hello and question: 1GB = 822MB ???

Hi FoxKat - Thanks for explaining about the forum. That clears things up.

I think you may have misunderstood my question. I'm talking about total RAM, not in-use RAM. I'm a programmer and was a long-time computer journalist. I know what RAM is used for. As you say, it's used for running programs. I'm just wondering why my phone, spec'd as 1GB of RAM, actually has total RAM of 822MB (202MB less than 1GB). My Asus Droid tablet (Transformer Infinity TF700T) is also spec'd as having 1GB of RAM and has actual total RAM of 975MB. They are both running ICS - exact same OS. So on my Motorola phone, 80% of the RAM is usable, and on my Asus tablet, 95% of the RAM is usable.

For comparison, I just looked at my Windows 7 notebook. It has 8GB RAM with 7.89GB usable, or 98.6%.

I suppose some small amount of the RAM is needed for overhead, but typically not much. Typically, 95% or more of the RAM is usable. But on my Motorola phone, only 80% is usable. That's really low, and really weird. I'd like to know why.

I'm going to go post over in xda-developers. Maybe someone over there knows. If I learn anything new, I'll post it.
 
Hey Permutations, I appreciate your reply and the clarification. I also appreciate that you are far more knowledgeable than many regarding the subject, so I hope nothing I've said nor will say has any perceived indication otherwise. There is no question that bloat and manufacturer-specific software and hardware can be the culprit here. Motorola may have decided to "hold hostage" a larger portion of the RAM for overhead. There are other possible explanations as well, but I don't think many have really paid much attention to this particular issue. As Macpro88 has said, you are a Power User, and (like me) will push your device to its limits. I have had out of memory situations, but only when running a very large interactive game and at the same time had several multitasking applications running as well, such as Motocast, Dropbox, Box, Facebook, TextFree, etc. When I suffered the OOMEs, I went into the Apps Manage screen, shut down those apps and services that I knew were not critical, and those I knew would not re-start on their own, and then the giant game ran with no problem.

If you do the same and are still suffering OOMEs, then I would like to know exactly what you are trying to run when these errors surface. I'll try them on my RAZR MAXX and see if I suffer similar issues. Perhaps together we can isolate the issues you are experiencing specifically, and it could be a valuable learning experience for all.
 
This has been enlightning.

Lastly, I think he wants to know if there is a way to find out what exactly comprises the "overhead". I don't remember him mentioning he was having any particular problem.
 
This has been enlightning.

Lastly, I think he wants to know if there is a way to find out what comprises of the "overhead". I don't remember him mentioning he was having any particular problem.

OK, so perhaps "problem" wasn't the best choice of words, but he mentioned;

I love apps, and I've been running out of memory. My browser starts getting very slow and unstable, and then I become unable to load screenshots in Google Play Store without using a task killer.

Some would call those issues he's suffering "problems", others...? Anyway, I understand what he wants to know. I think I've done a good job of saying that I am not sure, but there are many possibilities. I did indicate things I know are eating up that RAM, but to the specifics of a brand new phone with NO user-installed apps, and fresh out of the box having a smaller proportion of "available RAM" than another device, I can't speak with authority on it. Perhaps someone else who is not only well versed in the architecture of Motorola smart phones, but as well with Android can speak to this.
 
My phone is spec'd at 1GB, but four different memory utilities say it has a total RAM capacity of 822MB. Where did the other 202MB go? I really need the full gig!

My Android tablet also is spec'd at 1GB, and it has 975MB - still not quite 1024MB, but much closer.


Phones like computer hard drives, they don't come with the FULL capacity. Phone and hard drives are partitioned with the operating system and that takes a good chunk out of use.
 
Some would call those issues he's suffering "problems", others...? Anyway, I understand what he wants to know. I think I've done a good job of saying that I am not sure, but there are many possibilities. I did indicate things I know are eating up that RAM, but to the specifics of a brand new phone with NO user-installed apps, and fresh out of the box having a smaller proportion of "available RAM" than another device, I can't speak with authority on it. Perhaps someone else who is not only well versed in the architecture of Motorola smart phones, but as well with Android can speak to this.

