Home Mac Memory: Enough Already!

Memory: Enough Already!

by Kerry Dawson


The Mac, for as long as I can remember, has been notorious for eating memory. The more you gave it, the more it would take. You would just have to decide either where your budget tapped out or the Mac tapped out.

Nothing has changed with current Macs. Your Mac will gladly take more. It will certainly work within a reasonable limit without problem. However, it’s amazing that if you give your Mac more, it will gladly take and use it.

The Mac Pro Decision

Mac pro

Going by my current configuration of a high end iMac with 16 megs of memory, I decided to expand my new Mac Pro to 32 megs. AT one time such an amount would leave you speechless and poor.

I actually though was debating whether to max the Mac Pro out at 64 gigs. The reason for this was fairly simple. Even though I don’t run incredibly memory intensive programs such as Photoshop I do run a lot of programs. At startup, I load a lot of programs and actually do work with them.

The iMac

My iMac is configured with 16 gigs of memory. I thought this was more than enough and was generous. My previous iMac was 8 gig and for the time I bought that this was considered a generous amount of memory.

However, sometimes I forget that I work on a Mac and although I love it, the Mac has always just eaten memory. It’s always seemed to me the more you throw at it, the more it uses.

With the Passage of Time


As time has passed, I just continuously add to my library of applications and I use MORE! Some are small but useful programs and others are large and useful programs.

Currently, of course, I process a lot of text but I also process a lot of images to go with the text. The majority of the these programs are svelte and a couple are larger. They’re of the screen annotation type. I use Skitch all the time and love that. However, I’ve also used others and am beginning to use other programs such as Voila, Snaggit and Clarify all of which take more memory. Eventually, I’ll settle on the programs of this ilk I like the best but currently I’m just working with them to get to know them.

Screen Video Capture

Video capture
As I move a long the continuum and add to my repertoire, one thing I’ve always wanted to do is screen video capture either to teach someone how to do something or to point out by video what is wrong. The application for these kinds of programs are large however and again I’m in an explorative mode.

So at the front end I have probably the best screen capture program Screenflow. I also have Camtasia and then at the lighter end Screenium. They all have value.

Currently, Screenflow probably exceeds my needs. Yet, if these programs and the other programs make their way into my function I’ll be using a lot more memory than I use.

When is Enough Memory Enough

There is a point when you have enough memory. How much is that though. The reason I went for 32 gigs on the Mac Pro is simply memory was starting to feel tight on the iMac. Running Windows for the Mac on Parallels takes a lot of memory and then as these new programs make their way into the system a lot of memory is going to be used.

So my decision around memory for the new machine was very much based on my current machine and how I see it operating and what the new machine might be doing. I settled on 32 gigs.

That Should be Enough So We’ll call it a Day

The Mac Pro should be happy with 32 gigs of memory. However, as I write this and think back on many a system over the years I have to remember this is a MAC! It likes memory.

There is a point though you make your best estimation and then you have to call it a day. I think I’ve made my best estimate of what the system is likely to use based on the way I use the current system and the growth I’ve noticed.

I certainly don’t expect to be using 32 gigs of memory from day one. However, through the course of time, I have little doubt the system will start using a fair bit more memory. I think I’ve got plenty of headroom though.

With that thinking in place and knowing what I have ordered and what I have I’m comfortable if not excited by my purchase. I made a decision on the memory and it seems like more than reasonable if not generous in the amount of memory I’m allotting so I’m just going to call it a day. With the machine in the pipe now to build and deliver I just have to sit and wait and see in the end how the memory looks in the real world. I’m sure it is going to work out extremely well.

At ease

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