: spinning disc - ram use question


mcoltezo
Mar 27th, 2016, 12:04 PM
Hi,

I am frequently getting the spinning disc lock up and usually it releases but sometimes not. This may be a silly question but would 3.99 or 4 gig of RAM being used be the issue?


67394


I only had Firefox open, 4 o 5 tabs and the activity monitor which said it was only using about 46% or so of overall CPU. The amount of available RAM became nearly 4 gig when I quit Firefox. With just ehmac open now, I'm using 1.57 GB.

I'm wondering if I double the RAM from 4 to 8, I will see less of the spinning disc. But I also see that my machine is considered antique now. It's a 2010 with Snow Leopard.

Any thoughts anyone? Thanks!

John Clay
Mar 27th, 2016, 12:20 PM
Yes - if your RAM is all being used, then the system starts to use swap space on your system drive. On an SSD, this is barely noticeable - on a HDD, it will often render the computer infuriatingly slow.

Firefox shouldn't be using that much RAM - have you tried browning your normal sites in Chrome or Safari and comparing the RAM usage? Do you have any Firefox extensions installed?

polywog
Mar 27th, 2016, 01:10 PM
Hi,

I am frequently getting the spinning disc lock up and usually it releases but sometimes not. This may be a silly question but would 3.99 or 4 gig of RAM being used be the issue?


67394


I only had Firefox open, 4 o 5 tabs and the activity monitor which said it was only using about 46% or so of overall CPU. The amount of available RAM became nearly 4 gig when I quit Firefox. With just ehmac open now, I'm using 1.57 GB.

I'm wondering if I double the RAM from 4 to 8, I will see less of the spinning disc. But I also see that my machine is considered antique now. It's a 2010 with Snow Leopard.

Any thoughts anyone? Thanks!

There's 1.13GB inactive so it could be reclaimed, but your swap used is about the same size as your RAM. That swap is read from and written to your hard drive. While that's going on you're probably seeing the beachball...

Have you considered Yosemite or El Capitan? Memory compression would help you out a little.

CubaMark
Mar 27th, 2016, 01:27 PM
You may want to review my thread (https://www.ehmac.ca/mac-iphone-ipad-ipod-help-troubleshooting/140994-imac-spinning-ball-death.html) on a friend's iMac and the SPOD.

In the end, despite conflicting reports (SMART status fine; disk utility said fine; EtreCheck reported strange HD errors; OS reinstalls no help) it was all fixed with a new Hard Drive.

mcoltezo
Mar 27th, 2016, 02:51 PM
There's 1.13GB inactive so it could be reclaimed, but your swap used is about the same size as your RAM. That swap is read from and written to your hard drive. While that's going on you're probably seeing the beachball...

I don't know how to reclaim inactive RAM. Is this easy to do?

Have you considered Yosemite or El Capitan? Memory compression would help you out a little.


I haven't considered moving them them as I have been happy (and familiar) with Snow Leopard.

If I double my RAM, would these problems go away.

mcoltezo
Mar 27th, 2016, 02:53 PM
You may want to review my thread (https://www.ehmac.ca/mac-iphone-ipad-ipod-help-troubleshooting/140994-imac-spinning-ball-death.html) on a friend's iMac and the SPOD.

In the end, despite conflicting reports (SMART status fine; disk utility said fine; EtreCheck reported strange HD errors; OS reinstalls no help) it was all fixed with a new Hard Drive.

Any way to test if a process is healthy enough to consider putting a new hard drive in and it living for years more? ....healthy enough = worth it.... hope that makes sense.

pm-r
Mar 27th, 2016, 04:18 PM
… … … …
I haven't considered moving them them as I have been happy (and familiar) with Snow Leopard.

If I double my RAM, would these problems go away.


Hmmm…??? …as I have been happy (and familiar) with Snow Leopard.

Doesn't seem so from your post!!!

Yes, 8GB RAM is often stated as a comfortable useable amount, 4GB is minimum as you are experiencing. Our 2007 2.4GHz 24" iMac running 10.6.8 is usually happy with it's maximum 6GB RAM.

hexdiy
Mar 27th, 2016, 05:41 PM
In Activity Monitor you can see what Process ID is gobbling up your RAM.
You can force quit that process with the red stop button on the top left side, and see what happens.

I do this regularly with Safari Web Material, to good avail.

mcoltezo
Mar 27th, 2016, 05:47 PM
pm-r ...I know what SL does and learning a new OS when I didn't think I needed to was not looking like a good use of my time. Too many unknowns for someone who doesn't know that much about the inner workings. The spinning disk didn't used to happen when I first got it or for years. So...if it ain't broke, don't fix it seemed like a good motto. Now, I'm exploring options. I also don't really like the new look of the icons...not that that needs to be a huge factor but I'm not into change for change's sake at least not with computers. Presently spinning disk is the only thing I'm not liking about my OS. The rest is fine. :-)

hexdiy
Mar 27th, 2016, 05:53 PM
By the way, I'm still running Snow Leopard too, on an ancient MacBook with only 2 GB of RAM.
And I know exactly when and why RAM is going to run out. In my case always Safari.

mcoltezo
Mar 27th, 2016, 05:54 PM
In Activity Monitor you can see what Process ID is gobbling up your RAM.
You can force quit that process with the red stop button on the top left side, and see what happens.
.

