Inactive Memory?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RKilbane20, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. RKilbane20 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    I have 8 gigs of ram in my Mac Mini, It uses so much RAM as inactive, I know its there to make things faster for a later time but its using almost 5 gigs of ram. Is there a way to limit how much ram can be stored as inactive?


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  2. volodymyrqa macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    maybe there is no point in 8gb of ram for mini?
  3. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    I blame Lion. Memory handling is just terrible. I would say you are OK. Lion will kill of any inactive programs when it needs memory for an active program and move it to the swap file.

    Its the free memory you need to worry about. Looks like safari has a terrible memory leak. And it will slowly consume all available memory.
  4. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    This is something you should really just leave alone. Apple has this setup as they see fit and if you start messing with it you'll unravel the whole sweater. Anyway, there's zero harm from this ram being used. In fact, it makes your system faster.
  5. OTACORB macrumors 65816


    Jun 21, 2009
    Central, Louisiana
    They will slowly stamp out these type issues, Lion hasn't long been released and I agree the memory management needs to be improved. But I also agree that as of now it is best to just leave it alone. It will all iron itself out over time like always.
  6. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2009
    Unused memory == wasted memory.

    Inactive is basically free, just used by program caching and if it is needed it is discarded.

    You have no issue whatsoever with memory. I wish people would stop being so obsessed with memory stats, particularly if they don't fully understand how it works. No offense.
  7. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Five seconds of using a search engine would have answered your question. Apple even have a nice support page bereft of any technical terms

    This information in memory is not actively being used, but was recently used.

    For example, if you've been using Mail and then quit it, the RAM that Mail was using is marked as Inactive memory. This Inactive memory is available for use by another application, just like Free memory. *However, if you open Mail before its Inactive memory is used by a different application, Mail will open quicker because its Inactive memory is converted to Active memory, instead of loading Mail from the slower hard disk.

    You want to limit the amount of inactive memory? That does not make any sense. A user such as you should not even be looking at activity monitor or at least take the time to understand what you're looking at. Let the operating system do what it is designed to do - manage memory. The people who wrote it know a lot more about memory than you so it's ok to let the os get on with it. The only number you should be looking at is the page outs.


    I implore you to please not spread misinformation.
  8. applefanDrew macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2010
  9. theSeb, Aug 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2011

    theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    You blame Lion for what? Very efficient memory handling? Or are you one of the cool kids that rants and raves about how rubbish lion is and how awesome snow leopard was?

    Seriously, please leave your opinion to threads where you can reminisce about spaces and don't try to comment on things you obviously do not know about. If you knew what inactive memory was, then you wouldn't have posted what you just have. The worst part is the hundreds of impressionable of readers on this site that will actually believe the drivel you have just posted.
  10. Vermifuge, Aug 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2011

    Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    Despite it's bugs I actually happen to really enjoy Lion client. I could make a list off all the features I do enjoy but that would take this thread seriously off topic. Lion server is another subject all together. We can save that discussion for the proper board, or PM like the 'civilized' individual I'm sure you are.

    I believe my "opinion" is sound. Lion isn't very good at memory handling. Safari has a serious memory leak. The "inactive" memory should become available as other applications require it but Lion does not always do that. Being a professional I do run my system a little harder then most. So I may see behaviors that the typical user may not.

    Again If you would like numbers, statistics, proof or just information about my methodology please feel free to PM me.
  11. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    No need to go PM - just post what you have here since it may be interesting for others too. A memory leak in the latest version of Safari has nothing to do with the memory management in the operating system.

    I have a computer science degree and design enterprise solutions so I have a bit of an idea about this darn computer stuff and ones and zeros, or at least I pretend to know enough to make a decent living out of it.
  12. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    all those extra 0's in 64 bit are eating up everyone's memory :eek:
  13. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    this is a silly discussion. i'm rating this thread 1 star. :p
  14. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I should apologise to vermifuge as I got a bit carried away. :eek:
  15. Lokheed macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    OH YES! THIS! Cripes oh mighty people. If you don't know anything about memory management, or how a system uses RAM (99.9% of us) just leave it be. Go freak out about all the starving kids all over this world, or the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Seriously.
  16. technowar macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2011
    Cebu, Philippines
    I don't know if this is a good thing or what.

    We have the same gig of RAM, and my inactive memory is about 5.2GB. It lags like hell when opening two or more Xcode and it seems like my inactive memory is just a waste, though I could be wrong.

    Please advice as my Mac lags like hell!
  17. jfjkd01 macrumors newbie


    Oct 7, 2009
    How about changing your Apps from 64 bit to 32 bit.
  18. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    holy thread revival batman!!!
  19. dasx, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

    dasx macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2012
    Inactive memory is a good thing. People should stop worrying about it. You can even consider it as free memory.

    If you've been using an app, when quitting it all of its memory isn't cleared unless the app states so. This memory stays inactive so if you run the app again it's immediately available.

    Also, there are several things that are stores in memory that you wouldn't expect. For example... disk writes. When you create a text file for instance, part of it (if not all) is stored in memory before it's in its actual physical spot of the drive.

    There are ways to see this. If someone's comfortable using terminal, type:

    find ~ -size +100M | head -n1
    This will output the first file found in your home directory which is over 100MB.

    Then do:

    time cat <PathToThatFile> > /dev/null
    You'll see some times appear the window.

    Then run it again:

    time cat <PathToThatFile> > /dev/null
    You'll see times are A LOT lower. See attached image.

    That's because that file, after being read, has been stored in memory for if you need to access it again. That is probably system or active memory, but it will eventually go to inactive memory and, when needed, to free (or active again).

    My point being, your RAM used isn't the sum of the RAM of all the apps you're running. There's a bunch of stuff using RAM that it's pointless trying to control it. Just use your machine and in case it slows down considerably launch activity monitor and go tot he memory tab.
    Doesn't matter if you don't have any free memory as long as you have inactive. The OS should be able to automatically free the inactive memory and give it to whatever app needs it.

    Problems start when the system starts to Page Out. If your swap memory is used, then everything will slow down.

    (i.e. You have 2 gigs of RAM and launch an iPhoto with a 1.000.000+ photo library. System will page out and will need to use the disk as memory.)

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