After upgrading RAM on Mac mini (Late 2012)

Kevtech1

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Sep 10, 2009
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I upgraded my MAC Mini with some MAC certified Crucial RAM from the 4gb standard to 16gb. While its running a ton faster and just overall better I have noticed while watching the Activity monitor that my utilization has slowly increased over the last few days since the upgrade. Memory pressure graphic is really low but my memory used is around 11/12gb of the 16gb?? Other than this Activity Monitor the only other program I have open on the desktop is Safari with 5 web tabs?? Any ideas why its running high now?
 

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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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I upgraded my MAC Mini with some MAC certified Crucial RAM from the 4gb standard to 16gb. While its running a ton faster and just overall better I have noticed while watching the Activity monitor that my utilization has slowly increased over the last few days since the upgrade. Memory pressure graphic is really low but my memory used is around 11/12gb of the 16gb?? Other than this Activity Monitor the only other program I have open on the desktop is Safari with 5 web tabs?? Any ideas why its running high now?
You can try restarting your Mac with the option reopen windows when logging back in unticked. This will prevent any background memory leaks/tasks from reoccuring and reopening.

Also a large uptime (time since last shutdown) can compound memory usage. You can verify this by opening Terminal and typing in uptime, then pressing Enter. In the more recent iterations of OS X, in my experience I'd recommend shutting down every few days to prevent any odd hiccups from occuring.

Generally speaking though, the more RAM you have, the more OS X will utilise to keep the system running smoothly, so it's not unusual for memory usage to be higher after a RAM upgrade. However as you identified, it is a little high if you're just using Safari at the moment. Depending on what content you are running on the webpages, they can be quite resource intensive; though as mentioned a quick restart with that option unticked should go towards isolating what the problem is.

If it's the same after a restart, I wouldn't say it's any cause for concern.

Please let me know if you have any queries. :)
 
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jpietrzak8

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While its running a ton faster and just overall better I have noticed while watching the Activity monitor that my utilization has slowly increased over the last few days since the upgrade. Memory pressure graphic is really low but my memory used is around 11/12gb of the 16gb?? Other than this Activity Monitor the only other program I have open on the desktop is Safari with 5 web tabs?? Any ideas why its running high now?
It does look like you've got something consuming more RAM than it ought to; most of the usage is showing up in "App Memory", which indicates that something in user-space (rather than the OS itself) is demanding lots of memory. You should be able to locate the offending task by sorting the list of running tasks above the summary by Memory, like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.34.09 AM.png


It is indeed possible that Safari is using that much memory, or that something else has a memory leak.

That's ok,
the system uses the extra memory to cache application you open and closed, in-case you want to open them again, they will load to the memory very fast.
Yes, OS X (as well as every other modern operating system) does make use of unallocated RAM for caching. And you can see this in the Activity Monitor screenshot that Kevtech1 provided: it shows 11.43 GB of "Memory Used", and 2.07 GB of "Cached Files". So yeah, the OS is caching files, but something other than cache is using a lot more memory than it should.

Also a large uptime (time since last shutdown) can compound memory usage. You can verify this by opening Terminal and typing in uptime, then pressing Enter. In the more recent iterations of OS X, in my experience I'd recommend shutting down every few days to prevent any odd hiccups from occuring.
I disagree; I keep my Macs running for weeks or months at a time between reboots, without any obvious memory leaks consuming RAM. I'm running El Capitan right now with no memory issues or hiccups that I've seen. If you're experiencing system instability after just a few days of uptime, I'd consider investigating to find out if your system has some underlying issue...
 
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throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
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As above, it's cache memory.

Unused memory is memory that could be put to use doing SOMETHING.

If an application needs memory, and there is none free (its been consumed by cache), the cache will be re-claimed and re-allocated to an application.

SO basically, if you're looking at activity monitor, add the "free" and "cached files" numbers together and that's how much "free" ram you really have.


edit:
I have noticed some versions of some browsers, if left open will continually consume more memory. Firefox used to do this, Safari used to do this with Facebook (and other javascript heavy sites) open.

Try closing and re-opening your browser.
 

jpietrzak8

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SO basically, if you're looking at activity monitor, add the "free" and "cached files" numbers together and that's how much "free" ram you really have.
Actually, let's do that right here: Kevtech1's screenshot shows that he has 16 GB of RAM, 11.43 of which is in use. Therefore, he has 4.57 GB of "free" RAM. Taking a look one line further down on the screenshot, we see that 2.07 of this 4.57 GB is currently being used for caching files.

This still doesn't explain why 11.43 GB of RAM is being actively used on a machine with few apps running...

I have noticed some versions of some browsers, if left open will continually consume more memory. Firefox used to do this, Safari used to do this with Facebook (and other javascript heavy sites) open.

