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Lion - Memory Usage Problems

271184 Views 957 Replies Latest reply: Dec 1, 2013 1:28 PM by Jonathan Payne1 RSS
  • Bobdc6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 20, 2013 8:26 AM (in response to kevinkendall)

    Thanks KEVINKENDALL.  My 2007 MB is maxed out at 4g ram, but I'm running a Curcial 256 SSD at 50% free space.  That event was one time, and hasn't happened again.

     

    I notice that Apple is shipping brand new MB's with 4g ram and optical drive and I wonder why they do this if 4g isn't enough for their own browser even with a SSD sometimes.

     

    I have a feeling that Apple will go to all SSD's for MB's in a couple of years in order to attain similarity with iPad apps.  They may even have a touch screen.

  • Aeriali.net Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 21, 2013 5:51 AM (in response to Aeriali.net)

    I resolved the memory drain by restoring from my Time Machine a month earlier when all was well. I just need to copy back a few GBs of files and everything is how it should be.

     

    No idea what caused it but I'm thankful for my regular back-ups!

  • zegeli Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 28, 2013 6:37 AM (in response to Orukaz)

    Hey, I have the same issue going on, i realized that this is because of Safari, I bought Macbook Air couple of months ago, the computer is extremely clean, I have 4GB Ram, everytime I use Safari my usage goes down to 50MB - 120MB, when I check Activity monitor Safari consumes 1GB - 2GB memory. Every time I close it I immidiately jump to 1.1+ GB  memory. This is my first Mac so not sure how it susppose to behave but Safari basically kills my memory, let me know if this is some sort of a problem or just the way Safari works.

     

    Thanks,

  • Jonathan Payne1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
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    May 28, 2013 6:57 AM (in response to zegeli)

    It pains me to see this issue continue for so long but that's OK. Here are a few pointers for people coming to this issue:

     

    1. Yes, safari is one of the worst offending programs EVER in terms of memory leaks. If you want to avoid this kind of problem switch to Google Chrome, which uses pretty much the same rendering engine and is awesome in many many ways (flawed in just one, which is why I still use Safari), and in particular, frees up all its memory when you close a window. Safari requires you to Quit the app to free up its memory. So, if you are going to use Safari, quit the app all the way from time to time.
    2. Remember: if you are new to Apple, closing a window is not quitting the App. You must select Quit from the menubar OR type CMD-Q to quit an app all the way.
    3. If you have an Apple computer (even if it's a modern one) with an old fashioned non-SSD hard drive in it, you are in for a world of pain. Upgrade to the largest SSD you can stomach paying for and you will not believe the difference in performance. SSD upgrade is the new RAM upgrade, in that it makes all the difference. Notice how I no longer rant about this issue even though I want to...

     

    So I guess the short answer is, Safari just "works" this way now. As web pages get more and more complex (e.g., iCloud is a very complex JavaScript program basically) this problem becomes a larger issue. The fact that Chrome frees up all memory when you close the window is a huge advantage.

     

    Good luck!

  • Michelasso Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
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    May 28, 2013 7:20 AM (in response to Jonathan Payne1)

    It isn't just Safari the issue, although it's part of it. I have the Terminal <!!!> application that can grow up to 400-450MB. Giving out the spinning ball when copying a (full) line. I mean, it's an application that just manages some text!! Something is very wrong in Lion deep in the design.

     

    I tried Mountain Lion in my MacBook (hacking it since it isn't supported. Thanks again, Apple!) and it didn't produce all this memory issues. But I never used it for more than a day. Still the RAM usage looked ok to me. Lion can eat up all RAM and start swapping just after a couple of hours.

  • Jonathan Payne1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
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    May 28, 2013 7:43 AM (in response to Michelasso)

    Hi Michelasso,

     

    I was just rereading some of the old messages that I never saw from before and I enjoyed some of your highly technical posts.

     

    I agree that Safari isn't the only offender. The MAIN offender is the changes Apple made to the memory management system, which favors swapping over releasing memory in a way I admit I do not understand. But I remember clearly what happened when I switched from Snow Leopard to Lion: I started swapping. Nothing else changed, I don't use a ton of apps, just Mail, Chrome (at the time), Calendar, Emacs and Terminal. And I never swapped ever, literally my swap always read 0 bytes. I monitor these things so I know.

