For a more objective read on whether you need more RAM, do the following:
Use your computer as you normally do for a few days, allowing it to sleep overnight instead of shutting it down — there is very seldom any real need to shut it down. After at least three days of use for all the tasks that you would expect to do on it with upgraded RAM, open Activity Monitor. Click the Memory tab at the bottom of the window. Compare the numbers shown for Page Ins and Page Outs. If Page Outs are more than about 10% of Page Ins, your computer's performance could benefit significantly from more RAM. The closer the two numbers are, the greater the benefit will be. If Page Outs are less than 10% of Page Ins, the benefit will be small, probably too small to justify the cost of a RAM upgrade. 8GB RAM upgrades started at about $275 last time I checked, a couple of weeks ago.
Thank you very much. I would never have thought of leaving my MacBook sleeping & working through the process you have detailed here. I really appreciate this help & will test to see the results. 2x4GB is more expensive in the UK think it's about £340 and over £400 from Apple direct.
I know I will loose the 2x2GB installed at the moment therefore your test will be worth trying. RAM is slightly lower than it was a few months ago.
Your reply has been helpful & clearly described thank you
Ooh, helpful post man.
I'm rocking 2gb of ram now (definitely not enough for my grueling habits, but I've been put off by the price of an upgrade), and my page outs are 35% of page ins, which seems large (they have to do with virtual mem usage right?). And that's without any gaming since my last reboot.
Just wondering if the 10% is widely accepted as a good judgement tool, or if you just thought of that off the top of your head.
Jason: The 10% figure is widely accepted and often mentioned in these forums as a "rule-of-thumb" guideline.
If I could upgrade my RAM to the next level for $25, I'd probably do so even if my Page Outs were only 7-8% of Page Ins, because software updates/upgrades and new software downloads often increase one's RAM needs from month to month, and I'd be getting out in front of that growing demand at a minimal price. But if an upgrade to the next level were going to cost me $275, I'd want to be sure it was going to benefit me really noticeably and right away before spending the money, so I wouldn't start thinking about it unless my Page Outs to Page Ins ratio were more like 15%. But at your 35% level, the benefits of more RAM would be very clear, so if you can afford to upgrade, it would be a good idea.
You said Page outs to be more than 10% of page ins.
My Page outs (2.88GB) are less than half of the page ins (5.93GB) and that's in almost 9 hours since booting. I have 2GB of RAM.
With my software development tools like application web server (resin) and code editor (eclipse) my system is running very slow.
If I could upgrade my RAM to the next level for $25 . . .
If I could upgrade for $25, I'd do it no matter what.
My problem is that my MacBook Pro supports a max of 2 GB. It was purchased in 2006 just before they changed this limit to 4 GB, so upgrading means purchasing a new laptop. I know that I would see much better performance, not to mention improvements in battery life, video performance, and hard disk . . . but I'm trying to justify $2000+ to replace a workstation that works fine unless I push it with memory-intensive applications.
I expect that I will wait until the next refresh of the MacBook Pro rather than shelling out the money and having Apple announce new features the next week.
No, I don't recommend paying Apple's RAM prices, now or ever. Here's what I'd buy if my machine could use 8GB:
Note that the same vendor sells a less expensive "NuRAM" upgrade. Several posters here have commented that they bought that instead of the "house brand" RAM that I've linked, and the NuRAM didn't work at all well for them. I'd stay away from it.
Thanks for the input and the link, very helpful! I've read a few threads here on some issues with the NuRam's, so I was a little worried about a non-Apple option, but $400 factory installed hurts the wallet a bit, so I figured I'd ask.
The link lists the RAM kit compatible for "early 2010" macbook pro 15" models. Is the 2.4Ghz model listed there the same as the one selling today? I'm planning to buy mine in October, November at the latest.
Not to go off topic, but since this is my 1st Apple, should I get the 3 year protection plan? I'm not familiar with their reliability.
All of the unibody MBPs that can handle 8GB use the same RAM modules.
I recommend getting AppleCare, but remember that you have a year from the date your machine was purchased to do so. Just don't wait until the last week, in case there's some glitch or delay. Third-party vendors often sell AppleCare at significant discounts.
Not to stay off topic, but...
Get the AppleCare... unlike a other manufacturers, I've seen a lot of Apple products fail and be covered by warranty --if you have one.
But don't get it until later in the year because, if you think about it, if your computer is destroyed/lost/stolen after you get the warranty, you're wasting that extra fee.
But, get if from a 3rd party. I don't know if there's a better place, but I got mine on eBay. It worked fine and was a lot cheaper.
Also... be smart and back up -- It's built in, so you have no excuse. I've seen some hard drives fail and those who let the machine back up,just re-load the entire system onto the replacement drive, while the rest just cry.