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RAM Charger 8 HTML Manual


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IMAGE imgs/RCRef32.gif
Figure 8. The RAM Charger Application Settings Window (with more choices).


Advanced RAM Charger

Several additional RAM Charger settings that may be adjusted for an individual application are presented here. This section is for those who feel the need to tune the settings to achieve the best results for their particular configuration or use, or to improve the RAM Charger benefits with a new application. An understanding of the information presented in the previous Background section will be helpful here. The additional settings, shown below, are accessed by clicking on the triangle disclosure button (similar to expanding the view of a folder's contents in a Finder window).


UnCharged memory needs

Below the Starting Memory Size choices are two values indicating different aspects of the memory requirements of the selected application, when UnCharged. An application's Suggested minimum sizeis the original Minimum suggested by the application's author. Suggested sizeis the amount suggested by its author. These values may not be changed, but are shown for your reference in case changes are made to the Minimum or Preferred sizes.


Starting memory size

Setting the starting memory size for RAM Charged applications was discussed briefly in the section on Basic RAM Charger settings, above. The discussion is continued here in more depth.

Each application requires a fixed block in memory to open. A RAM Charged application is not limited to its starting size so it can often be smaller than the Preferred size, otherwise used. The starting size may be set to the application's Minimum, Preferred, or any Custom size, by using the radio buttons and text field:

  • Use of the Minimum size for the Starting memory size is a good default. You would expect an application to open and function within what the author has defined as its minimum. (Although, some have been found with a suggested minimum that is smaller than what the application demands to find when it opens.)
  • Use of the Preferred size is useful for applications which do not often exceed their Starting memory size. Or for applications that often grow larger than normal, and thus might as well begin with their preferred.
  • To use any other size, switch to the "Custom Size" option and then type in the desired amount. Lower values help reclaim wasted memory.

How low should you go? On first consideration, you might think that there is no point in setting the starting memory size lower than the total memory required by the application, when first opened and sitting idle with no documents open. However, this is not always true. If you can set it lower, it will help reduce general problems due to fragmentation of unused memory into isolated blocks. Also, the smaller the starting memory size, the smaller the Largest Unused Block required in order to open the application. Finally, some applications might later use even less memory than they took when they first opened.

However, if the starting memory size is reduced too low, some applications may not open or may operate more slowly. Although RAM Charger can open applications using an extremely small fixed partition size, to be expanded and contracted with non- contiguous blocks as needed, many programs refuse to start in such a condition. A program can check the size of its static partition, in a fashion which RAM Charger cannot circumvent, and refuse to continue if it is not as large as expected.

Therefore, a good starting place for the starting memory size of a new application is equal to the minimum specified for it. The tweaking that you might wish to try will mainly involve varying the starting memory size above and below the minimummemory size value.

If you come across a program that doesn't work well RAM Charged, even after retrying several times, you might try increasingits starting memory size. (Note that some programs have been found which are distributed containing an incorrectminimumsize: they refuse to run when given the minimumsize they have requested, even when RAM Charger is not installed on the machine.)

On the other hand, with a program that appears, on occasion, to leave lots of reserved memory unused (as indicated by the light colored section -- or center, if divided into three sections -- of its memory bar in the More About This Mac window), you may try to improve memory use further by decreasingthe program's starting memory size. (To find out how much memory is not being used at the moment within a program's partition, simply point to the corresponding bar in the More About This Macwindow. At the bottom of the window will be listed this amount of available memory which is being reserved(along with other values for the application.

If you have set the size too low you will usually find out quickly, if the application does not work right. There should always remain at least a small amount of memory being reported as unused in an application's partition, as indicated by the light portion (in the center if the bar is divided into three pieces) of its reserved memory bar in the More About This Mac window. This is necessary for the program to operate smoothly, and RAM Charger will take special efforts to make this happen. So your goal should notbe to adjust the size in order to eliminate allunused memory from the partition.


RAM Charged method

Several different methods of RAM Charging are available. This allows RAM Charging of a wider variety of applications. Also, by more closely matching each application's requirements, better results are achieved.


IMAGE imgs/RCRef34.gif
Figure 9. The RAM Charged method pop-up menu.

