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Macbook Pro Retina eats memory - up to 10-15gb disappears

9825 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Dec 25, 2013 7:33 PM by red_boy RSS
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Zebbler Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 15, 2013 7:31 PM

Help me figure out if I have a faulty Macbook pro Retina or if it's normal?
I swear this computer just eats memory like crazy to store some system files.  Within a few hours of working - I get an error message saying my memory is dangerously low.  It can go to 400mb from 12gb in a few hours of just idling.  Granted, some software (browsers, etc) might be open... But it should still not do this I don't think?  On restart all memory is restored.


See screen shot for my mac specs.


Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 8.29.58 PM.png

  • DLMiller Level 2 Level 2 (390 points)

    Download "Memory Clean" from the app store to watch the memory levels and release memory as needed. It's a free app and I use it often just to free up memory.


    Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 10.54.37 PM.png

  • stedman1 Level 8 Level 8 (49,835 points)

    The window at the bottom indicates Hard Drive space remaining, not free RAM. If you really do have less than 1gB of drive space available, you will need to remedy that ASAP.

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)

    There is a HTML 5 bug that fills boot drives and it takes time to do so.


    Reset Safari and surf your sites one at a time and see which one is causing the problem and report it.

  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)

    You need to free up disk space immediately.  With your drive space getting that low, you may start to experience data corruption which can result in a system failure.  I would expect you are already seeing performance issues.  OS X saves your system state.  This basically means that your system will dump the contents of your RAM to your hard drive so it can go into deep sleep.  That file can be as large as the amount of RAM you have installed (but can also be smaller).  That's likely why you're seeing such a large difference as you have 16GB of RAM installed.  It doesn't even appear that your system would be able to save a full 16GB image at this point.  Your system also needs space for swap files and other internal maintainance functions.  If you're not already having significant issues, you will shortly.


    Consider going through your data and see if you can delete anything you don't need.  Old podcasts (especially videos) can build up over time if you haven't set iTunes to delete them.  For stuff you want to keep, see what you can move to an external drive.


    You can use something like OmniDiskSweeper to show you where most of your drive space is being used.  It's a good tool to identify the files/folders containing the most data:


  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    If you have less hard drive space than the amount of RAM you have in your system, then you're just going to run into issues.  Did you cheap out and buy a Retina Mac with 128GB SSD drive in it or something?  This may be part of your problem.  How big is your hard drive (SSD) in that system?  You bought one with 16GB of RAM, surely you would have bought a large enough hard drive to hold all your stuff as well.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Umm, ya, you can't just keep 16+GB and think you'll be OK.  Bottom line is, if you're skirting under the radar with less than 100GB of space on your drive and doing lot of encoding work with sound/video files, you'll always have this problem.  SSD work a bit different in terms of cleaning up freed up space after stuff is deleted, so if your 500GB SSD drive is too small, then you NEED (yes, NEED) to move all your work off the laptop hard drive and onto an external drive.  Keep maybe just the current active projects on there or something and free up the rest of the room by moving it to an external HDD.  It would be good if you could keep 1/3 of the drive space free for normal OS opperations.


    As for the HTML5 bug thing... I'd think you'd see that regardless of if you're running a Retina MBP with SSD or not.  Me personally, I have not experienced this and my space doesn't go missing all by itself unless I'm doing lots of work.  Also, with 16GB of RAM, you shouldn't be filling up that RAM area enough to swap to the hard drive for virtual memory unless you're doing multiple heavy projects with audio/video editing.  I'd open up all the stuff you normally work in every day and a few projects and then go into Utilities and Activity Monitor and take a look at your Memory pool.  See what that pie graph looks like with all that loaded up and also pay attention to the swap file used and page outs at the bottom of that screen.  Feel free to post a pic of that screen if you'd like.


    Also, remember that OSX natively will use compression on the hard drive as part of it's normal opperation, but some things cannot be compressed a whole lot, so your free size may fluctuate quickly if your projects are huge and you're always opening/closing to work with them.  Keeping that free space sub 20GB is just asking for issues like this honestly... some may not agree, but I've never felt it was a good idea to fill up a drive past it's 66-75% mark and expect everything to be quick and normal like nothing's wrong.  With an SSD, this becomes an even bigger issue when you take things like TRIM into consideration.

  • IZ-US Calculating status...

    hey all,

    I'm gonna throw my two cents in here. disclaimer: I haven't read every single sentence in this thread so I accept that I may have missed something you already covered. if that's the case my apologies. I did skim over everything at least.


    I understand that a few of the people responding to this thread are addressing issues relating to nearly filling up the computer's hard drive. I'd like to suggest that the original poster's issue (remaining hard drive space fluctuating/missing without apparent reason) may still be unaddressed.


    here's my experience: my rMBP reports 423.67 GB available. that's nearly all of the 500 GB. just now I reset Safari as per DS Store's suggestion, and now I apparently have 423.97 GB available. cool. mind you I did not opt to delete my Safari history, for what that's worth.


    *edit* I reset Safari a couple more times, and now I have 424.01 GB available... weird...


    a little background: I have disabled my computer's Power Nap option, and I do not use Time Machine at all. the thing is, I can only account for 57.58 GB of USED SPACE on my computer. granted, I reached this conclusion by "Get Info"-ing all folders in my Macintosh HD directory, and adding those numbers up. I understand that my logic MAY be faulty here, but can anyone explain my missing 18.41 GB?

    [500 - 424.01 = 75.99]

    [75.99 - 57.58 = 18.41]


    last but not least, I looked closely at my Users folder size. right now, it's 13.88 GB. however, the combined size of all the folders within it (again, obtained by manually adding up subdirectory folder sizes) is less than 9 GB. I arrived at the 18.41 GB number above based on the Users folder being 13.88 GB, so it now seems that there is EVEN MORE unexplainable space being taken up.


    the above may be me overanalyzing this, but shouldn't file size numbers SIMPLY ADD UP? I would really like to know where nearly 25 GB of my hard drive space has vanished to. I think my experience may be in part what Zebbler is going through...


    thanks in advance for any insight!

  • IZ-US Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    a couple things I found out after posting:


    I forgot to add the Users Library to my total HD space calculation. that's about 1 GB.

    I had an unnecessary iPhone backup on the computer, which was about 5 GB.


    now I'm looking at 427.98 GB available, reducing the "disappearing space" to about 18 GB.


    you know if this actually a non-issue (ie. just a matter of being aware of how and where our computers store things), I'll gladly take in as much knowledge as y'all can care to impart. on the offchance that this is a legit glitch, I'm glad I chimed in to hopefully get the ball rolling on a fix.



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