When I go into Photoshop and then I look at performance in the preferences, it says that I have "3240 MB Available", whereas I have a 4gb RAM MacBook Pro. Also, it often crashes, and I frequently have to restart it. (minimum once a day)

Can I be sure it's a hardware problem ?
And if not, do I have ways to test it ?

  • I wouldn't want to give more than 1.5 to 2 GB to photoshop. Try severely shrinking its own VM system and see how things go. This sounds like photoshop is taking all the free ram leaving nothing for the rest of the Mac. – bmike Nov 16 '12 at 2:57

If you're using a Mac with an integrated graphics card (all 13 inch models) then some of the RAM is used for this and obviously some for the OS, so this seems normal. As a rule of thumb you wouldn't want to give Photoshop more than 70/75% of what is remaining. If you assign too much to it the system won't have anything left for any other processes and we have to do a lot of work creating swap files to move temporary files about. This could be a cause of crashing. On the subject of crashing, if you're copy of Photoshop is not official (not suggesting it is) and not updated then its to be expected.

  • I'm using a 15 inch model. Yeah, but once it happened when I only had chrome (a few tabs) and Evernote – Naemy Nov 16 '12 at 10:21
  • Try running Smart Utility to check your hard drive is OK. – Justsomeguy Nov 16 '12 at 21:28

You're never going to have all four gigabytes available. How else is the Operating system supposed to operate? 3200 sounds about right as Photoshop (at least for me) typically uses between 400 and 800 mb of RAM.

If your OS X is crashing daily then it is definitely indicative of a problem. Could be anything though, without further details it's hard to tell.


If you want to confirm the RAM you have in your computer, open up the Apple menu in the top left of the screen and click 'About This Mac'. It'll show you the type of memory installed.

Click More Info, and then Memory, and it'll show you which size sticks are in which slot.

What crashes? The whole laptop or Photoshop?

  • Applications in general. Sometimes I even have to restart it two times in a row. – Naemy Nov 16 '12 at 10:20

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