Why does OSX love RAM a lot more than Windows does?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Styxie, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Styxie macrumors member

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    #1
    Hi there,

    Recently, my roommate (Windows XP user) and I (Mac fanboy) were having the good 'ol PC versus Mac debate. I told him I'm planning on upgrading my PowerBooks RAM to 1,25 GB, and said it will probably give me a real perfomance boost. He says that RAM upgrades on Windows usually aren't that noticable (I agree, I've previously doubled the RAM of my old laptop, and it didn't speed it up too much). So my question is this, why does OSX love RAM so much more than Windows does? Or I am just imagining things?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #2
    I'd say it's partially because any added performance boost the extra RAM provides is largely devoured by resource-hogging Windows, anti-virus software and other poorly-designed Windows applications, such as Microsoft Office.
     
  3. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #3
    Its because OS X can do more advanced things and has better RAM allocation polices than Windows in general. Windows likes to hog all the RAM for itself and leave whatever is left over for your programs, which is why when you upgrade the RAM you dont notice much difference because Windows just hogs more, however OS X allocates RAM your programs and then itself.

    Also unless your using a 64bit version of Windows, then Windows cant recognize more than 3.3GB of the RAM inside your computer, no matter how much you put in there. However OS X can recognize up to 16,000GB.
     
  4. tdevers macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2008
    #4
    Last time I checked my parent's iMac was doing awesome for basic tasks with 1GB. My vista machine needs 2GB to cope with life. More thank likely the bottleneck in your old laptop and your friends is the drive speed. OS X is pretty good with a small amount of RAM for basic tasks.
     
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #5
    Some PC hardware has a limit that keeps it from recognizing more than about 3 Gb of RAM. Installing more in that case wouldn't create a noticeable difference.
     
  6. edgew8 macrumors regular

    edgew8

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    #6
    Ummm, dude have you seen how much ram Vista uses. If you want to compare a MacOS to the windows equivalent, go by Jaguar/XP or even Tiger/XP.

    another point is, unused ram is wasted ram.

    I can leopard just fine with 1gb ram can the same be said of Vista?
     
  7. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #7
    I can run Vista under Fusion with only 1 Gb allocated and not notice any problems ripping video. My son's PC also runs Vista on 1 Gb with no problems.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #8
    Fixed it for you...

    I couldn't have said it any better.
     
  9. CarlisleUnited macrumors 6502

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    #9
    This is not entirely true, back in the day i upgraded my 3.0ghz P4 Windows XP desktop PC from 512MB to 1536MB and noticed a drastic improvement in speed. Of course 512MB is not a lot of memory but was pretty standard on any mid range desktop at the time.
     
  10. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    Jul 17, 2004
    #10
    The Mac will keep allocating memory until you have none left; that's why you'll often see (like on my MacBook Pro) ~1.5GB Inactive, ~200MB Free, and the rest either Active or Wired. Then, when I re-open Firefox (for example) the Mac has a fair amount of RAM that was Firefox's all set and ready to hand back. I realize this is probably overly simplistic and wrong, but the short answer is that the Mac will keep on figuring out what to do with more RAM whereas Windows breaks down at ~2GB if I'm remembering my tech articles of late.
     
  11. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #11
    In CS4 on both XP and OSX, my 3gb (max) iMac seems to run much better on OSX than XP.
    I find that when memory is full in XP everything halts. That's it until the task is complete. In OSX you can still run the basic OS and already open apps.
     
  12. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    #12
    It's just how the OS's allocate memory. For instance, Vista is a memory hog for its tasks running in the background, but Windows 7 uses far less memory and is snappier

    And at one point or another, the more RAM you add, it doesn't make a difference. Unused RAM is wasted RAM. What matters more is the speed of that RAM
     
  13. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #13
    What matters the most is how cleverly your OS reserves RAM. Theres no point reserving 2GB for Calculator when CS4 is scraping along with the 512MB left over, and this happens a lot in Windows, yes even Windows 7. Microsoft needs to buy a Unix brand and start again with Windows which is actually what they're in the process of doing right now.
     
  14. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

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    #14
    This is not always true. Despite only being able to address 3 GB of memory, installing two 2 GB modules is better (performance-wise) than installing one 2 GB module and one 1 GB module.
     
  15. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #15
    He was actually talking about non santa rosa chipsets that cant always handle more than 3GB of RAM. Yes thats right, theres lots of PC motherboards that cant handle more than 3GB or they just wont work.
     
  16. Chase R macrumors 65816

    Chase R

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    #16
    Like others have said, OS X will keep unused things in RAM. It is called "Inactive". Why just leave huge chunks of RAM empty when you have the space there... fill it up, that way if you do end up executing something that is in RAM, the OS doesn't have to go looking for it in storage (HDD).

    "Inactive" RAM in OS X is basically "smart" free RAM space... not wasted Windoze space.
     
  17. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #17
    FUD alert! Unless you spend mucho dollars for a mac pro, that dell you hate so much can probably handle more RAM reliably then your mac can.

    I know the current macbooks top out at 6 gigs before they become wonky, and the chipsets in modern PC's can handle at least 8 gigs.
     
  18. reclusivemonkey macrumors 6502

    reclusivemonkey

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    #18
    If you have unused RAM, just open Safari and iTunes.
     

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