Where did all my RAM go?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by drbrog, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. drbrog macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
    I have a Mac Pro 2.66 GHz with 4 GB RAM. After leaving my computer on for a while, putting it to sleep and waking it up, opening and closing applications, my free RAM slowly has dwindled down. Curently my free RAM is 680 MB and the inactive RAM is 2.28 GB. Is there any way to "release" the inactive RAM?
  2. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Im guessing it is inactive because it is not needed?

    Im not sure how it all works and could be way off here but say you had Photoshop open and the maximum amount of memory that it is allowed to access is 700MB and (as an example) photoshop idles at 20MB RAM that means you have 680MB ready for use by Photoshop and 20MB already in use so that is the 700MB used up. If you have no other apps open there is no need to have any more RAM free as it will not be used by Photoshop.

    Im clutching at straws here, I could be talking out of my arse again. It smells like it. :)
  3. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    The thing to look at is page ins vs page outs.

    If you are getting this info from Activity monitor is should just be in the Memory Section, or you can find it in terminal with the "top" command.

    With 4Gb of ram i would think that your page outs would be very close to 0.

    If you have a high number of page outs compared to page ins then you do not have enough ram in your computer for what you are doing.

    OS X in my experience tends to keep ram "inactive" so you launch that application again it is very quick to do so. But if another application requests it then it will be given that ram.

    To release it i think you have to either log out and back in again or restart. however the ram will soon become inactive again.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    This has been explained on MacRumors a few times: "Free" RAM is RAM that the Mac has never found any use for. If you have 680 MB of free RAM, you might as well have bought less memory. That RAM was just stuck in your machine and did nothing.

    "Inactive" RAM contains data that can be thrown away at any time. For example, it could contain cached data from your harddisk. If an application reads a file from the harddisk, that file will be cached in "Inactive" RAM in case you read it again later. Or if you quit an application, the memory that held the code will be "Inactive". If you start the same application again, it need not be read from the harddisk, the OS just turns the Inactive memory into active memory.

    So your 2.28GB of "Inactive" RAM contain data that isn't of any use right now but was kept there because it might be useful in the future; if anything _needs_ RAM then that memory can be made available immediatly.
  5. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    So whats the difference between wired and active?
  6. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2002
    From the "help"

    Wired is RAM that can't be cached to disk. Active is RAM that is currently being used and not cached, but could be.
  7. drbrog thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
    Thanks for your responses. I have no page outs so I guess I'm okay.
    Thanks again
  8. dusanv macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2006
    You're more than OK. You got nearly 3GB too much RAM but that's another story.
  9. theblotted macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2006
    Los Angeles

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  10. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
  11. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    How can you say this since you have no idea of this persons workflow. At the time of giving the stats they might have just been surfing the net but when working who knows what programs ther person is using.

    If you want to know if you have "too much" ram* then go about your normal workflow and at the end of the day look at page outs.

    *I personally think you can never have too much ram only too little.

  12. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    There's no such thing as too much RAM. ;)

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