14 Replies Latest reply: Apr 22, 2012 4:04 PM by kevinkendall Branched to a new discussion.
Jellyface Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hello. My name is Seth. I recently started to notice that my RAM when I start up my macbook pro starts at about 3 GB. I wasn't sure if this was a normal number or if there is any way I can free up a little bit more somehow. I got my mac in Novmeber 2010. I have 4GB of DDR3. The version is 10.6.8. If there is anything anyone can tell me to help, please do. If there is any more information you need from me that I forgot to put in this post, tel me and I will reply as quickly as I can. Thank you very much, and I appreciate any help!

 

-Seth


MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • shldr2thewheel Level 7 Level 7 (25,855 points)

    You can't "fee up" memory, like you can storage on a hard drive.  You need to install more ram is the amount you have is insufficient for your needs.  Which macbook pro model do you have?

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (29,970 points)

    Are you actually having performance problems?  If not, you're worrying about a non-issue.  Keep in mind that free RAM is wasted RAM...  The more data that the OS can cache in RAM, the faster your machine can be.  Even if you're having performance problems, you still might be barking up the wrong tree.

  • shldr2thewheel Level 7 Level 7 (25,855 points)

    Interesting..so it would be more benificial as a user to have the least amount of free ram as possible as long as you are not experiencing any problems?

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    When you start up your machine, you probably see about 3.75GB of RAM. The other 256MB is claimed by the integrated graphics processor and can't be used for anything else. Your OS and whatever else is running must share the 3.75GB, and the OS is very good at allocating it wherever necessary whenever necessary. There's nothing you can do to help it out: it does the job much better than you could.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (29,970 points)

    Basically, though it depends on how it is not free.  If its all active, you'll likely have trouble.  RAM that is not free, but inactive, can be used quickly when needed or dumped to make room for something else.

  • shldr2thewheel Level 7 Level 7 (25,855 points)

    Gotcha.  Thanks for the explanation.  I appreciate it.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (29,970 points)

    No problem

  • kevinkendall Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)

    I'd been using iFreeMem for quite a while to free up from the 8 Gigs of RAM I've got the Inactive RAM, which can get to be pretty sizeable, and static, especially when running Windows in VMWare. And iFreeMem has an Inactive RAM-freeing function called "Optimize" but it works very, very slowly. And if ya run iFree's "Optimize" when your durn near completely out of RAM, your Mac may freeze up.

    So a couple of weeks ago, after much researching, I found a way to free up the Inactive RAM super-quickly.

    I made a tiny little Automator app that is quick, simple, & completely effective. All it does is run the Unix "purge" command & then it disappears, in a matter of seconds.

     

    Check it out:

    http://www.box.com/kevinkendall-public

    I've got 2 files in there (and an old one I'm going to leave there that has to do with the late Whitney Houston):

    "Purge_RAM.app"

    "PurgeRAM_screenshot.gif"

     

    It's sweet. Works great man. Y'all are gonna love it.

     

    <Link Edited By Host>

  • kevinkendall Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)

    oops. Forgot.

    Ya gotta have the XCode Developer Tools installed before you can run the purge command.

    Forgot about that.

    Get XCode at the App Store for free here:

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xcode/id497799835?mt=12

    And see a very good tutorial answering the hows & whys of installation here:

    http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_to_install_apple_developer_tools_cc_gcc_mac_os_ x.html

     

    KK

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (29,970 points)

    So, you want people to download and install XCode (a bit of a hefty download) and run your Automator app to fix a problem that's not actually a problem?  That's not something I would recommend.

  • kevinkendall Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)

    I don't want anybody to do anything, Thomas. Believe it or not, I actually am just simply wanting to be helpful, not create more "consumers."  'nuff of them already in America, Inc.  So ya kinda jumpin' the gun there, aintchya Sport?

    Thomas A Reed wrote:

     

    That's not something I would recommend.

    For most, absolutely not.

    But for those of us who like tweaking out the last drop & staying up on top of things, yeah. Why not. I've been dinkin' with puters since '86, started on a Mac SE. Went to The Dark Side for 18 yrs, back to Mac & ain't lookin back as of winter of 2006.

    Don't do it if ya don't wanna. No gun here....  LL

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (29,970 points)

    Believe it or not, I actually am just simply wanting to be helpful, not create more "consumers."  'nuff of them already in America, Inc.  So ya kinda jumpin' the gun there, aintchya Sport?

     

    I do believe you're trying to help.  But the advice is misguided, as purging your inactive RAM is not necessary, and can actually harm your Mac's performance if done too frequently.  And novice users who might read your advice do not have the knowledge necessary to make that judgement.  (Those who are true power users already understand how to do this and when it's appropriate.  There's a reason that tool is installed with XCode.)

     

    Not sure what you're getting at with all the "consumers" and "America, Inc" stuff.  I'm just addressing the technical merit of the idea of purging inactive RAM, not making some political or economic statement.

