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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

imac memory issue - always running out of memory


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the8thark

 
Member Since: Jan 27, 2007
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Mac Specs: 17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3

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I own one of the imacs - white one with 3GB max usable memory. And for a long while now no matter what I do my free memory gets turned into active memory. Which is fair. But after I quit the apps the memory turns into inactive memory. Then it's never used again. So after a few hours of use, say 5-6 hours I can be at like 10MB free memory and like 2GB+ inactive memory. And my computer slows down to a crawl cause of the no free memory.

And all that inactive memory is not used by anything. And everything is cached to virtual memory then which as you know is slow. So cause of this I have to restart my imac every 5-6 hours of so of use.

My question is can I do anything about this? As it gets really annoying after a while. And I've checked for application memory leaks and none of the one I generally use have a high memory use or leak memory. So what are my options with this problem.

And before anyone asks I bought my computer in early 2006.
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hughvane

 
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Have you run a hardware test with Disk Utility, booting from the Install disk? Another diagnostic test is Memtest Memtest OS X.

You have a 4-yr-old computer there, running the latest Mac OS. Might that be an issue? [I cannot say, because I'm back in a Tiger time warp with a 6-yr-old eMac.]

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the8thark

 
Member Since: Jan 27, 2007
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Mac Specs: 17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3

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Well it is a C2D 2.0 Ghz imac running SL. And SL seems to be running just fine. No noticeable slowdowns till I run out of the above mentioned memory. And I'll try the disk utility and see what results I get from that. Thanks.
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technologist

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the8thark View Post
I own one of the imacs - white one with 3GB max usable memory. And for a long while now no matter what I do my free memory gets turned into active memory. Which is fair. But after I quit the apps the memory turns into inactive memory. Then it's never used again. So after a few hours of use, say 5-6 hours I can be at like 10MB free memory and like 2GB+ inactive memory. And my computer slows down to a crawl cause of the no free memory.

And all that inactive memory is not used by anything. And everything is cached to virtual memory then which as you know is slow. So cause of this I have to restart my imac every 5-6 hours of so of use.

My question is can I do anything about this? As it gets really annoying after a while. And I've checked for application memory leaks and none of the one I generally use have a high memory use or leak memory. So what are my options with this problem.

And before anyone asks I bought my computer in early 2006.
You're reading it wrong.
Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor

Inactive memory is not what's slowing your computer down. Inactive memory is available for use just as free memory is.
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pigoo3

 
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Mac Specs: 13" MB 2.4ghz, 2gig ram, OS 10.7.5

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Couple of questions:

- How many applications do you typically have open at one time? The more apps. open at the same time...the less ram you will have available.

- How full is your hard drive? OS X uses a lot of "virtual memory"...which means hard drive space. If your hard drive is nearly full...computer performance will decrease

Here's an article on it:

http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/performance.html

Hope this helps,

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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the8thark

 
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Mac Specs: 17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3

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My hard Drive has like 80B-100GB free out of it's 250GB in total.
I did the hardware test using the original grey discs that came with my imac. The SL DVD does not have the hardware test on it. And that came up clean with nothing wrong. And I usually have only 3-4 of the following Apps open at once. Safari, itunes, msn/adium, text edit and maybe World of Warcraft. But the issue happens also at times I do not play WoW.

And yes I know inactive memory is just as available as free memory for my computer. But why my imac never uses any of it I just do not know. I'm really stumpred at why this is happening. And thanks for the responses.
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Mac SK

 
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Apple has stated that some fiirmware updates can disable some third party RAM modules that arent fully compatible with your Mac. If you suddenly have less ram, a ram module may be faulty.
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the8thark

 
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Mac Specs: 17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3

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Thanks for the warning. That I did not know. But my total amount of ram is always 3GB. I just have the issue with the inactive memory now being used by any apps as it should be. Pretty much what I said in the original post.
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Donethat

 
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I also have a iMac with 4gig of Ram. I have suffered an increasing number of crashes that I failed to associate with any particular application. Also suffering from lack of memory I stripped down the number launched at startup to the bare essentials. I now have Memory cleaner app which displays a worrying situation. Regardless of what I have running, what I might open or quit, the available memory gradually reduces till I have nothing. At least with Memory cleaner it allows me to get the memory back before the machine crashes, which it inevitably does if left.

I shouldn't need a memory cleaner and nobody seems to be able to tell me what is wrong. I have run Disk Utilities more times than I care to remember for both permission errors and disk errors with only the usual minimal issues.

This is an iMac 2.66Ghz Core 2 Duo Running OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion

I also have a MacPro 1.1 Running OS X 10.6.8 Which is brilliant and solid. May not be the fastest ever machine but it's pretty reliable in a way the iMac has never been.
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chscag

 
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An iMac with 4 GB should not be running out of memory unless there's something going on in the background that's eating it. Have you tried opening your "Activity Monitor.app" to visualize what's going on with memory?

You state "crashes". What kind of crashes? Or are you referring to a kernel panic? How about posting one of those crashes here for us to look at?
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Donethat

 
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Ok, when it crashes I get a black or stripey screen. I hold down the power button to force a shut down. Restart the machine and where I might normally expect a crash report there is nothing.

I would be happy to send you relevant log files privately but I have been through those and searched for the word 'Panic' with no results.

This isn't since installing 10.8, it's been a problem since 10.6.
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chscag

 
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I'm not so sure memory is the problem. We have to determine if these crashes are software related or hardware caused. It may not be possible to keep the Activity Monitor open long enough to figure out what's going on but if you can try it for awhile it may tell us something. The other thing you can try is run the machine in safe boot mode. Safe boot disables all third party drivers, startup processes, and the sound. It also does a verify for the hard drive.
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