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Mrguidogenio
Jul 31, 2011, 07:41 PM
Since yesterday, my MacBook Pro 13" 2011 with 4 GB of RAM started doing a strange thing: A lot of times my Inactive RAM will go from 200 MB to 1.3 GB, making my free RAM less than 100 MB and slowing down the machine. I have to fire up Terminal and type "purge" in order to restore my Free RAM to almost 2 GB again and the system to normal state.

I have inspected my Activity Monitor and neither process appears to use lot of CPU nor RAM. I don't understand why the Inactive RAM is doing this.

Anyone else experiencing this too since the Lion upgrade?



Nuckinfuts
Jul 31, 2011, 08:06 PM
Since yesterday, my MacBook Pro 13" 2011 with 4 GB of RAM started doing a strange thing: A lot of times my Inactive RAM will go from 200 MB to 1.3 GB, making my free RAM less than 100 MB and slowing down the machine. I have to fire up Terminal and type "purge" in order to restore my Free RAM to almost 2 GB again and the system to normal state.

I have inspected my Activity Monitor and neither process appears to use lot of CPU nor RAM. I don't understand why the Inactive RAM is doing this.

Anyone else experiencing this too since the Lion upgrade?

Inactive RAM is just stale RAM... it's not Wired or Active...

Quad5Ny
Jul 31, 2011, 08:11 PM
More precisely Inactive memory is old active memory that's no longer in use. It's kept cached incase a application needs it again, therefore reducing launch/load times.

The system and/or application can request to free inactive memory or move it back to the active pool at any time to make use of it.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1342

gentlefury
Jul 31, 2011, 08:20 PM
Inactive is just what it means...inactive...why does inactive ram concern you? Inactive means it is doing nothing.

Mrguidogenio
Jul 31, 2011, 09:19 PM
People, I know what's Inactive RAM. The fact is that it gets suddenly form 200 MB to 1.5 GB, SLOWS down my Mac and freezes everything. It won't get released, so To take control I have to use the "purge" command.
This is not normal. It freezes my Mac.

Nuckinfuts
Jul 31, 2011, 10:42 PM
People, I know what's Inactive RAM. The fact is that it gets suddenly form 200 MB to 1.5 GB, SLOWS down my Mac and freezes everything. It won't get released, so To take control I have to use the "purge" command.
This is not normal. It freezes my Mac.

Inactive RAM is freed...

From http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1342:
Inactive memory

This information in memory is not actively being used, but was recently used.

For example, if you've been using Mail and then quit it, the RAM that Mail was using is marked as Inactive memory. This Inactive memory is available for use by another application, just like Free memory. However, if you open Mail before its Inactive memory is used by a different application, Mail will open quicker because its Inactive memory is converted to Active memory, instead of loading Mail from the slower hard disk.

Mrguidogenio
Aug 1, 2011, 10:23 AM
Inactive RAM is freed...

Why nobody understands? The Inactive RAM FREEZES my Mac and it won't unfreeze unless I manually run "purge". Why nobody understands what I mean?

This is not normal. The Mac becomes slow as hell.

tom5304
Aug 1, 2011, 10:25 AM
Why nobody understands? The Inactive RAM FREEZES my Mac and it won't unfreeze unless I manually run "purge". Why nobody understands what I mean?

This is not normal. The Mac becomes slow as hell.

I think people are being purposely obtuse.

Lion is a mess. Many of us are experiencing this first-hand, others don't want to know.

HellDiverUK
Aug 1, 2011, 10:31 AM
Why nobody understands? The Inactive RAM FREEZES my Mac and it won't unfreeze unless I manually run "purge". Why nobody understands what I mean?

This is not normal. The Mac becomes slow as hell.


No, it doesn't. Something freezes your Mac, but it's not inactive RAM.

Mrguidogenio
Aug 1, 2011, 10:35 AM
No, it doesn't. Something freezes your Mac, but it's not inactive RAM.

Then why before it freezes my Inactive RAM is 200 MB, after freezing I can see in Activity Monitor that it's 1.5 GB, after I Purge the Mac it restores to normal and the Inactive becomes 200 MB again?
Nor process is taking the whole CPU nor the whole Active RAM.

