Memory: 8, 16, or 32

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014


I'm thinking about my next computer and am wondering how much memory to configure it with but don't really understand all of the info from help:


 


Wired


Active


Inactive


Used


VM Size


Page ins


Page outs


Swap used


 


 


The app I am concerned about shows Free=187MB Used=7.81GB (out of 8GB total).


When the app finishes its output, free=765.2MB USed=7.24GB


 


Does this suggest I should get more RAM?  

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13


    Check your page outs, too. Do those add up to more than the page ins?

  • Reply 2 of 13


    VM size: 308 GB


     


    Page ins: 10.7 GB


     


    Page outs: 269.1 MB


     


    Swap used: 443 MB


     


    - - - - -


     


    Without that app running


     


    Free 1.23 GB


    Wired 1.13


    Active 3.45


    Inactive 2.18


    USed 6.79


     


    VM size 336GB


    Ins  13 GB


    Outs 296 MB


    Swap  440MB

  • Reply 3 of 13


    Just been reading up on this...  Restarted the machine and will give it a run through the weekend watching the page outs.

  • Reply 4 of 13
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,562moderator
    Watching page outs over a given period of time will let you know if you need more RAM. The best setup is to have it so that you have nearly zero page outs.

    269MB isn't a high number if that's for a long period but if that's after 1-2 days without a reboot, it could be worth upgrading. Type uptime into a terminal and hit return to see how long your computer has gone without a reboot when testing.

    4-8GB is fine for basic apps like Safari, Word, Mail and so on and moderately productive work.
    16GB is better if you do anything productive with the Adobe CS Suite, Final Cut, Aperture and so on. Also if you use virtual machines like Parallels or VMWare. Apps that can use 2GB+ real RAM each.
    32GB is overkill for most things. If you run apps like Mudbox or ZBrush or image editing apps with high resolution images, the apps can use 4-10GB of RAM each so if you had multiple of these programs open, you can run out of 16GB.

    There is a guide here for what the terms mean:

    http://www.macyourself.com/2010/02/17/what-is-free-wired-active-and-inactive-system-memory-ram/

    Wired is memory used by the system e.g kernel/root processes. You don't get much control over this and I feel it should be lower than it commonly is.
    Active is real RAM used by your apps - use the real RAM column in the Activity Monitor to see the heaviest apps.
    Inactive is cached memory that helps load apps back up quickly. Apps will take longer to load after a cold boot than if you just quit and relaunch.
    Free is obviously whatever is left.

    Page In amount is data moved into RAM, When an application loads, it copies the program into RAM and associated resources so that number keeps going up all the time. It's hard to tell from that number how much paged out data has been moved back into RAM so the most important number is Page Out.
    Page Out amount is when you run out of RAM and data in RAM has to be pushed onto the hard drive. When it needs it back again, it'll increase Page Ins.

    Sometimes a lot of inactive memory allocated can affect performance but it can be flushed by typing purge into the terminal and hitting return. The blue block should almost entirely disappear after that but it should only be needed if the blue block is excessive.
  • Reply 5 of 13


    Thanks, Marvin.  That is very informative.


     


     


    I was checking some apps last night to get a feel for how much each was using and Aperture hit 2GB.  The app I was worried about hit 1GB on export of a rather simple file.


     


    I think you answered my question; I'll just go with 16GB and not worry about 8 not being enough.  I use Illustrator, FinalCut and other apps like that a lot.


     


    Thanks again.

  • Reply 6 of 13
    sr2012sr2012 Posts: 896member
    Thanks, Marvin.  That is very informative.


    I was checking some apps last night to get a feel for how much each was using and Aperture hit 2GB.  The app I was worried about hit 1GB on export of a rather simple file.

    I think you answered my question; I'll just go with 16GB and not worry about 8 not being enough.  I use Illustrator, FinalCut and other apps like that a lot.

    Thanks again.

    As a random comment 8GB would be okay but yeah your paging would be quite intense. With 16GB you'd be in the clear. With an SSD though, I have tons of stuff open (mainly web development related) so not huge video files but I also have iMovie and other stuff running. Never really noticed a slowdown on MBA 13" 2012 entry level with only 4GB RAM.

