Where did all my RAM go?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by m85476585, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I just finished importing some AVCHD movies into iMovie, and my MBP became unresponsive. I opened up Activity Monitor when it was responsive again, and it looks like it ran out of RAM and started swapping stuff to the disk. I have 6gb of RAM, but apparently 280mb had to be swapped out.

    Why does the "Active" RAM add up to so much more than what is apparently in use? The wired RAM is less than the total real RAM, but active RAM is much more than the total real RAM.

    Why doesn't OS X dump "inactive" RAM? This page
    defines inactive RAM as: "This information in memory is not actively being used. If your Mac needs to access this information, it will not have to load it from the slower hard disk." To me that implies that inactive RAM is the cache of recently used but closed programs that are kept in RAM to make them start faster next time. Why is this swapped to the disk when more RAM is called for? Shouldn't it be cleared out without saving it since it is not needed any more?

    I had this problem when I used to run VMWare Fusion with 4gb, and I haven't had any trouble running 6gb until now. Does iMovie really take that much RAM while it is importing movies?
  2. Clete2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Er I don't know if OSX has this, but try it..

    Can you post a screenshot of the 'top' or 'htop' command? You seem to know what you're talking about.. :)
  3. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I forgot to post the activity monitor screenshot.

    The top screenshot is from a bit later, and now iMovie is rendering my movie not just importing it. Is there a way to get top to sort by RAM used?

    Attached Files:

  4. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Here's a more recent activity monitor shot to go with the top one. I tried opening OpenOffice a minute ago and everything froze up again while a few hundred MB more was swapped out.

    Edit: top -o rsize sorts by RAM used (assuming that's whar rsize is). This looks like the same info Activity Monitor is giving me.

    Attached Files:

  5. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Logging out and logging back in didn't free up all the RAM. The free space shown came mostly from quitting all the programs I had open. The second picture shows the memory use after a reboot. Rebooting took a long time, and it sat at a blue screen with a spinning wheel for at least 30 seconds.

    Does OS X have a memory leak?

    Attached Files:

  6. Hydroxs macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2008
    Don't know if I have a memory leak somewhere, but if I don't restart every two to three days, I will run out of ram.
  7. csdibiase macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2010
    Cleveland, OH
    10.6.2 does appear to have some kind of memory leak. I have the same problem on my month old 13" MBP. Kind of disapointing actually as I'm a recent convert to the house of mac as I've not had anywhere near the same need to reboot as I did when I was running Windows 7 on the dell E6400 I use for work.

    It's not debilitating but annoying none the less.

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