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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 10, 2012
    Posts
    3
    iMac has A LOT of free RAM
    Hello all,

    This is my first time posting on here. Have used your valuable advice many times, so I'm hoping that there is someone out there that can help me.

    Basically, I have a late 2009 iMac with 12GB RAM. When I go to "About this Mac", it recognizes that I have 12GB. My system should be blazing, but upon inspection, it is only using 3GB. At the moment I am converting a movie, running Safari, and playing music on iTunes. That being said, there is still 9GB of free RAM. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

  2. #2

    Chuckoir's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location
    London, Londonshire, England.
    Posts
    726
    Specs:
    13" Late 2011 MBP,iPad '3' 32gb,iPhone4 32gb
    Why would you need to fix this? Just because your computer has 12GB at its disposal, that doesn't mean it should be using ALL of it, ALL of the time.

    Think of it like a car - which has x amount of BHP. If you're pootling around town, you won't be using all your horses. Only when you open up the throttle will you use more power. Same goes for your Mac.

    Not the best analogy, I know, but hopefully explains what's going on!
    Play the guitar?! Check out the [newly created]Mac-Forums guitar thread!

  3. #3

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location
    North Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    10,458
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz MacBook Pro 10.11, 8 GB mem, iPhone 6+
    Check out this page to see if your Mac is booting into 64 bit mode. If it isn't try booting that way and see if you notice a difference. MPG - Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Booting into 64-bit mode (Snow Leopard)
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  4. #4

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 24, 2011
    Location
    Maryland
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    3,733
    Specs:
    March 2011 15" MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad Core 8GB Ram | Mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4 GHz i7 16 GB RAM 2 TB HDD
    Quote Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
    Check out this page to see if your Mac is booting into 64 bit mode. If it isn't try booting that way and see if you notice a difference. MPG - Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Booting into 64-bit mode (Snow Leopard)
    My guess as well.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Feb 10, 2012
    Posts
    3
    I understand all of that, but since I am converting a movie, I would like more ram allotted for that to speed up the process. I have since stopped my iTunes and left my computer for an hour. You would think that since everything else has been idle, that that is what would happen. I guess not though. Oh well.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Feb 10, 2012
    Posts
    3
    I am also running Lion btw

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
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    35,386
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by slowpoke86 View Post
    I understand all of that, but since I am converting a movie, I would like more ram allotted for that to speed up the process. I have since stopped my iTunes and left my computer for an hour. You would think that since everything else has been idle, that that is what would happen. I guess not though. Oh well.
    What you may be confused about is...even if you had 100gig or 1000gig of ram...after a certain point...more ram does not make computing tasks any faster.

    If someone has:

    - 2 gig of ram (and the OS needs 2 gig of ram)...then there isn't much ram left for apps.
    - 4 gig of ram (and the OS needs 2 gig of ram)...then there's around 2 gig free for apps.
    - 8 gig of ram (and the OS needs 2 gig of ram)...then there's around 6 gig free for apps.

    If for example...a specific app. (like the movie conversion app. you're using)...works best/fastest with 4gig of ram...then any more than 6gig of ram won't make anything faster (2gig for the OS + 4 gig for the app = 6gig).

    Thus having 12gig, 16gig, 64gig, or 128gig of ram...won't make things any faster. After the OS and the app. you're using have enough ram...all the rest of the ram is just "extra" (which does come in handy if you're running multiple apps. simultaneously).

    To REALLY speed things up you need:

    - a faster cpu
    - more cpu's (as in more cores)
    - use apps. that are "multi-core" capable
    - a faster gpu (for heavy graphics oriented apps)

    Adding more ram can help to a point...but only if the app/apps that are being used aren't getting enough ram. Once the app has enough ram...more ram will not speed things up (you'll just have more free/inactive ram)...just like your initial post mentioned.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Jan 22, 2010
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    20,911
    Specs:
    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    The program you are using to convert the movie may simply not be able to leverage more RAM, or doesn't require more RAM to do the conversion (which is actually CPU-heavy not RAM heavy).

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