Occasional major lag on 10.8.2

Discussion in 'macOS' started by tnsmart, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. tnsmart macrumors 6502

    Aug 23, 2008
    Since upgrading to 10.8.1 (or around that time), I have been experiencing occasional major lag on my MBP (with 8GB of RAM). I'll just be using it with a few applications open and suddenly everything will begin to lag a lot.

    At first I thought that it might be a Spotlight issue, as it seems that every time it happens, if I go to check, Spotlight is indexing. Also, I have the console messages mentioned at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1446854. I tried deleting /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.afpstat.plist and /Library/Cache/com.apple.coresymbolicationd as suggested at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4313832?start=0&tstart=0, but if it made any difference, it was only temporary.

    I have iStats running in my menu bar and it never reports high CPU usage and shows lots of free memory (iStats combines free and inactive memory in the menu bar.) However, if I open Activity Monitor, I find that Safari Web Content is consuming around 5 or 6 GB of real memory with only a few tabs open and that I have only a few MB of free memory.

    I have three questions:
    How I can fix my problem?
    Why does Safari Web Content use so much memory? Even with only Top Sites open, it uses over 300 MB.
    Why is only my free memory being used up and not my inactive memory?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Follow every step of the following instructions precisely. Do not skip any steps.
    1. Launch Activity Monitor
    2. Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
    3. Click on the "% CPU" column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top).
      (If that column isn't visible, right-click on the column headings and check it, NOT "CPU Time")
    4. Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
    5. Take a screen shot of the entire Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
    6. Post your screenshots.

    You don't need to be concerned with memory at all, unless you're experiencing page outs under your normal workload. Inactive memory is the same as free memory, with an additional advantage. To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
  3. tnsmart thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 23, 2008
    Thanks for the reply, but you're not really answering my question. My CPU usage is never very high. Under normal usage, the idle percentage rarely drops below 90%.

    I never have a problem with RAM except with Safari Web Content and I'm pretty sure that 8 GB should be more than enough for my normal usage. Something must be wrong if that process is using that much RAM.

    Screen Shot 2012-10-17 at 12.34.53 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2012-10-17 at 12.35.13 PM.png

    I've experienced the lag I explained a few times since I last restarted and my current uptime is about 2 days and 18 hours.

    Can anybody explain to me what Safari Web Content does? I currently only have this one tab/window open and the RAM usage is 3.77 GB.
    I think that is slowly rises the longer I have Safari open and then my computer begins to lag once it has consumed all of my free RAM. I guess for now I will watch the RAM usage and make sure to quit and reopen Safari if it's getting close.

    Thanks again!
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It is normal for Safari Web Content to use a large amount of RAM. How much depends on what websites you visit. Are you viewing sites with a lot of Flash content? You have had significant page outs since your last restart. If that represents normal use over the past 3 days, you would benefit from more RAM.
  5. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    I wonder which site you've visiting. I'll be glad to pay that site a visit to see if Snow Leopard has the same issue... :D:D
  6. tnsmart thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 23, 2008
    I don't think I visit any pages that would cause such high RAM usage. Probably the most common sites I visit are MacRumors, Facebook, wunderground.com, and bblearn.missouri.edu (uses Java but not Flash). I think the most Flash intensive site I visit is YouTube and I don't go there very often. Also, Flash never uses a lot of resources.

    I'm fairly convinced that if I had 16 GB of RAM, if I left Safari open long enough, Safari Web Content would eventually consume all of it and then I would begin to experience page outs.

    I never experienced this problem under 10.8.0 or on my MacBook with 4 GB of RAM running Lion and my browsing habits haven't changed much since then.

    If I get a chance soon, I will restart my computer and open one tab in Safari and watch to see if my RAM usage increases as it sits there. Also, I might try Firefox to see if it uses a comparable amount of RAM.
  7. tnsmart thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 23, 2008
    Problem solved.

    I believe that I have solved my problem. I found that if I had Facebook open while the FastestTube extension (http://fastesttube.kwizzu.com) was enabled, my Safari Web Process RAM usage increased very rapidly until my computer began to lag. After disabling the extension, I no longer have the problem.

    I also found that with each new tab I open, my RAM usage increases, but when I close tabs it does not decrease. The RAM is only freed up when when I quit Safari. Does anybody know why this happens?
  8. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That is because Safari caches data in memory so if you return to that same page most of the page will already be in memory cache and load much faster. This is by design.

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