Mavericks seems to consume a lot of RAM

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by lawhochun, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. lawhochun macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2012
    Hong Kong
    I use the handy "Clean Memory" tool for my 2012 iMac to monitor my remaining ram figure. I noticed after installing Mavericks that my remaining RAM figure is always dramatically lower than when I was using mountain lion.

    Maybe it's still in beta 2 or its the new memory compression feature that is causing the "Clean Memory" tool giving off false readings...

    Anybody experiencing this issue?
  2. richsadams macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
  3. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Isn't used RAM a good thing? I'd rather have all my RAM used, no matter how much I have installed. This should result in a more responsive system. Unused RAM is the same as RAM sitting in a closet somewhere.

    Page outs are what need to be avoided. Mavericks is supposed to compress RAM if another app needs some quickly thus avoiding page outs.

    Have you checked to see if Mavericks is paging out frequently?
  4. richsadams macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Thanks for the response. Since Activity Monitor in 10.9 no longer lists page in/out...I'm not sure how to tell.

    I also have 10.9 running on my MacBook Air and I'm experiencing the same thing plus it's started using the swap file periodically. (Never happened w/10.8)

    I've read up on the new memory compression feature, but only know enough to be dangerous. This article seems to explain it fairly well, but again, not sure how I feel about most of my free memory being "used" when no major apps are running.
  5. Ddyracer macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2009
    I must have missed the dangerous part :p
  6. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    So not so good if it's using the swap file when ML didn't. That's clearly not Apple's intent. It's a cop out to say it's beta software but then again... This is our chance to let Apple know about problems.
  7. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    While there may or may not have been issues with memory management in 10.7 and 10.8: all accounts seem to suggest that more data is being cached in memory in 10.9. So, if you have memory, it will get used. The end result seems to be that performance is improved.

    There is no need to spend all day checking the memory usage. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple has changed Activity Monitor BECAUSE of all the people saying "OMG, my computer has Inactive RAM!!!".

    If you think you have a particular problem with memory handling, then report it.
  8. Prabas macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2010
    Performance in 10.9 has increased dramatically for me.

    RAM is supposed to be used, it isn't Windows, where you have 8GB and you can't even go past 2GB of RAM usage.

    Attached Files:

  9. richsadams macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Although I haven't seen a performance boost (or drop off) with 10.9 on the two machines I have it on, agreed. As long as the change in memory usage is not not impacting performance in a negative way, I really don't mind how it's being used. However when usage doubles over the previous OS and the system starts using the swap file to get work done, it may not be a positive sign.
  10. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
  11. DonMega macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2007
    You can use top -u to show you processes running and memory usage.
  12. w0lf macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2013
    For me it constantly rides right up to about 7.99 / 8 GB. I don't mind this in theory but it ends up getting swapped out occasionally. Nothing dramatic though usually just a few megabytes of swap here and there, hasn't actually caused me any issues.
  13. TennisandMusic

    Aug 26, 2008
    Ugh man, I hate reading this stuff here. It reflects EXTREMELY poorly on the Mac community.

    Windows is incredibly efficient with RAM, it does exactly what people here describe. It uses it as a big cache. You can have Windows installed on a Mechanical hard drive and Office explodes onto screen while your dock icon for any tiny program will bounce and bounce and bounce with the same hardware.

    Where the heck do you get that 2gb comment from? I dare you to look up the amount of RAM Win 8 pro can use, vs. OSX 10.9. Seriously. I don't think you'll like the result though.
  14. richsadams, Jun 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013

    richsadams macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Many thanks!

    So with Safari and a couple of other low-demand apps running, here's what I get:

    Mach Virtual Memory Statistics: (page size of 4096 bytes)
    Pages free: 330046.
    Pages active: 539515.
    Pages inactive: 130699.
    Pages speculative: 406574.
    Pages throttled: 0.
    Pages wired down: 165793.
    Pages purgeable: 18928.
    "Translation faults": 10918827.
    Pages copy-on-write: 370545.
    Pages zero filled: 8763601.
    Pages reactivated: 33.
    Pages purged: 0.
    File-backed pages: 628256.
    Anonymous pages: 448532.
    Pages stored in compressor: 0.
    Pages occupied by compressor: 0.
    Decompressions: 0.
    Compressions: 0.
    Pageins: 144634.
    Pageouts: 0.
    Swapins: 0.
    Swapouts: 0.

    According to Activity Monitor 4.76GB of 6GB is being used.

    So based on zero page outs, things may appear to be normal if the memory compression 10.9 is now using accounts for the additional memory usage.
  15. treichert macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2007
    Aachen, Germany

    Essentially, you're working against the memory management in the OS, especially in Mavericks. You should stop doing that.
  16. w0lf macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2013
    Got to agree on that one. If anything Windows has had better use of memory than OSX for some time. I think Prabas was probably thinking of the active memory that task manager reports which doesn't generally go above about 3GB.


    Memory compression is a faster alternative to paging out memory.

    *I think* the purpose of it is to allow for more aggressive memory usage and if the system can't handle moving inactive memory out fast enough when new memory is needed it will compress some inactive cached memory rather then page that memory out to your disk.
  17. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2010
    And statements like this reflect just as poorly on the Windows community. It is horrifically false in all but the very old Macs trying to run newer software, and if you think that Windows would be any different under the same circumstance you are fooling yourself.

    The simple fact that people still use memory cleaners to make sure the bare minimum of RAM is used shows a profound misunderstanding of proper memory management. Unused RAM = Wasted RAM. And that's it. Optimally, the OS will load everything it can, starting with most important/most often accessed items, into ram, and swap out as needed.
  18. richsadams macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Sounds good. I'll continue to focus on performance while keeping an eye on swap file usage. The MacBook Air has always been phenomenal, while the iMac reached a new level of "wow" since I installed the SSD.

    Although there have been a few oddities that I'm almost certain will be ironed out, 10.9 has been quite good overall. Both DP1 and DP2 have been much smoother than the previous OS X previews IMHO. I'm very pleased so far.
  19. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Clean memory and similar tools do nothing.
    I'm not using more ram.

  20. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    That doesn't accurately describe Windows behavior. It reflects fanboy mentality where MS is the boogie man. I've used both operating systems for years. It does make use of memory. What annoyed me was more during Lion where I wouldn't have that much stuff open, yet at times it would refuse to free up ram. Over a couple days of not rebooting, it might build up in excess of 20GB worth of pageouts. Notice how I don't tout that as simply being the way things are when you use a particular OS. I merely mention the anecdote here. You could learn many things:p.

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