The RAM Charged methodpop-up menu is used to change an application's method. It is located above the Starting Memory Size box. Items higher in this menu generally offer better RAM Charging. Lower choices are used to work around unorthodox forms of memory management.

  • For the best RAM Charging of well-behaved applications, choose the Fully access all free memorysetting. This makes the best use of the required starting memory size and gives the application full access to all unused memory in the machine, right from the start. If an application initially does not work well with this setting, things might improve by adjusting the size of the starting memory up or down.
  • For slightly greedy applications, that take more memory than they need when first opening, try the Delay access to all memorysetting. It makes efficient use of the required starting memory size. But it hides any extra unused memory until the starting memory block (except for any reserve) is used. If an application does not work well at this setting, it might improve if you adjust the size of the starting memory up or down (see the Fine Tuning Applicationssection).
  • For applications that are sensitive to working under low memory conditions or tend to slow down with many/big documents open, try the Max fast-access after opensetting. Consider it also as a second option for somewhat greedy applications that take more than they need.

    This setting might leave a large portion of the starting memory block free for fast-access requirements, so it is likely that you will want to reduce the size of the starting memory in order to avoid leaving some of it unused much of the time. Avoid reducing the starting memory size below the amount actually used in the starting memory block, just after being opened. Unlike the following choice, however, the initial collection of application resources are loaded into the starting memory size, as well.

  • For applications that work well with a small starting memory size but tend to slow down with many/big documents open, try the Maximize fast-access reservesetting. The maximum amount possible of the initial block is reserved for fast access to frequently used memory areas.

    This setting is an extreme measure and in most cases the previous choice will be preferable. In any case, when using this method, it is desirable to tune the size of the starting memory in order to avoid leaving some of it unused much of the time, yet avoid increased blocking of system memory or fragmentation of unused memory.

  • For basic RAM Charging of applications, particularly greedy ones that take all the unused memory, use the Avoid taking all memorysetting. This setting gives only limited access to more memory after the starting memory block is used. When the starting memory block is full, performance might get sluggish due to efforts needed to operate within the limited memory. (Better results might be found with one of the other settings.)

    Avoid taking all memorymakes it very difficult for an application to get memory beyond its initial starting size. While it offers a slight advantage over disabling RAM Charger, it can result in slow-downs should you stress the application's memory needs (since the application must work very hard for extra memory). In such a case (heavier memory usage) , the tendency would be to increase the application's Starting Size, thus defeating most of the purpose of RAM Charger. In general, Avoid taking all memory is useful for applications with mostly fixed memory usage, to give them flexibility in rare situations, and is not valuable for applications that grow and shrink dynamically.

    This setting can be useful for applications that only occasionally require more memory than has been allocated in their starting memory size. It might also allow you to reduce the starting memory size to an application's usual requirement without making it a brick wall for the unusual occasion.


If an application doesn't release memory when no longer needed, try checking the Squeeze option. RAM Charger will use additional methods to release memory. By checking this option in the RAM Charger Settings window, RAM Charger will release memory each time you switch to another application. This function may also be performed manually, by selecting it from the RAM Charger Pull-down menu.

The Squeezefunction was originally created for Adobe Photoshop®, however it may provide functionality for other applications. It also may cause problems with some applications (indications should be immediate - like a crash). Therefore, if it does not work with a particular application, simply don't use it for that application.10


Exaggerate size

If an application is too "shy" to accept memory outside of its starting memory size, click the box labeled Exaggerate size. Some applications use non-standard methods to estimate how much memory is available. Use this option to correct even some such non-standard methods. It may also help if the application complains that there is not enough memory to open, even when there is plenty of RAM Charged memory available.

This option is an extreme measure, to be used only when nothing else will work. It has the side effect of confusing the Finder so that the bar indicating the size of the application, shown in the Finder's About This Mac window, will not display correctly.

Reserved memory areas

There are special categories of memory needed within each application's starting memory. RAM Charger determines an appropriate size for each of these categories and reserves space for them in the starting memory. However, the size needed can vary based on the system configuration and your particular use. Therefore, RAM Charger has been designed to re- evaluate these needs and to update the size of reserve areas each time the application is quit. This helps it learn or adapt to each individual installation.

