Thank you for purchasing through links and ads on this site.
diglloyd B&H Deal Finder...
Buy other stuff at
Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB
Today’s Deal Zone Items... Handpicked deals...
$280 $230
SAVE $50

$100 $100
SAVE $click

$4499 $3499
SAVE $1000

$1398 $898
SAVE $500

$649 $449
SAVE $200

$7595 $5995
SAVE $1600

$799 $499
SAVE $300

$2598 $2398
SAVE $200

$1498 $1398
SAVE $100

$249 $219
SAVE $30

$1699 $1299
SAVE $400

$21999 $19999
SAVE $2000

$8399 $7599
SAVE $800

$1149 $799
SAVE $350

$260 $180
SAVE $80

$4998 $3998
SAVE $1000

$569 $519
SAVE $50

$899 $799
SAVE $100

$2347 $1997
SAVE $350

$883 $633
SAVE $250

$1299 $949
SAVE $350

$1636 $1036
SAVE $600

$1699 $1299
SAVE $400

$1199 $1099
SAVE $100

OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Blazing fast, up to 16TB.


√ No more slow and noisy hard drives!

MacBook Pro Virtual Memory Considerations

When your Mac gets low on real memory (the modules you buy and install), virtual memory comes to the rescue.

Page outs = poor performance

Virtual memory is far slower than real memory, so a fast system drive is the dominant factor for virtual memory performance (nerds can change the virtual memory swap file(s), but the default is the system drive).

As show at right in Activity Monitor, there are 12.54GB of “page outs”. This is the only number you need to look at (page ins are normal, it’s only when the system has to start swapping and also has page outs that it matters).

A few megabytes or tens of megabytes of page outs are acceptable, but more than a few hundred megabytes means you’re losing performance in a major way— add more memory if possible, otherwise, you need a fast system drive (read on about that).

In this discussion:

SSD = solid state drive (memory chips, no moving parts)
HDD = hard disk drive (spinning platters and moving parts)

Make an Old Dog Run Like a Young Puppy
with an OWC SSD

SATA, USB3, Thunderbolt, internal upgrades and PCIe SSD options for Mac or PC.
View All OWC SSDs...

Why virtual memory is still relevant

On the 8-core Mac Pro, it is possible to install 64GB of real memory, so anyone who really needs it can install enough memory for nearly any challenge.

Even on the April 2010 MacBook Pro, the limit is 8GB of real memory, and it was 4GB or 6GB prior to that. Amazingly, this is an Intel CPU limitation. Even the iMac was long limited to 4GB, then 8GB, and finally 16GB today in 2010 (with 4 modules). And not everyone has the latest and greatest.

But even 8GB is a far cry from 16GB, and for photographers and similar working with large files or HD video or similar demanding tasks, 8GB can be a limiting factor for reasonable performance.

Programs like Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Apple Aperture, Final Cut, etc all benefit from extra memory, and the system itself can improve performance by utilizing “unused” memory for caching drive access. But when those limits are reached, performance plummets with a hard drive, as we shall see.

Solid state drives and virtual memory

The low latency, zero seek time and high transactional ability of a solid state drive all contribute to exceptional performance compared to a hard drive for any task, and especially virtual memory.

The following pages explore virtual memory performance on the Apple MacBook Pro with a variety of configurations on both the 17" 2010 and 2009 MacBook Pro.

Protect Your Family with Medical-Grade HEPA Air Purifier

Smoke and fine particulate matter from SF Bay Area fires = SERIOUS health hazard (respiratory, cardiovascular, etc).

Medical-grade air purifier keeps your home air ultra clean and filters viruses too!

See also Particulate Respirator...

Solid state drives (SSD) vs hard drives (HDD)

Today’s quality solid state drives can max-out the SATA bus, reaching read speeds of 280MB/sec and write speeds of around 260MB/sec. The very fastest laptop hard drives peak at around 100MB/sec, but slow down as they fill up, and also have mechanical delays (seek time and latency).

Given the numbers, one might expect that a fast SSD would be about 2.5X faster than a hard disk drive. But because of the mechanical delays of hard drives, real speed can be even faster than the numbers might suggest.

OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD
Blazingly fast Thunderbolt 3 SSD!

Up to 4TB capacity, USB-C compatible.

USB-C model also available

Great for travel or for desktop!
OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD
6000 MB/sec!
Mac or PC.

Ideal for Lightroom, Photoshop, video.
Capacity up to 16TB!

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo
View all handpicked deals...

SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card
$100 $100
SAVE $click | Terms of Use | PRIVACY POLICY
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
Mailing Lists | RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2020 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.
Display info: __RETINA_INFO_STATUS__