Memory management

In MaixPy, two types of memory management are currently used, one is GC (garbage collection) and the other is system heap memory, both of which exist at the same time.

For example: the chip has 6MiB of memory, adding the firmware uses the previous 2MiB, and the remaining 4MiB, the default GC uses 512KiB, and the rest is used for system heap memory management.

  • In the code written at the level of mpy, variables are stored in the memory block managed by GC, such as defining a variable a = [1,2,3,4], if the memory of GC' is insufficient, It will automatically trigger the execution of the gc.collect() function, and the GC will automatically destroy the unused variables, leaving space for new variables.

GC uses the method of mark-clear to reclaim memory. If you are interested, please see here

  • Because GC needs to scan the memory, if the rest is given to GC except for the memory occupied by the program, each scan will take a lot of time, so it is divided into two memory. Heap memory is controlled by code at the C level, mainly used for image memory, AI memory, LCD memory, and loading models into memory, etc.

The total size of GC memory can be set. Therefore, the size of GC memory can be modified appropriately according to the specific usage, for example:

  • In order to load a larger model, you can set the GC memory setting smaller
  • If the allocation of new variables indicates insufficient memory, you can appropriately set the GC memory to be larger
  • If it is not enough, consider reducing the firmware size or optimizing the code

Example of setting GC memory size:

from Maix import utils
import machine


utils.gc_heap_size(1024*1024) # 1MiB

Note that the modification needs to be restarted to take effect

View memory allocation:

import gc

print(gc.mem_free() / 1024) # stack mem

import Maix

print(Maix.utils.heap_free() / 1024) # heap mem

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MicroPython v0.5.1-136-g039f72b6c-dirty on 2020-11-18; Sipeed_M1 with kendryte-k210
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