Slow RAM & not 'refreshing' correctly


Just a general question.

I have a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo 24" iMac w/4GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and have Mavericks loaded on it. I have noticed recently (actually since 10.8.x my iMac has been bogged down at times. Sometimes taking up to 5 minutes to open mail correctly. I had done some searching online and came across a RAM program to 'refresh' the RAM and to give me a status on how my machine is running. The name of the small program is 'Memory Clean' and gives me a good indicator of where I am sitting at RAM usage. The only problem is that once I 'Clean Memory', it shows that I am sitting at about 1.35GB of RAM but it starts to go down. Sometimes down to 24MB within 5 minutes and not ever gaining the RAM back. Is this a sign of my RAM needing to be replaced or is it a sign that my iMac needs to be replaced? I am not opening anymore applications during the time of the slowdown. For the most part, I may only have Mail, Safari & iTunes open at the same time. I have also checked my Activity Monitor for any additional programs that are running in the background but nothing out of the ordinary. I just never 'automatically' get my RAM back. I need to refresh it constantly.


Rosie Moderator
Staff member
Try quitting Safari, then monitor the memory. While I haven’t gone as far as you in monitoring the ram, I noticed a slow down the longer Safari stays open even when no internet plugins are being used. Quitting it releases the memory it is hogging.


Freeing up your RAM is not very important - unless the performance is actually affected.
It also won't help for very long, when some app continues to demand huge gobs of memory.
RAM is used by the system, and your system does a pretty good job of deciding how RAM is used - without any help from you :D

If your system performance is also slowing down noticeably, that should also mean that your RAM is paging out. The menu list for your little utility that you use apparently does not display memory page outs - but your Activity Monitor does. The Activity Monitor will ALSO show you what particular apps or other processes are using lots of RAM, and other system resources, such as CPU.

You may see improvement if you upgrade your RAM. Your iMac CAN have a maximum of 6GB installed. You can get that by replacing one of the 2GB sticks with a 4GB stick. That, by itself, will not prevent some app such as Safari from gobbling up RAM, but more can be used before your performance will be affected.


Thank you all for the quick response. We will try to monitor the performance by quitting Safari. We will also be querying the Activity Monitor with which specific processes are using the RAM and if any are hanging or not... Will keep you posted.