Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Wanting to fix what I have

Wanting to fix what I have (Page 2)
Thread Tools
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Pittsburgh
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 20, 2013, 07:15 PM
 
add an SSD before you add RAM. the bottleneck is the HDD and the RAM starved workflow paging out to the HDD. honestly, if you were spending $2000 on this new iMac, you should have got the SSD in the first place. you would have been sitting pretty right now.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
May 20, 2013, 10:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
Okay, thanks. But when the RAM gets down very low, it does seem like it would be a problem. I'm looking at Page outs now, and it's 22.03 GB at the moment. Page ins are 51.37 GB and swap used is 7.24 GB.

Is this good or bad? I have no idea. If it's bad, what do I do about it?
Bad.

I might have missed it earlier on. What are you using your Mac for ?
What consumes so much RAM, and page outs.

-t
     
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
May 20, 2013, 11:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
Yes, it's a late 2012 model. Doesn't have an SSD. Says it's a 1 TB SATA drive in the stats. I suppose I could add more RAM, but I've invested enough already. I'll just have to watch how much I'm doing, and not have as much open as I would like to, for convenience. I guess I'm too much of a "power user" and will have to learn to close and open more often instead of leaving as much open as I do.
I suggest you upgrade the RAM on your new machine because the way you work simply requires more RAM -- which is not that expensive. Eventually, I think you should also think about adding an SSD.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 20, 2013, 11:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
... And the mouse is so sensitive it takes me places I don't want to go, like to the Dashboard, and that always quits. I removed the items and it's been okay since then. I think I'll buy a wired mouse.
System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Mouse (tab) -> Tracking Speed (slider)

I prefer wired mice myself, and am partial to Logitech gaming mice. Lots of assignable buttons.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 21, 2013, 03:56 AM
 
I agree that your workflow seems to be very RAM hungry. I wonder if there might be a memory leak somewhere?

If we take a little detour into mice and keyboards, I would like to add my voice in support of Logitech. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the gaming mice (model numbers start with a G) are the most reliable - probably because they assume gamers are violent with their peripherals. The mice that reader posted above seems to be the classic MX518, which isn't made anymore, but the G400 (and G400s) are very similar and can be considered direct successors. The button in the middle on top is best configured for Exposé. The G500 is also worth a look.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Montréal, Québec (Canada)
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 22, 2013, 05:37 AM
 
I have a mid-2007 iMac and just performed a similar upgrade. I already had 6 GB of ram but the computer was still slow and had a lot of page-outs. My hard drive was probably defective so I replaced it with an SSD. I also upgraded my OS from 10.6.8 to Mountain Lion and things are really fast and I don't have any page-out so far, without changing anything to my habits. I think 10.6 (especially Safari) was having some leaks issues.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2013, 06:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by abbaZaba View Post
add an SSD before you add RAM. the bottleneck is the HDD and the RAM starved workflow paging out to the HDD. honestly, if you were spending $2000 on this new iMac, you should have got the SSD in the first place. you would have been sitting pretty right now.
Well now, it's not often that someone tells me how I should spend my money. But okay, for the record, we don't have unlimited funds. We are seniors and retired, no working income, just retirement which isn't all that much. We do okay, but can't be extravagant.

I bought the iMac off the shelf, I didn't order it. I took what was in the box, which was okay for our budget, which isn't really strict, but we do have to watch it. Bought it at the Navy Exchange and did not have to pay tax on it.

As for an SSD making me sitting pretty, I'm not so sure about that. Maybe so, maybe not. Perhaps some of the problems are in the software apps. At any rate, it's certainly much better on this new one than it was on the old one, just not as much as I expected. I do get the spinning ball sometimes, not often, and it doesn't last long.

So, what I've learned is, to get a speedy iMac, you have to spend a small fortune for it. And then to be truly happy with it, have to buy a decent keyboard, and buy an optical drive, and buy a better mouse.

Anyhow, thanks for the reply.

Sandy
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2013, 06:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Bad.

I might have missed it earlier on. What are you using your Mac for ?
What consumes so much RAM, and page outs.

-t
So, should Page outs be zero? Right now it says 1.04 GB, much less than it was in my earlier post (I think it was about 22 GB then). I don't remember what I had running at the time.

What do I use my Mac for? I'll list the apps that I use most frequently.

There is the Internet and e-mail, of course. I use Firefox and Thunderbird most of the time. Sometimes Safari. I use Microsoft Word for Mac 2011. I use DiskLabel and ArtText. Sunbird calendar stays open all the time.

