Recently I have been experiencing a very weird issue on my Macbook Pro, I have Lion v10.7.4, with a decent configuration – 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB Ram with a 750GB sata hard disk. But over a reasonably prolonged period of usage, of around 4-6 hours, I notice from time to time that Mac OSX runs completely out of RAM! The Activity Monitor reports mere MBs of Free Memory, sometimes even less than 10MB. Needless to say this makes the Macbook loose it’s mind, it would freeze up on random, seemingly basic tasks, even switching to a window can freeze the macbook for minutes, if not hours. Which is understandable, though, given how low memory it is left with.
I have become somewhat habitual with this behavior and had begun to work around it, I always have my Activity Monitor open just a Cmd-Tab away and I check it every now and then, but I began to notice something even more alarming recently. There are times, when Activity Monitor reports very low Free memory available, but if I look at the processes, they memory consumption simply does not add up. And even killing Chrome doesn’t really enough memory. On some research I came across the purge command, which is supposed to free up some of the large inactive memory that I see, which worked to an extent. The only real option that I had was to reboot the machine, something I completely hate. Having lived inside a Linux box for over half a decade, rebooting is something I have come to almost forget as an option :). My personal laptop just runs all the time with very occasional reboot or shutdown on specific occasions like updates or upgrades. Anyways, coming back to the original problem, so the macbook, very frequently just runs out of memory and I can’t even figure out what’s consuming it or release much of it, by killing processes! That is quite a nightmare.
I have always had my doubts with Google Chrome, partly because I have seen it to consume quite a bit of memory on the whole i.e. all it’s subprocesses put together and partly because I tend to open a lot of tabs. And even this time it was google chrome at fault, at least in my opinion. After some digging around the internet, I discovered someone advising to delete the browser cache and then observe memory consumption. My macbook has now been up over 24 hours (counting around 8 hours of sleep), and I see quite a bit of improvement. Oddly enough, the memory consumption has not risen to alarming levels without changing my usual browsing behavior, so things look good for now in that respect.
But something simply does not feel right, maybe someone has more insight into this, than I do. I would really like to hear others’ thoughts on this.