RAM pigs on RMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by macbook123, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #1
    With my 8 GB RMBP swapping about 2 GBs each day to disk, I decided it's time to try to replace applications using excessive memory.

    First thing I noticed is that Safari uses 5 times more RAM, when the same tabs are open, than Chrome. So I switched.

    Secondly there is a task called kernel_task that uses about a GB of RAM all the time. I don't see this happening on my iMac. What is it and can I turn it off?

    Also, Mail uses about 400 MB all the time and a process called WindowServer about the same. What's the latter?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    kernel_task and WindowServer are components of Mac OS X. No, you can't turn them off. Also, you don't need to micro-manage RAM usage, as Mac OS X does that for you. You shouldn't have paging with 8GB of RAM unless you're running some very intensive apps. Restart your Mac and track page outs under normal use.
     
  3. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #3
    Thanks.

    Why do you think this kernel_task uses 20 times less RAM on my iMac than on my RMBP?

    What determines how much RAM is used by Mail? Is half a GB really necessary?
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    kernel_task will use varying amounts of memory and CPU, depending on what the OS is doing at any given time. The same is true for any app. Again, you don't need to watch it that closely. You're not limited by your physical RAM, due to virtual memory. If you're not paging out under normal usage, you have nothing to worry about.
     
  5. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #5
    I'm paging out 2 GB per day, on occasion significantly more.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    How often do you restart your Mac?
     
  7. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #7
    Perhaps twice a week...
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    Then you can't tell if you're paging out 2GB per day. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart.
     
  9. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #9
    Hell yes I can, by observing activity monitor each day and using an app called Subtraction.
     
  10. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #10
    It's probably loading a lot of stored messages. Keep in mind that ram used by an application is often governed by the total allocation. If you have a lot installed, the OS makes use of it.

    What matters is if this causes lag at some point. If you're encountering lag due to disk activity for whatever period of time, that's an issue. If it's just paging out occasionally (meaning it has to temporarily use the disk as an extension of its memory addressing space), that can be an issue. Some of the irritation there can be alleviated by dragging your system folders to privacy on spotlight. Not everyone likes this solution, but it has worked for me as spotlight stops trying to take note of of these constant changes.

    Beyond that I laughed pretty hard when you wanted to kill your kernel. That's basically the thing that allows communication between the operating system and machine instructions. It's carrying out whatever duties were passed down to it, and there's no feasible way to manage it.

    I'll agree that Safari consumes a large amount of ram, but Chrome (evil piece of voluntarily installed spyware) tends to spawn a number of child processes, so you may not get a complete picture simply by viewing the Chrome process alone. For most stuff it's easy to find out what it is with a quick google search.
     

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