Once in a while, I use Business Card Composer, Pages, Graphic Design Studio, Real Player, DVD Player, Google Earth, iTunes.

I use Parallels and Windows 7. There I use FrontPage and Expression Web website builders. I'm not a game-player, but there is one Windows game I like to play, a word game called WordJong. Right now, Windows is stopped but Parallels is still running.

That's all I can think of right now. Does this help?

Thanks for your interest.

Sandy
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2013, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I agree that your workflow seems to be very RAM hungry. I wonder if there might be a memory leak somewhere?

If we take a little detour into mice and keyboards, I would like to add my voice in support of Logitech. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the gaming mice (model numbers start with a G) are the most reliable - probably because they assume gamers are violent with their peripherals. The mice that reader posted above seems to be the classic MX518, which isn't made anymore, but the G400 (and G400s) are very similar and can be considered direct successors. The button in the middle on top is best configured for Exposé. The G500 is also worth a look.
How would I know if there is a memory leak somewhere?

I agree about Logitech, this is what we use on the PCs we have. I might consider getting one later on for this iMac. I like the mouse that came with it, but wish that it would not do its own thing, so to speak. I'll be in my calendar, and suddenly might find myself a few months ahead or behind. I made an entry in the wrong month not long ago, glad I caught it. I went into the mouse setting and set it to medium and that doesn't help. I tried slow, and that's not acceptable at all.

Thanks for writing.

Sandy
     
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2013, 07:03 PM
 
The mouse occasionally "jumps" when in use? I'd thought your tracking was too high, but optical mice jumping usually means they're having trouble reading the surface they're on. This can happen especially if they're used on a glass top. The old ball mice didn't have this problem.

You can try laying down a sheet of paper, and using the mouse on that. Or try an old mouse pad, if you have one. If the jumping stops, then you've found the cause. Some laser mice claim to be immune to this problem. I'd use a cheap mouse pad rather than buy a premium mouse.

Regarding your usage pattern, I'd expect Parallels to be the RAM hog. Virtual environments take a lot of resources. You could install Memory Monitor (free) and tweak its prefs to the slowest update inverval. Over a couple hours, it will graph how your memory usage changes. (Free) and (Inactive) RAM are both good, and you can think of them both as free RAM. (Wired) and especially (Active) RAM are used kinds. When the two free types run out, your paging to disk starts.

Memory Monitor only tracks usage at the global level, but over a week you should be able to relate usage changes to specific apps.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 28, 2013, 10:05 AM
 
I wonder which applications are using a lot of RAM. When your Mac is feeling slow, can you check what applications are using the most real RAM and how much that is? You can sort it by "Real Mem" and either take a screenshot or just list the top 10 and their memory usage.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
May 28, 2013, 10:34 PM
 
My bet's on Safari.

If you keep many Safari windows open at the same time, and you don't restart Safari every now and then, it will hog up tons of memory.

-t
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 2, 2013, 09:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The mouse occasionally "jumps" when in use? I'd thought your tracking was too high, but optical mice jumping usually means they're having trouble reading the surface they're on. This can happen especially if they're used on a glass top. The old ball mice didn't have this problem.

You can try laying down a sheet of paper, and using the mouse on that. Or try an old mouse pad, if you have one. If the jumping stops, then you've found the cause. Some laser mice claim to be immune to this problem. I'd use a cheap mouse pad rather than buy a premium mouse.

Regarding your usage pattern, I'd expect Parallels to be the RAM hog. Virtual environments take a lot of resources. You could install Memory Monitor (free) and tweak its prefs to the slowest update inverval. Over a couple hours, it will graph how your memory usage changes. (Free) and (Inactive) RAM are both good, and you can think of them both as free RAM. (Wired) and especially (Active) RAM are used kinds. When the two free types run out, your paging to disk starts.

Memory Monitor only tracks usage at the global level, but over a week you should be able to relate usage changes to specific apps.
Yes, the mouse jumps. I'll try another mouse pad, I have a few old ones. The one I'm using is a thin, large WowPad that I've had for a while, and it has become a bit slick in the middle. Thanks for that tip. But I'm still thinking of getting a wired mouse. This one eats up two batteries every week or two, it seems.

I installed Memory Monitor but will have to learn how to analyze it.

