This issue really isn't that hard to figure out. The programming change would be fairly easy for Apple, however then they wouldn't be able to continuously tell customers that "you just need to purchase more memory
Let me get this straight... you believe that Apple, a well-regarded company with more money than they know what to do with, is intentionally crippling their system, risking damage to their image, in order to upsell you on RAM that they probably make a profit of $50 or less on? That's an interesting perspective, to say the least.
I have 4 GB of RAM on my Mac.
I used to run one VM (1GB RAM) under Fusion, whatever programs I needed on the host itself, and had paging (swapping to disk to free up memory) completely diabled: it was bliss.
Then I needed to run two VMs at the same time, with 1GB of RAM each and all the rest of my regular programs, so I had no choice but to re-enable paging, but there are quite a few settings which you can add to the .vmx files that will control how much of each VM's memory you will allow to let Fusion swap and this can have a significant impact on your overall performance. [ see: http://sanbarrow.com/vmx/vmx-advanced.html ]
But then, I really needed to run three VMs at the same time, and though I gave them only about 600 MB of RAM each, and though I'd become quite adept at tweaking those VMware settings, there was just no getting around the paging to disk, and thus my performance tanked, so I started looking into that aspect of my Mac's performance and was surprised with the results...
It seems my hard disk only supported one disk "write" transaction at a time.
Normally these tend to be many, small and even cached, but when a really large chunk of data needed to get commited to disk, *everything* else stopped in its tracks! Beach balls and all.
Of course running VMs with lots of allocated RAM made this a frequent reality. So I went through all my programs and configured them such that they should try and save smaller amounts yet more often, and I aslo played with disabling swapping inside the VMs themselves and letting VMware and OS X manage the disk instead. This helped a lot!
Eventually I needed more disk space though, so I spent a good bit on a hybrid drive with lots of cache, and, one that supports multiple concurrent write transactions: oh my. ooooh my indeed. Nowadays I still have only 4 GM of RAM, I'm swapping at 3 GB, some of my RAM is wired, some active, much of it is inactive, less than 80 MB is free, yet it truly feels as though my Mac had 9-10 GB RAM easy, and then some.
Heck, I don't quite remember the last time I got a beach ball.
Hope this helps!
My inactive memory issue started yesterday when I used CCC to clone parts of a drive. At first I though CCC was just using all available RAM (and in my case that's 20GBs), during it's operation. But then it, or the OS, did not clean up. Now, anytime I copy something in the Finder or CCC it fills up my RAM to about 99% and does not clean it up. I have to use the purge cmnd.
I'm wondering if I typed in a cmnd that allows RAM as a cache for volume to volume file copying.
Perhaps I shouldn't post here since I am using a 2.0 GHz Mac Mini with 4GB of RAM--still on Snow Leopard. But, I also get 'lockup' of computer resources in Inactive Memory after using certain applications. If I have just burned a DVD using Toast 11 or recorded a TV show using my EyeTv 250 Plus, if I want to have fast computer performance immediately afterwards, I just restart, or else my Mac will be running slow for a while. Knowing Lion doesn't fix this doesn't make me anxious to upgrade...
Thanks for the tip on the 'purge' command, though.
To respond to your post a long ways back about Lion being a disappointment as regards memory management, according to the link posted by egremyl, the Inactive Memory problem has been going on starting with OS X 10.5. And I think he may be right, because on my dual core G4 (Sawtooth with upgraded CPU) running Tiger, I have never experienced the problem of resources for previously used applications being tied up in Inactive Memory.
It would be better to just let the guilty programs that start up really slow or use alot of resources, to just start up slow again the next time you use them, rather than try to keep them in Inactive Memory for a while.
According to Apple, Inactive Memory is just as the same of Free Memory. It is available to be use if required. The difference is that when you close some application some memory used by it has its status changed to inactive, The only difference is that if you load the same application again t will reload faster. If other application requires memory and there is not more Free available it will start using the Inactive.
I know this do not solve the perfromance issues. I am having them myself. However, the problems seem to be elsewhere. I figured out that is starts when a process called fseventsd (available under system processes) reach close to 100% and does not come down. It is related to file system access, but I do not know exactly what it does and, frankly, don't care. It seems that there is an offending application causing this situation. First guesses are web browsers (all of them), with many tabs open and flash video.
Any ideas are appreciated.
I recently upgraded to Mtn Lion and immediately started experiencing memory issues. A knee jerk reaction was to upgrade from 4Gb to 8Gb of RAM, yet to be delivered, but now I fully expect Mtn Lion to soak it all up with inactive memory. Yesterday there was 2.11Gb of inactive. Right now it's 1.65Gb. I find I'm running Activity Monitor full time and having to restart 2-3 times a day.
This is fully hampering my work and it seems this needs to be fixed.
But, it does seem like Mail and Photoshop are my two biggest offenders.
Confirm or not, by the time I've opened up, and maybe closed, a few applications, my green 'free' memory slice of the pie is just a line. Closing all the applications will free up a little space but as noted many times in this and other threads, Apple seems to be holding much of that memory in Inactive.
I did just install "Free Memory" and it does seems to help though I have to admit, it's a little scary. This is taking me back to my old VAX days when I had to manage memory. Then again, programmers were concerned about speed and memory, now it seems they just expect you to get more memory and faster processing.
