Is it normal that X consumes 800 MB RAM?

Nikos Chantziaras realnc at
Thu Dec 17 13:40:49 PST 2009

On 12/17/2009 10:54 PM, dolphinling wrote:
> On 12/14/2009 04:44 PM, Nikos Chantziaras wrote:
>> The longer the system runs, the more RAM X eats.  After about 5 hours of
>> uptime, I get this:
>> That's about 800MB memory usage.  It gets worse as time passes.  Is this
>> normal?  This looks like some memory leak to me.  Does the graphics
>> driver play a role here?  I'm using AMD's binary blob for ATI cards (the
>> "radeon" driver doesn't support my card.)  Anything else that might be
>> going on?
>> This is on a Gentoo AMD64 system with X server 1.6.5, AMD Catalyst 9.11
>> drivers and kernel  DE is KDE 4.3.4 (in case it matters.)
> Typically high memory usage of X is caused by other programs asking X to store
> things for them. You can use the xrestop program to see how much is being used
> for each program.
> This problem may be because some other program is never telling X that it's done
> with resources. xrestop should be able to tell you which program it is.
> Of course theoretically it's possible there's a leak in one of the X components
> (especially the binary graphics driver), but this is far more common.

This seemed to be the result of using a KDE 4.3 built against Qt 4.6 
(this is not officially supported by KDE).  I've since downgraded to Qt 
4.5 and rebuilt KDE.  This seems to have fixed the issue (mostly).

X still uses more and more memory as uptime goes up, but not as dramatic 
as reaching 800MB after 5 hours.  At boot-up, X starts with about 60MB 
of memory usage.  Right now, after about 3 hours, it's at 170MB and 
slightly increasing with time.  xrestop doesn't show anything 
interesting: adding up all the "Total" values reported only amounts to 
about 20MB or memory.  Where the missing 90MB are spent, I've no idea. 
But in any case, we're now talking about 90MB unaccounted for instead of 
700MB previously.

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