New purchase query. How does memory get allocated on a Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by khuk, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. khuk macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2010
    Hi, I would appreciate it if anyone can give me some advice on purchasing a new Macbook Pro. I currently own a Macbook unibody 2GHZ with 2GB. I run it mainly for surfing, using office type programs and occasional Photoshop / Fireworks use. I also have VirtualBox installed to run Windows XP with Office 2007. I am forever running slowly which is hardly surprising with so little RAM. I was considering just upgrading the memory to 4GB but I am not sure whether that will handle all the applications I use, I intend to start using the CS5 suite that I have purchased much more in the future. I have narrowed down my choice to the 15inch Macbook Pro with 8GB ,500GB 7200 HD and the high-resolution antiglare screen and the i7 option. Am I correct in thinking that 8GB memory will allow me to keep all the applications open and in use; such as having multiple Safari sessions, Photoshop, Fireworks on the Mac side and Windows XP with Office 2007 on the VirtualBox side. Will the whole 8GB be available or is there some other restriction that I am likely to run into ? If there are any other issues that I should consider I would be very grateful for any input.

    Many thanks.
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
  3. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    Installing 8MB of RAM is probably the best performance investment you can make. If your machine is a 2008, 2009 or 2010 model it will address 8MB, if it was built prior to those years look in your owners manual for the maximum amount of RAM it will address.

    You can see how much each application is using and how much available RAM you have by using Activity Monitor located under Applications-Utilities. You can also use AM for lots of other useful information such as CPU use too.

    Please remember RAM isn't used by just applications but also by OS X however OS X in itself is pretty efficient in how much RAM it uses. Each application and each file you open use RAM, how much is going to differ from app to app and file to file. However 8GB will certainly help your machine's performance and is something I'd strongly recommend you do.

    The first thing I'd recommend doing is running your machine as you mentioned and then opening Activity Monitor to see where you current resources are going. Then after upgrading to 8GB do the same experiment, I think you will be impressed.


  4. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Haven't ran virtualbox but you usually have to allocate how much RAM you want the virtual machine to use. So 2 for XP and 6 for OS X for example.
  5. khuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2010
    Thank you for your comments, that is what I needed to know.

    I believe my current Macbook will accept up to 8GB, when its not running out of memory it seems to be ok for most of the time. But just lately things have slowed down quite a bit. I can't use Virtualbox for long and even if I only have Safari and OpenOffice on the go it seems to slow down randomly and then go back to operating at normal speed ( which if it stayed at this speed would be fine for me). For the kind of work that I am doing do you think that I need to replace the Macbook for the faster CPU or will a boost of memory sort things out ? When it has slowed down it still has some memory free so I'm not too sure what is going on. The CPU is never at 100% use either.
  6. green86 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2007
    North Carolina
    The early Unibody macbooks like the one you have will only accept 6 GB... of this I'm sure.

Share This Page