Abnormal RAM utilization? VM/no VM running?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by itwasepic, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. itwasepic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #1
    Hi all,

    I recently posted my concerns with performance on my MBP i7. It's been locking up, sluggish, pinwheels, the works. I ran Activity Monitor and noticed that when my one VM is running, the amount of free RAM is 8-12MB! When the VM is not running, the amount of free RAM is around 2GB and I'm only running iTunes, email, Firefox and iChat. For those that have a similar setup, are these resource utilization numbers normal?

    Also note: I recently did a full system restore from a Time Machine backup. Not sure if it's coincidence but I feel that I've started noticing visible performance issues after I've restored using Time Machine.

    I've only had my MBP for 3 weeks. Should I exchange/return it? Would it be an easy exchange?

    Thoughts? Comments?
     
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #3
    VM is a ram intensive process. Ideally you want like 8gigs for it.
     
  3. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #4
    Hi spinner,

    I'm not really asking how to read the stats in the monitor, I'm asking if my memory usage is abnormal. My friend is running a VM via Fusion on last year's model MBP and he is not having these memory usage statistics that I'm incurring. Read: he's got 4GB RAM and his machine runs smooth. He thinks something is wrong with my setup.
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #5
    How much RAM did you give the VM then? And free RAM is not including the inactive RAM which is kinda free if needed.
     
  5. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #6
    I gave it a 2GB reservation, simply split the total 4GB RAM in half for the OSX and my Windows Xp VM. Even without the VM runninh, is it normal for OSX to be consuming 2GB RAM if I only have iTunes, email, iChat and Firefox running? No other memory intensive apps are running.
     
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #7
    Browsers can be very ram intensive depending on how long you've had them running and what you're currently doing on them.

    Yeah it's normal for osx to consume around 2gigs of ram when doing simple tasks like that. If you gave a vm 2 gigs of ram, it's going to use it up for sure.

    What are your page ins/outs?
     
  7. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 11, 2010
    #8
    With No VM running: Page Ins: 157MB Page Outs: -0-
    With VM running: Page Ins: 2.30GB Page Outs: 150MB

    Thoughts?
     
  8. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #9
    3.1mb page outs to 2gb of page ins is perfectly acceptable. Your problem sounds two fold:

    1: you're reading the free ram is only the free ram, and not free ram+inactive ram (inactive ram will be utilized if it needs to, and thus is free)

    2: locking up and pinwheels are usually the result of your hard drive being slow.
     
  9. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #10
    Just updated my Pages: With VM running: Page Ins: 2.30GB Page Outs: 150MB.

    Also, my Swap is at 709MB.
     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #11
    i am not seeing any problems what so ever here... :confused:
     
  11. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    Nov 5, 2009
    #12
    Could you post your page ins/outs after a couple more hours of vm use? By the looks of it, the page outs are rapidly climbing, which means you'd need more ram.
     
  12. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #13
    Ok, this was more a sanity check. In my post on Apple's website, I said that I am experiencing pinwheels, lag, sluggish load times of applications etc. but I also state that my Activity Monitor seems perfectly normal. You all just confirmed that my Activity Monitor is showing perfectly normal numbers.

    So with that being said, what are your thoughts as to why I'm having poor performance right now?
     
  13. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    #14
    I would say that it depends but it is entirely possible for those application to use 2 GB. I've noticed that Firefox use a lot of memory if you open a lot of tabs and have a lot of plugins active. I will admit though, I sometimes have as many as 20ish tabs open.

    Between the OS, Firefox (and plugins), iTunes (and iTunes help processes), email and iChat 2 GB doesn't sound all that crazy. What else might be running that you aren't seeing though? Worse case, close Firefox or go to 8 GB. OWC I think is selling 8 GB for under $300.



    EDIT:

    To be honest, 4 GB is the min memory that you have have for any single modern, graphical OS without memory constraint issues that is being used day to day applications. VM's are memory hogs, all of them. Trying to bring up a VM AND flip back and forth with the host OS in a 4 GB memory footprint falls cleanly under the category of "Yes, you CAN do it but it won't always be pretty". You need more memory. You would probably get better performance on a MBP 13 with 8 GB. Nothing kill performance like running out of physical memory.

    Just my opinion.
     
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Singapore
    #15
    WRT the slow computer response, could you post what sort of CPU usage you have, disk utilisation (MB/s) from activity monitor, whether its VMware/Parallels etc, what software/RAM utilisation is being run in the VM itself, and any network activity that might be happening.

    for this type of things there are a number of causes, i find that a lot of them relate to Swap memory (happens in the background) - this is where the RAM gets "swapped" to the hard disk to make more room for more important pages. its hard to tell though.
     
