How to Determine if Your Mac?s RAM Needs Upgrade

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Your Mac could be needing a RAM upgrade if it has been running slower than usual. While most Macs go between 4 and 16 Gigabytes of RAM, the lower end may not be enough for your routine. You will notice that it takes a while to load documents and launch programs. Take note of these signs right away and read on to determine if your precious Mac?s RAM needs upgrade.

When to Upgrade

The Memory section of your Mac?s Activity Monitor utility allows you to see if your system is running low on RAM. For OS X Mountain Lion or earlier, you will see a small pie chart that shows the free RAM and the amount reserved for system processes. If the green wedge is constantly staying below 25 percent of the chart, then you might want to consider upgrading your Mac?s RAM.

For those using OS X Mavericks, the Memory section located in Activity Monitor will preview a Memory Pressure chart. The green section means that your usage is not exceeding the system?s memory. If the numbers are high, then this is your sign to go for an upgrade.

Is Your RAM Upgradable?


Owners of MacBook Air or a Retina MacBook Pro cannot upgrade their RAMs since the memory is soldered to its motherboard. Mac models other than these two should be able to upgrade their RAMs. The next step is to check the RAM?s speed and type, which can be seen by heading to the Apple menu and choosing About This Mac.

When you purchase a new RAM, make sure to get the higher memory. The more RAM you own, the better. Some systems require all RAM slots to be filled, while others might have open slots where you can add a new RAM. You can determine the available RAM banks and the RAM chip size needed by heading to the Memory section from the System Information tool.

Run Apple?s Hardware Test Suite

You can always get any RAM that fits your system?s specs, which means that it is not necessary to purchase a Mac ? specific RAM. This could help you spend within your budget. Make sure to run the hardware test suite to see if the new RAM would present errors. Monitor its performance for any signs of errors that were not seen during initial testing.

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