Photoshop, by its design, allocates then holds onto RAM, even when you close the document you've been working on.
While working on an given document it makes history states of everything you do, then writes data to its scratch file(s) whenever it accumulates enough data in RAM to reach the pre-set limit you have programmed in the Photoshop - Preferences - Performance dialog.
So the questions are:
1. What have you set as Photoshop's RAM limit in Preferences - Performance?
2. What other things do you expect to continue to run while running Photoshop? This should influence your RAM limit setting. The OS takes a gigabyte or so, and you'll want to set Photoshop to leave at least that much, or more if you like to have several things running at once.
3. Have you considered your needs for History states? Configuring it to remember fewer history states means that it won't build up data in RAM as quickly and if you don't do big jumps back in history this can reduce the impact Photoshop has on your system.
4. If you use your Macbook for intensive work, have you considered SSD? SSD storage is a good alternative to spinning hard drives, as it allows MUCH higher data swapping rates.
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Photoshop reuses the RAM it allocates - so it'll allocate up to the limit you set in preferences, and will only free RAM when needed by third party plugins or the OS. This is not a memory leak and does not lead to excess paging. It is possible that Mountain Lion (MacOS 10.8) has added more memory leaks in the OS code, but we haven't seen that yet (and we've tried to minimize the impact of the known memory leaks in MacOS).
Thanks for your replies, I will list some of the information as requested and you may be able to suggest some adjustments that could improve the situation.
In the performance box
Available ram 7067 mb
Ideal range 3892-5095
Let Photoshop use 4883 mb 69%
Scratch disk Mac HD 378.31Gb free
History & Cache
Optimise cache levels & tile size that are
Tall & Thin
Big & Fat
History states 20
Cache levels 2
Cache tile size 1028k
Use graphics processor enabled
None of these setting I have altered they are just as the program installed them
Photoshop with 3 d800 nef files open
Free 448 mb
active 3.13 Gb
Inactive 3.33 Gb
I closed the three nef files after saving them as tiff files but there is no change, I now have 470 Mb page ins, 544 Mb page outs, swap used 1.51 Gb
I hope that information is understandable to you, as I said previously I am very much a front end user so if you have any suggestions please make it as simple to understand for a non technical person, thanks for your time.
I'm going to suggest that Chris, who is much more familiar with Macs, take this further.
Set your Cache Levels to 4 and tell us if you see any improvement as far as waiting for progress bars and such. If you do see improvements try a Cache Levels setting of 6 and compare between the two settings, 4 and 6.
It's normal for you not to see a change in RAM being released, as Chris Cox has explained to you.
Mountain Lion is not the greatest Apple release of an OS, but Apple doesn't get the new major releases right until about the dot six release, so it will be a while. They never got Lion right. I'm sticking with Snow Leopard.
Weeeeell... sorry to say, but I've recently upgraded from CS5 to CS6, and I've started running into this problem despite completing the same tasks I've been doing over the last two years - even using the same files & actions.
I'm running Windows 7, and I have 16gb of RAM. Every day, I eventually get to the point once I've opened, modified, saved and closed a dozen PSDs or so. Granted, I work on some pretty large files (anywhere from 30mb to 1.5gb), but I haven't run into this problem with such frequency since upgrading to CS6.
The symptom, in Windows, is that you first receive a warning that you should close some programs. Even if you do, it often doesn't help - it hits a brick wall when I go to save, or use any RAM-intensive action. Citing "there is not enough RAM to complete..".
Some additional info:
- I have Photoshop set to use 75% of 16gb (11034mb)
- I left my Cache Levels default (4), but I always bump my History States up to 40. No doubt this is related to the problem.
- It doesn't seem to matter if you have an empty scratch disk; when the problem occurs, it will not even bother using the scratch disk.
That sounds more like you're running into an OS problem or a leak in a driver.
The number of history states wouldn't be related - that is all moved to the scratch disk as Photoshop needs more memory. If Photoshop is low on memory (or the OS says it needs more memory), it will free some RAM and move the data to the scratch disk. If the system says it's low on RAM and Photoshop isn't hitting the scratch disk, then you're looking at a system level problem.
One thing to check is your OS VM settings. Did you turn off the OS swapfile at any time (BAD idea), or limit it to something less than twice your installed RAM (also bad, but not as bad)?
That it's not using your scratch disk seems suspicious to me... Photoshop writes stuff ot the scratch drive virtually all the time. Usually quite a lot of it.
What scratch disk are you using (C: or other), and where are you looking to see the temporary files?
As an update. I installed the ram I had on order ( now making a totoal of 16Gb ) when I asked the original question, as expected Photoshop allocated itself the same percentage 69 % of the available ram but the situation remains the same I can open a few more images before everything slows up, the only way to free the ram seems to be to exit the program and start again, nothing more that an inconvenience but I would prefer that I did not have to do it.
I still have CS5 installed on my machine and over the next few days I am going to try some controlled tests with a freshly rebooted machine each time and compare the results between CS5 and CS6 to see if it a specific CS6 issue, I may have had this issue previously but it may have passed unnoticed due to the D700 files being half the size approx of the D800 files.
Again: Photoshop reuses RAM. Photoshop doesn't free RAM, but that doesn't make it a leak or a problem.
If the OS or a third party plugin needs more RAM, then Photoshop will free the RAM.
But that does not lead to slowdowns, or the system running low on RAM, and is perfectly normal behavior.
There is no need to exit Photoshop to free RAM unless there is a leak in the OS or a driver.