Steam Performance Issues (Memory leak, generally buggy?)

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by tomjdavies, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. tomjdavies macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    #1
    Mac gamers!

    To those who use steam: have you had problems with the sheer amount of RAM that Steam eats, even when its sitting in the background? eg, I have FM12 open currently and Steam isn't really doing anything, yet it is using 6.1% CPU and a frankly ridiculous 528.8 MBs of memory.

    I know from previously being a PC gamer that it doesn't use anywhere near this amount of memory on Windows, so is this is a Mac isolated issue?

    I've searched through Steam's forums but haven't really found any good feedback. These forums are pretty darn reliable for user feedback so any shared experiences would be most appreciated!

    (I'm using an early 2011 Macbook Pro base model; 2.3ghz i5, 4gb ram.)
     
  2. deadwulfe, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2012

    deadwulfe macrumors 6502a

    deadwulfe

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    #2
    From a fresh Steam start, using about 4.6 - 6.4% CPU and 240MB of RAM. This is on an early 2011 MBP i7 config with 8GB RAM and Lion.

    UPDATE: After leaving it on all day while I was at work for 11 hours, CPU is floating around 3.8% with 269.6MB of RAM usage. I fail to see a problem with my Steam installation.
     
  3. Dirtyharry50, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012

    Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #3
    I have recently observed Steam leaking memory like a sieve just sitting idle and as you noted also using an excessive amount of CPU cycles. I am surprised and disappointed that Valve hasn't fixed this issue already which from what i understand is not something new.

    I ran a little test the other day over several hours in the afternoon allowing Steam to just sit idle in the dock. All I did was start Steam and then minimize it to the dock. I did not browse the store, start any games, etc. I wanted to see what it would do idle as I'd noticed before it seemed to be eating quite a lot of memory.

    I observed after several hours that Steam's memory consumption had climbed to a whopping excess of over 1 gigabyte just sitting idle doing nothing! Well, it is doing something clearly. It is leaking memory and badly. I also noted it was bouncing consistently between 3 and 8 percent roughly, CPU utilization at the end of this little informal test.

    I measured this with OS X's Activity Monitor app.

    There is no doubt that Steam for Mac is in need of some quality time in some software engineer's debugger at Valve.

    Edit: After posting this I was thinking I should add that I am using the term "leaking memory" very loosely here. Generally speaking, leaking memory refers to memory allocations that are not subsequently freed after use. Steam could have some other problem that is causing it to request much more memory than it needs over time. In a more thorough test I might have let Steam run for days just to see if at some point it would stop allocating more memory for itself or if it would exhaust system RAM but I couldn't be bothered. I just wanted to get some idea of how far it would go over its initial 200 MB and once it hit 1 gig I was satisfied something is not right with this app. Valve would need to pay me to do more work than this on this issue. ;-)
     
  4. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #4
    Haven't head any problems with RAM or CPU under OS X or Windows, personally.
     
  5. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #5
    It would be interesting if you were to conduct the same test I did, noted above and let it sit idle for say 5 hours and then tell us what Activity Monitor reports to you for Steam's memory usage and CPU usage at that time. It would also be somewhat interesting to know what version of OS X you are running and how much total system RAM you have installed on your Mac.
     
  6. tomjdavies thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 24, 2008
    #6
    What set up are you using? Could be that its confined to certain models or configurations of Mac. Doubt this though.

    ----------

    Dirtyharry50! I think I saw a couple of your posts on the Steam forums. No one seems massively interested on the Mac performance issues on those forums though.

    On my bootcamp partition Steam runs at an absolute minimal cost to system resources, suggesting this is an OS X issue, and not something with my Mac. I could just switch to that partition to play games, but the majority of the time I'm in windowed anyway so I can use OS X features; it'd defeat the point really.
     
  7. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #7
    Yeah, I'm the same old Dirtyharry. ;-)

    I invested in another 8 gigs for my iMac bringing it up to 12 gigs total which I needed to run Parallels to my own satisfaction. So fortunately, this Steam issue shouldn't pose much if any problem for me gaming in OS X but still, the resource usage of Steam on OS X is ridiculous. Hopefully Valve will fix that at some point.
     
  8. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #8
    Can't try that out at the moment, but I'll try tonight or tomorrow. As for OS X, I've got 10.6.8 installed at the moment (really need to get around to installing 10.7 again), and I have 6GB of RAM.

    I've got a hackintosh and a MacBook -- the desktop has a Core i7-930, 6GB of RAM, HD4890, 10.6.8. The laptop is 2006 model, 2.0 GHz Core Duo and 2GB of RAM with a GMA 940.
     
  9. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #9
    That will be cool Mackilroy, just to see what happens. Maybe it does vary somewhat dependent on hardware, total ram installed or even possibly what else might be in memory along with it. I'd be surprised by that but you never know until you test a case.
     
  10. tomjdavies thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 24, 2008
    #10
    From a fresh start this morning, Steam is idling at between 6-9% CPU, and using 182.4MBs. It is worth noting that this is running in offline mode, testing it to see whether it is less of a resource hog in this state. Will boot up some games and see whether resource usage increases.
     