I'll also admit I have quite a few email messages piled up in my Mail accounts and many have images or large files. Perhaps this is causing some of my issues with Mail stacking up Inactive Memory.
I've got the same problem even with 32GB ram, which is all inactive after I awake from sleep mode, Running apps are itunes, safari, CS6 and Bridge. Any solutions would be helpful, such as a easy touch pad click I can use to easily solve this?
Below are screen shots of before and after purge command.
You might be able to setup an automator script to purge with a keystroke like you want.
I'm joining this conversation in mid stream, so perhaps you've already done these things. There are some apps that runs in the background that need ALL of your RAM to get their job down. A popular example is the Sophos Anti-Virus app. Running memtest will also do this because it needs to check every address in RAM and it can't give up any RAM if it wants to get anywhere, right? Other apps will use as much RAM as available, no matter how much you have they'll take it, and use it to either as sort of a RAM DISK or as a buffer. These times this hs happened to me it's been the apps i mentioned and a couple of others I don't remember.
The thing about Sophos Anti-Virus that freaks som people out is that it will find a bunch of virues (if you hav a lot of mail stored), but these are PC virues that were sent to yo in spam. They are NOT dangerous to you but could be to a Windows user if you sent them that email or file.
I only have a couple of suggestions if this is the case for you. In your activity monitor be sure to select All Processes from the pull down menu and see if there is a process that is hogging the RAM. Perhaps, you have something scripted or scheduled to run at wake up, or at a particular time of the day, week or month.
There are some apps that will use memory as sort of a RAm DISK serer for 64 bit apps to be ableto go over the 4GB limit in a 32 but app. that has caused me some problems in te past because they don;t do a good job of cleaning up after themselves. I would troublushoot, but using purg or a utility like Boost&Memory woek fine until you find the problem.
If it's Sophos Anti-Virus, I would uninstall. I will still remain in your apps folder, but like any other app, it will remain inactive until launched. If you're really paranoid about viruses then simply turn off Java, disable Flash (or at least make Flash ask dor permission, "trusted sites"), keep your Firewall on, make sure Gatekepper is on, and possibly run in stealth mode to prevern attacks. But that's besiseds the point.
Something is to be taking up that memory. Spotlight did this at one time I believe. So find it. If it's a process you don't recognize, google it, and go from there. Also make sure to come back here and report. Also it looks like you have a MacPro? 32GBs of RAM. If you run memtest, it could take a very long time to run.
Yes I do think Apple would rather sell us ram than fix an issue. Apple highest profit margin is on the upsale. IPhone 16gb model produces the least revenue for the company were as the 64gb version only costs a few dollars more to make and brings in an extra $200.
This ram problem is another in a long line of issues that begun with an absence of Steve.
The facts remain as such. All my 7 computers ran excellent on SL (a Jobs approved OS) the oldest being 2009 mbp and every one has/had issues with slowing down due to improper management of ram in Lion and ML. Only because Apple forced me as a developer to upgrade would I allow such a lousy OS on my computer. When any of my computer reaches full inactive ram, the computer completely freezes. Yes I can type in purge and clear the ram but ***!!!!!! If I forget it freezes the computer!!
A MAC FREEZING!!!!!!!!! That's for PCs!!!!!!!
In conclusion, I know that I ask lot of my computers, I'm a developer. Just remember, they all worked spectacularly before Lion and ML without a single incident.
1) I have taken my Macs to apple for complete inspection/testing and they have not found anything wrong with any of them. (I took them there for other Lion and ML related reasons too)
2) I have switched between all sizes and brands of ram with no change (Just the length of time before freezing).
3) When the ram is "free" it is hard to access by other program causing extremely slow to stopped performance. I can manually fix this by typing in "purge" in the terminal window.
4) Why in this day in age, with a supercomputer like any of the shelf mac, why am I manually preventing my computer from freezing?
5) As a developer I have noticed several issues with Apple software and have brought it to there attention. As more and more issues are brought to Apple by there community and ignored, I grow more concerned. Lion was a scary fact to see. They haven't, and never will fix all the major issues that plagued Lion and crept in to ML. Why spend money on something that the customer will gladly pay to fix themselves.
Unfortunately the demise of apple is becoming apparent. It is becoming company wide policy to adhere to short term profit and not to worry about the quality of there products, software products that is. There hardware is still the best on the market. The're like that kid in school who got to big for his britches and thought he was untouchable. Unfortunately that guy learned the hard way he was wrong. So will Apple. I am personally open to a better computer than Apple makes now. If a company builds a computer as reliable as Apple used to, I will switch.
Thank you for your note about the Inactive Memory. I have found the same issues and though I am "only a graphic designer" I have found this OS to be a hit on my everyday work. I read through the chain of discussions and I think it is critical for Apple to address this, as instead of me wholeheartedly recommending their products I give pause to think if they aren't going down the road Microsoft did with their overburdened systems.
No more iTunes while working, make sure Safari isn't running, open/close InDesign or Photoshop, Pause Syncing of DropBox...all to avoid the spinning beachball. Restart and I've got 3/4 of pie in green again.