Ah, I didn't see that.

Permutations, can you give us a screenshot of your running apps? (Setting > Apps > running) I'd like to know what's hogging up 800+mb thereby requiring you to use a task killer to stop sluggishness. We may not figure out what's using 150+mb but what's using up 850+mb?
 
First, I'm a "she", not a "he". People usually assume I'm a "he" because I'm techno-geeky and I usually go with that, but I thought I'd self-disclose. :)

Back to RAM... As I said before, I'm not talking about available RAM, I'm talking about total, usable RAM - how big the bucket is, not how much is left in the bucket. I got this in a memory utility, but there's another way to see it. Go into Settings and click Apps. Click the Running tab and then look down at the bottom bar where it reports total RAM. There are two numbers: used and free. Add them together and, if you have my phone, it will equal 822MB.

Someone said something about "partitioning". Internal storage is partitioned into different areas. RAM is not. RAM is temporary storage - working memory. It's erased when you reboot your phone. Internal storage is partitioned into areas for the OS, system apps and bloatware, user apps, etc.

My first thought was that uninstalling the bloatware would somehow free memory, but then I realized that didn't make any sense since I'd already frozen it so it didn't load. (I was having out-of-memory problems before I did that.) The bloatware is stored in a partition of internal storage, not RAM.
 
Permutations, can you give us a screenshot of your running apps? (Setting > Apps > running) I'd like to know what's hogging up 800+mb thereby requiring you to use a task killer to stop sluggishness. We may not figure out what's using 150+mb but what's using up 850+mb?

Actually, I've already solved my memory problem by freezing bloatware, uninstalling apps I don't really need, and installing some smart memory managers. My question was just one of intellectual curiosity. It's very late here and I have to go to bed. Thanks, everyone, for your replies and helpfulness. Much appreciated!
 
First, I'm a "she", not a "he". People usually assume I'm a "he" because I'm techno-geeky and I usually go with that, but I thought I'd self-disclose. :)

Back to RAM... As I said before, I'm not talking about available RAM, I'm talking about total, usable RAM - how big the bucket is, not how much is left in the bucket. I got this in a memory utility, but there's another way to see it. Go into Settings and click Apps. Click the Running tab and then look down at the bottom bar where it reports total RAM. There are two numbers: used and free. Add them together and, if you have my phone, it will equal 822MB.

Someone said something about "partitioning". Internal storage is partitioned into different areas. RAM is not. RAM is temporary storage - working memory. It's erased when you reboot your phone. Internal storage is partitioned into areas for the OS, system apps and bloatware, user apps, etc.

My first thought was that uninstalling the bloatware would somehow free memory, but then I realized that didn't make any sense since I'd already frozen it so it didn't load. (I was having out-of-memory problems before I did that.) The bloatware is stored in a partition of internal storage, not RAM.

Please allow me to say I am sorry for assuming "he". As for the partitioning, again - bad choice of words. I know what RAM is and obviously there is no partitioning of the RAM as there is in permanent storage such as hard drives. What I was implying is that Motorola may be "setting aside" a portion of RAM upon boot and 'reserving' it for specific purposes. Again, that is potentially not generic enough of a description for the purists, but I think you get the point.

Also, I understand what you meant regarding total or usable RAM. Geez, I've got to watch my "P"s and "Q"s here with all the "techno-geeky". LOL! So again, I get it. 1GB should be 1GB, but it's never really 1GB, and we're all OK with that. What you're not so OK with is that 1GB in the RAZR MAXX HD is really only 822MB, a pretty sizable difference. I have to say, you've got my curiosity piqued. I'll have to devote some time to research this and hopefully one of us will be fruitful.

Good luck! :biggrin:
 
How about cached processes (settings > apps > running > cached processes), are those temporarily stored in the ram too?
 
I thought it might be cache, too, but one of my utilities has a cache cleaner, and when I clean the cache it doesn't increase available memory. I tried googling that, and it doesn't seem to be it. It might be buffers? I really don't understand hardware or low-level memory management that well, so I'm not sure if that even makes sense. My previous impression was that it was some sort of small overhead because usually 95% or more is usable. It's 95% on my Android tablet and 98.6% on my Windows 7 notebook. But it's only 80% on my Motorola phone. That seems weirdly low, and I could really use the RAM. If I knew what was using it, maybe I could find a way to reclaim it. But I have no idea what's using it.
 
