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Mac OS X Lion being a HUGE memory hog. What to do?

3880 Views 23 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2013 6:26 PM by cmhall9 RSS
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Damien999 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
May 4, 2012 11:19 AM

I have a unibody macbook pro, screenshot of specs following and I've had a huge problem ever since I got this computer with OS X Lion just performing poorly and slowly. I was informed by a genius bar genius that having a computer switched over from another mac could have damaged permissions which could account for most/all of the performance issues so they repaired issues in store, on top of replacing the logic board based on other information, but I am still seeing problems. What can I do?


Screen Shot 2012-05-04 at 2.14.44 PM.png


As you can see Safari alone i susing up over half a gig of memory and I have only 2 tabs open. One is Pandora and the other is the tab to this forum. Maybe I'm overestimating my computer because it is a notebook but I have a much much older, imac with a 2.1ghz dual core system I believe and I can get away with having Photoshop, Dreamweaver Illustrator, Itunes, Safari, Firefox and Mail before I even start to notice performance issues but on this computer that wouldn't even be conceivable as it'd probablyt ake half an hour to fully open all of those programs.


What can I do?

MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,555 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 4, 2012 12:35 PM (in response to Damien999)

    I don't see anything abnormal in that picture. Your swap usage is minimal.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,055 points)

    I'd recommend increasing the RAM. Both Safari with its web content as well as kernel-task do like lots of RAM. Apple explained it to me with having to do with the 64 bit architecture vs. the 32 bit. My problems disappeared when I went to 12 GB - 8 GB should do nicely as well.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,890 points)

    Damien999 wrote:


    What can I do?

    You could take another screen capture and this time set Activity Monitor to show "All Processes" and sort by CPU instead of memory.


    4 GB should be fine. However, in your example, you are running Safari, Firefox, iTunes, and Mail. Plus you have some active Flash running, some "Splashtop streamer" remote control software I've never heard of. To top it all off, you have anti-virus running. The Splashtop and anti-virus software could have kernel-level processes that are soaking up all of your CPU.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,055 points)

    this computer that wouldn't even be conceivable as it'd probablyt ake half an hour to fully open all of those programs.


    Whatever problem is causing your MBP to take a half hour to load a few programs it's not memory. More is always better though.


    When Activity Monitor shows "page outs" routinely becoming a large percentage of "page ins" then you need more memory. As of right now, despite two browsers both running Flash content, plus other unknowns including whatever Sophos is doing, your 4 GB memory is adequate.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,555 points)

    You seem to have a runaway Dashboard widget. Kill the DashboardClient process.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,890 points)

    Damien999 wrote:


    So you all think with more memory it would run better?

    More memory always helps. But the first thing you could do is show All Processes. Ignore the memory. Click the CPU tab.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,890 points)

    Damien999 wrote:


    Screen Shot 2012-05-04 at 10.29.11 PM.png


    Well, that half of what I've asked you for twice. It shows your computer is idle and operating normally.


    Is there any way you can quantify what "performing poorly and slowly" actually means? If it takes a long time to launch a program, then open Activity Montitor, sort by CPU, SHOW ALL PROCESSES, and take a screen capture (or three) while it is performing "poorly or slowly".

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,055 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 5, 2012 10:15 PM (in response to Damien999)

    Damien999, this is a screenshot of my MacBook Air with two browsers and many apps open, and shows what etresoft has asked you to produce - all processes sorted by CPU load:


    Screen Shot 2012-05-05 at 11.14.39 AM.png


    This MBA is running Safari, Firefox, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, Mail, Pages, plus other apps. It is running the exact same version of Lion in the exact same amount of memory as your MBP (4 GB). It can therefore be concluded that Lion and memory themselves are not the cause of your ills, as I explained earlier. More memory is only likely to mask whatever problems exist.


    The MBA is much less capable than your MBP. I have attempted many times to push its limits and have failed to experience anything remotely resembling what you have described. What I do not have though is any AV junk or whatever Splashtop is, but you haven't indicated a willingness to address those concerns. You have also ignored repeated requests for information that may help diagnose what's wrong.


    This creates the impression you are more interested in complaining than solving your problems.


    If you believe that is an unjustified conclusion I suggest you post a new, more appropriately worded question. There are plenty of knowledgable people willing to help.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, Mac OS X (10.7.3),  27 years Apple!
  • killhippie Level 3 Level 3 (580 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 6, 2012 12:08 AM (in response to Damien999)

    Top right of activity monitor where it says 'My Processes' click and select 'All Processes' then post the information again.

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