Usage pattern according to Activity Monitor, sorted by Real Mem, at this moment, kernel_task at 1.23 GB, Firefox at 998 MB, Thunderbird at 828 MG, Microsoft Word (not responding) at 284 MB, Parallels at 55.8 MB, Sunbird at about 48 MB but it comes and goes, and everything else is less than that and most things I do not recognize, probably system stuff.

I'll have to Force Quit Word, and I want to restart the computer, and then start monitoring everything, typing notes, as I open each application.

You are very helpful, thanks.

Sandra
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 2, 2013, 09:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I wonder which applications are using a lot of RAM. When your Mac is feeling slow, can you check what applications are using the most real RAM and how much that is? You can sort it by "Real Mem" and either take a screenshot or just list the top 10 and their memory usage.
I did that sort and posted results in other message I just left. Thanks, I had not thought of sorting it that way. I'm going to restart the computer and start typing notes from a fresh start, one app at a time.

I get the spinning ball mostly with Thunderbird, trying to recall. But I'm going to start a log so I will know for sure.

Thanks,
Sandra
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 2, 2013, 09:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
My bet's on Safari.

If you keep many Safari windows open at the same time, and you don't restart Safari every now and then, it will hog up tons of memory.

-t
I'll try again, I was replying to this and the mouse jumped away and I couldn't get back here.

I use Firefox most of the time, but sometimes Safari. I think they both are about equal when it comes to hogging memory. I'm going to start a log of everything I do, and make some comparisons. I'll use Firefox and Safari, one at a time, and also together, and type usage, etc., into my document.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Jun 2, 2013, 04:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
Usage pattern according to Activity Monitor, sorted by Real Mem, at this moment, kernel_task at 1.23 GB, Firefox at 998 MB, Thunderbird at 828 MG,
The Thunderbird RAM usage is just ridiculous. Something's wrong with Thunderbird.

-t
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2013, 04:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
I did that sort and posted results in other message I just left. Thanks, I had not thought of sorting it that way. I'm going to restart the computer and start typing notes from a fresh start, one app at a time.

I get the spinning ball mostly with Thunderbird, trying to recall. But I'm going to start a log so I will know for sure.

Thanks,
Sandra
Thunderbird´s usage is off the charts. That is not right. Are you using the latest version? Any third-party add-ons? Firefox is also high, might be worth cleaning out old extensions if you have them.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2013, 01:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The Thunderbird RAM usage is just ridiculous. Something's wrong with Thunderbird.

-t
Sounds like it. I tried Apple's Mail app a year or so ago, and there was some reason I didn't like it, and I can't remember now what it was. I should have taken notes. I do like Thunderbird, so will need to try to find out what's wrong with it.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2013, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Thunderbird´s usage is off the charts. That is not right. Are you using the latest version? Any third-party add-ons? Firefox is also high, might be worth cleaning out old extensions if you have them.
Yes, I am using the latest version. I always keep my apps/programs up to date, including add-ons and extension. I do not have any for Thunderbird. I do have two add-ons/extension for Firefox, those being Colorful Tabs and Download Helper.

I started a log yesterday, so hope that will help with some of these things. It's looking like I could have fixed what I have rather than buy a new computer, but I'm glad I did. Generally, I'm happier with it. I just need to work on fixing the new one instead of fixing the one I had.

In a few days, I'll post some of the results of the log I'm keeping.

Right now, I'm wondering what this kernel_task is that is using more RAM than anything else.

And my Page outs have been zero since restarting yesterday morning. But I have not yet opened MIcrosoft Word, so it will be interesting to see what changes take place once I do that.

I'll also switch to Safari for a couple of days and not open Firefox and see what the differences are there. This will be an ongoing "project" for a while.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 3, 2013, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
Right now, I'm wondering what this kernel_task is that is using more RAM than anything else.
It's your operating system.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jun 4, 2013, 03:58 AM
 
Yup kernel_task is the OS. All that memory usage is a secondary effect of all the memory you're using elsewhere - for each page of memory that any application uses, the kernel has to store a little bit of data to keep track of it.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 13, 2014, 11:01 AM
 
I'm back again. It's been 10 months now since I bought the new 27-inch iMac. Still having same problems that I had with the old iMac. The new one seemed to be okay for a while, and when it got slow, or I had the spinning ball, I would just close apps and it would somewhat improve, but not all that much.

So, hubby bought more memory and I now have 24GB RAM. He installed it Sunday and then I upgraded to Mavericks same day.

This morning, got the spinning ball way too long. I forget now what I clicked on that triggered the ball. It was probably Firefox or MIcrosoft Word. I'll see how the rest of the day goes as I go along doing things.

