Help me understand Activity Monitor

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by umdjb, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. umdjb macrumors regular

    May 27, 2006
    Washington D.C.
    This is what my Activity Monitor looks like after running simple Apps like MS Office (word,excel,powerpoint) Adium, Safari, and Mail. Is it normal to be running at such low levels of free RAM and have so many Page-Outs. I have a 2.16ghz MBP with 1GB RAM. Do I need more RAM? Should I be worried? What does this mean?


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  2. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2006
    I do not have an answer to your question, but remember that Office runs through Rosetta and will use more memory. (Or so I assume.)
  3. Nukemkb macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2006
    Columbia, SC
    Conclusion I have drawn after many searches is that page outs apparently should not exceed 10% of page ins, with 5% being preferrable. You still have plenty of inactive RAM.
  4. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    The Office apps are almost certainly a big drain. Could you post a screenshot of the application window, so we can see how much memory is allocated to each application?
  5. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    Free RAM and Inactive RAM are essentially the same thing. Inactive RAM is RAM that has been used by other apps but is free if the current app you are using needs it. Page ins/outs depend on how long you have the computer on between restarts/log-ins so the number is essentially meaningless.

    You should be ok with 1GB with 3-4 open apps, but 1.5GB - 3GB is the sweet spot nowadays. :)
  6. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    See this article for some details.

    Your page outs are getting up there, so you'd probably benefit from more RAM. But more important is how the system feels to you...if it feels sluggish and you're getting a lot of beachballs, it's probably time for more RAM.
  7. DMann macrumors 601


    Jan 13, 2002
    Activity Monitor

    Actually, your free (inactive RAM) is proportionally quite optimal.
    One of the great features of OS X is its ability to allocate RAM
    with amazing efficiency, allowing those open apps to run idle with
    minimal RAM usage while allocating the majority toward those
    applications which need it at the moment. As SpicyApple said,
    Inactive RAM is basically Free RAM, made available by a previous app. Dashboard apps, however, are RAM guzzlers, even while running in
    the background. If you want to free up more RAM, try closing any
    running Dashboard Widgets when not in use. No need to worry about
    high numbers of Pageouts - simply reboot to bring the number back down. Of course, adding more RAM would certainly speed up your MBP all around. Hope this helps....

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