OSX Server on Mac mini is a real memory hog

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by DavidSJC, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. DavidSJC macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    Hi, I have the 2011 mac mini that came with OSX Lion Server. I disabled all server functionality and I have 8 gigs of RAM. Running Chrome with about 10-15 open tabs plus and one or two applications, free memory goes down to 20 megs and the system runs very very slow. I tried running the 'purge' command. It helps for a while and then free memory goes down again. See the screenshot below.

    I have compared the INACTIVE memory with regular OSX Lion. In the non-server edition the Inactive memory is usually below 15% of total RAM. With OSX Server, Inactive memory is usually around 28-30%. Again, I tried running 'purge', that helps only a little.

    I have thought of two solutions to this:

    1) Install 16 gigs of RAM. I'm seriously looking into this and I'm reading old other threads on this subject.

    2) Reinstall the OS to put just OSX Lion. I'm not sure I can do this without a way of backing up a lot of data. I bought the mac mini with two 500 gigs HDs. My data cannot fit in the secondary 500 GB disk.

    What do you guys think? Anybody gone from Lion Server to Lion? How was the process? Does installing the OS touch the second hard drive? It shouldn't right?


    Attached Files:

  2. etsi macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2011
    If you upgrade to mountain lion when is out, can you upgrade from server os to non server ? This is what I am thinking because the server addon it's useless for me, I don't use it.
  3. paul117 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2012
    i have this issue on my server.... no matter what i do it always managed to reach 99% memory usage with 11gb or more of inactive memory.... if i purge it then it comes back.... ive upgraded to osx mountain lion server and same issue.....to upgrade osx lion server to mountain it keeps the 10.7 server app which will stop working to which u will have to download the osx mountain lion server app but i think u may be able to get away with running it without redownloading the server app.

    hope this helps.
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Judging from that screenshot, it looks as though you have not restarted your computer for a long time (87 GBs of Page Ins). But you only have 6 GBs of Page Outs. That means in total, since the last time you restarted, you have only needed to use your virtual memory (paged out) in less than 10% of your use. In other words, you're not really running out of memory.

    Watching inactive memory is a pointless task.

    The key part is the fact that it is available for other applications to use. Sometimes this does go slightly awry, so it's good practise to run purge from the Terminal after you've been doing an intensive task that uses memory or every couple of days.

    If you want to check if you really need to upgrade to 16 GBs of RAM, then you need to restart and do the normal things that you would do in a day. Then, at the end of the day, check your Page Outs. If they are a significant percentage of your Page Ins (more than about 25%), then it will be worthwhile for you to upgrade to 16 GBs. However, if your page ins are around 8 GBs and your page outs were only 1 GB, then you won't see a significant difference in upgrading to 16 GBs.
  5. DavidSJC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    Thanks for the explanation on Inactive memory. Rebooting does help but
    the system goes back to this state of low memory after a couple of
    days of going to sleep at night.

    And I thought the purpose of 'purge' was to reclaim this unused memory.

    Oh well, I think I'll reboot often and get 16 gigs of ram also.

  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, you don't need to purge memory, and doing so can degrade performance, not improve it.

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