OS X swapping like crazy and barely compressing memory

Discussion in 'macOS' started by proute, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. proute macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2015

    it looks like my work iMac under 10.11.6 (but I observed this since 10.9, I think) did not get the memo about memory compression...
    Every article/thread I saw about it, people always show "oh look it compressed 5Gigs and swapped 2Megs... it just works... the best out there... yadda yadda..." and other people freak out over 2Gigs swap with 8Gigs of ram.

    On my system (16 RAM, 256 SSD) it's the other way around: currently I have 33Gig swap and 5Megs of compressed memory. And while my swap can reach 50Gigs or so before sh*t hit's the fan and the system is unresponsive, I've never seen my compressed memory go over something like 200MB.

    Granted, it's my work machine, so I have a couple of things open all the time (Chrome/Office/Atom/Terminals) and I prefer putting it to sleep over shutting down to win some time. But... the swap keeps growing even while the system sleeps: I'd leave it with 25GB swap for the night, in the morning I'll have 30GB.

    I try killing stuff to reduce the usage but it slowly grows over days/weeks until the system can't handle it anymore and I have no other choice than a reboot (that's where I tend to install my updates that require closing/rebooting everything, I even put them off for later on purpose because I know the swap will force me at some point).

    So is there something missing or it considers the SSD faster than compression or... ?

    Thanks guys
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    That's very unusual. Things to try:

    1) Restart with reopen windows when logging back in disabled/unticked.
    2) Reset PRAM.
    3) Reset SMC.

    Hopefully one of the above should resolve the problem.
  3. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    30GB swap using chrome and office (not sure what Atom is) ? something is way wrong.

    pls open activity monitor, enable the 'Real memory' column (right click on the header), order by it and check what's at the top.
  4. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Forget about memory compression, there is no apparent connection to your problem. I concur with b0fh666, some application is using incredible amounts of memory, causing the system to evict everything else (including compressed memory) and page more to disk.
  5. proute thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2015
    Thanks for the replies!
    (@b0fh666: Atom is what cool kids use today in place of TextMate, https://atom.io )

    Here's the current state:
    "Memory" order
    Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 15.04.56.png

    and "Real Memory" order
    Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 15.05.09.png

    Yes, yes... I know Chrome is the number 1 culprit, but still...
    And don't be fooled by Dock/Finder/Spotlight/Notification Center being that low, I killed them yesterday because they were up there with their buddy loginwindow in the 3-4GB zone and I barely use them.

    And yes, memory pressure is green, but it flips to red right when I least expect it and everything stops responding (+ "not enough memory" messages), so I'm finding myself having to constantly keep an eye on Activity Monitor (adds another 1-2GB) on the "world's most advanced operating system" so it doesn't choke...

    So, does your memory usage look anything like this? Is it any better with Sierra? Any system flags/settings to check?

    @keysofanxiety : I guess I'll wait on the next reboot to try those out.
  6. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    You simply have a high memory usage and I suspect that the system is incapable of juggling everything about when you switch between applications in that state. When the bar is red, it means that the memory pressure is so high that the system has to increase its virtual memory. You have quite a bit of compressed memory as well, but the system needs to page that memory too.

    Atom and Chrome are very memory-hungry. In fact, Atom is based on the same backend as Chrome, is is effectively a web browser. Both have rather poor memory management, that is no secret.
  7. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    9GB for Chrome...not surprised.

    But 3GB for F.Lux? something's up. I'd reboot and do a PRAM reset, after coming back up can you send another screenshot of your usage? You might be someone, that given your usage, would actually benefit from restarting every couple of days (other than every couple of weeks, as one guy at my work does).
  8. weup togo macrumors regular

    May 6, 2016
    Chrome is a steaming pile. There's nothing the OS can do to make it suck less.
  9. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    When you total in all the "Google Chrome Helper" processes, it's well over 12GB in total that Chrome is using. Crazy.
  10. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Flux's memory usage does seem abnormal. Perhaps it is leaking memory or causing a memory leak elsewhere. Might be worth to disable it for a while. iTerm is also using a lot. What are you using it for that it consumes so much?
  11. proute thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2015
    Well, we might be onto something here... I looked up f.lux issues and found this
    which seems to match my problem.

    I disabled/quit it for now, I'll see how it evolves as is, and later I'll find a moment to reboot and do the resets for good measure.

    Yes, I'm aware about Chrome/Atom thing :(
    iTerm has like 5 tabs (servers ssh / local stuff) and not that much history/scroll.

    I'll add that in pre 10.9 era I had pretty much same usage, except that I had xcode/simulators running with several projects instead of Office apps, and I don't recall having this issue. I also wasn't using f.lux, so we'll see how it goes without it...
  12. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    memory pressure is way low... something weird is going on :). real mem seems normal for all apps.
  13. proute thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2015
    So, just to report back:
    I quit f.lux and rebooted on Wednesday and here's how it's looking today
    Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 09.38.10.png

    usually by now I'd have like 15GB of swap out of nowhere, so looks like the issue is fixed.

    Thanks everybody for your time!
  14. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
  15. proute thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2015
    Indeed <some cool emoji here>.
    Done and done.

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