

saberahul

macrumors 68040
Nov 6, 2008
3,610
88
USA
There are several very good SSDs on the market, see some reviews here:
http://solid-state-drive-review.toptenreviews.com/
or do a google search for SSD reviews.
Do you have any preferences? Crucial is an American company I believe, with a good reputation. I don't think you could go wrong with one of their 480GB SSDs. Plextor is a Japanese company, and I have been very happy with two of their 256GB models. Trim works fine on the Plextors and it is very fast.
I have heard good things about the Sandisk Extreme II and Apple uses Sandisk in their rMBPs along with Samsung, a Korean company.
There are other good SSDs out there too. Time for trip down to the local parts shop?:cool::D:cool:
Thanks. Will the 840 fit the early 2011 13" i7 model? I plan on removing the HDD and placing the SSD instead.
 

saberahul

macrumors 68040
Nov 6, 2008
3,610
88
USA
Any 2.5" SATA3 SSD will.



I use a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro myself though on my 2011 15" because the IOPS on the 840 Pro is rated way higher than that of the Evo's.

What is IOPS? Also what's the difference between 840 evo and 840 pro? Looks like the pro will better suit me as I really push the computer to its limits (generally have matlab, auto cad, VMware fushion for Creo parametric, most office apps, and google hangouts video almost always running at the same time - yes I multi task a lot). I just don't want to spend $500 on a 500GB drive and anything less in space wouldn't be ideal (have about 100GB free right now).

Also, how do I go about transferring data? Would I need additional accessories? Wish to replace existing HDD with SSD. Thanks and sorry for hijacking thread.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
What is IOPS? Also what's the difference between 840 evo and 840 pro? Looks like the pro will better suit me as I really push the computer to its limits (generally have matlab, auto cad, VMware fushion for Creo parametric, most office apps, and google hangouts video almost always running at the same time - yes I multi task a lot). I just don't want to spend $500 on a 500GB drive and anything less in space wouldn't be ideal (have about 100GB free right now).

Also, how do I go about transferring data? Would I need additional accessories? Wish to replace existing HDD with SSD. Thanks and sorry for hijacking thread.
In sequential speeds, they perform almost the same. However, in random operations (IOPS), the Pro performs way better (especially the 256GB and 512GB variants, which are rated at 100k and 90k of read/write IOPS respectively. The 128GB variant has 97k/90k respectively).

First, create a bootable Mavericks installer with a USB drive.
Then, insert the SSD into the Mac. The SSD is unformatted out of the box, so boot from the USB installer and reformat the SSD through there.
Put the HDD into a USB enclosure, so basically it becomes an external hard drive. Then transfer your data from HDD to SSD via USB.