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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > G5 eats Ram

G5 eats Ram
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RayK
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Sep 28, 2005, 11:40 PM
 
I'll be running Safari, iChat, mail, and sometimes EyeTV and World of Warcraft. After about 10 hours uptime all RAM is shown as used by the Activity Monitor. If I close out of all Applications all ram is still inactive. Very little of my 2.5 GB is freed up. Around 238 is freed. What's up? Is it a bad memory leak or Bad RAM? I stopped using Dashboard because of this. How can I fix?
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RayK  (op)
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Sep 28, 2005, 11:46 PM
 
Just to add it makes my system VERY sluggish.
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buggsuperstar
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Sep 29, 2005, 06:59 AM
 
I think there's a memory leak in Safari.

Close Sarafi and see how much RAM is recovered.
     
chabig
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Sep 29, 2005, 10:26 AM
 
Nothing is wrong with your machine. Did you pay all that money so your RAM would remain unused? OS X will correctly manage your memory and you don't need to worry about it. In most cases, it will use all of your RAM no matter how much you have installed. That's the way it's supposed to work.

See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107918

It is certainly possible that Safari has a memory leak, but I think we would have heard about it by now if it did, and we haven't.

Chris
     
OogaBooga
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Sep 29, 2005, 10:28 AM
 
Also, this is Unix we're talking about, and I'd bet most of that used RAM is used for caches to make things faster. As soon as you start needing more RAM, you'll get it.

Be happy all your RAM is being used. I've seen Safari take up over 200Mb in my Activity Monitor, but I only have 512Mb. Once in a while I'll notice a little swapping but I can live with it.
     
Big Mac
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Sep 29, 2005, 11:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by RayK
Just to add it makes my system VERY sluggish.
It's not your G5. It's a topic that has been discussed repeatedly. The inactive RAM is available to other applications that need it. HOWEVER, 512MB of RAM is a minimum; you will experience smoother operation and a speed up with additional RAM.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
chabig
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Sep 29, 2005, 12:37 PM
 
Big Mac, he said he has 2.5 GB of RAM.
     
Gelfling
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Sep 29, 2005, 06:52 PM
 
Free RAM is wasted RAM.

Ok, now here is the low down on how OS X catagorises RAM:

Active: is ram that is being used.
Inactive: is ram that has been used in the past, but is now free for other apps that need it.
Free: is ram that has not been used at all.
Wired: is ram that is being used and can never ever be swapped out onto the harddisk.

Some memory utilities will report only the "Free" ram as the amount of ram you have free. Other memory utilities will add the "Free" and "Inactive" ram stats together to tell you the amount of ram you have free.

The other thing to realise is that OS X will use inactive ram as a disk cache, it will use as much of this ram as it wants, however it has low priority, and the instant an application needs the same ram, the OS will give it over.

In general don't fret about the memory allocation in OS X, especially if you have over 512MB.
"The giant Grof was hit in one eye by a stone, and that eye turned inward so that it looked into his mind, and he died of what he saw there" -- The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Patricia A. McKillip
     
imacgeek
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Oct 5, 2005, 11:00 PM
 
your prob could be that you have too many programs open which woould cause a RAM "meltdown" but it sounds ublikely with that much. Try cheking when your programs are all closed and see how muchis free. Secondly the ram has diff. parts for diff. operatoins and how free it is changes often so...
     
gto47
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Oct 14, 2005, 12:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by RayK
I'll be running Safari, iChat, mail, and sometimes EyeTV and World of Warcraft. After about 10 hours uptime all RAM is shown as used by the Activity Monitor. If I close out of all Applications all ram is still inactive. Very little of my 2.5 GB is freed up. Around 238 is freed. What's up? Is it a bad memory leak or Bad RAM? I stopped using Dashboard because of this. How can I fix?
I've had problems like this before, and different solutions seemed to work each time. The first time it happened it seemed to be a problem with the finder. I would have no programs running but processor usage would run high, as would memory usage. When i reinstalled the operating system everything was fine again. There is always the possibility of some runaway process that you don't know abou, so be sure to run top in the terminal to double check there isn't anything funky going on.

Memory management is not perfect in os x. My number one culprit for computer slowdown is ALWAYS the swap partition. Unlike most systems that run unix based software, which have an independent swap partition of a fixed size, mac os x utilizes a set of swap files which dynamically adjust when swap space is needed. When your ram fills up from running warcraft and eyetv the overflow is cached in an invisibile location on your hard drive. Your hard drive is very slow in comparison to your memory. I have this problem often when working on design projects where i have video, large image files going in different programs. Video is always a memory hog, so i suspect this is whats causing the problem. Mac os x makes swap files in /var/vm. They are called swapfile0, swapfile1, etc. In theory, os x should delete these when they are not needed. Unfortunately, up until Tiger these swap files were not removed ever, as far as i could tell. I think in Tiger there is a script that gets run periodically that removes these because i see the swap file getting smaller when i don't have programs in use. Despite the fact that it has this capability, it does not remove the swap files quickly enough to do me any good when i'm in the middle of a project. I suspect this is a maintinence script, set to be run overnight or some such which is not a real world solution. What i usually end up doing is deleting them manually through the terminal. So you would do something like. sudo -s then enter in user name and password. Then cd /var/vm Check to see how much crap is in there and delete all but two of the swap files by using the rm -r command. It would look something like this rm -r /var/vm/swapfile5, then you'd do it again for the next one: rm -r /var/vm/swapfile4. If your computer speeds up after this then you that this is your problem. Frustratingly, mac os x doesn't seem to be able to create more swap files after you do this, which may cause system performance to suffer if you are running a lot of programs later on. A good way to monitor your swap file size is using a program called menumeters. Its free, download at www.macupdate.com/menumeters . I find that if its over 512mb it starts hurting. The hard drive is just not fast enough to handle running files, programs, and huge block of cached information. What ends up happening is that the swap space which may or may not actually be getting used takes the hard drive read/writes hostage from your programs which totally defeats the purpose of caching the information in the first place. Throw spotlight indexing into the mix (a very hard drive intensive task) and the result is crippling. Turning off dashboard is not likely to help at all. If you do anything, turn off spotlight(there are many programs to do this). I use a program called Xupport that you can also find on macupdate that lets me move the swapfile to an alternate hard drive. There are other programs that can do it as well. This removes much of the congestion problems. I have a dual 2.0 G5 with 1GB ram, and i can tell you that there have been times when it has been slower than my old 400mhz imac due to this problem.
( Last edited by gto47; Oct 14, 2005 at 12:20 PM. )
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mduell
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Oct 14, 2005, 01:57 PM
 
All of your RAM being used isn't surprising. Most of the modern OSs use "unused" RAM as a cache for the hard drive (e.g. WinXP is currently using 1.4GB RAM for system cache on my laptop). But when another program needs that RAM, it should be given up immediately and your computer should not be sluggish under such light load with so much RAM.
I don't think it's a hardware problem; your RAM is probably fine. Is it name brand RAM, or some generic OEM-only stuff?
I think it's more likely a software problem.
     
Eriamjh
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Oct 17, 2005, 07:53 AM
 
Stop looking at your RAM monitor and tell us how the machine performs? Is it peppy, speedy, or sluggish and slow? If it is the former, go back to work. If it is the latter, well... add more!

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RayK  (op)
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Oct 17, 2005, 12:16 PM
 
I ran the cron scripts and ran the disk utility and now it runs well. thanks.
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