Try closing and re-opening your browser.
Even better, just look at the list of tasks shown in the Activity Monitor. It will tell you exactly how much RAM your browser is using (along with every other task).
 

MagicBoy

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As above - it's quite normal for OS X. Usage on my 16GB rMBP is similar.

No point having all that memory and not using it. ;)

OS X is not Windows. You need only get concerned when the memory pressure graph is not green.
 
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keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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I disagree; I keep my Macs running for weeks or months at a time between reboots, without any obvious memory leaks consuming RAM. I'm running El Capitan right now with no memory issues or hiccups that I've seen. If you're experiencing system instability after just a few days of uptime, I'd consider investigating to find out if your system has some underlying issue...
Not for me, more for other people. :) I do tech support so deal with a good 20 Macs a week. You'll be surprised how many issues on OS X are sorted with a quick reboot, when they have a large uptime! Even things like Safari gestures not working correctly get solved with a quick restart.

So it's never bad advice to restart.
 

jpietrzak8

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You need only get concerned when the memory pressure graph is not green.
Exactly! Just like how you don't need to worry about how much gas you have in your car until the warning light switches on. ;)

Honestly, it doesn't matter what OS you are running, you really ought to keep an eye on how much memory is in use. I'm always arguing that folks here should upgrade RAM when they need more of it, but it's just as true that there's no point in wasting RAM when you don't need to. If there's a program up in the background that you don't need to keep open, go ahead and close it if it is consuming too much RAM. Or if there's a buggy task with a memory leak, see if there's a fix available for it. It usually isn't hard to locate and fix memory issues when they occur...
[doublepost=1462461845][/doublepost]
Not for me, more for other people. :) I do tech support so deal with a good 20 Macs a week. You'll be surprised how many issues on OS X are sorted with a quick reboot, when they have a large uptime!
Sigh. This is one of the main reasons I gave up on Windows a long time ago: the panacea for all problems was "reboot!" It fixes everything, at least until enough resources are consumed that you need to perform the panacea again.

If something is consuming all the RAM on a machine, that something is a BUG. If you reboot the machine, its resources are freed up, but the BUG is still there, and will inevitably cause the problem again. I'd prefer to actually fix the bug, if possible. :)
 
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keysofanxiety

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Sigh. This is one of the main reasons I gave up on Windows a long time ago: the panacea for all problems was "reboot!" It fixes everything, at least until enough resources are consumed that you need to perform the panacea again.

If something is consuming all the RAM on a machine, that something is a BUG. If you reboot the machine, its resources are freed up, but the BUG is still there, and will inevitably cause the problem again. I'd prefer to actually fix the bug, if possible. :)
Oh crimminey, get off your high horse. Shutting down clears the RAM. Recommending shutting down every few days on any computer is not bad advice. If you were spending hours diagnosing what tiny bug in a wealth of third-party applications could be causing a slight issue with every single Mac that has the odd hiccup problem, you wouldn't get through a week without having a backlog of issues as long as your arm.

I have a Windows 10 seedbox/server at home that has an uptime of 3 months. It's got no issues. But by no means would I recommend other people do that. If not shutting down works for you, that's fine. But it doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to recommend.

It takes about 20 seconds to restart a computer. Restarting a computer is not bad advice.
 
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jpietrzak8

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If you were spending hours diagnosing what tiny bug in a wealth of third-party applications could be causing a slight issue with every single Mac that has the odd hiccup problem, you wouldn't get through a week without having a backlog of issues as long as your arm.
But that's just the thing! I don't see these problems. The current uptime on my Mini is:

Code:
10:45  up 13 days, 17:35, 2 users, load averages: 1.55 1.55 1.42
And I have no memory problems, no odd hiccups, nothing. I really don't understand what it is that would make maintaining a Mac hard. If you find yourself being forced to support an application that has a memory leak, then fine, you'll have to either keep killing that app or keep rebooting the machine (and I would think finding and killing the app is easier than constantly rebooting the machine); but I don't see any reason why a machine running OS X should, in principle, be constantly running out of RAM. At least my machines don't.
 

keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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But that's just the thing! I don't see these problems. The current uptime on my Mini is:

Code:
10:45  up 13 days, 17:35, 2 users, load averages: 1.55 1.55 1.42
And I have no memory problems, no odd hiccups, nothing. I really don't understand what it is that would make maintaining a Mac hard. If you find yourself being forced to support an application that has a memory leak, then fine, you'll have to either keep killing that app or keep rebooting the machine (and I would think finding and killing the app is easier than constantly rebooting the machine); but I don't see any reason why a machine running OS X should, in principle, be constantly running out of RAM. At least my machines don't.
Oh jeeze, looks like I'll have to simplify my points.