     

    Lion came along and I started swapping to the tune of multiple Gb immediately, after just an hour or two after a reboot I assumed it would be fixed in the next release. Also unusable was Time Machine backups, which I think were a big part of the problem. And some smart people concluded that there's something different with the way the file system works in terms of whether loading stuff from the file system pushes application memory into swap or not. I really do not know but it seemed to add up to me.

     

    The sad truth is these changes were catastrophic for computers that do not have SSD drives but for ones with SSD drives, there was no difference. That is, it might swap 2 or 3 Gb where previously there was zero swapping, but with SSDs the swapped out memory is restored so quickly without any thrashing of your hard drive that the whole thing works just beautifully.

     

    So my problems went away as soon as I got a MacBook Air with SSD and 4Gb of RAM. I have since gotten a MacBook Pro with 8Gb of RAM and it, too, works beautifully. At the same time I bought a Mac Mini also with 4Gb of RAM and a regular hard drive, and that computer is routinely unusable. It's as modern (and more powerful) than the two MacBook Airs in the family but absolutely unusable in comparison. And the funny thing is, It's not actually running any apps half the time. It just runs time machine and the occasional browser.

     

    So this is where I usually rant but I won't this time. Apple made a change in the Lion time frame which adversely impacted all non-SSD users (which at the time was nearly everybody). I assume their developers were all using SSDs at the time, but who knows. (And I am almost ranting again so I will stop.) My intention is to upgrade my Mac Mini to an SSD as soon as it goes below a certain price threshold. Then I will be at peace with the (IT) world again. Sigh.

  • PantaloonTycoon Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 2:36 AM (in response to mightymilk)

    Hey guys,

     

    Best and easiest solution- just put more RAM in. I no longer worry cause I have 16gb of RAM which was less than $150 from Crucial ..just watch youtube videos and insert it yourself ..well I was able to with the MAC Mini.

     

    Now I am not entirely sure if anyone is having a problem with Lion and FCP but I was for quite a while and all the extra RAM does squat for the issue when the canvas window stops showing the image on timeline and instead displays "...not enough memory". I read over every forum and finally after doing many many things, I strongly believe the main two solutions are  thus:

     

    (FCP 7 is what I'm using)

    1. convert every video to Apple Pro Res 422 or read the options and choose LT or HQ, or if you really dont want to convert then just make sure there are no H26 codecs. This codec cannot be read properly and is main source of memory usage problem. Also make sure no image files on timeline exceed 2000 pixels. So it shouldn't read 1000x1000 size ..I'd go far less just because its such a pain doing this but once done you can breathe and work like a human lol

     

    2. Also very important, not sure if these are issues that just arrive with fcp7 and mountain lion combo, but do not have more than 2 timelines open, 2 sequences max or 3 if there is relatively small amount of information and effects ..composites and filters take up most.

     

    Alright just thought to share because Ive been smooth flow editing the last few months after following these issues, and after reading I felt selfish to have not already shared.  cheers

  • Michelasso Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 5:29 AM (in response to Jonathan Payne1)

    Jonathan, I don't get it. Why don't you guys just upgrade to Mountain Lion? I thought it solved the memory issues. My problem as I wrote is that my MB isn't supported (and I have no money to waste right now). So I keep this swapping trash. Or even Mountain Lion has issues?

  • Jonathan Payne1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 5:40 AM (in response to Michelasso)

    Hi Michelasso,

     

    Mountain Lion did not fix any of these issues for me. All my computers are running Mountain Lion. The only thing that has solved the swapping issue is a hard drive that is so fast it doesn't matter: SSD. Have you considered upgrading your hard drive?

     

    I had high hopes for Mountain Lion but once it came out I knew it was game over. The only solution was SSD.

     

    It also helps to keep an eye on the likes of Safari, but Safari (and indeed many browsers) has always had memory issues. Chrome solved it and amazingly enough that technology - to run each window in its own UNIX process - is available in webkit, which is the same platform Safari is built on. If they would take full advantage of it I bet it would reduce the number of support calls dramatically. Actually - firefox is a great alternative nowadays: super fast, relatively light weight as well.

