Is Lion really this much of a RAM hog?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by orangezorki, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    #1
    Hello everyone,

    I'm sure that I'm not the first to say this, but is Lion really such a RAM hog as I think it is? I've only recently upgraded my MBP from 4 to 8Gb, but now, only having been rebooted five days ago at most, and only running safari, mail, activity monitor and iTunes, I only have 2.5 Gb free. Only about 800Mb is 'inactive', and whilst Safari, Safari Web Content and Flash plugin are using 560, 780 and 540Mb respectively, it still doesn't account for why I am suddenly using much, much more RAM than I once thought I'd ever have in a machine. Is there anything to do about this? Apart from saving up for an iMac with 16Gb that is...

    David
     
  2. DoctorFedora macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    #2
    In a nutshell, Mac OS is a UNIX operating system, and UNIX, as a basic tenet, tends to regard RAM that isn't being used as RAM that's being wasted. No need to worry, in all likelihood!
     
  3. wikus macrumors 68000

    wikus

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Planet earth.
    #3
    RAM usage varies from mac to mac (eventhough it shouldnt). Just take my example;

    I have two Macs; a MacBook Pro 2011 and a Mac Pro 2006. Both with the exact same running apps during startup and applications installed.

    MacBook Pro RAM usage after cold boot: 1.06gb
    Mac Pro RAM usage after cold boot: 650mb

    Note, I've forced automatic graphics switching to be OFF on the macbook so it uses the 6750M's memory. It's pretty disappointing. Both are running 10.6.8. Lion was a bit worse, and will not use it until Apple fixes Mission Control.
     
  4. blueExcess macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Location:
    Earth
    #4
    The RAM usage you should be looking at is "wired". That's the memory that the OS sets aside for OS stuff. My late-'10 MBP on Lion is using 852mb as wired (out of 8gb).

    Also, check your page outs; that's how many times the OS has to move stuff from your RAM to your HDD. Running basic programs (safari, mail, iTunes, netflix etc) I never go above 0 page outs. Running all that, aperture, logic, word, and parallels with a few apps there, I'll be around 10,000 to 100,000 page outs. If I don't reset for more than a week or 2, running all sorts of programs, I've seen it around 1 million+.
     
  5. ljonesj macrumors 6502a

    ljonesj

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Kingsport TN
    #5
    Well on sl i was using around 750mb-850 of wired memory now its 1.06 so it does use more which some of the new things can account for that. the thing is the system does have mem leaks in safari and any firefox that is below 7. I am using beta right now of firefox 7 and i am using 970 were as before i was using 3gb of ram.
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    Apple did in fact use Unix, but its only the foundation, and the subsequent layers that apple added on top of the unix foundation has become more and more bloated with every release of OSX. So while the Basic core is unix and it does very well with memory management, the other layers that apple built are consuming more ram.
     
  7. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #7
    The "layers" are just software languages. OS X is totally certified Unix. Darwin, based on BSD with a tweaked kernel.
    Objective-C has really bad generic release calls for memory recouping. Just the way it is. Eventually it will recoup but then hover around your swap limit indefinitely. Apple is working on this problem actively.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    Software languages? Please explain, usually when people use software langauges, its in terms of C or objective c.

    The layers are components of the OS, like Quartz is the graphic services. The more features that are added into Quartz the more bloated that layer becomes leaving less resources
     
  9. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #9
    On my MacBook Pro I'm using about 2.5 GB of RAM, which is quite a lot considering I've only got 5 tabs in Chrome and Mail's open. But this might be because I never shut my computer down and I never quit Chrome or Mail...

    Good thing I decided to get 4GB of RAM rather than two.
     
  10. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    The only thing I've found in Lion to truly be a ram hog is Safari....if I don't close it occasionally it can get up to 4GB usage on its own....that needs to be addressed.
     
  11. The13thDoctor macrumors regular

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    Mar 12, 2010
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    @TheRoyalDoctor
    #11
    Safari is insane, it uses half of my 4Gb ram on any occasion.
     
  12. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #12
    I was being too general referring to anything that calls and releases RAM through a language. which would include Quartz, OpenGL, Cocoa, etc.
    You may have been too general in a description of "layers".
    When you mentioned "layers" I thought you were referring to the GUI only not the rest of the foundational components. It's cool. :)
     
  13. tahoeroscoe macrumors regular

    tahoeroscoe

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Having things stored in RAM is a good thing, it means when you switch back it's stored in ram so it comes back faster. Go to activity monitor and check to see how much is inactive, if a lot of it is inactive then lion isn't hogging it it just isn't freeing it until it needs to, pretty smart actually.

    Safari 5.1 is a mess though.
     
  14. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #14
    It's a bit more complicated than that. Having things "leak" into RAM is not good.
    Having recoup happen by the OS and not by what is needed at the time causing swap to occur is also a bad thing. Why do you think software engineers have been struggling with it for so long to get right? It is a golden goose.
    Here is some reading:
    http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/07/mac-os-x-10-7.ars/10
     
  15. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030

    AppleFanatic10

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Location:
    Encino, CA
    #15
    I've noticed that just using Safari, it ate up the majority of my ram.
     

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