Activity monitor-RAM

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by dontmatter, May 21, 2004.

  1. dontmatter macrumors 6502a

    Can anybody explain to me what "wired," "active," "inactive," and "free" refer to in RAM, particularly RE the way RAM doesn't clear unless you turn your computer off, and the effects of this? what, besides free, do you want to see when you look there? what does closing applications do?

    Not to mention, what are these three things called WindowServer that are hogging my RAM?

  2. Darwin macrumors 65816


    Jun 2, 2003
    round the corner
    ok here is what Ive heard they are:

    active = normal programs using RAM, Mail Safari, MS Ofiice etc

    inactive = saved memory for Programs that you use regularly or recently

    wired = Ram in use by the System, or Kernel

    free = free Ram not in use

    I think WindowServer is linked to the GUI like the Finder in a way, it is important since quiting it will log you out

    Hope that helps :)
  3. cb911 macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    just dont' panic if you don't see too much free RAM. unused (free) RAM is wasted RAM. ;)

    most of the time you'll probably see alot of RAM inactive, but that means that it is being used by the system, not being 'igorned' as free RAM.

    yea, i think that WindowServer is for the GUI. you could always quit it and find out what happens. :D ;) :p but i dont' recommend that, at least not on your own Mac.

    as for clearing out RAM... if you quit an app, i think it does keep some info in RAM, so that it can launch faster next time. because of that, i tend to just leave apps open if i'm using them alot. usually have about 6-12 apps open at a time.

    when you see people with massive uptimes, that's because they probably log out. logging out helps clear out almost all of your RAM (i think).

    well, hope that helps you.:)
  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    cb911's right - Mac OS X does lots of caching, even when the cached application isn't running (between launches). It uses RAM for some of that cache, and its excellent virtual memory system for the rest of it. As far as clearing out RAM goes, you generally don't need to worry - Mac OS X is designed to make use of RAM for something; whether that's a data cache, an application's memory space, or a system memory space is managed behind the scenes so you don't have to deal with it.
  5. digitalField macrumors regular

    May 21, 2004
    What about the page in page out stats?

    i have heard that it referrences how often your mac has to write info to disk and to retrive it? mabye yes mabye no?

    and ive heard if the number gets pretty high pretty quick then you might want to consider getting more ram.

    any light to be shed?

  6. cb911 macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    hhmmm... you can probably do a search for info about pagein/pageouts. but it's when the RAM is full, it has to write the info the the HD, which is alot slower than writing to RAM.

    but yeah, i think if you're getting alot of pageouts you should either think about getting some more RAM, or about not doing so many things (processes) at once.
  7. dontmatter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thanks all! so helpful to know how stuff actually works....

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