Memory Utilization on Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by silverlining101, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. silverlining101 macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011

    I have a 32 GB RAM Mac Pro with a 2*2.4 GHz Quad-Core processor with 2Tb of storage. Despite this being a power machine on paper, I am not able to use it optimally.

    The two main programs that I use on this computer are R - the statistical programming software - and excel (Office 2011). In Excel I deal with very large files - 480,000+ rows and 10-20 columns. Copying a column takes a very long time. I am also having some problems with R. I am wondering how to optimize the performance of this machine by ensuring that it utilizes the memory it needs.

  2. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2012
    So is this an older Mac Pro that has begun to show degraded performance or is this a recently purchased Mac Pro that you think should be running faster?

    OSX will try to use all available memory by design. What do you see when you monitor memory through Activity Monitor? How much of your memory is being used? Any page outs? Page outs could indicate a possible memory issue.
  3. tamvly macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    A couple of thoughts ...

    First, I'd call Microsoft Support and ask them what they think about Excel. I have a 2008 Mac Pro (2.8 oct) and I note that even small Excel files don't seem to be real efficient. I don't know that Excel is multi-threaded and if so how much.

    Second, repeat the process with the makers of R. Ask them what they think. Post questions on their support system, assuming they have one or speak with a support rep.

    Third, are you using an SSD for user data? This might make a significant difference.

    Fourth, what is the performance of you current system in memory usage? And processor utilization? And Disk I/O. If you are not familiar with the Activity Monitor, you'll need to learn how to use it.

    Use the Mac Activity Monitor so you can see what is happening in real time. Take a look at what is happening with wired, active, inactive and free memory. If you have lots of free memory, this is not an issue with memory.

    If your two main programs are not highly multi-threaded, eight cores is probably a waste of money.

    Good luck.
  4. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Excel on Mac is quite frankly, ****.

    I VMWare Windows 7 x64 with Excel Plus and its MUCH quicker.

    Also, a 3.33Ghz Quad CPU would be much faster than your 8 cores...
  5. tamvly macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    Another thought ...

    500,000 rows with 20 columns each is 10,000,000 cells. Even at 100 characters per cell, that's only a gigabyte of data - 3% of your total memory.

    I'd be surprised if CPU utilization isn't a factor. Look for one or two processors to be maxed out and the others idle. That would be a BIG clue. Then again, OS X probably does a round robin with cpu dispatching, so I don't think you'll see this as one or two maxed out processors. Those with more OS X internals knowledge might know.

    Then again, I may be full of it.


    Yes, there is that to consider.
  6. bernuli, Mar 24, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012

    bernuli macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2011
    First, I would make sure you have multiple backups of these files. I have corrupted Excel 2008 files a couple of times just by using the UI in a way that maybe was not thoroughly tested.

    I occasionally have issues with big files in Excel. I've thought about switching to Filemaker or using the onboard sqlite. So far I have kept things under control by using grep to split the data into specific files. Kind of a hassle, but does the trick for me.


    By corrupt I mean Excel unable to open a file after a normal save, close. I was always able to open the Excel file in OpenOffice and retrieve all data. I have never lost any data, but I don't do any work in Excel without Time Machine running.


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