[CS-FSLUG] Macs and Memory

bob at bibleboy.org bob at bibleboy.org
Mon Dec 18 15:03:42 CST 2006

I'm a newly converted Mac guy but I'm giving my 2 cents anyway :)

First of, regarding video cards.  I don't think Apple has any machines that don't have a completely independant video card (or at least video bus).  Remember that Apple caters to the creative and video production markets and it would be kind of stupid to release a shared video card like most PC makers do.

Secondly, for memory....  get as much as you can!  OSX isn't going to consume memory in the same ways that Windows does, but the more memory you have, the better -- as always.  Another huge difference is there are less memory leaks in OSX.  If you open and close a program multiple times on OSX, you'll still have the same amount of memory available where on windows you would mysteriously lose available memory.

Firefox is going to consume lots of resources -- not because of the application but because of the websites that people design now.  Visit a myspace profile and watch your CPU utilization and your memory usage skyrocket.  Flash is an extreme memory and performance hog.  It used to be if someone just wanted to surf the web, they could buy a cheap no-frills system but today you really need a powerhouse just to surf because it's the "in" thing to make your website talk, scream, jump up and down, etc....

I do have a Intel Core Solo Mac Mini with 512MB of RAM and it makes me want to cry.  On the same note, however, the stuff that I can do with it is pretty impressive when I think about what a Windows machine doing the same would do.  I think 1GB of RAM is a comfortable place to be for the average user and 2GB is probably good for most "power users" ...  if you're going to be opening a huge amount of firefox windows and/or doing video/graphics editing, you will want to get 4GB.

One last tip for tracking stuff down...  you can go to the terminal and use "top" instead of Apple's monitor...  thats what I do, but then I guess I came from a Linux background :)


On Mon, 18 Dec 2006 12:28:07 -0800, Alan Trick <alantrick at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't know much about macs and their memory usage so take this with a
> grain of salt. What surprises me the most is the amount that is eaten up
> by the OS. Having an independent video card would definitely help. The
> main difference is that independent cards have their own memory, as it
> is, video accelerated stuff (which is used all over the place on OSX,
> even to render windows and such) might be taxing on your memory
> (although I wouldn't think that it would be that bad).
> Alan Trick
> On Mon, 2006-12-18 at 00:08 -0700, Nathan T. wrote:
>> Hi CS List
>> I've been using the Activity Monitor application in OS X to try and
>> figure out why my Mac Mini was running slow, and as it turns out
>> Safari, FireFox, iTunes and iPhoto each use massive amounts of the
>> memory. I've been watching the Activity Monitor application, and
>> while the processor does top out  frequently enough, the one thing
>> that is consistently low is the memory. When nothing is running but
>> the OS there is only about 220MB of Ram free, that's about 10% of the
>> actual ram that's in this thing, and when I start running any of the
>> above programs it may take a few minutes, but eventually they reduce
>> the available memory to less than 100MB.
>> I'd like some comments on what to do about this, if I upgrade the ram
>> to 2GB would it be worth the large investment (1GB cost me ~$250CAD).
>> Or should I simply wait and get a more powerful core Duo Mini with
>> 2GB of ram some time next year? If I get a new one should I really
>> save up and get something with 4GB of ram?
>> Oh, and could anyone tell me how big of a difference there is on a
>> Mac when it has a independent video card as compared to an integrated
>> one?
>> Thanks
>> Nathan T.
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