There's something extremely wrong with the way Mavericks Handles RAM (16gb)

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by FrozenDarkness, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    So I bought a macbook pro 13" with 16gb of RAM because I have to run a bunch of VMs. I noticed that even when I'm not running any VMs, my mac freaks out on Ram. This is just with two chrome windows opened mind you:


    Have you guys seen something similar? 6GB's used and already in the swap?
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Do you experience slowdowns or are you merely looking for issues? It is perfectly ok to have some swap. The more RAM you haven the more RAM will be used for caching and stuff.
  3. FrozenDarkness thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    it's not perfectly okay to have some swap. i didn't get 16gb of ram to have my os hit my SSD unnecessarily. I do experience some slowdown and freezes but I realized that was due to something else.
  4. MacModMachine, Nov 9, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013

    MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    actually it is ok , maybe do some reading on the way os's work and utilize swap and memory.

    swap can happen whenever the os decided pages are not being used.
  5. nzalog macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2012
    So many operating system programmers on our forum that know more about how an OS should work than the Apple programmers. :p
  6. jhfenton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It's normal to have some trivial amount of swap, even with oodles of RAM. Here's my current state with the system up for 24 hours. I don't know why yours is higher, but maybe you did something earlier that pushed it up a bit.

    I like Mavericks memory management. Mavericks pretty much holds onto whatever it can in the File Cache, which freaks a lot of folks out, but it makes sense to use the RAM if it can. Why purge something I'm not using at the moment, but used a few hours ago. I might use that program or file again. But if I open a Parallels VM to which I've assigned 8GB of RAM, it'll purge whatever it needs from the cache to make room.

    Attached Files:

  7. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    so many people on our forums that know everything about nothing.....
  8. nzalog macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2012
    Bro if you don't free up some ramz your system is going to crash. Listen very carefully, don't open up anymore applications and reboot immediatly. Trust me I've skimmed through a computer book or two in my days. You also might want to go to after your reboot to prevent this issue.

  9. TheCakeIsALie macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    This is normal. The OS will use more RAM if the system has more RAM. Windows does the same thing, under 4GB, the OS will use around 1GB, but under 8 or 16GB the OS uses much more (2-3GB).

    Unused RAM is wasted RAM, so you should be glad that the OS is using the memory. When you spin up some VMs and actually uses all 16GB with application processes, the OS will delegate and handle it, ie hand over most available memory to the applications as opposed to hogging it for system use. If in this case you still see the system hogging a lot of RAM then it becomes an issue, but I don't think I've seen this happen on OS X.
  10. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Chrome and Parallels can cause some memory problems. This is not a problem of Mavericks.
  11. FrozenDarkness thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    I noticed that even when <b>I'm not running any VMs</b>, my mac freaks out on Ram. This is just with two chrome windows opened mind you

    it's a problem when your computer defaults to using swap when over 50% of ram is available to be free. that's why a lot of computer tips on windows tells you to turn off or just leave very little page file if you have plenty of ram. it's for fast performance and it also stops the OS from constantly writing onto your SSD.

    and also, one of the touted features mentioned in most mavericks reviews is that it takes a long time for mavericks to hit the swap file. i can tell you it's not true based off of my screen shot above.
  12. FrozenDarkness thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    Also, I think it's ridiculous that people believe you have to be an OS Guru to comment on how it handles RAM. We've all used computers forever and should know some things on and off.

    By your logic, most of us should comment about hardware either becuase none of us are mechanical engineers or materials science engineers. most of us should comment on politics since we're probably not phd economists or sociologists.
  13. leventozler macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2009
    We don't know your uptime, and since your file cache is on the low side, it looks like some other apps were using the memory, caused a page write & purged file cache, and when terminated, used memory fall back..
  14. nzalog macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2012
    I think it was mostly in response to how adamant you were about being right when you were wrong. Beyond that, there already have been a lot of threads like this. I noticed it and I'm far from a regular here.

