Why do I have so much inactive memory?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fridgeymonster3, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2008
    I'm running Handbrake to encode several ripped dvd's on my new 2.8 Mac 8-core. Handbrake has been going for about 30 minutes and activity monitor says that my memory usage is as follows (I have a total of 10 GB):

    Free: 2.63 GB
    Wired: 695 MB
    Active: 885 MB
    INACTIVE: 5.82 GB
    Used: 7.33 GB

    Why the hell do I have 5.82 inactive? What does that mean anyway "inactive"? If memory is inactive, but not free, where the heck is it?
  2. darthraige macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2007
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    I'm trying to figure out why I have 728mb Active! The computer isn't doing anything. lol

    Also, can you tell a difference with 10GB ram over 2GB?
  3. SolrFlare macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2007
    Short answer:

    Inactive memory = free memory but with stuff in it ready for use again if needed.

    Long answer:

    Inactive memory is a good thing and OS X is going to try and make as much inactive as possible over time.

    Inactive means its memory that was used for other applications but isn't being used any more. OS X holds on to the data in this memory until it absolutely has to let go of it so that way programs can access that data faster if they need it again without having to reload it in and out of memory on a regular basis.
  4. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Also Handbrake is reliant on your processor not RAM, right?
  5. Rowlander macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007
    True. How much CPU-usage does it show you during encoding?
  6. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2008
    it shows between 60-80% processor usage per each core. When i wpke up this morning the inactive memory was 8.82 GB while the free memory was 10MB!! It doesnt matter much because i run encoding at night but it seems weurd a processing intensive app is making os x make ram inactive.
  7. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    Maybe Handbrake doesn't need masses of memory at any
    one time and simply reuses memory as it passes through
    the frames?

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