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harleytat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2002
22
3
For years I've been running a Mac mini in my home to host and back up archived data, and serve as a repository/backup for my iCloud Photo Library. I back up all the drives (internal and several external) to Backblaze, as well as use Carbon Copy Cloner to back everything up to an on-site Synology. Everything was going fine until recently.

Now, just booting up the machine gets me "out of application memory" errors. Granted, the machine only has 4 GB of RAM, but I'm barely doing anything with it. These errors seem to have coincided with upgrading to Monterey, but I'm not 100% sure of that. See attached screen shots.

Am I simply out of luck, and should I just bite the bullet and upgrade this admittedly ancient machine? Or is there a way to figure out where all this RAM is being used, and free some of it up?

Thank you!
 

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chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
11,290
8,991
Nothing looks out of the ordinary to me. Was this a one time message? Did you make any recent changes besides the OS upgrade? I suspect it’s related to the recent upgrade doing some post-install housekeeping and that the system will take care of itself over a few days.
 

harleytat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2002
22
3
No recent changes other than the OS upgrade, and I get this message constantly. Can't figure out why the memory pressure is so high given how little I'm doing with the machine.
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
11,290
8,991
Thats just weird. Check the CPU tab. Are there any processes taking a lot of CPU time?
 

harleytat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2002
22
3
Nothing out of the ordinary as far as I can tell.
 

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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,454
12,572
Go back to the OS you were using before Monterey.

Past a certain point, 4gb of RAM just isn't going to work any more.

The alternative (of course), is something newer.
Perhaps a used 2018 Mini, with 16gb of RAM?
They're quite reasonably priced now.
 
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harleytat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2002
22
3
Yup, I think this is the way. An M1 mini would be a breath of fresh air, and keep me future proofed for quite a while.
 

JustAnExpat

macrumors 6502a
Nov 27, 2019
952
967
Interesting. Given the age of your machine, this is what I would check:

1. What condition is your Hard Drive in? Could your hard drive be failing?
2. Could the install be bad? Was this a fresh install, or did you install over what you had before? if you didn't do a fresh install, try reinstalling MacOS.
 

harleytat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2002
22
3
Thanks for the replies, @Torty and @JustAnExpat. I've restarted it many times to try to fix this problem. Sometimes it works to suppress the memory messages for a while, usually it changes nothing.

Hard drive has low hours—a 1 TB SSD I installed that has seen very little use. Would be surprised if that was the culprit. It's also a relatively fresh install. I believe I wiped it when I received the computer a few years ago, then ran a couple OS upgrades since.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,717
4,600
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have the same Mini, but it still has the original 500gb internal hard drive. It boots from an old USB 3 Samsung T3 SSD however. It's primarily a server and just runs iTunes with home sharing so I can access ~2tb of ripped DVD's and other media from two AppleTV's and other devices. It's also connected to my home stereo with speakers in different rooms and I stream Sirius/XM audio with Safari and listen to music in iTunes frequently. I also use BackBlaze and Carbon Copy, like you.

It's still running Mojave, so I can use iTunes and it's been very reliable. Memory pressure is high but I've never seen an out of memory error.

OTOH, I'm running Monterey on my maxxed-out 2018 Mini. I push it really hard with multiple Mac apps running at the same time as a 32gb/4-core Windows 10 VM running demanding GIS software. I see out of application memory alerts from time to time on that machine, even though it has 64gb RAM. :eek: But, like I said, I push it really hard. I think that one of the issues is BackBlaze however. My GIS work involves downloading and processing some really huge files (100gb to as much as 400gb). This creates a lot of big intermediate files that I delete when I'm done with them. I think all this activity just causes BackBlaze to "thrash", trying to back up the files as I create/delete them. When I'm doing this kind of work, I switch BackBlaze to manual backups and that seems to fix things. So, I wonder if that could be related to your problem - if you're creating a bunch of new files in your photo library?
 

bzgnyc2

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2023
116
139
I have the same Mini, but it still has the original 500gb internal hard drive. It boots from an old USB 3 Samsung T3 SSD however. It's primarily a server and just runs iTunes with home sharing so I can access ~2tb of ripped DVD's and other media from two AppleTV's and other devices. It's also connected to my home stereo with speakers in different rooms and I stream Sirius/XM audio with Safari and listen to music in iTunes frequently. I also use BackBlaze and Carbon Copy, like you.

It's still running Mojave, so I can use iTunes and it's been very reliable. Memory pressure is high but I've never seen an out of memory error.