HellDiverUK
Aug 1, 2011, 10:38 AM
Some program or app is hogging RAM, simple.

Mrguidogenio
Aug 1, 2011, 10:40 AM
Some program or app is hogging RAM, simple.

Could be, but I don't see anything weird in Activity Monitor.
Could a PRAM o SMC reset hep in this situation? I have never done them before.

HellDiverUK
Aug 1, 2011, 10:50 AM
Doubt it, but no harm in trying.

Nuckinfuts
Aug 1, 2011, 11:02 AM
Why nobody understands? The Inactive RAM FREEZES my Mac and it won't unfreeze unless I manually run "purge". Why nobody understands what I mean?

This is not normal. The Mac becomes slow as hell.

You don't understand how RAM works, if your Inactive RAM jumps, that means that some program just exited that used the difference. Something else is causing your Mac to freeze.

gentlefury
Aug 1, 2011, 12:29 PM
You don't understand how RAM works, if your Inactive RAM jumps, that means that some program just exited that used the difference. Something else is causing your Mac to freeze.

yes, something is slamming your ram, freezing it, then crashing...therefore sending all your ram into inactive.

Quad5Ny
Aug 1, 2011, 03:18 PM
Can you post a picture of your memory usage in Activity Monitor so we can see Page ins, Page outs and Swap used.

Objectivist-C
Aug 2, 2011, 05:42 AM
I think people are being purposely obtuse.



No, you're both thick as hell. Restating the posted support doc: inactive memory will be overwritten as needed, with no performance penalty relative to free memory. Free memory is wasted memory; a "smart" OS will fill it with prefetched data ( la Windows Vista/7).

If you're having performance problems, the root cause lies elsewhere.

bengtc
Aug 2, 2011, 08:07 AM
I've noticed that when I have less than 200MB or so of free ram that my computer is slow as hell. Even though there is plenty of inactive ram

exzador
Aug 2, 2011, 11:09 PM
I'm afraid I don't have a solution, but I can at least echo Mrguidogenio's sentiment. I've seen Inactive Memory eat up Free like crazy, as much as 1.5GBs. It gets to the point that it force the system to page out which does indeed slow down performance. I picked up a little utility from the Mac App store called iCleanMemory that will reclaim some RAM, but this is a band aid on a larger problem. I'm hoping a point update to Lion will patch a lot of these annoyances. Here's a screen shot of what my activity monitor often looks like: http://cl.ly/3U1P360j2E3D353C272Q

Nuckinfuts
Aug 3, 2011, 07:06 AM
I'm afraid I don't have a solution, but I can at least echo Mrguidogenio's sentiment. I've seen Inactive Memory eat up Free like crazy, as much as 1.5GBs. It gets to the point that it force the system to page out which does indeed slow down performance. I picked up a little utility from the Mac App store called iCleanMemory that will reclaim some RAM, but this is a band aid on a larger problem. I'm hoping a point update to Lion will patch a lot of these annoyances. Here's a screen shot of what my activity monitor often looks like: http://cl.ly/3U1P360j2E3D353C272Q

Inactive RAM cannot cause Page outs, period. Understand RAM before you start diagnosing it.

paulsalter
Aug 3, 2011, 07:26 AM
Inactive RAM cannot cause Page outs, period. Understand RAM before you start diagnosing it.

I think you might be misreading what he wrote, or I am very confused also

eg

Free Ram = 50 MB
Inactive RAM = 500 MB

If I launch another app that requires large amounts of RAM, I understand that this should use the Inactive Ram as I dont have enough Free RAM available

What seems to happen is that instead of using the Inactive RAM, this new app starts paging out because there is not enough Free RAM

