.NET Core 3 Garbage Collection


The garbage collection (GC) allocates heap segments where each segment is a contiguous range of memory.

  • Objects placed in the heap are categorized into 3 generations, such as 0, 1, or 2.
  • The generation determines the frequency the GC attempts to release memory on managed objects no longer referenced by the application.
  • Lower numbered generations are GC'd more frequently.

Transition Between Generations

Objects are moved from one generation to another based on their lifetime.

  • As objects live longer, they are moved into a higher generation.
  • As mentioned previously, higher generations are GC'd less often.
  • Short term lived objects always remain in generation 0.
  • For example, objects that are referenced during the life of a web request are short-lived.
  • Application-level singletons generally migrate to generation 2.

When an ASP.NET Core app starts, the GC:

  • Reserves some memory for the initial heap segments.
  • Commits a small portion of memory when the runtime is loaded.

The preceding memory allocations are done for performance reasons. The performance benefit comes from heap segments in contiguous memory.

Smaller Heap Sizes

  • The Garbage Collector's default heap size has been reduced, resulting in .NET Core using less memory.
  • This change better aligns with the generation 0 allocation budget with modern processor cache sizes.

Large Page Support

  • Large Pages, which is also known as Huge Pages on Linux is a feature where the operating system can establish memory regions larger than the native page size (often 4K) to improve the performance of the application requesting these large pages.
  • The Garbage Collector can now be configured with the GCLargePages setting as an opt-in feature to choose to allocate large pages on Windows.