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RAM Charger 8 For Macintosh
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What is the "Largest Free Block" and "Fragmentation"?


(Tech0023A -- 04/28/98)


The discrepancy between Largest Unused Block and the Total Unused Memory is an issue known as fragmentation. This is like breaking up ice using an ice pick. In such a case you do not have any less ice, you simply have smaller blocks. RAM Charger's "total memory" is the only place you can see the sum total of all the broken pieces of memory.

On a Mac, memory is fragmented as you operate. By watching as you work, perhaps check marking both Total and Largest in the RAM Charger Pull-down menu, you should be able to determine what action(s) are fragmenting your memory. Example: Start three applications, and quit the second one started; this leaves a "hole" in memory between the other two, and your memory is fragmented. Then, examine More About This Mac in "view:by location in Memory".

By watching your Total and Largest blocks, and using More About This Mac in "view:by location in Memory" you may be able to slightly modify your usage to avoid serious fragmentation (without disrupting your life). At the very least, you should be able to understand it and minimize its influence upon you.

The only reason you care about fragmentation is that applications require an initial "starting size" chunk of memory to open. Even with RAM Charger enabled, applications will require a "starting size", which is shown in the Get Info window for the application.

The good point is that RAM Charger allows you to reduce the starting size required for applications, since they are able to access the "other chunks" of memory for operation needs. On the other hand, without RAM Charger applications are limited to their starting size; this is why the "total memory" is not shown without RAM Charger - without RAM Charger it is superfluous information.

With RAM Charger applications start smaller, causing less of a "big" hole fragmentation when they are quit, and applications can access fragmented memory. Both of these are reasons why RAM Charger helps with fragmentation issues, though it does not solve the problems completely.

So, you may be able to reduce the starting size for each applicaiton to a size that allows it to start when you do not have a large block. Unfortunately, some applications will refuse to start if you set the starting size too low, so you will have to experiment. The lowest size may vary somewhat based on your your application's configuration (especially plugins and extensions).


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Copyright © 1995-98 Jump Development Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Jump, OptiMem, RAM Charger, and More About This Mac are trademarks of Jump Development Group, Inc. Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.