     

    Lion and Mountain Lion made me give up my old computer, made me abandon Time Machine backups over WiFi and revert to dedicated local drives, and made it necessary to upgrade a brand new computer's hard drive. Still - once you do that I find the Mac environment to be heaven in comparison to the alternatives.

  • Michelasso Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 6:22 AM (in response to Jonathan Payne1)

    Upgrade to SSD? My ghetto's style White (actually... yellow) MacBook late 2006? Nahhh!! I don't even think that it would improve things much with its SATA2 bus. I use an hybrid HDD, but that doesn't help with paging.  I will buy a new MB Pro one day, with plenty of (third party) RAM. Hopefully 16GB will be enough.

     

    Too bad hearing about Mountain Lion, though. It seemed to me that it managed the memory in a better way. But as I wrote i didn't really test it. To make a fair comparison I would need to move all my account in there, and being ML hacked (legally) to run on my MB, which means no graphics acceleration it isn't worth it. Although, funny enough, ML without graphic drivers play the MP4 videos embedded in Safari wthout stuttering!!!

  • chitt Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 6:33 AM (in response to Michelasso)

    1) I did upgrade to Mountain Lion, and no it didn't solve the issue.

     

    2) I even splurged for the new MBP Retina and tossed 16GB of RAM in the system, and it still takes ~30-60sec to come out of a screen saver once a day because it's repaging wired data in and out of swap. SSD is fast, but it doesn't fix stupid. That I did this in an attempt to over come the pain of spinning disk really soured my opinion of Apple, especially since the only reason I moved to Lion to begin with was f@#$'ing contacts syncing on iCloud and my iPhone. That required an OS upgrade. In. Sane. That it's years later and this thread/conversation is still going on only adds insult to injury.

     

     

    Mini-missive below.

     

    In case anyone else is interested, it's roughly basically the same stall you'd experience if you ran `purge` occasionally when you log in, return from a screen saver, or cmd+tab and have a set of programs with a large resident memory footprint running. And in the case of the "modern web browser," a browser open with a handful of tabs.

     

    I've found that if I kill all web browsers this problem goes away for me. Which means what? "Don't use a web browser or else you'll anger the ****** VM pager gods?" Yeah, I'm a disgruntled Apple user now, and not for a lack of either buying in to the latest and greatest hotness, or even for technically understanding what's going on under the hood. And yeah, I'm lucky in that for most of what I do, I can get by with a browser closed, so when I need to be productive and don't want to tickle this problem, I simply shut down my browsers and the paging problem basically goes away. I can only imagine what it's like for others in other lines of work. That said... I'm using a 16GB MBP for Terminal/iTerm2 and Mail.app. Nutty. I would've been just fine with 4GB or 8GB or RAM. *sigh*

     

    As I write this "WebProcess" is running with 11GB of RAM, which is impressive since I restarted Safari yesterday. Firefox isn't much better, same with Chrome. I spend my life in a Terminal/iTerm session, and have a handful of tabs up to reference sites, docs, etc. I thought I'd be clever and would help minimize the browser RAM bloat by not install Flash or Java on this machine (something I'm still succeeding at maintaining... barely), but that hasn't helped much either. I switch between browsers every few days just to make a habit of closing out processes. That I've changed my usage habits incenses me. Anyway.

     

    Slightly off topic and in case anyone at Apple actually reads these things, I'd be *VERY* happy with a _slower_ web browser that didn't gobble GB of RAM. And no, Chrome, Firefox and Safari are all terrible at memory utilization. Is there a no-JIT option for JavaScript? That'd be nice. Or, could I run the same version of Safari that my iPad has, but on my computer? As a user, I really don't care about topline benchmarks - that's not of interest to me. How about the option of turning off all JavaScript execution after a page loads? Like a rat wanting to be fed a food pellet, I'd absolutely mash that that button after every page loads. My hunch is it's all of the tracking javascript that runs resident in the background to "ping" your browser to see if you're still surfing a site, or is rotating an ad through. Whatever the case is, it's irritating and I'd be content with slow and small. JavaScript, the new Flash... ugh.

