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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac OS X > Memory page outs: Can it be zero?

Memory page outs: Can it be zero?
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Eug
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May 12, 2011, 09:13 AM
 
I have 8 GB in my iMac. I have room for 4 to 8 GB more.

I do get some page outs from time to time. In the last little while since reboot I've used the machine lightly or moderately, and right now I'm sitting at only 324 MB worth of page outs, vs. 1.48 GB of page ins. Swap used is 20 MB.

How should I interpret these numbers?

Quite frankly, I'm fine with 8 GB but memory, as it's a HUGE improvement over 4 GB, but since memory is so cheap these days and I can expense part of it, I was gonna add more.

My usage is mostly light, but ever so often I fire up Aperture and other image editing programs, as well as do some video encoding in the background. I usually don't run VMware anymore though.
     
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May 12, 2011, 10:03 AM
 
Well with only 20MB of swap your not exceeding your 8GB of physical memory. The OS likes to page out unused allocated memory even though there's plenty of physical memory just in case. For example, haven't used your printer in an hour, page it to disk.

So the total MB/GB of paging isn't really useful, its pages / sec. Launch the programs into your normal usage situation and then look at active+wired memory vs the total.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 8, 2011, 12:32 AM
 
I have 12 GB now, and I've been getting the dreaded beachball in Lion Safari.

I have zero pageouts, and I've got 5 GB of physical RAM free. However, Safari and Safari Web Content are using over 1.5 GB RAM, with just three browser windows open, and no tabs.



BTW, any reason my VM size needs to be 0.26 Terabytes?
     
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Oct 8, 2011, 07:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
BTW, any reason my VM size needs to be 0.26 Terabytes?
Mine is the same. It's nothing to worry about, and is pretty meaningless. It's like asking, "Does my car odometer really need 7 digits?"
     
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Oct 8, 2011, 09:57 AM
 
Whatever's causing the beach ball has nothing to do with lack of memory.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 8, 2011, 10:14 AM
 
I'm thinking it's partially related to memory usage, but Safari memory usage, and like you suggest, not overall memory usage. Usually if I reset Safari and the memory drops back down to normal, then the beachballs disappear.

Then it works fine again for a while, but if I then use Safari for a few days without quitting it and the memory goes back to insane levels, the beachballs reappear.

I would have hoped adding more memory would solve the problems associated with apps like Safari that are memory hogs, but I guess not.
     
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Oct 8, 2011, 10:38 AM
 
I may be wrong, but I believe we need to rethink our expectations. First, in a modern OS, the user isn't supposed to be concerned with memory management. As has been said over and over, the OS and the apps are always going to make use of whatever memory is available in the machine. That's just good design, because the more memory an app uses the more responsive it should be. It used to be that users complained about free memory being too low, and some still do but I see that less and less. Now the discussion is shifting to application memory use. Doesn't the same rationale apply here?

That said, memory leaks are bad. I am not convinced that Activity Monitor gives us enough information to identify memory leaks. There are probably developer tools to do that.

Finally, Lion is still relatively new, and Apple changed Safari a lot under the hood. There are bound to be some bugs. 10.7.2 will be out next week. I read some good things about it, including improved performance. Let's see.
     
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Oct 8, 2011, 10:25 PM
 
Echoing chabig's comment, I was appalled to see that some of the most popular Utilities in the Mac App Store are ones that claim to manually free up memory. And people actually rate them very highly, too. Not having used them, it sounds like these apps force the OS to purge inactive memory so that it goes back to being green "Free" memory, and as a result people naively believe they're gaining some performance benefit.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Oct 8, 2011, 11:03 PM
 
They must not be very alert. Purging Inactive will have the opposite effect, introducing noticeable delays.

Strike my last. They must not be very bright. Big Mac, any chance you can get a "customer listing" for App Store purchases? There could be a business opportunity here. People who would buy such a utility might buy left-handed wrenches too, at our special order price.
     
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Oct 8, 2011, 11:27 PM
 
Very funny! I'm not a coder but I have a great idea for an app that frees up disk space...
     
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Oct 11, 2011, 01:47 AM
 
If you're interested, here's the link to the most popular "utility" of its kind, Free Memory. I've already sent a complaint about one of the reviews in and encourage others who are annoyed by this to do so as well. On the bright side it's a free app (I've seen some $.99 ones), but it's still deceptive and gives the OS a bad name. I can't believe Apple approved such a class of apps.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Oct 12, 2011, 01:35 PM
 
So, have others been seeing the Safari memory hogginess?

I know others have seen the beachballs.
     
   
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