Firefox right now says it's only using 25% or so of my CPU but 2.17 GB is indicated as Used overall by the computer.

Is it the "Real Mem" that is referring to actual RAM being used? For Firefox, it's sitting at 575 MB at the moment with only two tabs open. Activity Monitor is 19 MB. Dock 28 MB. Dashboard Client 36 MB. Finder at 34 MB. Those are the biggies at the moment.

I don't know what the other applications are and so don't know what I could Quit out of safely.

Thanks.

hexdiy
Mar 27th, 2016, 06:18 PM
1. Do not confuse CPU usage and RAM usage. As you probably know. Sorry, but on a forum you never know how computer savvy a correspondent is.

2. With your 4 GB of RAM, and in your last message only 2.17 Gb being used, there should not be an issue.
On your last screenshot, however, all RAM had been used up. Keep your eye on the green gauge: free RAM.
Some apps gobble up RAM and never release it anymore. That is commonly called "memory leak".

So keep a keen eye on Activity Monitor. As soon as you see RAM is about to run out, check which PID is causing that, and kill that PID.
Has always worked for me. Good luck!

PS: sorry, yes, look at the "real Mem" column.

mcoltezo
Mar 27th, 2016, 08:43 PM
1. Do not confuse CPU usage and RAM usage. As you probably know. Sorry, but on a forum you never know how computer savvy a correspondent is.


I'm not very savvy with Mac tech stuff...so no prob.



2. With your 4 GB of RAM, and in your last message only 2.17 Gb being used, there should not be an issue. On your last screenshot, however, all RAM had been used up. Keep your eye on the green gauge: free RAM. Some apps gobble up RAM and never release it anymore. That is commonly called "memory leak"..

If I see memory leak, is there anything to be done about it?


So keep a keen eye on Activity Monitor. As soon as you see RAM is about to run out, check which PID is causing that, and kill that PID.
Has always worked for me. Good luck!


PID...? program, I suspect. Are there ones I shouldn't kill? BTW, I only have ehmac open and now Firefox is using 880 MB! That's about 300 more than when I had two tabs open earlier. Is this odd? Thanks for your help!

hexdiy
Mar 27th, 2016, 09:24 PM
If I see memory leak, is there anything to be done about it?
Yes. Either restart your Mac or kill the associated Process ID in Activity Monitor, as I've described earlier.

PID...? program, I suspect. Are there ones I shouldn't kill? BTW
A Process ID is either an application or an application component running as an independent Unix/BSD process.
e.g.: Safari Web Material, which is in fact running along with Safari App (and eating RAM, at least in my case).
If you try to kill a vital process via Activity Monitor, you will get fair warning by OSX.
The worst you can do is stop Finder services, which is easily solved by a restart or relaunch of Finder.

BTW, I only have ehmac open and now Firefox is using 880 MB! That's about 300 more than when I had two tabs open earlier. Is this odd?
Yep, this is odd. I'm not so familiar with FF/ Mozilla than I am with Safari, but let's have a go at it.

Delete your cookies and browsing history:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored

Make sure you have all passwords to websites noted, for Mozilla doesn't store them in Keychain!
They are stored here instead:
~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles
( Tilde means "user").
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data

Good luck!

eMacMan
Mar 28th, 2016, 03:17 AM
I run Snow Leopard and FireFox plus more RAM intensive apps such as PS Elements. This on a MP with 4GBs of RAM. Pageouts are consistently at zero whenever I bother to run the top command and the spinning rainbow pizza makes only the occasional appearance. That normally being when I accidentally attempt to load multiple videos at the same time.

An occasional log-out log in can perform miracles if you are in the habit of leaving a gaggle of apps open and swapping back and forth. Another issue is allowing the computer to sleep when logged in.

I would suspect that hardware may be at the core of this issue, with bad RAM or dying HD both being possibilities.

polywog
Mar 28th, 2016, 06:31 AM
I don't know how to reclaim inactive RAM. Is this easy to do?

The system will do it when it needs to/can.


I haven't considered moving them them as I have been happy (and familiar) with Snow Leopard.

If I double my RAM, would these problems go away.

Doubling your RAM certainly wouldn't hurt. Failing that, making sure you quit applications you aren't using (not just closing the window) would help.

