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#44314 - 04/13/17 03:27 PM How Much RAM Do You Really Need?
joemikeb Online
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Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I have long been a proponent of maxing out the RAM in Macs to reduce paging to Storage and improve system performance. But the other day I was on my son's iPad mini and reading a thread where the age old question of "How much RAM do you have?" came up for discussion yet again followed by, "How many Safari tabs, windows, pages, do you have open at one time?" Out of curiosity I checked to see how many tabs were open in the Safari I was using on the iPad Mini and how much memory it has (3GB) and there was no noticeable deterioration in performance. That got me to thinking...
  • MacOS and iOS are built on the same Unix kernel
  • MacOS and iOS are in a lock step development cycle but iOS is perhaps leading the charge
  • Beginning with Mavericks (OS X 10.9) there have been significant changes in memory management resulting in arguably dramatic improvements.
  • The advent of SSD devices has significantly narrowed the performance gap between memory and storage.
  • No iOS device has more than 4GB of memory and most have 3GB
So how much memory does the average MacOS user really need? confused

Could it be that I, and others, have become so inured to the "buy all the memory you can afford" mantra that it has become a shibboleth? Granted there are a limited number of pro level applications that will greedily suck up every byte of memory they can, but do they really make effective use of the memory or do they use it because they are built on an archaic and much patched code base and are in dire need of a re-write? Are we clinging to "that worked before" and not re-examining the new reality? A lot of our old sovereign fixes have gone by the board have gone by the board in the last few years, is this one we also need to re-examine?
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#44322 - 04/13/17 11:27 PM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Could it be that I, and others, have become so inured to the "buy all the memory you can afford" mantra that it has become a shibboleth? .... Are we clinging to "that worked before" and not re-examining the new reality? A lot of our old sovereign fixes have gone by the board in the last few years, is this one we also need to re-examine?

Perhaps it is, but re-examining this particular old fix in the face of Apple's "new reality" isn't a particularly realistic undertaking now that it requires two Macs rather than just two sets of DIMMs.

Your question casts Apple's non-user-serviceable - "Buy it now or lose it forever!" - RAM in an even more unpalatable light than has heretofore shone on it. frown mad
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#44325 - 04/14/17 06:54 AM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Online
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Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
On the other hand have you seen the news about the completely re-engineered Mac Pro with replaceable memory, replaceable and/or add-on video cards. etc or the "not so mini 2017 Mac mini possibly with upgradable components?
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#44334 - 04/16/17 03:22 AM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
iOS and macOS use memory in radically different ways.

When you switch from one app to another on iOS, the app in the background saves its state and then the operating system may make it quit if it needs to. That doesn't happen on desktop systems. Desktop apps don't save their state and exit.

Macs are asked to do different kinds of tasks than iOS devices. You don't generally do image or movie editing on an iOS device. And the browser looks and feels the same, but it's not the same; you can't, for example, add plugins.

Desktop systems benefit from a lot of RAM. iOS devices, which have more constrained memory requirements and are used for different types of tasks. The more RAM you have on desktop systems, the better; RAM is not upgradeable on iOS devices.

I'm actually a bit disappointed that the new Macbook Pros don't offer more than 16GB of RAM.
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#44341 - 04/17/17 12:20 AM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
On the other hand have you seen the news about the completely re-engineered Mac Pro with replaceable memory, replaceable and/or add-on video cards. etc or the "not so mini 2017 Mac mini possibly with upgradable components?

I was unaware of both. (Hasn't the Mac Pro been upgradeable since the get-go?)

On still another hand, though, despite the fact that they apparently can't work RAM into the equation, OWC's DEC is more to my point. It's Apple's portable line that has been disproportionately stripped of functionality (in keeping with their [often called] obsessive drive towards thinner machines).

More: I can't help but assume that OWC has invested a considerable amount of money in developing the DEC, and that the investment is based on a substantial real, not perceived, demand.


Edited by artie505 (04/17/17 08:01 AM)
Edit Reason: More
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#44342 - 04/17/17 09:50 AM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: artie505
(Hasn't the Mac Pro been upgradeable since the get-go?)

That was true until the current Mac Pro was released some three years ago. The lack of upgradability has been a simmering complaint among Mac Pro users since its introduction and was approaching a full boil. According to Apple's senior engineer, the current physical design is a thermal dead end so Apple is left with no option other than starting with a clean sheet of paper for the next generation Mac Pro. (Which, of course, means Mac Pro users will have to twiddle their thumbs possibly for another year or more to get their upgradeable Mac Pro.)

Originally Posted By: artie505
On still another hand, though, despite the fact that they apparently can't work RAM into the equation, OWC's DEC is more to my point. It's Apple's portable line that has been disproportionately stripped of functionality (in keeping with their [often called] obsessive drive towards thinner machines).

