I am building my first computer and I want it to be a gaming/workstation setup. I will be playing a lot of new games coming out (nothing to extreme).Also I will be using adobe applications a lot for photo manipulation, effects, and HD video editing. Lastly I will be using it for virtualization to run VMware workstation. I was wondering if I should go with 8gb or 16gb of ram. I know for the visual stuff I do most people would just go get a mac and I noticed that even mac's use only 8gb so would It even be worth going to 16bg for my uses?
I run 16 GB on my machine. I would say 4GB is enough for most any game right now, though that will change in the future if 64-bit games get adopted and potential fully realized. However, what I use the 16 GB for is the 40+ Megapixel photo editing in photoshop, and I do a lot of HD video editing. The extra RAM really makes a difference when editing video for me. There was actually too much lag accessing new parts of the video before, but with 16 GB, it's able to hold the entire video in RAM while I work, and it is really much faster when working with 16 GB RAM opposed to 8GB.
My memory usage goes from about 2.5 GB when gaming or browsing up to 12-14 GB when editing the videos that I edit. When you have a 2 hour video with multiple camera angles, it can get pretty large in a hurry. I know people who edit 3D video in HD, and for that you definitely need minimum of 16 GB. With some BlueRay editing, you can get to 25 GB to 40 GB working RAM as well, depending on what all you'll be doing with it. This is a good reason that there are some people with 64 GB of RAM on their machine.
You may not see that kind of RAM usage, and if you're only editing 16 megapixel photos, 8 GB is more than enough. If you're only editing 20 minutes of HD at a time, then 8 GB is plenty. If you're editing 2 hours or more of HD, then I'd recommend a minimum of 16 GB. For HD editing using either Adobe Premiere, CyberLink PowerDirector 12, or Sony Vegas Pro, I'd also recommend a minimum of 2 HD monitors. I personally prefer my Virtual Box on it's own dedicated monitor.