Inactive RAM taking over!

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Mrguidogenio, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Mrguidogenio, Jul 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Mrguidogenio

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    Argentina
    #1
    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?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Inactive RAM is just stale RAM... it's not Wired or Active...
     
  3. Quad5Ny, Jul 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    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
     
  4. macrumors 68030

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    Inactive is just what it means...inactive...why does inactive ram concern you? Inactive means it is doing nothing.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Mrguidogenio

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Inactive RAM is freed...

     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Mrguidogenio

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2005
    #8
    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.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

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    #9

    No, it doesn't. Something freezes your Mac, but it's not inactive RAM.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors regular

    Mrguidogenio

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    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

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  12. thread starter macrumors regular

    Mrguidogenio

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    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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  14. macrumors 6502

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    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors 68030

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    #15
    yes, something is slamming your ram, freezing it, then crashing...therefore sending all your ram into inactive.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Can you post a picture of your memory usage in Activity Monitor so we can see Page ins, Page outs and Swap used.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

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    #17
    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 (à la Windows Vista/7).

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

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    Oct 29, 2008
    #18
    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
     
  19. macrumors newbie

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    Aug 2, 2011
    #19
    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
     
  20. macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Inactive RAM cannot cause Page outs, period. Understand RAM before you start diagnosing it.
     
  21. paulsalter, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011

    macrumors 68000

    paulsalter

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    #21
    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
     
  22. macrumors regular

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    England
    #22
    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
     
  23. macrumors member

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    Sweden
    #23
    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.
     
  24. macrumors 68030

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    Mar 30, 2004
    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors newbie

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    #25

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