I am NOT saying that shutting down is mandatory.
I am NOT saying that if you don't shut down, you will have issues.
I AM saying that it won't do any damage to restart a machine.
I AM saying that it's worth a quick 20 second restart with reopen windows disabled, to see if the issue reoccurs, which in itself whill help to diagnose what could be causing the problems (if there are any problems).


Shutting down clears the RAM. If RAM usage is unusually high, or if you have concerns about RAM usage as the OP did, restarting is pretty much the first logical thing to try, and then you go from there.

Stop pushing this issue, please.
 

dogslobber

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OS X is not Windows. You need only get concerned when the memory pressure graph is not green.
No, no, no! You want to know what your memory is being used. Memory leaks will cause memory compression to occur to other apps when free memory becomes too low. It causes your Mac to become sluggish as the apps you are using need to be decompressed and thrashing occurs. I had a nasty example with a big dirty itunes memory leak when it consumes all the free memory.

My solution wasn't to reboot but was to delete itunes from /Applications.
 
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jpietrzak8

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Shutting down clears the RAM. If RAM usage is unusually high, or if you have concerns about RAM usage as the OP did, restarting is pretty much the first logical thing to try, and then you go from there.
Shutting down clears the RAM. Which means, you lose the most important diagnostic for what is going wrong.

If you have concerns about RAM, the first logical step is to run Activity Monitor, which will immediately show you exactly where all that RAM is going. Once you know where the memory is being lost, it is much easier to come up with a permanent solution.
 

Osty

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OS X memory management is top notch

hahahaha, thanks, this made my morning. Try Linux on half or even a quarter the memory El Capitan needs for acceptable experience and I think you may re-evaluate your statement.

The last version of OS X that had an acceptable memory footprint was 10.6.
 

jpietrzak8

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hahahaha, thanks, this made my morning. Try Linux on half or even a quarter the memory El Capitan needs for acceptable experience and I think you may re-evaluate your statement.
:) :) Actually, Apple's memory management mechanism is absolutely top-notch -- better, IMHO, than what you find in Linux today. (The automatic memory compression alone is amazing.) But that only makes sense -- given how enormous OS X has grown, I'm sure Apple has had an incentive to create the best memory manager possible. If they put a little more effort into making their system a little leaner (like Linux does), they may not have needed to expend so much effort. :)
 

Osty

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:) :) Actually, Apple's memory management mechanism is absolutely top-notch -- better, IMHO, than what you find in Linux today. (The automatic memory compression alone is amazing.) But that only makes sense -- given how enormous OS X has grown, I'm sure Apple has had an incentive to create the best memory manager possible. If they put a little more effort into making their system a little leaner (like Linux does), they may not have needed to expend so much effort. :)

I do actually agree with you. Technically speaking, it's brilliant but overall the implementation is poor and falls short in practice because of how bloated OS X has become. As for Apple's incentives...those memory upgrades are pretty expensive...and they solder the sticks on....
 

dogslobber

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hahahaha, thanks, this made my morning. Try Linux on half or even a quarter the memory El Capitan needs for acceptable experience and I think you may re-evaluate your statement.

The last version of OS X that had an acceptable memory footprint was 10.6.
The kernel deals with memory compression. The bloat is in the windowserver and the frameworks. Totally different things completely.
 
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Dustman

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hahahaha, thanks, this made my morning. Try Linux on half or even a quarter the memory El Capitan needs for acceptable experience and I think you may re-evaluate your statement.

The last version of OS X that had an acceptable memory footprint was 10.6.
This is false. And there's no "Linux". Every Distro is different. OS X will run happily with 2-4GB of RAM, but the more you give it, the more it'll cache so things launch quicker. The second a program needs more than whats available, it instantly purges non crucial stuff. This isn't 2001 where the OS will just start paging/swapping when it runs low on RAM, OS X will open it up on demand.

The notion that its better to have 16GB of RAM with 15GB free for absolutely no reason is antiquated and stupid. Memory management has evolved past that. Not to say that first party and third party applications don't have their fair share of leaks.
 
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Osty

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The kernel deals with memory compression. The bloat is in the windowserver and the frameworks. Totally different things completely.
I know. XNU is pretty solid kernel.

I'd love to see OS X go on a diet, giving users the ability to strip back some of the bloat and return to the days of a leaner operating system

Oh, and a better file system would be nice too. HFS+ is also a major contributor to the amount of system memory needs on account of how much RAM OS X need to cache since HFS+ can only manipulate 1 file at a time.
[doublepost=1462494410][/doublepost]
This is false. And there's no "Linux". Every Distro is different.
Yes, that's right, I made the mistake of lumping everything in under "Linux", but really it's semantics.