OTOH, I'm running Monterey on my maxxed-out 2018 Mini. I push it really hard with multiple Mac apps running at the same time as a 32gb/4-core Windows 10 VM running demanding GIS software. I see out of application memory alerts from time to time on that machine, even though it has 64gb RAM. :eek: But, like I said, I push it really hard. I think that one of the issues is BackBlaze however. My GIS work involves downloading and processing some really huge files (100gb to as much as 400gb). This creates a lot of big intermediate files that I delete when I'm done with them. I think all this activity just causes BackBlaze to "thrash", trying to back up the files as I create/delete them. When I'm doing this kind of work, I switch BackBlaze to manual backups and that seems to fix things. So, I wonder if that could be related to your problem - if you're creating a bunch of new files in your photo library?

These Mini really are workhorses aren't they? I also do an excessive amount of data processing with my Mac Mini (though after looking at cloud pricing recently I really ought to reconsider).

However, while I am the last person to recommend running to a new computer whenever there is trouble and resent forced upgrades to keep things working as well as they were, tthis is a case where I think the OP should go for that M1 mini (or better) mentioned.

10 years is a good life for a computer and 4GB of nonupgradable RAM is hard to work with. For whateer reason the new OS need more RAM to do the same things. If the RAM was upgradable on the 2014 Mini like it is on the 2018 Mini, I'd recommend bumping that up to get another few years out of it rather than getting a new computer. But sincie it's not and it's earned it's keep for 10 years (at least in total over all its owners), now seems like the time. And at least the 1TB SSD should be salvagable to bring to the next computer (perhaps needing a new external enclosure).

If the original poster's needs are just Photos and the like, an M1 would probably be fine and should be well supported for another 3-5 years. I've seen M1 Mini's on Apple's refurb site for < $500. An M2/16GB model would provide a little more headroom/future-proofing and I think I've seen those for $680.

Either that or go back to Mojave or earlier (which as we both experience is very smooth even with 8GB and probably fine with 4GB too). However I am assuming the OP upgraded to Monterey for a reason -- perhaps continuing security updates, updated Safari, etc -- and doesn't want to go back. Even if it is among my favorite macOS.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,717
4,600
New Jersey Pine Barrens
When I'm doing this kind of work, I switch BackBlaze to manual backups and that seems to fix things. So, I wonder if that could be related to your problem

Funny - I got an alert from Backblaze that I hadn't backed up last night. So, I switched it to continuous backup and went to bed, with my Mini busy doing some overnight processing. Woke up this morning with an "out of application memory" error!

I think Backblaze has a way of eating up free memory on Monterey, there was something like 16gb free when I switched it on. You might try turning it off on your Mini and see if that makes a difference. My 2014 Mini also runs Backblaze, but it's on Mojave.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,717
4,600
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Could you switch to "All processes" and take the screenshots again please?

And have a look at the bztransmit process for BackBlaze. It is using from about 3.7gb to over 4gb of RAM on my 64gb 2018 Mini under Monterey. On my 4gb 2014 Mini with Mojave, bztransmit is currently not running - probably because I haven't added any files to that server for quite awhile. But would be interesting to see how much it uses on your Mini if you're frequently adding photos to your library.
 

harleytat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 22, 2002
22
3
@Boyd01: It looks like bztransmit is, at the moment, using upwards of 1TB of memory. That ain't gonna work.

I'd say we add an average amount of photos, maybe a dozen a day? And the external drives are actually quite static, unless I've just dumped a bunch of work files onto one of the archive drives. What seems to be the culprit, according to this forum thread, is the sheer number of files I've selected for backup—over 4.5 million 😬. (The work I do means I can sometimes generate thousands of files a day.)

I guess it's new Mac time...

Thanks, everyone!
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,717
4,600
New Jersey Pine Barrens
@Boyd01:What seems to be the culprit, according to this forum thread, is the sheer number of files I've selected for backup—over 4.5 million 😬. (The work I do means I can sometimes generate thousands of files a day.)

Haha, that's nothing, here's what I'm backing up!

Screen Shot 2024-05-15 at 9.46.53 PM.png


It's not unusual for me to generate millions - even tens of millions - of files per day. I make maps that consist of either .jpg or .png 256x256 pixel "tiles".

I don't really know, but suspect these aren't necessarily the problem for me. It's the huge files (100gb or more) that I constantly create, then delete that I think it has a hard time with. Seems to break them into small parts before transferring which is also a CPU load.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,717
4,600
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Had a look after a full night of continuous backups. It really does seem to grab as much free memory as it can. Turned it off again since I'm going to be creating a lot of big files today. :)

backblaze.png
 
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