Saturday, October 4, 2014

OS-X Mavericks

I upgraded to OS-X 10.9 Mavericks and have updated every version since its introduction, and while I would recommend for a number of reasons, I wouldn't for a few which is important depending on your computer.

And the most important of these is memory. OS-X Mavericks in each iteration has become more of a resource hog than any previous version of OS-X, which to me peaked at OS-X 10.7 for efficiency and user control and friendliness.

I say this because I keep the Activity Monitor open shortly after rebooting or starting the Mac Pro I have with 16 Gigabytes (GB's) of memory. As much as folks talk about cpu speed, it's really not as important as memory, in part because most newer one run faster than people use a computer or think while using it.

And what changes that speed is Internet access speed and the number of applications running which goes back to memory. And my gripe against OS-X Mavericks and Apple programmers. They're putting so much into the operating system it's memory consumptive. It's a memory hog.

It is for two reasons. After rebooting the memory wired and system memory related to users applications but not actually application memory starts with about 1.2-1.3 GB's and just grows from there to where after a week it's up to over 3 GB's.

That's the kernal_task, SystemUIServer, and programs. The other part is inactive memory, which is not known in the Activity Montitor window anymore but third-party applications will calculate it.

This is important because every application you open, use and close, only removes the file cache you used, and that's only if you don't clear that or wait for the daily maintenance to clear it. All unused (opened and closed) memory is kept to restart faster if you want to use it again.

This means if you open, use and close a number of applications, the active memory keeps building. And then there is the file cache. After rebooting it will grow to over 2 GB's just from the temporary files the system opens and the user files with application opened on login.

This is where the purge command is handy and something you should become familar with as it's a part of OS-X, but with Mavericks they changed the command to require administrator password to execute and it only clear the file cache and not inactive (unused closed) memory the previous versions of the command did.

This means the total used memory just keep growing. Under Mavericks the cpu now takes nearly half the total memory just to set up and start working, meaning after all my normal apps I use are opened and I've clear the unused file cache. And it only gets worse from there.

When I do start working now the cpu will easily get into the 12-14 GB's range and it's not hard to open applications and files or have the hourly Time Machine backup kick it to hit the 16 GB's of the Mac.  Which is my new problem.

It's a late 2010 Mac Pro, the last of the currently supported Mac Pro's. All previous ones are not OS-X Mavericks compatible and these won't likely be compatible with the next version of OS-X after Yosemite as Apple pushes people to the new Mac Pro's.

So I figure in 2-3 years I'll be replacing this Mac Pro with a new one, probably for the same price plus the peripherals which may not be compatible with new Mac Pro, which is two printers and two scanners.

They will pretty much determine how and when I upgrade since one scanner has no new one available for new Mac. It's a Nikon 35mm slide scanner Nikon long abandoned support for the hardware and software. The other scanner, an Epson V750, has a new model if it doesn't work.

The two printers, an Epson R2400 has new models and the HP 2605dn also has new models. Those can be replaced. The issue is that there are no new dedicated professional level 35mm slide scanners offered today, all are the consumer versions and no match for the Nikon.

Anyway, I wandered off the subject, which is Mavericks and it's pseudo-efficient memory usage. It may be efficient but it's a memory hog doing it, and I don't expect Yosemite to be better but worse.

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