  15. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #16
    ===No VM Running==
    Network: Peak -- 40 Packets/sec. Data 33 KB /sec.
    Data Read: 1.84GB Data Written 1.49GB
    Data Read/sec: 34KB
    Data Written/sec: 22KB
    Data Peak: 462KB/sec
    IO Peak: 12 IO/sec
    Reads in/sec: 0
    Writes out/sec: 52

    ===VM Running===
    Network: Peak -- 40 Packets/sec. Data 33 KB /sec.
    Data Read: 2.21GB Data Written 1.58GB
    Data Read/sec: 218KB
    Data Written/sec: 613KB
    Data Peak: 22.4MB/sec
    IO Peak: 313 IO/sec
    Reads in/sec: 0
    Writes out/sec: 15
    Threads: 295
    Processes: 63
    % User: 1.4
    % System: 27
    % Idle: 71
     
  16. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #17
    nothing out of the ordinary there - exactly what you would expect - unfortunately :(

    what VM software do you run?
     
  17. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #18
    I fear you are probably right. The reason I say "fear" is that I would love to have a Macbook Air but for its severe memory constrains. The conventional wisdom seems to be that, even if the MBA is upgraded, it will have no more than 4Gb of RAM. Unfortunately, I run several Windows apps under Windows 7 running in a VMware Fusion virtual machine in Unity mode. With 6 or 8Gb of RAM such a setup runs like a champ but with only 4Gb I fear that problems would arise. Oh, well, so far at least, Apple hasn't upgraded the MBA at all.
     
  18. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 11, 2010
    #19
    Fusion 3.1.0

    I just bought this Macbook Pro two weeks ago. I'm a new convert from PC. This has been a slightly frustrating experience. My Dell 6400 doesn't have this delayed response when clicking an icon. Even typing in a PowerPoint presentation within my VM has latency. Unreal and very frustrating.

    Is it possible to bring this laptop back to the store to have it exchanged? Or will I be hassled?
     
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Location:
    Singapore
    #20
    im sorry to hear of your bad experience. even on my 2006 MBP (specs in sig) there is ZERO lag once it has started up with the VM.

    i would consider attempting to run the VM in Parallels 5 first (demo is available) - see if the problems are the same, if so, take it to apple for them to check it out. you wont be hassled but you may need to make an appointment.
     
  20. itwasepic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 11, 2010
    #21
    Not sure if this matters but 1.6GB in the SWAP after my VM was running for a bit.
     
  21. warrena macrumors member

    warrena

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Location:
    DFW area
    #22
    Add more memory

    I am running a 2009 MBP 15 2.53 with VMware 3.1.0 with no speed or performance issues. I found that 8GB of ram is almost required for good performance and I also upgraded my HD to 7200 RPM which also helps. I typically run in unity mode with several apps open - excel, outlook, powerpoint etc. as well as multiple Mac native apps. I run Menu Meters to keep track of how much memory, cpu, etc. is being used on the fly. VMware is very memory intensive - I have my main XP VM set to 2GB.

    I tend to suspend the VM before putting the mac to sleep - would be great to use an SSD but I think Apple needs to implement Trim before I go there due to how much writing is done to the disk. Also - time machine does not backup your VM by default so you might want to check that unless you already have.

    Warren
     
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
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    Singapore
    #23
    what programs was this running in the VM? 1.6GB is nothing to be afraid of :) once it gets higher then your physical RAM in a day or 2 then you have something to worry about.

    edit: warrena raises some good points but i dont think upgrading RAM is the actually issue here :)
     
  23. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #24
    Going from 2.3gb page ins and 150mb of page outs to 1.6gb of page outs in only a matter of hours is definitely something to worry about, and it's definitely a memory issue. It also confirms what I've heard about vmfusion-- it demands a large amount of memory to perform without lag (compared to parallels)

    As I said before in the topic, you're gonna want 8gigs of ram in your macbook pro.

    An 800mb swap size is stupendously huge too.
     
  24. warrena macrumors member

    warrena

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Location:
    DFW area
    #25
    I ran on 4GB of ram (same VMware config) for about a week before upgrading to 8GB. I found the system was sluggish when running a lot of native apps as well as apps in the VM. If I ran only native mac apps (no VM) the system performance was great, if I ran just the VM without any mac apps, performance was good, running multiple IM's, Skype, browsers, (Chrome, Safari multiple tabs) as well as iTunes, mail, etc. all ate into memory and I typically had a lot more swap use.

    After upgrading the memory my swap usage now is 1MB used - I have been running about a week since restarting. Not sure if there is a memory leak in VMware but I typically have to shut it down and restart it every week or so - could be XP though.

    I also typically start up in 64bit mode and that seems to give a little better performance.
     

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