So this tells me that all of the problems I have had, with both computers, are not due to not having enough RAM. The same problems have been there with 4 GB, 8GB, and now with 24 GB. There seems to be no difference at all.

The new Activity Monitor in Mavericks is not as easy for me to decipher. The pie chart is gone. Are Reads in and Writes out the same as Page Ins and Page Outs in the previous Activity Monitor?

There is an IO line with blue above and red below. I have no idea what that means. It's also a Data line. When I click on the Memory tab, the box says Memory Pressure. What is memory pressure? That's a new term to me. There is a green bar across the bottom of the Memory Pressure box.

What is the Energy tab supposed to show?

Right now, physical memory says 24.00 GB and Memory Used says 23.92 GB. That cannot be right. No way is it using 23.92 GB. I have FAR less open apps, etc., at the moment than I've had when only a few GBs were being used.

Virtual Memory 24.00 GB and Swap Used is zero bytes.

Anyone have a clue as to what's going on here?

Thanks much,

Sandra
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 13, 2014, 04:01 PM
 
Memory usage is often misunderstood.

One would HOPE that the system is using ALL available memory — if not, it would be wasting resources.

You WANT the system to be using all available RAM — to cache information/data/applications otherwise on disk, that might be useful again later on, and will be available MUCH faster than if they had to be read from a hard disk over again.

Swap being a zero bytes means that you have enough available memory that the system doesn't need to dump stuff to the disk. This is good; it means that whatever is still happening, RAM is not the culprit.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 16, 2014, 09:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Memory usage is often misunderstood.

One would HOPE that the system is using ALL available memory — if not, it would be wasting resources.

You WANT the system to be using all available RAM — to cache information/data/applications otherwise on disk, that might be useful again later on, and will be available MUCH faster than if they had to be read from a hard disk over again.

Swap being a zero bytes means that you have enough available memory that the system doesn't need to dump stuff to the disk. This is good; it means that whatever is still happening, RAM is not the culprit.
You are right, RAM is not my problem. I never thought it was, but others seemed to think so.

Do you know why the Console icon appears in my dock? It is black with yellow "Warning" text and a time on it. Is this just the icon design and not really a warning? The log is not understandable to me. If this means that I have a problem or problems, what should I look for?

I just talked my brother into buying an iMac, going from an older Windows XP machine. We'll go on April 8 to buy it. I sure hope that he doesn't experience any problems. But he is not NEARLY as heavy a user as I am.

Thanks much.
     
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 16, 2014, 01:19 PM
 
The Console icon just says that somehow either Console is open (a little light is shown below open apps), or you've inadvertently added Console to your dock. Control Click on the icon and see if "Remove from Dock" is an available option. If so, just click it to remove the icon from your Dock. Otherwise, just select "Close," and it will go away by itself.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Pacific Northwest
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 17, 2014, 08:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by MizMacFrog View Post
Thunderbird at 828 MG
By any chance do you have a Gmail account that you're syncing with Thunderbird? My wife uses Outlook and our iMac was exhibiting alot of the same symptoms you're talking about. Turns out, Outlook was CONSTANTLY trying to sync thousands of emails. It would never complete and start the cycle over and over and over. Ate up a ton of bandwidth and memory. I changed a bunch of settings and I can't remember what finally did it but it works now. Does Thunderbird have a dialog box that you can have open in the background that shows when it's syncing? On Outlook, it's called "Progress" or something similar.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Memphis, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 17, 2014, 10:31 PM
 
I have one Gmail account coming in through Thunderbird, but it's not one that is used very much. My other e-mail addresses are with Comcast. I never see Thunderbird doing any syncing. It just checks for mail every five minutes and downloads it if there is any. I'll keep my eye on it though, and see if there could be a problem.

Things have been okay today, but I haven't been at the computer much. The spinning ball usually starts when I click to open a program, like the computer doesn't know where to go to find the app and has to think about it before it finds and opens it.

A while ago I was looking at the Activity Monitor, and saw something called "storeagent" that was not responding. I didn't know how to make it stop (it was not in the Force Quit list), so I clicked on it and got a window that had a link something like "launchd" and I clicked on that and the computer restarted.

Things are okay at the moment. I'll try to keep a log of what I clicked on before the spinning ball appears.

Thanks to all of you who have replied to my questions and comments.
     
 
Thread Tools
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:23 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2015 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2