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Just to be sure I understand...
Authored by: riktexan on Jan 07, '07 06:44:07PM

Just to be sure I understand...When I install this script (which I have done successfully, accompanied by Growl) I will know when Safari is gobbling up too much RAM. That means it's slowing things down, right?
When that happens and/or I get the alert, I quit then restart Safari to release all that RAM.
I know enough to understand the problem but not it's technical details. I just wanted to verify I'm on the right track when I see the info at the top of the window.
Rick in Maine

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RAM usage not necessarily connected to slowdowns
Authored by: hayne on Jan 07, '07 11:23:00PM

Just because Safari (or any other app) is taking a lot of memory does not necessarily mean that it is causing a slowdown of your Mac.
What will slow down your Mac is if you are running enough memory-hungry apps and keeping them all active so that collectively they have a need for more memory than you have (physical RAM).

The reason why it will slow down your Mac is that in this case, the system is forced to swap out some of your apps' memory to disk - and disks are extremely slow compared to all other computer components. The diagnostic sign for when this is happening is that you see a large number of "page-outs" listed in the System Memory tab at the bottom of Activity Monitor.

On the other hand, suppose you have 1 GB of RAM in your Mac and Safari is taking 100 MB but you don't have any other apps that are taking anywhere near that much memory. In that case, you are unlikely to be running out of RAM to the extent that the system has to swap to disk. So even though Safari is taking up lots of RAM, there is no problem at all.

Note too that the system considers unused RAM as wasted RAM, so it tries to find a use for almost all of your RAM, keeping only a little bit as a reserve. If the apps you are running don't demand a lot of RAM, the system will use the RAM to cache some frequently-used disk files (since disk access is much slower than RAM). So just because there is a relatively small amount of "free" memory listed doesn't mean there is a problem - that is normal (the system making use of the RAM you have).

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