    Do you have an SSD? Because a good Apple-branded SSD with 8GB of RAM on an Intel Core i5 or i7 should handle quite a lot thrown at it.

    You page outs are actually very minimal, in my experience.

    Of course, 16GB would give you plenty of headroom of everything you would like to do.

    Edit: Of course, f running Parallels or VMWare then yes 8GB is minimum.
  • Reply 7 of 13


    I ordered a Mac mini decked out with 2.6 i7, 16GB and 1TB Fusion Drive.  This will serve primarily as a worker bee to let my main machine continue to work stress-free (except for having me sitting in front of it all day!).  The mini will be used as a rendering machine accessed through screen sharing.  It will also help burn BluRay disks and some other small tasks.  If it works well, I will add a second to double the rendering output.  (...four would allow me to have a mini cluster and finish a project in about two hours.... writing Santa now...)


     


    For my main machine, I will upgrade to the new iMac 27 whenever it comes available.  As I doubt the full SSD will be affordable, I will go with a Fusion Drive in it as well.  Added to the 3.4GHz i7 will be 16GB RAM so that I don't worry about anything.


     


    Thanks guys.


     


     


    PS No Parallels nor anything related to Windows on my machines; I like to keep them clean!

  • Reply 8 of 13
    sr2012sr2012 Posts: 896member
    I ordered a Mac mini decked out with 2.6 i7, 16GB and 1TB Fusion Drive.  This will serve primarily as a worker bee to let my main machine continue to work stress-free (except for having me sitting in front of it all day!).  The mini will be used as a rendering machine accessed through screen sharing.  It will also help burn BluRay disks and some other small tasks.  If it works well, I will add a second to double the rendering output.  (...four would allow me to have a mini cluster and finish a project in about two hours.... writing Santa now...)

    For my main machine, I will upgrade to the new iMac 27 whenever it comes available.  As I doubt the full SSD will be affordable, I will go with a Fusion Drive in it as well.  Added to the 3.4GHz i7 will be 16GB RAM so that I don't worry about anything.

    Thanks guys.


    PS No Parallels nor anything related to Windows on my machines; I like to keep them clean!

    Sounds sweet. Enjoy...!
  • Reply 9 of 13

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sr2012 View Post





    Sounds sweet. Enjoy...!


     


    That's the plan!


     


    Now if my Mac mini would just arrive... 

  • Reply 10 of 13

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    Thanks, Marvin.  That is very informative.


     


     


    I was checking some apps last night to get a feel for how much each was using and Aperture hit 2GB.  The app I was worried about hit 1GB on export of a rather simple file.


     


    I think you answered my question; I'll just go with 16GB and not worry about 8 not being enough.  I use Illustrator, FinalCut and other apps like that a lot.


     


    Thanks again.



     


    If you are using Pro level apps and expect to have your computer for a good 3-4 years then it can't hurt to go up a level in RAM and even processor if you can afford it. Better to have more RAM than you need then be pushing things. Especially if you are using more than one app at a time (like passing stuff before Illustrator and Photoshop). 

  • Reply 11 of 13


    Thanks everyone.  Went with the 2.6GHz machine, 16GB RAM and 1TB Fusion.


     


     


    Same file to render:


     


    Mac mini (2012) [2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB Fusion]  = 3 minutes 45 seconds


     


    iMac (2011) [3.2GHz, 8GB RAM, 256 SSD+2TB HD]  = 4 minutes 26 seconds

  • Reply 12 of 13
    sr2012sr2012 Posts: 896member
    Thanks everyone.  Went with the 2.6GHz machine, 16GB RAM and 1TB Fusion.


    Same file to render:

    Mac mini (2012) [2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB Fusion]  = 3 minutes 45 seconds

    iMac (2011) [3.2GHz, 8GB RAM, 256 SSD+2TB HD]  = 4 minutes 26 seconds

    The latest Intel chips are... very impressive. I'm shocked at what I'm able to do now on my MBA 13" 2012 entry-level. Apple-branded SSD is butter, butter smooth.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    sr2012 wrote: »
    Apple-branded SSD is butter, butter smooth.

    They use Samsung SSD's, I heard their moving to San-Disk in the near future though.
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