Mac RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM is an acronym for the technical term ‘Random Access Memory’. Your Macs RAM is the ‘working memory’ of the computer and is a form of computer data storage. It is a very important element as it allows information (i.e applications) to be open and running alongside each other at the same time.
The amount of RAM you have installed on your Mac can affect how well these apps coincide. For example, if you have a small amount of RAM your Mac is likely to run slowly when several apps are open at once, whereas if you have a sizeable RAM, you can run the same demanding apps simultaneously without hindering your Macs processing speed.
Mac RAM Nicknames…
Mac RAM is is often simplified and referred to as your computers ‘Memory’, although there are other important types of memory, such as your Mac Disk Space. Disk Space is the place where all of your saved files, images etc are stored. You may have also heard it being called – main memory, primary storage, internal memory, memory ‘stick’ and RAM ‘stick’.
What is Stored in Your Mac RAM?
Your RAM memory is again very important as it is where your computers operating system (i.e. OS X Mavericks), Applications and softwares in ‘current’ use are kept. Notice the word ‘current’…
Really there are two parts to your Macs memory – your RAM and your Disk Space. Your Disk Space, which may be 500GB, is where all of your files, images, movies, music track, apps etc are kept ‘permanently’ stored on your computers hard drive. When you open them up, they are pulled into your RAMs memory. The more you open up at the same time, the more data is live and kicking in your RAMs memory space.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Mac RAM?
The more apps etc that are opened up, the harder your RAM has to work and juggle all of the actions you wish to perform on the different apps. For example, you may be editing several high resolution photographs on Adobe Photoshop as you cross reference a YouTube tutorial on Safari.
If you have a small amount of RAM, i.e. 4GB your computer will struggle to cope with the above scenario.
A large Disk Space (aka storage capacity) will enable you to store loads of great data goodies, however it is your RAM that controls how many things you can use simultaneously. When your computer slows down, you see the swirling rainbow ball or your Mac screen freezes altogether. This is a sign that your Mac RAM in under too much pressure.
You can unload this pressure by either closing down any unnecessary apps or open documents. If it is essential that you have everything open, then you can either free up some storage space of old, unwanted and duplicate files with a Mac Cleaner Software, or upgrade your RAM.
How Much RAM Does My Mac Need?
Obviously, this is a question that only you can answer, as everyone uses their computer in different ways for different needs.
The most recent Apple Mac computers come pre-installed a decent 4 GB of RAM. However, as they climb in price so do the specs, and other models may provide tasty 8 or 12 GB.
TIP- It is surprisingly easy and cheap to upgrade your RAM, so don’t feel you have to empty your wallet to get the model with the most generous RAM space. You can always upgrade in the future yourself if you need to. 4GB is nearly always enough, especially if you do regular cleans to ensure you don’t have unnecessary files eating up your storage space, putting extra pressure on your Macs performance. Alternatively you could keep the files, you don’t need at your finger tips (like old photos), on an external hard drive instead.
How to Check How Much RAM Your Mac Has
It is super easy to find out how much RAM your Mac has, you just need to pay your ‘About This Mac’ a visit. For step-by-step instructions please check out this article on how to do this…
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