I found the answer on the xda-developers forum. It's RAM that is reserved for use by the system and GPU, and the amount reserved varies by the company producing the system software - e.g. Asus, Motorola, HTC. Motorola, for some reason, is reserving a whopping 20% of RAM solely for itself. That seems really high. It can't just be because this is an HD phone. My tablet is also HD, has the same OS and same amount of memory, and reserves much less of it for the system and GPU. I still don't completely get it - Windows doesn't need to do that - but then again, as I said, I don't have deep expertise in hardware and low-level memory management (or the Android OS).
 
Oooo I missed a lot last night!

Now that I think about it, the reason computer hardware doesn't allocate some of the RAM for itself is due to the fact that computer has its OWN memory. Think about it, the CPU and GPU chips all have their own memory and RAM.

With mobile hardware, that is not the case, so the mobile processor and mobile GPU needs memory somewhere, so it must take some from the RAM, in predefined amounts defined by the manufacture based on what they think is needed to keep things running smoothly.

I'll have to do some research on the type of hardware going into these mobile devices, but based on my knowledge and experience with computer hardware, this seems to be a logical answer, how they determine how much should be used is beyond me.

If the mobile processor and GPU had its own memory, I'm not sure that they would be able to squeeze that much hardware into that small package, the chips would need to be a bit bigger I would imagine.

I'll do some more research when I get some time.
 
I found the answer on the xda-developers forum. It's RAM that is reserved for use by the system and GPU, and the amount reserved varies by the company producing the system software - e.g. Asus, Motorola, HTC. Motorola, for some reason, is reserving a whopping 20% of RAM solely for itself. That seems really high. It can't just be because this is an HD phone. My tablet is also HD, has the same OS and same amount of memory, and reserves much less of it for the system and GPU. I still don't completely get it - Windows doesn't need to do that - but then again, as I said, I don't have deep expertise in hardware and low-level memory management (or the Android OS).

Oooo I missed a lot last night!

Now that I think about it, the reason computer hardware doesn't allocate some of the RAM for itself is due to the fact that computer has its OWN memory. Think about it, the CPU and GPU chips all have their own memory and RAM.

With mobile hardware, that is not the case, so the mobile processor and mobile GPU needs memory somewhere, so it must take some from the RAM, in predefined amounts defined by the manufacture based on what they think is needed to keep things running smoothly.

I'll have to do some research on the type of hardware going into these mobile devices, but based on my knowledge and experience with computer hardware, this seems to be a logical answer, how they determine how much should be used is beyond me.

If the mobile processor and GPU had its own memory, I'm not sure that they would be able to squeeze that much hardware into that small package, the chips would need to be a bit bigger I would imagine.

I'll do some more research when I get some time.

I love it when my suspicions are (almost) correct! :D Of course, it makes complete sense. The fact that the CPU (processor) and especially the GPU (video processor) don't have their own RAM (cache), is completely natural. They make a GPU that covers many screen options, and allow the engineers and developers of the devices to spec the amount of RAM allocated to those microprocessors, so they are small, interchangeable, and less expensive to manufacture than if they made many iterations with varying amounts of on-board cache. In the case of units with large screens and higher resolution, the natural effect is that more RAM is required to store the image currently displayed on the screen as well as the next one or more (potentially 30+) screen updates to keep the frame rate high enough to respond smoothly to changes. This (macpro88), is likely how they decide how much of that RAM to reserve for the CPU and GPU.

Still, there is a certain amount of that storage that is devoted to apps, processes and drivers as well. Another thing that I don't think these devices do is create a Pagefile on the SD Cards, like Windows computers do, so that RAM becomes even more important.
 
For comparison. My V z GS3 has 1.6 gb of total RAM available per the Android indicator at bottom of screen. At this moment, I have 1gb free. 612mb ram in use.
 
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