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Using a lot of RAM
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Dec 29, 2013, 02:04 AM
 
I have a 2009 MacBook Pro 17 inch. I just upgraded my RAM from 4GB to 8GB, and I've noticed that my RAM usage is high even when I am not running any applications.

I do a lot of video and photo editing, but I wouldn't think this would use much while applications for those tasks are closed.

In the Energy Saver in the control panel, I have the graphics set to "Higher Performance."
In the Activity Monitor, my top three processes are "kernel_task 669.6MB," "com.apple.IconServicesAgent 142.4MB," and "Safari Web Content 129.1 MB."

Thanks
     
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Dec 29, 2013, 11:15 AM
 
An operating system that is leaving RAM unused is one that does not make efficient use of resources.

If you have free RAM at any time, it is being wasted, while the system could be using it to speed up your work — by using it as a disk cache, by keeping the last-launched applications/files ready in case you launch them again, etc.

What IS relevant is the used swap space on your hard drive — when the system runs out of memory, it will page out to the hard disk, and when you switch applications, it will page back in from the hard disk and swap out the active memory. If THOSE numbers are high in Activity Viewer, THEN you are looking at problems.

Otherwise, full RAM is a sign of a system running exactly as it should.

For what it's worth, "kernel_task" is the actual operating system core (mine is at 1GB), and my Safari webcontent processes (I have about twenty of them, as each page gets its own in Mavericks) total about 750 MB.

Memory management has been drastically improved and made vastly more efficient in Mavericks, BTW.
     
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Dec 29, 2013, 01:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
An operating system that is leaving RAM unused is one that does not make efficient use of resources.

If you have free RAM at any time, it is being wasted, while the system could be using it to speed up your work — by using it as a disk cache, by keeping the last-launched applications/files ready in case you launch them again, etc.
Makes perfect sense. Thank You.

Can you explain this disk swap data for me a bit more? I understand it's purpose. How is it measured? What is a good level and what are the units?

Thanks.
     
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Dec 29, 2013, 01:02 PM
 
Excuse me - the swap space. How do I know how much I need and how do I find out how much I have?
     
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Dec 29, 2013, 02:19 PM
 
Activity Viewer, under "memory", it will tell you how much has been paged out/in, or the swap space, depending upon system version.

How much are you seeing?
     
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Dec 29, 2013, 09:02 PM
 
Just FYI, "Paging" is a technique that the OS uses to shift data from RAM to or from secondary storage (the hard drive) depending on a bunch of rules within the OS. RAM is segmented into "pages," and pages that aren't used recently can be shifted to the hard drive to free up faster RAM storage for current processes. When that data is again needed, it's retrieved from the drive and placed in the appropriate place in RAM.

"Page out" means data is shifted from RAM to the drive, and "page in" is the opposite.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Dec 29, 2013, 10:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
Excuse me - the swap space. How do I know how much I need and how do I find out how much I have?
You should have at least 2GB of disk space free at all times, on modern size drives. The OS will manage how much swap space it needs.
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 09:51 AM
 
OK. Right now my "Swap Used" is zero, but I'm not doing anything heavy at the moment. I'll try to note it next time I do some photos and videos.

How do I know how much swap space I have? Is there a way to increase it?
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 11:32 AM
 
The potential swap space you have is the free space on your hard disk.

If the system and applications require more RAM than you actually have installed, they will automatically spill over into a swap file on your hard drive, which will increase and wane in size as necessary. You have no direct control over this, and you do not want to mess with this at all.
This is why it is important to keep space free on your hard drive.

Run your system with all applications and projects open that you are likely to use, and check the activity viewer again for an idea of where you stand.
     
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Jan 26, 2014, 03:49 PM
 
Swap isn't the only use of "free space" on the disk by the os. But filling up your hd isn't usually a concern.
     
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Feb 7, 2014, 11:10 PM
 
OK, I'm a bit confused with how the swap space works, but no big deal. At least I know why my memory usage is so high. Thank you all!!!
     
   
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