Is Dashboard a Memory Hog?

cwright

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 5, 2004
573
0
Missouri


I just took this screenshot, and the only apps I have running are Safari, Suitcase, and the Finder. So I have 2GB RAM, 3 small apps open, and only 22MB of free memory? Why does each widget use so much memory?

And by the way... a little off topic... Does anyone else use the TV Tracker widget here? It's my favorite widget, but it's stopped working. I just get a link that says 'Click here to configure TV tracker' and when clicked it just flips it over to where I check the TV channels I want to show. Doesn't matter how few or many channels I choose... it won't work. I've even downloaded an updated version of it with no luck.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,194
6
Adelaide, Australia
Gah. Don't worry about it unless you're noticing system performance deficits. OSX handles memory in a pretty strange way and you're supposed to include Inactive memory too when you work out how much is not being used so I wouldn't worry about.

By the way though, I find Dashboard (depending on how many widgets are open) can be a bit of a drag on systems with lower memory (256MB or so).
 

cwright

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 5, 2004
573
0
Missouri
I haven't really noticed any hit on performance, so I'll just ignore it... thanks for the tip.

I did just notice, however, that my widget manager dissapeared! The 'manage widgets' text is still there, but it doesn't work, and the actual widget-manager widget is gone. Has this happened to anyone else?

And btw, if anyone cares, I figured out the TVTracker thing. They released yet another update that fixed the problem this time :D
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,194
6
Adelaide, Australia
cwright said:
I did just notice, however, that my widget manager dissapeared! The 'manage widgets' text is still there, but it doesn't work, and the actual widget-manager widget is gone. Has this happened to anyone else?

You're not alone. Check this out.
 

cwright

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 5, 2004
573
0
Missouri
mad jew said:
You're not alone. Check this out.
Hmm, didn't see that thread before. I hope apple fixes this pretty soon... becuase like they mention in that thread, my widgets don't install themselves anymore either.

Anyway, today, the dashboard isn't taking up nearly as much RAM as it was yesterday.... not sure why. Now I have twice as many widgets running, along with Mail, Safari, Adium, iTunes, Quicktime, Final Cut Pro, Suitcase, TextEdit, and the Activity Monitor, and I still have about 500mb free along with around 700mb inactive.
 

mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,352
1
Well, one thing to note in that screen shot is your "inactive memory" usage... I didn't understand this till yesterday either, but here goes... OS X keeps memory reserved and loaded of applications and files that you have used recently, and keeps them there if no active program is requesting the memory. It acts like a cache and speeds up the loading of recently/frequently used items. If some active program requests memory it will take it from the inactive pool and OS X will unload the 'oldest' item in inactive space.

So, having lots of inactive memory being used is a good thing. It means you have plenty of RAM for whatever you are doing, and OS X is using the left over as a fast load cache for things you are likely to use again. In your case you have about 1.5gbs of inactive memory, so you are doing fine.

About your Dashboard memory hog question, in my experience, yes and no. Dashboard itself has a pretty small memory footprint. The widgets that you load in it can vary greatly. I can't remember which one it was, but I had a widget a while back that must have had a memory leak and was using something like 300mb's of RAM.
 

MoparShaha

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2003
1,630
20
San Francisco
cwright is completely right. It's absurd that widgets take up so much RAM. 25 MB for a simulated pad of paper?! I used to run a whole OS and several full-fledged applications on 8 MB of total RAM in my system. I know this isn't' 1994, but please, 20 MB of REAL memory per widget is ridiculous.
 

Whyren

macrumors 6502a
Correct me if I'm wrong, but part of the reason that widgets take up so much memory is because they use compile-as-you-run language rather than pre-compiled language which is more inefficient than the latter. This, however, allows people (without extensive knowledge of programming code) to easily develop widgets so that there's lots of them available.