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Thread: Is my PC's RAM OK?

  1. #1
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    Default Is my PC's RAM OK?

    I have using IceWM to save RAM memory and now I have some open programs:
    Firefox, Thunderbird, Dolphin and a Terminal
    My swap has 10 GB I think that's enough
    and I have a 2 GB ram memory chip installed, but it is left only 78 MB
    Is this correct or am I having a problem on my PC?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    How exactly are you determining that only 78MB is "left"? Caching uses whatever unused RAM is available to speed up activities that are running. 78MB could be merely space the cache hasn't consumed lately, even if you have exhausted your swap.

    Probably you want to see a visual depiction of RAM usage, to know how much is really available if disk cache were cleared. Two simple ones you can run in an Xterm are top and free. Htop is similar to top but is graphical. Various others with more sophistication and graphical modes exist. You may already have a decent one if you have Plasma installed: 'kcmshell5 memory' which you can start from run command or a terminal.
    Reg. Linux User #211409 *** multibooting since 1992
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by sergelli View Post
    My swap has 10 GB I think that's enough
    and I have a 2 GB ram memory chip installed, but it is left only 78 MB
    Is this correct or am I having a problem on my PC?
    If you were having memory problems, that would be more likely to show up as segmentation faults.

    If you are low on memory, then you might see more swapping.

    I used Plasma on a machine with 2G of memory. But it died about a year ago, so I cannot test that. I do notice, however, that firefox 60.x is using significantly more resources than firefox 52.x used to use. And that might be an issue for you. Only you can tell.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;
    testing Leap 15.2Alpha

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    On 07/17/2018 03:16 PM, sergelli wrote:
    >
    > I have using IceWM to save RAM memory and now I have some open
    > programs:
    > Firefox, Thunderbird, Dolphin and a Terminal
    > My swap has 10 GB I think that's enough
    > and I have a 2 GB ram memory chip installed, but it is left only 78 MB
    > Is this correct or am I having a problem on my PC?
    >
    >


    If not already installed install the memtest package. Reboot and select
    the memtest option to test your ram. I needed to do this a couple of
    weeks back because I was having intermittent problems with my system
    locking up. Turned out one of my ram modules developed Alzheimer so I
    pulled it and have not had issues since.

    --
    Ken
    linux since 1984
    S.u.S.E./openSUSE since 1998

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    1-openSUSE repos contain memtest86+ v5.01
    2-last changelog entry for memtest86+ was March 2015
    3-memtest86+ is a 16 bit utility which cannot run on UEFI systems
    4-memtest86 continues in development, latest is v7.5
    5-memtest86 is a free .iso download that includes the old 16 bit version as well as the current version and automatically runs the version appropriate to the PC when run from stick or OM
    Reg. Linux User #211409 *** multibooting since 1992
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    The reason for my question, was that all of these programs (firefox, thunderbird, dolphin, terminal on KDE) ran together on this machine, but with OpenSUSE 13.2 and I had no slowdowns or crashes.
    Now that I've installed Leap 15, this is impossible.

    And even using iceWM instead KDE only yields about 70 mg of free memory.
    So I have problems if I try to run anything else.

    Now I found one of the great memory thieves. Turning Firefox off the free memory jumps from 70 to 532 Mg

    If I turn off the rest of the programs, I get 662 Mg of free memory

    This means that for the system just being waiting consumes more than 1000 Mg of memory.

    Wow ... I feel like going back to openSUSE 13.2

    As one famous person said: "But I'm not the only one"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by sergelli View Post
    Now I found one of the great memory thieves. Turning Firefox off the free memory jumps from 70 to 532 Mg
    I'm running KDE Plasma. I have two browsers open. They have both been open since I last rebooted (Monday morning). One of those browsers if "firefox" and the other is "opera". And "firefox" is using far more memory than "opera", even though I open many more web pages with "opera" than with "firefox".

    The current "firefox" is a memory hog.

    Maybe try "chromium" or "vivaldi" or "opera" or even "falkon" instead of "firefox".
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;
    testing Leap 15.2Alpha

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    First,
    I created a Wiki article re-stating how to the the Free tool (which is also embedded in tools like top) for memory and cache analysis

    https://en.opensuse.org/User:Tsu2/free_tool

    But, before you read that article you should understand the changes how memory is utilized and managed by OS (including Linux) today compared to years ago...

    In the old days, there was an attitude like what you describe that applications should only use a minimal amount of RAM and "unused memory" was a valuable metric.
    Then, there was a revelation... Applications work better when physical RAM is utilized as much as possible, there is little benefit to reserving unused physical resources, making applications work harder for what they are doing. The result is that today no matter if you run a single application or many, if there is plenty of activity it's likely that your physical RAM utilization will keep increasing over time until it's nearly all "used."

    But, that shouldn't necessarily cause your system to slow down... The system should evaluate your activity and automatically move whatever hasn't been used recently or often to your disk cache (swap) so that your applications can perform best.

    That said, algorithms are not perfect and if you decide to all of a sudden do something that the algorithms does not expect, then it will take time to re-allocate and free up RAM for the new, unexpected use. If you run into this situation, the I've provided you a command at the end of my "Free" article that can manually clear your memory in these rare instances.

    The other thing to be aware of is that Firefox has been identified as a source for memory leaks in the past, but generally due to plugins and not so often the Firefox application itself. Keep Firefox free of unnecessary plugins and be careful about the plugins that are installed. And, keep in mind that the more tabs and windows you open in Firefox will increase its memory requirements.

    HTH,
    TSU
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    Firefox, Thunderbird, Dolphin and a Terminal in 2GB RAM should be perfectly reasonable, but the reality is the mozillas are big memory consumers. Switching Firefox to 52.9 ESR (from the optional Mozilla repo) if you are using v60 might be worth trying to see if it makes a difference, but it's ostensibly on its last iteration of support now.

    SeaMonkey combines the web engine of Firefox (actually the web engine Firefox uses grew out of SeaMonkey's predecessor, the Mozilla Suite) with the mail engine of TB (same situation, TB grew out of the suite). The result is using SM instead of FF + TB consumes less RAM due to shared components. Current SeaMonkey is using the same RV as Firefox ESR 52.9.

    If you can get the RAM up to 4GB it would be well worth it. Doing so shouldn't be terribly expensive for an older machine with DDR2 or the initial type of DDR3, both of which are readily available used.

    How old is your TB profile? Do you compact TB folders regularly, or ever?

    Is baloo running in the background even in IceWM?

    You might wish to try substituting Midnight Commander for Dolphin. I only ever use OFMs, of which MC is one (from standard repos), and it uses very little RAM. Another good OFM that I've been using around 25 years is File Commander, from silk.apana.org.au.
    Reg. Linux User #211409 *** multibooting since 1992
    Primary: 42.3,TW,15.0 & 13.1 on Haswell w/ RAID
    Secondary: eComStation (OS/2)&42.3 on 965P/Radeon
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Is my PC's RAM OK?

    On 07/18/2018 04:56 PM, nrickert wrote:
    > The current "firefox" is a memory hog.
    >
    > Maybe try "chromium" or "vivaldi" or "opera" or even "falkon" instead of
    > "firefox".


    I have run vivaldi against opera and find it unusable with more than a
    couple of tabs are in use. It's a memory hog just like firefox.

    --
    Ken
    unux since 1984
    S.u.S.E./openSUSE since 1998

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