I personally would not counsel anyone to upgrade to Lion. The memory management issues are just too vexing. But if buying a new machine, I would not downgrade. There are lots of perks with Lion, including how it handles iCloud and such niceties as the improved Preview.app, App Store, and Screen Sharing. There is also a good deal to gripe about -- too much gray and less easy to use Spotlight -- but the advantages narrowly win out.
I opened a second Safari page dedicated to Android investigation. I think I have 25-30 tabs open. After a while it goes easily to 2+GB of swap. Starting with 600+MB free, to be more precise. Just Safari and Mail open. I think the point is easy: RAM is cheap, new systems can address a lot of it, so Apple doesn't care about RAM optmization actually pushing us to upgrade. Forget about the the 2 or even 4 GB minimum requirement. If your system support it go straight for 8GB minimum (16GB highy suggested) and that's it.
UPDATE TO MY APRIL 13TH POST
TODAY I WENT INTO MY BOX.COM ACCOUNT & SAW THAT MY "PURGE_RAM.APP" AUTOMATOR FILE WAS AT *0* BYTES FILESIZE. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THAT HAPPENED. LOOKED FINE WHEN I FIRST UPLOADED IT BACK A MONTH OR SO AGO THOUGH.
SO A FEW MINUTES AGO I UPDATED THAT FILE TO THE FULLY-WORKING VERSION THAT I *THOUGHT* GOT UPLOADED WAY BACK WHEN.
IT'S RIGHT HERE, ZIPPED UP THIS TIME:
OR GO TO THE DIRECTORY THAT IT'S IN, WHERE I'VE ALSO GOT A SCREENSHOT OF MY DESKTOP EXPLAINING WITH NOTATIONS HOW IT WORKS, RIGHT HERE:
AND HOPEFULLY, NO GLITCHES (OR HACKERS MAABEE?) WILL NULLIFY IT.
I understand there are pbackground tasks going on, beyond the standard GUI applications. But to answer your question, I'm getting system hangs that last anywhere form a few seconds to many seconds. I believe it's because the computer is PFing like crazy, because OS X is using every available resource to run Mail/Safari/iTunes.
I wouldn't consider Logic, Final Cut, or Aperture light on system resources though. As an example, Recording/Playing about 6-8 tracks in Logic with multiple plugins can easily grab 1GB of RAM. Final Cut when rendering can also grab 1GB of RAM. This wouldn't be a problem if OS X wasn't taking all my resources.
As an additional note, Safari seems to be the main culprit. There's a process linked to Safari called "Safari Web Content" that was easily using 950MB of RAM... with 3 tabs open. I can't tell if it's a memory leak or what. It won't release RAM by closing tabs, you have to completely quit the application.
In any case I appreciate the response!
Yep, I agree mighty. But another one, Google's Chrome browser, is as bad or, I think, even worse in its RAM sucking. Among all the Mac browsers available, Chrome is probably THE most ravenous as far as its RAM grabbing is concerned, in my experiences with it. I tried Chrome a while back but dumped it after several weeks of seeing just how much frikkin' RAM that thing soaks up no matter if ya have a bunch of Flashcrap open or not. Not worth it......
And I ain't just b****in' & moanin' here mightymilk & y'all but don't forget about the substantial amount of RAM that Safari also grabs for Jobs' nemesis, Flash. Almost half a Gig's getting sucked up by my open Safari right now just for that mostly blingbling-devoted Flash thing. No wonder Jobs hated Flash. Steve Jobs was into SW & HW products that had inherent high-quality & essentially useful core substance to them first & foremost, which he & Jonathan Ive built especially their HW devices *around & upon*, rather than the other way around the way that, say, the Redmond people do it (hehe.... just for example...). Jobs especially, but both he & Ive hated blingbling just for the sake of it being the basically nutritionless, distractive eye candy that it originally pretty much was, meant to make people go 'wow,' which is what Flash was basically used for by website makers for many many months after Oracle came out with it.
For those of you readers who'd like to see what mightymilk brought up, here's an Activity Monitor screenshot showing what's going on with my own RAM right now that shows the Flash & other "Web Content" that Safari is keeping in RAM. All browsers use a lot of RAM, granted, but some waaay more than others.
Generally though (& probably because I've stuffed a substantial 8GB of RAM into my 7,1 MacBook) Safari does run pretty smoothly on my Macbook. Camino, too. And in 3rd place, Firefox (which is a big RAM sucker itself, especially when a bunch of Flash-dependent YouTube vid sites are open). 4th place, Opera (been using that since '96 but now, it is yet another big RAM hog):
I've got it zipped-up right here:
along with a screenshot of my desktop explaining how it works in the directory they're both in right here:
So despite the occasional RAM probs, Happy Mackin' y'all Macheads.....
And always remember..... things could be worse... Jobs' parents could have said "No" to him when he asked if he & Woz could use their garage for science experiments.
But then again, gee.... if that'd happened, then the world wouldn't have Windows, either.
There are evident problems in memory management in os x ...
please, take a look at my post: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3899357
also, i recorded a screen video, where the system starts to hang when all the free memory is gone, and inactive memory is 4-5 GB !http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5wZwZh61_4&feature=player_embedded
Following the recent upgrade of my Mac Pro with 5GB RAM to Lion, I've run into a memory problem.
Every hour or so, the Dock consumes 3-4 Gb of the actual memory and 4-5 Gb of virtual memory, and 16% of the CPU. Everything grinds to a halt.
