task manager - RAM

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Lokrado, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Lokrado macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2009
    after upgrading to snow leopard i have been having some real RAM problems, since i only have 4GB of RAM and play a few games on my mac i tend to fill it up quite fast..... ( yes its full, down to 5MB free sometimes ) but tasks like dashboard is sucking up like 500MB and is just sitting there. i don't really use it very often so its really no good to me to have it keept up and running all the time.
    so i wonder is there some easy way to kill apps like dashboard upon exit, with a terminal command etc? if yes what would this terminal command be?
    and are there any other way i can kill off some normally unused apps to free some more memory?
    if yes which and how do i kill them?
    BR Lokrado
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Is that 500MB of physical or virtual memory?

    Also don't worry about how much is being used, the number to look at is the "page outs". Mac OS X will only page out if it needs RAM.
  3. Lokrado thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2009
    Uhh quite honestly i dont remember... What i dó remember is that i have 3x DashboardClient running in my activity moniter and that they each using 100MB+ of RAM in both of the memory related columns, which one that's real/virtual, well havnt got a clue.
  4. broken-chaos macrumors regular


    Sep 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Could you perhaps provide a short list of the Dashboard widgets you're using? If the DashboardClient processes are using a large amount of memory, the widgets are what is doing it - the DashboardClient is simply what runs the widget for the computer.

    Now, I'll explain the Activity Monitor and how to check your RAM usage a little more accurately. I hope it's fairly easy to follow.

    To tell if you're looking at the Real Memory (meaning how much actual, physical bits of your RAM is being used) or the Virtual Memory (a much more complex metric that is mostly useless to non-techies) in the Activity Monitor, check the columns - if the column you're reading the number from says "Real Mem", then it's talking about the actual physical RAM being used, but if it says "Virtual Mem", then it's talking about the complex, much more abstract number that has little to do with actual RAM usage.

    I'd personally recommend, unless you have a specific reason, turning off most of the memory-related columns in the Activity Monitor. You do this by right clicking at the top of a column (on one of the labels - say the PID label) and unchecking the data types you don't want - I'd recommend unchecking all the ones ending in "Memory" except "Real Memory".

    Another useful bit of data the Activity Monitor has, for checking RAM usage, is the pie chart o' memory. Click, near the bottom of the window, the "System Memory" tab, and it should display you a nice neat little pie chart. Red and yellow are the parts of memory that the computer has a specific need of right now - meaning the programs and data you're working with right now, and are needed in RAM. Blue is the 'old' data, meaning files that you've look at or used recently (documents, or just programs that were running but aren't anymore) - the system is keeping it in RAM in case you want it quickly again, but it will drop it from RAM if you start needing more memory. The green part is the actual free RAM - this is the part the system isn't using and hasn't used lately - it's storing nothing, and is the first place the system looks when it needs more memory.

    Basically, if you have a significant amount of green and blue (added together) in the chart, you're fine for RAM space. If you have mostly yellow and/or red, then your computer is starting to run out of RAM at the moment, and you have cause to look more at what's using so much!

    I hope that helps explain things a bit more for you.

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