cudaFree does not free memory on Kepler

Hi All,

We have the following issue with CUDA 4.2 and 680GTX – if a large piece of memory is allocated by cudaMalloc(), not all memory is deallocated by a subsequent cudaFree() call. The “large piece” means something of the order of 1GB. Everything is fine if 1MB or so is allocated.

It doesn’t look like a big deal except that presumably it leads to memory fragmentation which is lethal for our code. Here is a simple snippet reproducing the problem. Any ideas what’s going on? Thanks!

#include <stdio.h>

#include <cuda.h>

__global__ void null()



int main(int argc, char** argv)



    null <<< 1, 1 >>> ();

    CUresult CUStat;

    size_t free, total;

    size_t free1, total1;

    CUStat=cuMemGetInfo(&free, &total);

    printf("err code = %d\n", CUStat);

    int* d_data;

    cudaMalloc((void**)&d_data, 1024*1024*1024);


    CUStat=cuMemGetInfo(&free1, &total1);

    printf("err code = %d\n", CUStat);

    printf("lost %d bytes\n", free-free1);

    return 0;


In my case the output is:

err code = 0

err code = 0

lost 0 bytes (1MB chunk)

err code = 0

err code = 0

lost 3145728 bytes (1GB chunk)

Sounds very much like cudaFree() is asynchronous. Try calling cudaDeviceSynchronize() after the free but before polling for free memory or allocating anything else.

it has to do with when the CUDA driver allocates PTEs. that’s done dynamically when needed and freed on context destroy. it doesn’t cause fragmentation or anything like that. we actually reduced the PTE overhead significantly in the upcoming 5.0 release (I think it goes down to 64K for your test).