Why oh why do I have page outs / swap used?

Lava Lamp Freak

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 1, 2006
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I have 8GB of memory. Why do I have page outs and swap used? I have used iTunes, Mail, Chrome, Photoshop, and WoW since the last time I restarted my computer. I thought with 8GB of memory I would never see page outs or swap being used. One thing for sure is I've been watching Activity Manager since upgrading to 8GB just to see how much I would use, and I have always had at minimum 2.5GB free. I upgraded because I was tired of having high page outs and swap causing slow downs in WoW. WTF?
 

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iBookG4user

macrumors 604
Jun 27, 2006
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Seattle, WA
You do realize that currently for every 47,343 page ins you get 1 page out for your current ratio, correct? That is completely negligible, you should not see a performance decrease at all. Stop worrying and enjoy your computer :p
 

Lava Lamp Freak

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 1, 2006
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You do realize that currently for every 47,343 page ins you get 1 page out for your current ratio, correct? That is completely negligible, you should not see a performance decrease at all. Stop worrying and enjoy your computer :p
Yes, I would imagine at that ratio I wouldn't have a performance decrease, but if it keeps going up I will. With 4GB of memory I was having to restart my computer at least twice a day due to decreased performance. Not a big deal but I was hoping to avoid that by upgrading to 8GB.

I still would like to understand though, why am I swapping at all with 2GB+ of free memory?
 

iBookG4user

macrumors 604
Jun 27, 2006
6,596
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Seattle, WA
Yes, I would imagine at that ratio I wouldn't have a performance decrease, but if it keeps going up I will. With 4GB of memory I was having to restart my computer at least twice a day due to decreased performance. Not a big deal but I was hoping to avoid that by upgrading to 8GB.

I still would like to understand though, why am I swapping at all with 2GB+ of free memory?
You did say that you were running WoW earlier, my hunch is that it was probably while you were playing that RAM usage peaked a bit and a few page outs were recorded. As the Page in/outs in Activity monitor are how many have occurred since you logged in rather than an active list of if you are currently getting page in/outs at that exact moment.

Currently I have 1GB of RAM free, although I have over 300MB of Page Outs. This is because I was running Lightroom earlier, although recently quit it to free up RAM.
 

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Lava Lamp Freak

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 1, 2006
1,470
538
You did say that you were running WoW earlier, my hunch is that it was probably while you were playing that RAM usage peaked a bit and a few page outs were recorded. As the Page in/outs in Activity monitor are how many have occurred since you logged in rather than an active list of if you are currently getting page in/outs at that exact moment.

Currently I have 1GB of RAM free, although I have over 300MB of Page Outs. This is because I was running Lightroom earlier, although recently quit it to free up RAM.
I run Chrome, Mail, and WoW at the same time. When I use Photoshop, I'm no longer playing WoW, and when I'm playing WoW, I don't leave Photoshop open. I can't grasp why my iMac should be paging out at all when I have 8GB of memory.
 

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chown33

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Aug 9, 2009
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Change the Activity Monitor popup from "My Processes" to "All Processes". Keep the list sorted by Real Memory.

Which version of the OS is this on?
 

Lava Lamp Freak

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 1, 2006
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Change the Activity Monitor popup from "My Processes" to "All Processes". Keep the list sorted by Real Memory.

Which version of the OS is this on?
Thanks, I've never even noticed that dropdown before. I've restarted since I took the last screenshot so everything is normal now. I'll keep an eye on it with All Processes selected now.

I am using 10.6.
 

EndlessMac

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2009
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Photoshop will used up every bit of RAM if you let it. It doesn't matter how much RAM you have. If you allow Photoshop to use it all, it will use it but you also have to do something in Photoshop that uses up a lot of RAM like large files, multiple opened files, many layers, batch editing, etc. You can limit Photoshop's RAM usage in its preference menu.

Also unless you are staring at Activity Monitor while you are using your applications then you probably won't see when your RAM usage spikes and goes over your limit of 8 gigs. That's probably when you are getting your page outs. I don't know about WoW but the other applications you've mentioned shouldn't use up that much RAM.
 

chown33

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Aug 9, 2009
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Also unless you are staring at Activity Monitor while you are using your applications then you probably won't see when your RAM usage spikes and goes over your limit of 8 gigs. That's probably when you are getting your page outs. I don't know about WoW but the other applications you've mentioned shouldn't use up that much RAM.
Configure Activity Monitor to show the System Memory pie chart as its Dock icon.
View menu > Dock Icon > Show Memory Usage.
Maybe also: View menu > Update Frequency > Often (1 sec).
Still have to keep an eye on the Dock, but that shouldn't be too hard.
 
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