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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2007
    Vancouver, WA
    Rebooting to free the RAM?
    One thing I really love about my Mac is that I rarely have to reboot it. However, by using a little system monitor in my toolbar I've been noticing that the amount of free RAM goes down when I use an app, but hardly goes back up at all when I close it. Should I be restarting periodically to free up my RAM? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Oct 27, 2005
    G'day Thalias,

    I recommend logging out if you're able to. Your Mac will run smoother for it. I log out whenever I know I'm going to be away for a while.

    Doing so should free up some RAM, IMHO.

  3. #3

    Kash's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 03, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    Black Macbook C2D 2GHz 3GB RAM 250GB HD iPhone 4 iPad 3G
    Simple question, but when you "close" the program, do you just hit the red "x" in the upper left corner or do you quit by clicking on the application name in the Taskbar on top and selecting the Quit option (or using the Apple + Q shortcut)?

    If you're just hitting the little "x", then you're not really closing the program, which would explain why your RAM isn't getting freed up.

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Oct 27, 2005
    My advice: log out once per day. You might just log out at night when you’re done using the computer, leave the machine running, then log in again in the morning. (It’s ok to let the monitor/display/screen/whatever-you-call-it go to sleep.)

    This accomplishes a couple of things, at least:

    If you generally run the same software applications most of the time, it will clear out a lot of memory and give those apps a chance to “start over.” This is a very good thing for nearly every modern program: most will run faster, and it will put a stop to some “weird behavior” (that’s the technical term).
    Leaving your Mac running (but logged off) at night allows the system (via a utility called cron that you’ll never see) to run some system maintenance utilities: another minor performance boon, and it will save a little space on your hard drive. (I actually don’t know if Windows does anything like this also.)

  5. #5

    Alexis's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 20, 2006
    Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Does Cron not run if you're not logged off?

  6. #6

    mac57's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2006
    St. Somewhere
    iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, 256 GB SSD, 2 TB HDD, 8 GB RAM
    There is memory and there is memory. Generally, *nix systems (and this includes Mac OS X) consider that unused memory is wasted memory. In general, they will fill up available memory over time on purpose, caching stuff there to improve performance. This is not a bad thing. Memory usage will creep up over time, and this is design intent.

    On the Mac, there are four types of memory buckets reported on:

    Wired memory
    This is memory that applications or the system needs immediate access to, so it can't be cached to disk. It will vary depending on what applications you're using.

    Active memory
    This is memory that is actively being used.

    Inactive memory
    This memory is no longer being used and has been cached to disk. It'll remain in RAM until another application needs the space.

    Free memory
    This memory is not being used.

    It is probably the Inactive memory that you are seeing going up? This is what happens on my system over time. Inactive memory goes up and up, and this seems to have no performance implications at all - just standard *nix memory management.

    If it is wired memory, that is a different matter.
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
    My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
    I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2007
    Vancouver, WA
    Thanks everyone!

    Kash: No, I've learned enough about Macs so far to know that you have to manually quit the program for it to really be closed, and that's what I do (most of the time.).

    I'm going to try logging off every night now, instead of just putting it to sleep. Thanks for the advice everyone!

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