Swap Files: Exactly what is happening?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by kasei, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I currenlty have a 17" 1.33 GHz PowerBook with 1 gig of ram and when ever I check the status of RAM I notice my system is swapping files. I understand some files are cached and being place on my hard drive. My concern is the amount of RAM the process is eating up. Is there a way to limit this process?

  2. macrumors G4

    Jul 17, 2002
    Your OS seems to be working properly. Don't worry about it.
  3. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    This should be done after rebooting, but before letting the machine sleep.

    After you restart, run a normal session of use -- using the machine and programs like you normally do.

    Go to Terminal and type in vm_stat

    Look at pageouts... is it a big number?

    Unless you have a high pageout number, you're most likely not resorting to having to use the VM Manager to much -- aka, you have enough memory so don't worry.

    If it's a high number, you are probably thin on memory.


    Page swaps are energy consuming on a portable, though it should swap the memory to the HD to power the machine down into deep sleep...

    So letting depending on how many times you let the machine sleep, the pageout numbers will be huge -- until you restart the machine.

    EDIT: Page swaps aren't eating up memory, but letting you use more virtual memory than you have physical memory.

    Before in OS 9, we'd be getting a lot of "out of memory" errors as the memory space becomes fragmented or we run out of memory.

    OS X manages memory for us much better so we don't have to worry, just makes things slow at times.
  4. macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    PhysMem:  73.9M wired,  237M active, 97.5M inactive,  408M used,  103M free
    VM: 4.73G + 87.7M
    From typing 'top' into a new Terminal window. All I have is iTunes playing, iChat idling, Mail idling, and Safari browsing the boards.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for the help. My machine goes to sleep quite a bit so that might be at the root of the file swapping.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003

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