More: I've got to assume that OWC has invested a considerable amount of money in developing the DEC, and that the investment is based on a substantial real, NOT perceived, demand.

You are comparing a complete new Mercedes Benz to a luggage rack from Pep Boys. Not to put OWC's DEC down — if I had a MacBook Pro I might want one — but for all intents and purposes it is little more than an extension of their already successful Thunderbolt dock. A set of external devices bundle into a common case, bolted onto the MacBook Pro case and connected electrically and electronically to the computer via standard I/O ports. FWIW I have two of their Thunderbolt docks attached to Mac minis and they work very well. With appropriate adjustments the same device could be added to an iMac, Mac mini, Lenovo, HP, Dell, etc. OWC's investment might be significant for OWC but probably wouldn't cover one top flight engineer's annual salary. I doubt they have to sell more than a few hundred to make a tidy profit on the investment.

As to "their [often called] obsessive drive towards thinner machines" Apple's computer sales including the thinner machines continues to increase slowly while sales of competitive models continue to decline. So Apple is apparently doing something right.
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#44372 - 04/22/17 01:46 AM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Originally Posted By: artie505
(Hasn't the Mac Pro been upgradeable since the get-go?)

That was true until the current Mac Pro was released some three years ago. The lack of upgradability has been a simmering complaint among Mac Pro users since its introduction and was approaching a full boil.

We're using "upgradeable" in entirely different senses.

This answers my question within the context of this discussion
  1. Mactracker: MEMORY

    Built-in Memory None
    Maximum Memory 128 GB (Actual) 64 GB (Apple)
    Memory Slots 4 - 240-pin PC3-14900 (1866 MHz) DDR3 ECC SDRAM
    Interleaving Support Yes
    Upgrade Instructions How to remove or install memory
  2. OWC SSD Upgrade Kits For Mac Pro Cylinder 2013
  3. OWC Processor Upgrade Program options for Apple Mac Pro 2013
whereas your "upgradability" means "beyond its current limits"...entirely different animal and no more than a distraction here.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Originally Posted By: artie505
On still another hand, though, despite the fact that they apparently can't work RAM into the equation, OWC's DEC is more to my point. It's Apple's portable line that has been disproportionately stripped of functionality (in keeping with their [often called] obsessive drive towards thinner machines).

More: I've got to assume that OWC has invested a considerable amount of money in developing the DEC, and that the investment is based on a substantial real, NOT perceived, demand.

You are comparing a complete new Mercedes Benz to a luggage rack from Pep Boys. Not to put OWC's DEC down — if I had a MacBook Pro I might want one — but for all intents and purposes it is little more than an extension of their already successful Thunderbolt dock. .... I doubt they have to sell more than a few hundred to make a tidy profit on the investment.

No, I'm comparing a Mercedes that tows its engine in a trailer to one with its engine under the hood.

And counting development, implementation, and cost of initial production run, plus design and production of packaging, etc, I suspect that it'll likely take sales of many more than a few hundred units before OWC even recoups its investment let alone makes "a tidy profit".

You seem to be lost in an Apple-philic lala-land: as you've transitioned into the iDevice world in which your iPhone, iPad, and iWatch, together with iCloud, provide you with sufficient/complete(?) functionality when you're away from your home you've forgotten about the multitude of laptop users who require full functionality when they're away from theirs and can no longer get it in a (compact) package analogous to the one you so enjoy; you've consigned them to the dust bin of your own history, during which you apparently never needed a fully functional traveling machine in the first place, with absolutely no regard for theirs.

So, yes, the DEC is, indeed, just a (very well-conceived) peripheral, but beyond doing a peripheral's basic job of providing functionality, it "puts the engine back under the hood", and aesthetics don't take much of a hit in the bargain.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
As to "their [often called] obsessive drive towards thinner machines" Apple's computer sales including the thinner machines continues to increase slowly while sales of competitive models continue to decline. So Apple is apparently doing something right.

Apple is apparently still enjoying iDevice fallout, but what they're really doing right is making a considerable amount of money from usurped drive and memory sales and oxymoronic sales of "no longer necessary" functionality to users for whom it's still necessary.

I've got to wonder, though, how many more laptops they'd be selling if their lack of functionality weren't a deterrent to both upgrading and switching.
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#44375 - 04/22/17 09:12 AM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
We are both entitled to our opinions and beliefs, but these forums work best when we claim our opinions as our own and do not belittle the opinions of others. I do not mind your disagreement, but please don't tell me about myself or assign motives to my opinions.
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#44386 - 04/23/17 01:18 PM Re: How Much RAM Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
No offense intended (and, in fact, I'm quite surprised by your reaction).

Sorry! frown
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