Sudden spike in "swap used"

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by rockview821, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. rockview821 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    #1
    Hello,

    My Macbook (late 2008, running Mavericks) has suddenly started experiencing problems due to memory usage. I have about 7 GB of free space on my HD, which is not a lot, but typically not a problem.

    The problem that I've just been experiencing is that the available space goes down to less than 1 GB. When I check Activity Monitor, I see that the memory usage is atypically high. The "swap used" had suddenly shot up to 4-7 GB (and this is what caused the sudden decrease in HD space). The combination of the lack of HD space with the writing to the HD instead of RAM means that my computer becomes very slow.

    My Macbook, which has 6GB of RAM, typically has zero "swap used". I am running the same programs I always run: Firefox, Word, Preview, iTunes. I have noticed that quitting Firefox, which is the biggest memory user at 0.5-1.5 GB, sometimes solves the problem, but not every time.

    Any suggestions? What could have caused this spike when I'm using my computer the same way I always do.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    Newer programs use more resources in most cases. What is the typical RAM used?
     
  3. rockview821 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    #3
    Well oftentimes, RAM usage is operating at the maximum of 6GB, but I understand this to be a function of Mavericks' memory compression feature. And typically even running at 6GB of RAM there are no detectable performance losses. I'm running the same programs that I always use and haven't updated any of them.
     
  4. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #4
    Well ideally you would want a little head room with RAM usage all together. What does the Memory Pressure look like?
     
  5. rockview821 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    #5
    Ordinarily, Memory Pressure looks good, green. When this problem occurs and there is 7GB (!) being written to the HD it looks bad, red.
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #6
    That means that something has a serious Memory Leak. Try using another browser or updating Firefox as there were some large leaks in some older versions.
     

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