But, you mentioned 25% CPU usage for firefox. My first thought is there is some addon/plugin that's acting up. It seems rather high unless your on a site with a lot of video running. It shouldn't sit at 25%.

mcoltezo
Mar 28th, 2016, 08:31 AM
But, you mentioned 25% CPU usage for firefox. My first thought is there is some addon/plugin that's acting up. It seems rather high unless your on a site with a lot of video running. It shouldn't sit at 25%.

Someone mentioned about extensions. I have the following add-ons but the multirow toolbar doesn't seem to work. I miss having that ability but I lost it when I re-imaged the computer....re-installed SL and this new one doesn't work or I can't seem to make it work....did I mention I'm not that tech savvy? :)

67569

EDIT: I had a screen shot but now it doesn't show up. How do I insert a photo. The only way I can see is through "attachment" and it did seem to work earlier. :confused:

eMacMan
Mar 28th, 2016, 09:46 AM
After uploading an attachment you need to go back to the paperclip image and insert the uploaded attachment. Very windows-esque but there you have it.

If you still have a problem make sure the attachment is no more than 770 pixels in either direction if it is a png file, and do a get info on the screen shot and uncheck the "Hide Extension" box.

mcoltezo
Mar 28th, 2016, 11:26 AM
Trying again...

Actually i don't the image thing here... I click on the paper clip but don't see my image. Do I have to upload it again? Insert wants a URL..... ...sigh... I don't mean to be going off topic.... computers and programs work great....if you only know which button to select....

Andrew Pratt
Mar 28th, 2016, 11:49 AM
FireFox is terrible at memory management these days. It was my go to browser for years but I've recently switched to Chrome or Safari.

Doubling RAM would help a lot...but so would upgrading to the newer operating systems which do a better job of managing system memory. There are changes but they're not significant enough that you would feel lost...it is still Mac OS. Sooner or later you will be forced to upgrade and my thoughts are it is easier to keep up than jump when forced too.

mcoltezo
Mar 28th, 2016, 03:07 PM
FireFox is terrible at memory management these days. It was my go to browser for years but I've recently switched to Chrome or Safari.

Doubling RAM would help a lot...but so would upgrading to the newer operating systems which do a better job of managing system memory. There are changes but they're not significant enough that you would feel lost...it is still Mac OS. Sooner or later you will be forced to upgrade and my thoughts are it is easier to keep up than jump when forced too.

You make a good point. Eventually I'll have to switch. ....have the bugs been worked out with them? I was watching as folks were embracing Yosemite and I guess there's now El Capitan? I just don't want to mess anything up.

food for thought. Thanks.

eMacMan
Mar 28th, 2016, 03:27 PM
A lot will depend on third party software and perhaps peripherals.

I have a 14 year old Epson Scanner that still does everything I need it to do. Since this includes scanning large negs and transparencies I have a choice. To go to a more up to date OS I will have to give up twain scanning and use the pro version Vue Scan or buy an expensive scanner. Not to mention buying a newer computer.:eek:

I would also be looking to replace my non-compatible version of PhotoShop Elements, and finding a usable database to replace some Databases I still maintain in good old AppleWorks. All in all a pretty expensive upgrade. The data base is a real biggie. Everything I have tried (and can afford feels rather clunky beside AW. Truth is I have no need for relational DBs and all of the less expensive varieties are really just Spreadsheets in disguise.

That said FireFox is still my go to browser. SL compatible Safari, continuously writes or reads to/from the HD, not something I find at all reassuring. Chrome is Google, 'nuff said. Not too unhappy with FF but the update if you blink bit is getting beyond tiresome. Stop patching, find the heart of the problem then fix it already!

mcoltezo
Mar 29th, 2016, 10:32 AM
Some really good points. This is what I am afraid of. I don't want to lose use of what I currently have. And, I did have that problem with a re-install of SL last year. My ITunes library was messed up a little and I had to make sure that the right iMovie was installed. I'm not sure how I'd access it again. I think the one I'm using is 09 which has more bells & whistles than the newer ones from what I understand. Why do they take out good functions when the "upgrade" programs? Anyway.... I don't know. I guess I'll ponder this some more and keep an eye on my activity meter.

Macfury
Apr 1st, 2016, 12:49 PM
One of our family laptops had 2GB of RAM and Firefox would routinely gobble almost all of it, especially when Facebook, Pinterest and similar sites were opened. Even when those sites were closed, they were memory sinkholes that would not let go of the RAM until Firefox was restarted. Putting in 4GB made a big difference and stopped the spinning beachball.

FWIW, I recently jumped from Snow Leopard to El Capitan. Mostly a positive experience, but here are the downsides:
* Lost TWAIN acquire in Photoshop as eMacMan points out.
* Lost some old games, utilities and programs--but really old stuff. Greatest loss was iPhoto and an ancient version of Microsoft Office that was more than a decade old.

I kept a backup disk that allows me to boot in Snow Leopard, but so far have found no reason to do so.