Memory all used up?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SaleenS351, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. SaleenS351 macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2004
    I just purchased a new iMac, the one in my sig.(It only has 1GB of memory now the second stick is in the mail)

    It's got a gig of memory, but I've noticed it's a little sluggish more than my MBP. When I looked in the activity monitor the readings said I was using practicially all my memory. Here's the stats:

    162MB Wired
    523MB Active
    322MB Inactive
    14MB Free

    These do fluctuate, but roughly this is the reading.

    Programs open are:
    Safari(2 windows)
    Activity Monitor

    Thats it. Of note in the activity monitor there are a bunch of items taking up memory, for example.."iTunes helper" is taking roughly 7MB and iTunes isn't even open.

    Can someone help me figure this out. Or is this just the way it is? I do have another gig on the way, but I didn't expect one gig to get me so little.

    Also can someone help explain the difference between Inactive and Free.
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Wired memory
    This information can't be cached to disk, so it must stay in RAM. The amount depends on what applications you are using.

    Active memory
    This information is currently in RAM and actively being used.

    Inactive memory
    This information is no longer being used and has been cached to disk, but it will remain in RAM until another application needs the space. Leaving this information in RAM is to your advantage if you (or a client of your computer) come back to it later.

    Free memory
    This memory is not being used.

    What does all this mean?
    This means you shouldn't worry when the Free memory is low. The only time Free memory should be high is right after the computer starts up. As you use applications or services, memory is used and transitions to Inactive. Applications that need more memory will take from the Inactive, but the Inactive is there just in case you need it again. If the combination of Free and Inactive is very low, then you might need more memory.

  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    OK, the first message is: Don't worry, be happy.

    OSX takes care of memory management for you, you don't have to be concerned unduly, unless you have programs that are refusing to open.

    Inactive is almost the same as Free - it's memory that is available for other programs on request, but OSX keeps that former contents on hand, incase you go back.

    The only thing you need to watch is the PageIn/PageOut ratio -- that's inthe Activity Monitor / System Memory
    Your PageOuts should be 5% or less of your PageIns. If the PageOut ratio gets over 10%, it means that you are regularly exceeding the installed memory of the machine, and forcing the OS to swap memory on and off the hard drive, which slows the machine down. THe solution is to run fewer programs and Widgets (and cut down on the number of background processes like iTunes Helper, servers, etc) or to buy more RAM for the machine.

    Edit: Ha! beaten to the post by Mitty the Speedy!
  4. SaleenS351 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2004
    Thanks a lot for the info guys. That second gig looks like it'll help out alot.
  5. gameguy3001 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Saskatoon, SK
    Wow, that is good to know. My eMac at work is at 71680/73456 for page ins/outs. I should see if i can get it upgraded :D

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