  • Bobdc6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 6:33 AM (in response to Michelasso)

    Michelasso,

     

    $$$$ is why.  I have three iMacs and a 2007 MacBook.  Of the four Macs, I was able to upgrade the MacBook to a Crucial SSD with good results.  None of my Macs are upgradable to Mountain Lion, so I'm stuck with Lion or a downgrade to Snow Leopard.  Since Apple upgrades currently slow non SSD units, I intend to wait as long as I can to replace these very expensive Macs.  My intent is to see what Apple's intentions may be for the future of non SSD macs.  If an SSD Mac is required to run Safari, then how much longer is Apple going to continue to sell non SSD units to their loyal customers, and how loyal will these customers remain when they find that low performance?  I'm thinking that Apple may be going to an all tablet and iPhone enviornment, with very few desktop/laptop sales in their future.  I do know that most new Apple laptop/iMacs are no longer upgradeable, so if you don't buy the very expensive SSD unit at the start, then you're stuck with degraded performance for the life of the unit.  Apple is evolving, but I can't figure out which way.

  • Jonathan Payne1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 6:47 AM (in response to chitt)

    Dear chitt,


    With all due respect you are slightly confused about a couple of things. But the good news is, Just quit your browser from time to time. Except for the very rare process, you should not see processes using even 1G of real memory" except the kernel, which will use as much as it thinks wise if you have a lot of RAM.


    Seriously, if you see 1 or 2 or 11Gb of real memory in your Safari browser, the time to quit it was 10Gb's ago. You say you switch between browsers? That is entirely unnecessary. You just need to quit the one you're using periodically. With Chrome just close your window, with Safari use CMD-Q or Safari => Quit from the menubar.

     

    JIT is about speed, not about memory, and it will not help your Safari problem. Safari (and Chrome, and firefox) already have some amazingly clever JIT-like mechanisms built-in, which is kind of the problem: the faster the JS interpreter, the more complex programs that will be run inside your browser. Web browsers have always had trouble cleaning up after themselves and if it were an easy problem it would have been solved by now. That's why Chrome took the drastic measures (one of the reasons, anyway) and moved each window into its own separate UNIX process. When a UNIX process quits the OS frees up all the memory.

     

    I re-iterate: SSD is a must for solving this problem. But there's nothing you can do about an individual program that has a memory leak other than restarting it from time to time.

     

    Is there some reason why you are not quitting your browser periodically?

  • Jonathan Payne1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 6:53 AM (in response to Bobdc6)

    I think it's clear Apple has left HDD behind. They might not admit it but all evidence suggests it. And I can see why: silent operation, blazingly fast, long life, better battery usage, shock proof.

     

    I am not sure I've seen any laptops or otherwise that cannot have their hard drives upgraded though. It's not easy sometimes - and I have put off upgrading my Mac Mini because it's not heavily used - but it is doable. Or there are affordable services if you can bear to part with your computer for a week.

     

    But don't think of it as, "SSD required to run Safari". It's not safari that requires SSDs, it's other changes Apple made to the operating system which favors swapping over not swapping. Safari just happens to cause more swapping than many applications because people use it all day, it has memory leaks, and closing the window (as opposed to quitting) does not free up that memory.

  • chitt Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2013 7:27 AM (in response to Jonathan Payne1)

    Jonathan Payne1,

     

    ... closing my browsers is exacly what I do, and said I do. Please reread my post. And thanks for the pointer on how to close an application, it wasn't clear to me in the interface how to do that. ?!?!?! Are you for real? Anyway, something useful.

     

    What irks me is things can be fast with spinning rust, but were crippled. And now the problem is being pseudo-masked using SSDs. Poor decision making.

     

    And yes, I realize the intent of JIT'ed JS is speed, but JIT'ed JS takes RAM, and frequently lots of it, especially with lots of branching in JS code. And because JavaScript is the POS language that it is, it's hard for JIT authors to optimize, so branching results in extra RAM. You wouldn't think it would be much, but check out about:memory on Firefox after a day's usage. It'd be nice if WebProcess wasn't opaque.

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