To enable automatic adjustments to reserved amounts, click the box called Auto-adjust reserves. You would use this if your use of an application was out-of-the- ordinary or if you are changing to new patterns of use. Allowing RAM Charger to adjust these values can increase performance. After the reserve values have stabilized, and RAM Charger has found no need to adjust them after several sessions of use, the auto-adjust feature will turn itself off.

Two of the reserved areas have also been made available for explicit manual adjustment (in addition to being auto-adjusted):

  • The Safety reserve is the amount of memory set aside, within the RAM Charged application's starting memory, for use by important operations after all memory has been exhausted. For most applications and situations, 4K is more than enough. If you must be very conservative with memory use, this can be reduced. If you find an application that has unusual problems when running out of memory, adjusting this value up might help avoid disruptions. For most well-behaved applications this value will be auto-adjusted appropriately.
  • The Fast-accessreserve is the amount set aside for high frequency operations. If an application slows under heavy load, increasing this might help. If there is always lots of unused memory showing in the More About This Mac bar for an application, decreasing this might let you save more memory. For most applications 8K is sufficient but some can benefit from much more.


Breaking in new

RAM Charger has several aspects of operation that must be configured according to the unique dynamic characteristics of each application it serves. This is an ongoing learning process that begins when RAM Charger first encounters a new application. With "normal" programs this proceeds without any fanfare, and within a few sessions RAM Charger is working effectively with the new program.

However, some of the more unusual types of application operations can push the limits RAM Charger uses initially, and operation might slow down visibly. This could be due to running low in a specialized block of memory even though there is free memory available. If so, simply quitting and restarting an application can automatically reconfigure it to work better at a new level of demand. On the other hand, if a new program simply does not operate correctly when RAM Charged, try reopening it a few more times to see if RAM Charger can adjust to it before trying to adjust the RAM Charging parameters in the RAM Charger Application Settingswindow or using the suggestions of the RAM Charger Settings Wizard(described above).

It is possible you will find an application that works fine when RAM Charged but whose memory use does not seem to improve. This could be because the program is very small, is of a highly specific nature with unvarying memory requirements, or has some unusual internal memory charging of its own. In some cases, RAM Charger will figure out on its own that it should avoid such a program. If not, you may wish to switch off RAM Charging for it from the RAM Charger Application Settingswindow.

Programs that have drawbacks when being RAM Charged will sometimes improve after you manually adjust their sizes. To help pursue this alternative on your own, there is more information in the sections on Backgroundand Advanced RAM Charger settings. For example, some applications have to work harder when they try to do the same task in a smaller amount of memory, so there can be a trade-off between memory and speed. In such a case, you may be able to increase performance by giving the application a larger starting memory size while keeping the benefits of it being RAM Charged.


Clear RAM Charger

If you become dissatisfied with an application's new settings and wish to revert to the factory settings, select the application and choose Clear RAM Charger Settings from the Applicationmenu. You will be given the option to clear all of the settings for multiple versions of the selected application or just the settings for the version selected.


Restore RAM Charger

To restore RAM Charger settings for an application, select the application and choose Restore RAM Charger Settingsfrom the Applicationmenu.

Importing and
Exporting RAM Charger

To export RAM Charger Settings for an application, select the application from the list and choose Export RAM Charger Settingsfrom the Filemenu. A file will be created called "RC - <application name><version number>" containing the application's RAM Charger Settings and Application Notes. Opening the file displays the Notes, while the actual settings values are saved in invisible resources.

To import RAM Charger Settings for an application, select an application from the list, choose Import RAM Charger Settings from the Filemenu, and select an exported RAM Charger Settings file.

The ability to export and import RAM Charger application settings files allows you to share settings between your computers, and conveniently exchange settings with other RAM Charger users.


10 Squeeze calls an application's GrowZone proc repetitively to make space to move expanded memory into application's zone. This information can be helpful to provide to application vendors in cases where Squeeze fails with an application.


(RCustAdvA -- 03/17/98)

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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.