  • kevinkendall Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)

    Well, first, Thomas, that was a very gracious reply. Nice to see that kind of thing on forums, as too many any more are just plain caustic. Shows what basic anonymity does to some people, huh.  And actually, such causticness is probably more along the lines of a pendulum swing *away* from the also too-prevalent "political correctness" that, well, weinies need to use. Methinks that perhaps all of America, perhaps all of the world, is becoming pathologically bipolar. LOL   So anyway, wanna say that you sound like a real decent guy. Must be a Mac guy. hehe

     

    Secondly, my reasons for submitting what I thought were helpful alternatives to looking at spinning beach balls while your fingernails waiting on the keyboard grow another half inch comes from my experiences. I'd like to elucidate.... When I got back into Macs in '06 after 18 yrs on The Dark Side, & 2 or 3 yrs with Macs, professionally, prior to that, I re-started with a PowerBook then. 1GB RAM, max. Lame, even then. And then a MacBook1,1 @1.83. Very first all-white one. 2GB max. Lame. Trouble, trouble. Frustratingly so. And now, I've got a 7,1 @2.4. Very last all-white one Apple made. I like the all-white ones. 2Gigs again, but that I bumped up to its 8Gig max. And STILL I have RAM jams. Not as frequently of course, but they happen. And what I run into *most* often, is the system NOT automagically releasing Inactive RAM. Just sits there. And if I've got FF or something that leaks memory running, & I myself crash & sleep, I wake up to completely or nearly so solidly wired-up RAM. Which means it's power button for 5 seconds time. & then Applejack at reboot to fix stuff that got hosed.   Doesn't happen often, but enough to make me go search for solutions when I shouldn't be having any with the above-average 8Gigs of RAM.

     

    So one day I discovered the Purge command. And using that has kept the aforementioned scenarios from deteriorating to the aggravating point when not even the beach ball comes up, nor of course anything else. 

    And so I use it. Use it a LOT when I've got open apps' icons spread from one side of my screen to the other, especially Win7 in VMWare when I've got a bunch of Mac stuff open, too. And I have read NOwhere, except what you have written, that there is any "harm" to purging at all. Hasn't caused me any probs, I know that. Only good stuff. I *would* like to know about any possible problems that, as you stated, purging could cause, as published by a Mac magazine or respected tech site. So if you can steer me & others who read this & are curious about the subject to any current articles about that, I would like to take a look-see & learn. But what I'm going by is what has proven to work, for me, & I am pretty certain that at least all Intel machines running 10.6+ work in pretty much the same way too, so....  That's why I posted. Just sharing my experiences, a screenshot, and the simple little script app I made in less than a minute. And I admit, yeah, the XCode DL is pretty darn big. But ya don't have to install everything. Just what's needed, & then you can dump the Receipt file if ya want, or save it to an external something or other.

    But not wanting to be a butt here, I will do some research about the use of purge, because you stated that 'true power users' understand when its use is apt, & when it's needed & so forth. Well, I *know* when it's needed in my experiences, & it does the job, without repercussions of any kind. But I'll look into it, willing to learn & throw away old ideas if appropriate.

     

    Thirdly, RE: Novice users taking my advice:

    Stupid is as stupid does, Thomas. You know that. I know I've been through that during my occasionally steeper learning curves, maybe you as well. That's how I learned stuff, particularly DOS/Windows, which just screams gimmee your attention anyway. So what I'm saying is that I find it loathsome to think that I or anyone would have to babysit the reckless ones. Who are they? Must I assume that ANYONE & EVERYONE fits that category, & so submit pablum & half-baked mostly useless mediocre BS smoke?  nyu uh. not me. I have enough respect, you might say, for people to give them the benefit of the doubt that they'll choose wisely. And those who don't, well, Darwin's Law steps in. Been there too, done that too. I consider submitting diluted blabla just so disgustingly pompous, really. Sayin' something, but then you're not, too. Self-serving junk, in other words.

     

    So...... done now.  Thanks for the tips, Thomas, & the advice, & I'll heed ya some but I can't think of readers of these forums as babies who need to be coddled. Mistakes made are learning experiences.  The most important learning being, of course, is when to gamble on possible learning, & when not to. That's the beginning of not making stupid-a** mistakes. And some want to learn that 'hard way' either by choice or, yeah, with intelligence-backed recklessness, & some wouldn't dream of learning that way on their machine. Scares 'em. They don't know that you can *always* click on the 'cancel' button, yaknow?  When in doubt, gamble or get out.  But don't straddle.

    I'm counting on folks having enough brains between their ears to figure out what's doable for them at their skill/knowledge level when they read about tech procedures, & what's not. And what's got the pretty good odds of coming out in their favor, should they take a plunge of some technical sort. And that's learning, too. Probably the best kind, actually. Which couldn't happen unless somebody "pushes the envelope" (apparently) & submits some obscure tech procedures. What I proposed isn't super-techy by any stretch of the imagination in those who know. Not saying my stuff's all that, but I will say that Jobs knew all about that sort of edginess, which hoisted only red flags in some people's minds of course, the mediocrity lovers' minds that is. And I am pretty much like-minded with Jobs' ways in that respect. And I abhor the 'hypersafe,' banal ways of doing things. That ain't different. That's crap. hehe  ok. nuff said. out.....

     

    Have a good Sunday, Thomas.

    And thanks again for your gracious good-attitude reply to me.

    adios......

    KK

  • kevinkendall Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)

    Jellyface wrote:

     

    Hello. My name is Seth. I recently started to notice that my RAM when I start up my macbook pro starts at about 3 GB. I wasn't sure if this was a normal number or if there is any way I can free up a little bit more somehow. I got my mac in Novmeber 2010. I have 4GB of DDR3. The version is 10.6.8. If there is anything anyone can tell me to help, please do. If there is any more information you need from me that I forgot to put in this post, tel me and I will reply as quickly as I can. Thank you very much, and I appreciate any help!

     

    -Seth

    Try out a little Automator app I put together Seth, that I called "Purge RAM.app," until you find a better more permanent solution to the cause of whatever RAM probs you're having (besides the usual buildup of Inactive RAM).

    Direct link right here (the app is zipped up):

    http://www.box.com/s/beaab499f53340ecc461

    And a screenshot showing how it works in the directory they're both in right here:

    http://www.box.com/kevinkendall-public

     

    Happy Macin'

    KK