Ram Always Full Issue

poppe

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
2,199
32
Woodland Hills
Hey Guys,

So, first off, I tried doing a search (macrumors and google), but didn't have any luck.

I have a 2.33 ghz second gen intel MBP with 2 gb of ram running snow leopard, and has a 160 gb with 17 gb left in space (usually more around 30 though). While it's always been a problem child, it isn't until the last 8 months or so that it has become unbearable; each day getting much much worse.

Most every problem I am able to deal with except my RAM issue. For some reason, my RAM is always full. Two tabs in safari are open and mail is open, but it is not currently displayed on the screen. Otherwise there are no other apps on the dock that are open.

It only gets worse the more programs I open which is logical. The problem here is that I can never get the RAM to clear to a reasonable amount. Up until a month ago I was able to the Free memory to around 1 gb. I don't know if that is good or bad, but it allowed me to at least have safari and mail displayed at the same time; now it's just BBOD to call on the Mail program to display on the screen.

For the last month, however, my computer can only clear .250 mb of memory for Free memory. This is making doing any multitasking impossible.

I am monitoring/clearing memory by using iFreeMem.

I opened up activity monitor and I'm not really sure what I'm looking at to say what is hogging and what isn't.

Safari is 352.9 mb and 528.5 mb virtual.
Mail is 169.6 mb and 163.3 virtual
Kernel_task is 93 mb and 18.9 virtual

Any thoughts or help would be great!
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,068
813
Pennsylvania
Have you tried...
  1. Reboot
  2. Repair permissions
  3. Leave the computer on overnight, and don't let it suspend, which allows OS X to do its monthly cleanup routines
 

Nugget

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
1,855
862
Houston Texas USA
"Free" memory is obviously free (and wasted memory). In this context, though "Inactive" memory is also effectively "free" as well. Add both your reported "Free" and "Inactive" to get an accurate sense of how much RAM you've got available for new tasks.

In an ideal world you'd have 0 bytes of "Free" memory and a whole bunch of inactive memory, which is benefitting you in the form of cached data. Any application that needs more RAM can grab what it needs from the inactive pool.

RAM in the "Free" column is totally wasted.

In activity monitor the best indicator, though, is to keep an eye on page outs. Running out of physical memory results in page outs. If you're seeing a lot of page out activity then it's time to buy more RAM. If you're not seeing many page outs, you've got plenty of RAM for your tasks.
 

poppe

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
2,199
32
Woodland Hills
How much memory do you have as Inactive?

Ok so I just did a clean with iFreeMem and this is with Safari, Firefox (hulu runs better), and Mail open.

Free: 420 MB (best in a few days!)
Inactive 304 MB
Wired 215 MB
Active 823 MB

As I said, this is around the best I can get but it has been much worse lately. Firefox and mail are closed, but still open in the dock.

Have you tried...
  1. Reboot
  2. Repair permissions
  3. Leave the computer on overnight, and don't let it suspend, which allows OS X to do its monthly cleanup routines
Yes I have done all that. And Yes I have left my computer on all night, not on purpose, but on accident because I forgot I had the no sleep option on.
 

Nugget

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
1,855
862
Houston Texas USA
Free: 420 MB (best in a few days!)
Inactive 304 MB
That's 724MB of available memory in a 2GB machine. I don't see the problem -- that's ample. Almost half your physical memory is still available for apps to use.

Edit: iFreeMem is a complete waste of time. There's no performance benefit to freeing up inactive memory, and if you ever do need to access data that's been cached in inactive you'll be glad you didn't artificially clear the cache.
 

poppe

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
2,199
32
Woodland Hills
That's 724MB of available memory in a 2GB machine. I don't see the problem -- that's ample. Almost half your physical memory is still available for apps to use.

Edit: iFreeMem is a complete waste of time. There's no performance benefit to freeing up inactive memory, and if you ever do need to access data that's been cached in inactive you'll be glad you didn't artificially clear the cache.
Hmmm. Interesting...

I guess then if that is ample, I'm very confused on everything. I mean my computer is running like a dog. I know everyone says this, and I know it is almost hitting it's 3 year mark, but this thing is bad... Almost a minute to open Microsoft Word (which always took long anyways; yes I have timed it). BBOD on literally every app. Sometimes that can be from just scrolling down on the page with only one tab.