    "it's not perfectly okay to have some swap. i didn't get 16gb of ram to have my os hit my SSD unnecessarily. I do experience some slowdown and freezes but I realized that was due to something else."
  15. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    This is the way Unix/Linux works. It's smart enough to know when a lot of ram is available and loads more of the OS into ram for better performance. It's a good thing. Windows desktop and server still sucks at this btw.

  16. FrozenDarkness thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    i'm not wrong actually. thanks. it could be a programatical error but please oh great one, explain to me why it makes sense in a theoretical situation to hit swap. I understand why you would want to load programs into RAM, which is fine. It's not, however, fine to load it into swap.


    and quote:

    "Do I need more swap?

    No, disk caching only borrows the ram that applications don't currently want. It will not use swap. If applications want more memory, they just take it back from the disk cache. They will not start swapping."


    i think this might be the case. although with that much RAM available, I'd hope Mavericks would move it into RAM.
  17. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    I could imagine the OS loads big libraries of which only a tiny bit is used. In that case, parts could be swapped away to disk, because that means more ram available to act as a disk buffer.

    Anyway if you really want to control stuff, just turn off swap:
    In pre-Mountain Lion times, I always ran without swap because I didn't want to waste SSD space .
  18. w0lf macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2013
    My guess here is that the swap occurred while you were using a VM and it simply hasn't been pushed out of the swap file for unknown reasons.

    I do concur that if you hit swap while having multiple GB of free ram something wrong is happening, but it's hard to say whether or not that's the case here because that swap could have shown up while you were doing something else that was actually fully taxing your ram.
  19. coldjeanzzz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    From what I have gathered it's perfectly normal for Mavericks to use up as much RAM as possible, which is why there has been an influx of panic threads this past month about too much RAM being used up even though the same processes that were active in Mountain Lion used less RAM.

    However, swap being used doesn't seem to be normal. I have 8 GB of RAM and most of the time 0 swap is used but occasionally I have noticed 40-50 MB being used but I don't really know what causes it. It seems to happen after I put my Mac to sleep for a number of hours
  20. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Some people think it is ridiculous you have to go to school before you can be a brain surgeon. Some think you can drive a car right out of the box without taking any lessons and consider drivers licenses to be the stupidest thing around. This is your logic.

    If you want to talk/comment about memory usage you can do so but it becomes a lot easier if you actually know how it all works. For that you need to do some research and learning. The same applies to when you think something is flawed/a problem/etc. Investigate, try to find answers. You are not doing any of that and that is a problem. There is nothing wrong with the memory handling, you just fail to understand it. If you dive into how it works (hover the mouse over the graphs in activity monitor; it is not rocket science) you'll understand how it works as well as how stupid this topic is.

    TL;DR: do your homework first, think, then complain. Don't skip the homework and thinking part!
  21. josh.b macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2013
    from experience I believe swap is a bad thing, sourcing your hard drive (bottlenecking). I do video editing, FCPX and AE which are the two main memory drinkers and I can tell you I have never had swap on my late 2012 iMac with 24GB of RAM. I have iStat menus and activity monitor up on an hourly basis monitoring my system while it works too.
  22. petsounds macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    I'd have to agree with the OP, swap is a Bad Thing. Lion and ML held onto apps and files too long, even after quitting, and so it would go to swap, thinking it was out of RAM. Hence the trusty 'purge' terminal command.

    Mavericks was supposed to solve this. Taking up RAM is not a bad thing per se, and Mavericks was built to do this, but it going into swap is.

    However, we have no idea what the OP's session was like before taking this snapshot. If he ran a bunch of VMs and pushed RAM into swap territory, OS X won't automatically clean that up just because you quit the VMs.
  23. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Have you read the arstechnica summary of how Mavericks handles memory?
  24. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
  25. Chazz08 macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2012
    Maybe the OP does have a problem with his memory management. I've been running my computer for over two days, and my computer hasn't used any swap. I've played pretty intensive games and used photoshop and indesign as well. Here's what mine says.

    Also, this is with seven tabs on safari opened, Airmail, Messages, and VLC all opened. Nothing big opened right now, I guess, but still no swap with my prior uses.

    Attached Files:

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