Please help me understand system memory

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ipoddin, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. ipoddin macrumors 6502a

    ipoddin

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    I'd like a little better understanding of my memory usage. I go in to Activity monitor (or use a widget) and see "wired," "active," and "inactive"

    What does each mean? For instance, currently I have Dashboard, Firefox, and Quicksilver running and here are the results:

    Wired: 229.26mb
    Active: 388.96mb
    Inactive: 631.56mb

    Free: 797.59mb

    I'm using 1.2gb of memory and that seems like a lot. Now I do have alot of widgets, so I could try disabling some. However, right now, I'd just like to understand what all the memory readings mean. Thanks.
     
  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816

    emptyCup

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    #2
    Wired: Memory that is currently in use for something so important that the application requires it to be in memory at all times

    Active: Memory that is currently in use but which may be swapped out to disk when necessary (and brought back when needed)

    Inactive: Memory that was in use but is not currently needed. It constitutes a cache of things that can be accessed quickly if they are needed again or disposed of if the space is needed for something else.

    Free: unused. Typically only high after a restart. Free and Inactive together make up what most people think of as Free (available).
     
  3. ipoddin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ipoddin

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    Ah. That makes it clearer. Thought something must be wrong. Thanks.
     
  4. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #4
    For future reference, here is the official word from Apple on memory. But yes, emptyCup gave you a great explanation.
     

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