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Author Topic: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?  (Read 6335 times)

mouser

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Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« on: August 31, 2006, 09:22:23 AM »
From an article by Bill O'Brien:

Quote
When it comes to adding memory, we all have to deal with the cost vs. speed equation. So how much memory do you really need? Our tester got some surprising results.

How much memory is enough? That's a question that's bothered me -- and thousands of other computer users -- for years. And so far, I haven't seen too many answers that have really satisfied me.



from www.digg.com

Josh

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2006, 09:53:13 AM »
When it comes to ram, I believe there is only one true philosophy, You can never have enough.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2006, 08:17:59 PM »
Strange conclusions (or results) in the article. It may happen but I can't really see how adding memory makes things run more slowly - there may be something screwy with his mobo or BIOS settings. Also if you want 2Gb why not have 2 x 1Gb modules rather than 4 x 512Mb modules (which would be more expensive) ???

Surely the point is that having more memory doesn't necessarily make things faster (though for some apps such as Photoshop it will) but that it also allows you to have numerous large apps loaded simultaneously without resorting to pagefile swapping ??

Josh

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2006, 09:06:56 PM »
Thats what I got from it Carol. And I do find that while more RAM wont make a significant performance boost after say, 1GB, it will stop the constant thrashing caused by Page file reads and writes. In fact, since putting 2GB in my system (waiting for vista before I go to 4 since XP only supports 3.5GB without the x64 edition), I have disabled the page file entirely. If I ever were to use it again, I would attach a spare drive and dedicate it to that purpose (I have a few 1-5GB drives lying around). Nowadays, I think the idea of the page file will soon be eliminated as it will become unnecessary with systems getting more and more RAM. Perhaps systems bought by mom and pop will still require it as they usually come with the bare minimum (most dell pc's ship with 256MB ram) required to run the OS plus a few apps, but a majority will come with 1-2GB standard in the near future, thus eliminating that requirement for the page file.

f0dder

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2006, 03:16:40 AM »
2gig of ram here, XP32, disabled paging file as well. It's wonderful :). I'm glad I don't run Adobe apps though, or I'd probably still need the paging file.

Adding more ram == slowdown indeed only should happen with screwy motherboards.

4x512 vs. 2x1024 is stupid. Especially if you run AMD64 chips, some of them have buggy memory controllers which can cause system instability if you run at DDR400 speed... so if you're "full loading", you need to revert to DDR333.

Using an old drive for swap can't be recommended, it could easily end up slower than having swap on whatever drive you have all your other stuff on.

Swap will, unfortunately, be necessary a long time yet, as long as we have sloppy coders like the ones at Adobe.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2006, 09:40:40 AM »
Quote
Swap will, unfortunately, be necessary a long time yet, as long as we have sloppy coders like the ones at Adobe.

Bit harsh - one of the reasons for high memory usage is the use of many layers in processing files as well as the use of snapshots which means you store multiple copies of files (I don't mean the history palette there either - I mean snapshots which are user made intermediate images). History could be made more efficient by storing instruction sequences rather than intermediate images but then each step would have to be undoable in software and so would need a lot more code - plus it would be slower.

It isn't uncommon for me to have 10-15Mb images - once you start adding extra layers and multiple undoable changes the amount of memory escalates.

By the way Adobe Photoshop doesn't seem to use a lot of Pagefile space since it uses its own scratchfile system.

app103

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2006, 08:37:21 PM »
Don't forget the HUGE amount of RAM that is needed to have over 2000 .8bf plugins installed in either Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. And either program to actually start sometime before the end of this century.

That was my reason for getting Filters Unlimited and converting as many as I could to .ffx and loading most of them in that instead.

.8bf plugins load in memory at program start. The less you have the faster it will run.

Most of the free plugins and filters can be converted. The ones that can't, you leave alone. No matter how you look at it you are taking many .8bf's and replacing them with 1.

The main .8bf will still load when you start the program, but the 1000's of .ffx converted plugins it can hold are not loaded unless/until it will be used.

zridling

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2006, 02:38:29 AM »
That's my major gripe with graphics software — slow loading times. I can't wait to see how much slower Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro gets on a 64-bit system with 32G of RAM!

It'll happen. Just wait.

app103

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2006, 07:15:50 AM »
By making the plugin changes I described, I was able to get Paintshop Pro 7 to load faster on a system with 64mb of ram than I could on a system with 256mb of ram, believe it or not.

skywalka

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2006, 02:07:04 PM »
I think the idea of the page file will soon be eliminated as it will become unnecessary with systems getting more and more RAM.
They should scrap the paging file, but they won't.  The more memory the user gets the more memory developers use.

http://www.rojakpot....ticle.aspx?artno=143

gjehle

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2006, 11:24:11 AM »
well, i have 2GB CL2 DDR RAM in my linux workstation running native 64bit gentoo
due to memory failure i had to run the box at times with both 512MB and 1GB
512 is far from usable, 1GB was way slower.

This might be because what linux does is taking all the memory it can get and use it as buffer for low speed IO operations.
so my whole memory is used up after using the box for an hour or two.

and since i'm using gentoo, i bought that computer with exactly this in mind.
dualcore x2 4400+ with 2gb ram and a raid mirrored pair of sata raptors ;)
if it comes down to compiling, this box is awesome :)

ram alone wont help you in all cases, you have to match the other hardware too

f0dder

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Re: Article: How Much System Memory Is Really Enough?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2006, 04:51:40 PM »
Even WinXP is very usable with 512meg ram - adding a gig makes tasking stuff better, and 2gig is a bit overkill but it's nice being able to make a 1gig ramdrive sometimes :)

Yeah, linux goes by the "unused memory is wasted memory" like BSD, and does extensive caching - this is a good thing, and IMHO not a reason for slowdowns, since filesystem cache is discarded when an app needs memory for other stuff.

Can't see why a linux box would run slow with 512meg :-s
- carpe noctem