  11. tomjdavies thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 24, 2008
    #11
    OK, after no change in the resource use in offline mode, I've put it back into online mode. RAM usage started at 220mbs, and it is steadily rising.
     
  12. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #12
    That is interesting.

    ----------

    Were you in offline mode or online mode during this test? Just curious.
     
  13. tomjdavies thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 24, 2008
    #13
    However, in comparison my friend with a Sony Vaio has told me Steam was using less than a megabyte in online mode. Having an offline mode that still use hundreds of megabytes is still ridiculous!
     
  14. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #14
    Okay, I've had Steam open for a couple of hours now, and RAM usage has never gone over 200MB -- it's been pretty stable at 189.2MB for about an hour. Was downloading KoTOR for most of that, but it's finished now. Been in online mode the whole time.

    EDIT: restarted into offline mode, uses about the same (<1MB difference) amount of RAM.
     
  15. danneu, Jun 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    danneu macrumors newbie

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    Jun 28, 2012
    #15
    Fresh install of Steam on my brand new i5 Macbook Air with 4gb RAM.

    After an hour of using Steam as nothing but an instant messenger with my one friend, Steam is sitting at 800mb of memory and 10% CPU. Absolutely insane, beating out Firefox with 30 tabs is no easy feat!

    My Steambro on Windows 7 says that his Steam is at 63mb RAM and 3% CPU.

    Edit: Restarting Steam, it starts off at 200mb. I'll update this if it escalates back to 800mb again.

    Edit2: Seems to be stable around 200mb. Hopefully the 800mb was an anomaly. Still much more memory consumed than my Windows buddy.

    Edit3: New day. Booted up Steam. Checked its memory consumption 30 minutes later. 350mb.
     
  16. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #16
    Since my last post I have left Steam running for more than a day although my Mac would have been sleeping some of that time.

    Steam's memory use climbed to 2.7 gigs before I closed it. I'm not making that up. It actually went that high, at least according to Activity Monitor.
     
  17. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #17
    Sheesh. I don't know what's going on with you guys and Steam... seems bizarre. I'm still hovering ~200MB.
     
  18. Dr. McKay macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    #18
    Just launched Steam and immediately it shows 325 Mb in Activity Monitor (iMac 2.8Ghz C2D, 4Gb RAM, OS X.6.8)...
    In any case, Steam is a slow, slow app. It's better on Win7, but not by much...
     
  19. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

    iMacFarlane

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    #19
    Steam is pretty crappy. I love the fact I can get these games in a shell of some sort, with the achievements spicing things up a bit, and that summer sale was SWEEEEET. But Steam is pretty apropos for describing what is rising from what this software actually reminds me of.

    The only way to shut down steam is Force Quit. No exceptions.

    Steam hangs on start. Activity monitor shows 133% CPU usage as memory consumed approches 280MB, and lists Steam in red as 'application not responding' for about 80 seconds. Then main window of steam actually displays, updates itself, and cpu usage drops to a steam 25% at ~300MB. Wonderful.

    And don't even get me started on the scrolling issues . . . ridiculous.
     
  20. iwb100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    #20
    I see a blank black screen on the store window of steam. Can see my library tab, but others are blank and black. Anyone else get this or know how to fix?

    Also serious sam 3 was working fine, but now just get a steam message "game is currently unavailable". Tried verifying game cache files and did not help. Might have to try a delete and re-install next. Anyone else had similar issues?
     
  21. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

    iMacFarlane

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    Location:
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    #21
    I also have the blank windows for store/community/news. Fun. There is a fix out there, it involves hacking into some glob file in the steam prefs deep in your user library. Not interested.

    I get the not available messages too. Be stubborn. You can usually get it to go by try three or four.
     
  22. arashb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    #22
    Yeah mines at ~900 mb with 8.7% cpu usage on idle. But I haven't noticed any sort of slowdown or unusualness with my MBP, if it wasn't for this thread I wouldn't have ever checked. So it doesn't really seem harmful.
     
  23. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #23
    Steam uses up around 500MB for me. But if I leave Steam open, my free ram slowly goes down, until I end up using around 5.5+ GB's of ram, more than I ever have. It doesn't say Steam is using it, but it only goes up like that when Steam is open.
     
  24. InuNacho macrumors 65816

    InuNacho

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    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    In that one place
    #24
    Steam usually uses anywhere between 200 to occasionally 400MB and the only game I have L4D2 sometimes crawls up to 2.5GB, think it was 3 once.
    Steam uses barely anything, in fact Activity Monitor usually uses more processing power!

    Running it on a early 2011 MBP, 16GB and 10.6.8.

    Steam for the Mac is kind of like an old lawnmower, sometimes you just gotta keep wacking on it in order for it to work.
     
  25. MetalMac macrumors member

    MetalMac

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    Nov 11, 2007
    Location:
    Tijuana, MEX
    #25
    Indeed, Steam on the mac has always felt clunkier to me than in its windows version, although i can say that with each update to the client it has gradually improved.
     

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