I'm not saying this as a Troll. I've used OS X since PowerPC days and it's my preferred platform. Apple has never competed on performance. Head over to Phoronix and check out the multitude of tests showing how OS X performs on the same hardware versus Ubuntu, Fedora and Arch.

Apple competes on its user experience and it's iOS ecosystem. Given Apple's current interests, I don't see that changing.

OS X will run happily with 2-4GB of RAM, but the more you give it, the more it'll cache so things launch quicker.
Alas, that has not been my experience unless on machines with SSDs which can cache faster than spinning rust. I do agree however that, adding more RAM improves performance.


As I said, I'm not trolling. OS X is my preferred platform, but I'm so drunk on coolaid that I can't call our when something sucks.
 
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JamesPDX

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FWIW, Sierra 10.12.5 is running great on my 2012 Mini. But max-out that RAM to 16GB and stick in a SSD. Samsung EVO 850s are great as well as the Angelbird SSDs.
[doublepost=1495792787][/doublepost]
I know. XNU is pretty solid kernel.

I'd love to see OS X go on a diet, giving users the ability to strip back some of the bloat and return to the days of a leaner operating system

Oh, and a better file system would be nice too. HFS+ is also a major contributor to the amount of system memory needs on account of how much RAM OS X need to cache since HFS+ can only manipulate 1 file at a time.
[doublepost=1462494410][/doublepost]

Yes, that's right, I made the mistake of lumping everything in under "Linux", but really it's semantics.

I'm not saying this as a Troll. I've used OS X since PowerPC days and it's my preferred platform. Apple has never competed on performance. Head over to Phoronix and check out the multitude of tests showing how OS X performs on the same hardware versus Ubuntu, Fedora and Arch.

Apple competes on its user experience and it's iOS ecosystem. Given Apple's current interests, I don't see that changing.



Alas, that has not been my experience unless on machines with SSDs which can cache faster than spinning rust. I do agree however that, adding more RAM improves performance.


As I said, I'm not trolling. OS X is my preferred platform, but I'm so drunk on coolaid that I can't call our when something sucks.
Ha ha! Yeah, I'm praying for the day when any flavor of Linux will run Pro Tools and VEP6!
In the meantime, is there a list of processes that I can kill from Activity Monitor? (aside from Pro Tools QuickTime Server that's always hanging.)
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
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OP: Normal. Its just how memory management works. Things can remain cached longer when you have more RAM. Its actually a good thing you see more RAM being used because that means the system can utilize it, there is the potential for performance gains and you didn't waste your money. With less RAM the memory management is forced to purge the cache more often and when you call on that task again its forced to load from the HDD/SSD and regardless of which its slower than RAM.

I find MacOS memory management itself to be pretty good. Without my intervention I've seen it purge terminated processes that persist (memory leak) when the demand arises without purging an innocent program (at least that I've noticed). Never has it completely failed with its ability to reallocate resources. They seem to keep an up with it for the most part. Memory compression was mentioned earlier which we as Apple users saw its wide spread whole system adoptions before most Linux users* and a couple years before Microsoft implemented it a similar manor into Windows.

As far as the OS usage itself the kernel uses the same amount as my Linux machine (Linux kernel 4.10 in Ubuntu Gnome 17.04). Aside from that its a modern OS with a modern feature set. If anything I'm surprised its footprint isn't larger considering Apples "ecosystem" is a thing. While there is A LOT of it, the "bloat" I find in MacOS I feel its reasonable especially when it comes to syncing devices (iOS and other Macs) automatically and all the other various iCloud related stuff plus all the stuff that is just active without refresh most of which using virtually no CPU. Conversely I feel the "bloat" on Windows is stuff I don't want running and goto great lengths to disable/remove and some of the stuff not only uses considerable amounts of CPU there are times where its effect on system performance can be felt by the user. Linux completely depends on the distro but even what many consider a heavy distro isn't doing anywhere near the amount of stuff MacOS and Windows is.

Aside from that we are all at the mercy of software we use and how well its coded. Any OS can have unnecessarily high memory usage if the user is running something that was coded poorly or even just differently if comparing similar programs. For example due to the way Safari works it can be a massive RAM hog while another browser like Chrome will use considerably less RAM.

*Linux users had access to system wide memory compression for a while but wasn't implemented into the mainline kernel until a month before Apple released the feature in Mavericks. However a few month before that it was available in the public release of ChomeOS (Linux).

EDIT: Need to correct something. I could have sworn I've noticed the core of Linux itself using similar amounts of RAM as MacOS but apparently that isn't the case. It uses far less, but again I feel that should be obvious and impractical to compare. I think I may have accidentally been comparing MacOS to MacOS or something lol.

Also one could argue physical RAM usage per OS based on how well each handles virtual memory. But I can't find a good way to test this nor can I find anything stating conclusively why one OS does it better than another.
 
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