Why do mavericks consume so much memory

Maverick's unusually high RAM usage

RAM is there to be used. This is where your computer can store the most frequently used data so it doesn't have to pull it up from the hard drive which is much slower (possibly 50-60 times slower). Your Mac Mini's memory is 1600 MHz DDR3 if you upgraded at the time of purchase. This is able to transfer around 12800 MB / s. If it's a physical hard drive, it's a 5400 RPM drive with a speed of 200-300MB / s want so, that Your RAM is at full capacity. It doesn't do you any good if it's free.

With that in mind, your problem is not how much RAM is being used, but why your computer is slow. The best way to tell is to see which programs are accessing the hard drive. You can find out all about how OSX manages storage on Apple's support site.

As detailed in this superuser response:

Mavericks introduced "memory compression" which is more or less another layer of swap. Active pages are now classified as inactive, then compressed (which might show up as kernel memory depending on the tool you are using) and then written to swap as memory usage increases. Mavericks has also stopped showing separate numbers for active and inactive in the Activity Monitor, as it turns out that isn't a useful thing, especially given the misunderstandings involved.

As suggested by others, a hard drive index or a full system backup is a major contributor to hard drive activity that slows down your computer. So I would look first. You can also turn off Spotlight indexing in Terminal if you wish:

Deactivate:

Activate:

I would try temporarily disabling indexing, doing a full backup when you've done both of these steps, and then reevaluating your Mac's performance. If you continue to have problems, use the Activity Monitor to see what else the disk I / O is doing.