Apple’s latest Macbooks have Intel Haswell processors which aren’t only faster than last-generation chips, but also more efficient. And that means you get longer battery life. The latest 13 inch MacBook Air offers up to 12 hours of battery life.
But Apple says they can do even better — and with the new OS X Mavericks operating system, the company says software improvements alone could add up to 90 minutes of additional run time.
The company says the new software will also improve memory usage, making a laptop or desktop with 4GB of RAM act like it has as much as 6GB.
The new memory management feature is called Compressed Memory, and basically a computer running Mavericks will compress data while it’s in use almost instantly, letting you store more data without physically increasing the amount of RAM in your device.
As for battery life improvements, Apple says that with a 13 inch MacBook Air you should get up to an hour of extra battery life while web browsing, or 90 minutes while watching iTunes videos.
Apple says OS X Mavericks is available as a free update for pretty much any Mac released in 2007 or later. It’s available starting today.
To me, the biggest change they seem to have made is purely nomenclature i.e. remove the measure of “free memory” and replace it with highlighting a measure of something called “memory pressure”. The Apple forums are FULL (thousands of threads) of posts complaining that apps (especially Safari) are hogging memory (often with no complaints about any detrimental performance itself). Looks like Apple got fed up! Mavericks seems to have no issue racing to use all the RAM it has but to be honest, this is a good thing. You paid for that RAM (seems to store all of each webpage tag in RAM for speed). Memory pressure probably refers to the rate at which RAM has to be paged and un-paged. I don’t see much compression impact happening.
Ars technicas explanation of the feature.
I was thinking Stacker from back in the day. Does having less physical RAM save enough power to make up for the extra computing cycles compressing and decompressing?
IBMs AIX has had this feature since version 6.x (its called Active Memory Expansion), I suspect Apples work is similar. Now that CPUs are as fast as they are this actually works.
Isn’t this just the zram?
From what I can tell essentially yes.
Woah. I remember using that compressed memory thing back on my ancient Nokia N800… that’s compcache, right? Pretty cool that Apple is using it for the desktop. 🙂
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