So in a way Inactive RAM is causing page outs as it is not releasing this RAM for other Apps

just tested this

had 80 MB free
600 MB inactive

launched Aperture
free went down to 10MB free
inactive stayed at 600
page outs went to 500 MB

closed Aperture
free went to 500MB
inactive went to 100MB

GreyMatta
Aug 3, 2011, 01:52 PM
I think you might be misreading what he wrote, or I am very confused also

eg

Free Ram = 50 MB
Inactive RAM = 500 MB

If I launch another app that requires large amounts of RAM, I understand that this should use the Inactive Ram as I dont have enough Free RAM available

What seems to happen is that instead of using the Inactive RAM, this new app starts paging out because there is not enough Free RAM

So in a way Inactive RAM is causing page outs as it is not releasing this RAM for other Apps

just tested this

had 80 MB free
600 MB inactive

launched Aperture
free went down to 10MB free
inactive stayed at 600
page outs went to 500 MB

closed Aperture
free went to 500MB
inactive went to 100MB

I get the same thing. Just put another 4 GB in my 2010 mac mini and I'm getting more page outs in Lion than I ever had in Snow Leopard

ztrafe
Aug 3, 2011, 02:08 PM
I think inactive memory is memory that can by released by the application if other applications need it, but it can take time for the application to handle it. which causes page outs. 4GB generally causes lot of page outs, even for basic stuff.

nutmac
Aug 3, 2011, 02:53 PM
I think inactive memory is memory that can by released by the application if other applications need it, but it can take time for the application to handle it. which causes page outs.
More importantly, just because memory is marked as inactive doesn't mean it can always be freed. Inactive memory could be due to (1) app that has been terminated (in which case OS can reclaim it) or (2) app just hasn't been used in awhile. For the later case, Lion now has "sudden termination" feature. That is, if an app has "sudden termination" support, Lion can reclaim its inactive memory for other apps.

egremyl
Apr 24, 2012, 03:37 AM
There are evident problems in memory management in os x ...

please, take a look at my post: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3899357
also, i recorded a screen video, where the system starts to hang when all the free memory is gone, and inactive memory is 4-5 GB ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5wZwZh61_4&feature=player_embedded

yalag
May 5, 2012, 12:52 PM
hey is there any update to this? I find the macbook pro of mine becomes very slow after 1-2 days of use. This is ridiculous, what is this a windows? I'm forced to reboot to get the speed back? WTF?

GGJstudios
May 5, 2012, 12:55 PM
hey is there any update to this? I find the macbook pro of mine becomes very slow after 1-2 days of use. This is ridiculous, what is this a windows? I'm forced to reboot to get the speed back? WTF?
You don't need to reboot. When you're experiencing slow performance, do the following:
Launch Activity Monitor
Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
Click on the CPU column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top).
Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
Take a screen shot (http://guides.macrumors.com/Taking_Screenshots_in_Mac_OS_X) of the whole Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
Post your screenshots (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=14126379&postcount=16).

yalag
May 5, 2012, 12:56 PM
You don't need to reboot. When you're experiencing slow performance, do the following:
Launch Activity Monitor
Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
Click on the CPU column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top).
Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
Take a screen shot (http://guides.macrumors.com/Taking_Screenshots_in_Mac_OS_X) of the whole Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
Post your screenshots (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=14126379&postcount=16).

Ok I'll come back and post after 1-2 days, I just rebooted.

spalda2
Nov 25, 2012, 06:27 PM
No, you're both thick as hell. Restating the posted support doc: inactive memory will be overwritten as needed, with no performance penalty relative to free memory. Free memory is wasted memory; a "smart" OS will fill it with prefetched data ( la Windows Vista/7).

If you're having performance problems, the root cause lies elsewhere.

Actually no:)

The fact is (as some others have mentioned already) that Lion seemingly randomly converts practically all free mem to an "inactive" one (whatever that means in Apple's Lion language. and i appreaciate what it should mean).

When all free mem is almost exhausted in the above mentioned "conversion" process then any activity can and sometimes does cause system to completely freeze. Before it perceptably slows down.

And yes, it never happened on Snow Leopard. On Snow Leopard it did behave as "proper" inactive mem.

throAU
Nov 25, 2012, 09:06 PM
Inactive RAM is largely disk cache. Pretend to yourself "inactive" ram is free ram (because, essentially, it is), and move on.