I have Activity Monitor running full time now. As soon as I notice the start of the slow down and hear the Mac whirring away like mad, I switch to the Activity Monitor and terminate the Dock application.
Safari isn't causing a problem.
This is a really poor problem in the system. It looks as though it's been around for a while and I'm dismayed that Apple hasn't resolved it.
I am having a problem after installing Lion with RAM usage. Inactive RAM is supposed to be released when an application needs it but this doesn't happen quickly enough. I am often stuck with spinning beach balls before inactive ram is released for an application to use it. Often my applications stop responding altogether because they don't have enough RAM to operate despite having upwards of 11 gb of inactive RAM available. I don't use Safari so its not related to that. When i use Lighroom 4--for example, converting 2000 raw images to DNG, my activity monitor will show that Lightroom is using maybe 1 or 2 GB of RAM but my inactive RAM jumps to over 10 GB. I have talked with an apple software specialist about the issue and he blamed it on Lightroom saying that applications will use active memory and inactive memory simultaniously, and unless you quit the application that is using the inactive memory it wont become available to other applications that need it because its being used-- in this example, by lightroom. This would explain the beach balls and not responding errors encountered by other applications because they are unable to access the the inactive RAM becasue it is being used by a different application. The specialist said that Apple is not responsible for how third-party applications allocate their RAM. He has a point, becasue in photoshop i can limit how much RAM the program uses while in Lighroom, I cannot. However, when i limit photoshop to say 50% of my RAM I dont know if it counts the inactive RAM or not. For example, I have 16 GB of ram in my Macbook Pro. I have told photoshop that it can only use 50%. I dosn't count the wired RAM so when stiching a panorama it used only 5 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, my inactive ram was 6 GB which leads me to believe that there is no cap for inactive RAM.
I agree with R C-R that inactive ram was designed to speed up your computer and that free RAM is wasted RAM. However, inactive RAM is not released fast enough when programs need it, therefore completely negating its usefullness. I would rather wait a little longer for an application to load than to have it freeze up completley because it ran out of RAM. If you want your applications to load quicker go and by a SSD drive.
"If you want your applications to load quicker go and by a SSD drive." I think that 2 fallacies put together doesn't make an argument, because it's the OS fault at handling memory, not about how much memory is "needed".
I think shutterspeedman's last sentence was a generalized last-minute thought, Quantum, not having to do pretty much with anything having to do with the speed of the OS getting stuff in & out of RAM which, in this discussion, has to do with not-so-good RAM memory management by OSX, apparently especially with Lion it looks like. But I've got 10.6.8 & my 2.4MHz Core Duo can't handle Lion, so don't know about that. Which is fine... I'm good.
As far as speediness of an SSD is concerned though, shutterspeedman is absolutely 1000% correct.
I upgraded my MacBook7,1 last October w/8GB of Crucial RAM & w/a 256GB Crucial RealSSD C300 drive. Now, I don't bother with keeping many apps open. I just close them when I'm done doing whatever it is at the very moment I was working on things in them, including Photoshop. Because with my SSD, entire apps open & close almost nearly as fast as, say, a Word doc can be opened or closed WITH Word already open. Don't have to worry about file fragmentation in an SSD either. All ya need is the Trim function enabled & active. And despite my Crucial SSD having a max data transfer rate capability of 6GBs/second, & my MacBook's bus capabilities limiting the SATA transfer rate to 3GBs/second, the speed in which things happen was just mindblowingly FAST after I first got it fired up. Pretty sweet, & I'll never go back to a spinning disk HDD, not even a 7200, & not even because SSDs are 4-5x more expensive than ordinary spinning disk HDDs. And one other thing...... with an SSD, the battery lasts at least 2x longer, & I *rarely* hear the cooling fan switch on, only when I'm doing intensive graphics work or doing a CarbonCopy backup.
"I upgraded my MacBook7,1 last October w/8GB of Crucial RAM & w/a 256GB Crucial RealSSD C300 drive. Now, I don't bother with keeping many apps open. I just close them when I'm done doing whatever it is at the very moment I was working on things in them, including Photoshop."
I would add that because it's "not-so-good RAM memory management by OSX, apparently especially with Lion it looks like. But I've got 10.6.8 & my 2.4MHz Core Duo can't handle Lion, so don't know about that. Which is fine... I'm good".
It's about adding RAM and/or SSD's or about the good managment of memory... Kind of "create the problem, then the solution" thing. The "buy more RAM" vs the "Apple do a more efficient OS" thing as well, don't you think?
Its completely reasonable that a newer better application (lion) will use more RAM. Its good that Lion uses more RAM, that means its more powerful. In 10 years siberian snow tiger will use 10 or 20 gb of RAM because we will have hundreds installed. Thats how computers evolve. The issue is not that Lion uses more RAM its that it allows applications to hog all the RAM until the whole system slows down. Its like not having a stop light at an intercection, sure its faster until you crash. Lion should keep a minimun of 1 or 2 gb available in free RAM so your whole computer doesn't slow down because one program is using all the inactive RAM.
The problem didn't go away when i added more RAM. I just upgraded to 16 gb in my macbook pro and instead of keeping 4 gb in inactive RAM it now stores 10 gb there. If i could put 32 GB in my MBP then there would be 20 gb of inactive RAM. Its fine that Lion uses inactive RAM so that programs can run faster, but it shouldn't be allowed to use all of it because computers need a mininum ammount of free memory just to keep from freezing.