Is it normal that X consumes 800 MB RAM?

Maarten Maathuis madman2003 at
Fri Dec 18 01:25:48 PST 2009

On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 10:40 PM, Nikos Chantziaras <realnc at> wrote:
> 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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Have you considered running valgrind for a little while, because it is
possible there is a real memory leak somewhere. One hint, xorg is a
suid binary (runs as root), so you probably want to make a copy of it
and let valgrind run on that.


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