The worst time is after the computer has been to sleep. If the computer doesn't go to sleep, after a few hours it feels kinda good, but if I close my computer to put it in my bag and drive to work, then take it out at work; I can't really start working on at least one program for a few minutes, a half an hour at least before it seems to be okay with multitasking...

I guess my thought was not that there is amble ram left but that it isn't switching the ram fast enough, so many applications stall or lag while its trying to catch up.

EDIT:
Edit: iFreeMem is a complete waste of time. There's no performance benefit to freeing up inactive memory, and if you ever do need to access data that's been cached in inactive you'll be glad you didn't artificially clear the cache.
Oh I did not know that. I've been using it since Leopard and it has saved me a few times so I thought it was doing it's job.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,910
32,244
Boston
What version of office are you running, could it be a rosetta problem?

What version of OSX are you on. Would it be advisable to do a archive and install to see if that clears it up. If you're running Snow Leopard and opted to upgrade over the clean install, that may be the cause as well (clean install = safer)
 

poppe

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
2,199
32
Woodland Hills
What version of office are you running, could it be a rosetta problem?

What version of OSX are you on. Would it be advisable to do a archive and install to see if that clears it up. If you're running Snow Leopard and opted to upgrade over the clean install, that may be the cause as well (clean install = safer)
Office is 2008.
I'm running snow leopard. I just stuck the disc in and clicked install so I don't think I did a clean install?
 

splitpea

macrumors 65816
Oct 21, 2009
1,009
241
Among the starlings
I'd recommend getting an external drive and offloading another 20GB+ from your hard drive. And if the machine will support it, more memory can never hurt.

In Activity Monitor, what does your CPU usage look like? How about your paging?
 

airplaneman

macrumors 6502a
Jun 8, 2009
635
0
USA
Hmmm. Interesting...

I guess then if that is ample, I'm very confused on everything. I mean my computer is running like a dog. I know everyone says this, and I know it is almost hitting it's 3 year mark, but this thing is bad... Almost a minute to open Microsoft Word (which always took long anyways; yes I have timed it). BBOD on literally every app. Sometimes that can be from just scrolling down on the page with only one tab.

The worst time is after the computer has been to sleep. If the computer doesn't go to sleep, after a few hours it feels kinda good, but if I close my computer to put it in my bag and drive to work, then take it out at work; I can't really start working on at least one program for a few minutes, a half an hour at least before it seems to be okay with multitasking...

I guess my thought was not that there is amble ram left but that it isn't switching the ram fast enough, so many applications stall or lag while its trying to catch up.

EDIT:


Oh I did not know that. I've been using it since Leopard and it has saved me a few times so I thought it was doing it's job.
If it's the launch times, it might be your hard drive that's the culprit, not the RAM.
 

poppe

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
2,199
32
Woodland Hills
I'd recommend getting an external drive and offloading another 20GB+ from your hard drive. And if the machine will support it, more memory can never hurt.

In Activity Monitor, what does your CPU usage look like? How about your paging?
I have 14.97 gb free at the moment, but I usually hover around 30 gb of free space. So another 20 on the 30?

Office 2008 updated to the latest version? I know there was a memory leak fix in one of their updates.

There are other people that experienced memory leaks with Office 2008.

http://forums.macnn.com/82/applications/399424/office-2008-huge-memory-leak/
I'll have to check. It feels like there is an update every time I open word, so I'm not sure.

If it's the launch times, it might be your hard drive that's the culprit, not the RAM.
Start up time has always been terrible in my computer. I even took it to Apple when I first got it because it would take around a minute to a minute and a half to get from hitting the power button to being able to open an application (and work).

Apple said they didn't know and everything looked fine on the diagnostic.

+1

Sounds like your HDD is either full or very slow/old or dying. How much free space is available on it? Make/Model number?
If it's slowly dying, is there anyway to prove that it is slowly dying? My warranty is up in about 2 months and I would really like to get this fixed if this is something they can fix.
 

TheBritishBloke

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2009
2,532
0
United Kingdom
I don't know if you can put 4GB of RAM in that machine. However if I were you I would change the HDD out for a 320GB or more. It's never good to not have much HDD space.
 

poppe

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 29, 2006
2,199
32
Woodland Hills
I don't know if you can put 4GB of RAM in that machine. However if I were you I would change the HDD out for a 320GB or more. It's never good to not have much HDD space.
I can put 2 2 gb sticks in it, but it only shows up as just over 3 if I remember correctly.
 
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