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Are these network or local drawings? If they are network drawings, see what results you get if you move them to a local drive.
This isn't a new issue.
You'll need a ton of ram for it to work through. I have 24 gig and have seen it hit 20 gig.
Sounds like it's not closing the files propperly and they're hanging on close. Sounds like you need to reinstall. Also, if you have 12 gigs of ram, it sounds like you have an oloder computer and civil3d 2013 needs more resources than 2010.
Civil3D is much more than DWG files - theres a lot of data involved as well. To speed up operations its not unusual to load that data in memory once, rather than over and over again, even if its only used once. Even though the drawings are closed, the data is retained in case its needed again later. This may be what you are seeing, but its difficult to tell without monitoring. ProcessMonitor or similar tools may be of some assistance.