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How much ram for graphics multitasking?

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January 20, 2012 3:18:45 AM

ok, bear with me please. i know this topic has been covered somewhat extensively, but i'm finding it difficult to work out the details. so i've brought my question to the helpful folks here. my issue is this, i'm running a core 2 duo at 2.7ghz stock with 4gb's of ddr2 800. trying to figure out memory management in win7 64bit is a bit trying, it seems physical memory usage is never over 3.2gb's while using photoshop cs5 (64bit), illustrator, adobe bridge and having several browser tabs open. i know win7 has good memory management compared to older os's but things seem sluggish during heavier use. watching the system performance, cpu use is rarely maxed for more than a short period of time and only during extensive rendering of filters. even though i don't 'seem' to be running out of memory, i'm thinking it's just windows memory management swapping out to disk to consistently keep physical memory usage at around 80%. for those who do multitasking of this nature, will increasing my memory to 8gb ddr3 show a significant improvement? i'm not so much interested in benchmarks as i am real world noticable performance.

on a side note, my suggestion of upgrading to ddr3 is due to price consideration. 2 x 4gb dual channel kit of ddr2 800 will run me around $150+, purchasing a new lga775 motherboard identical to the one i have with ddr3 support and 2x 4gb ddr3 10666 is $50 cheaper. not looking to get any performance gain from ddr2 to ddr3.

thanks for any suggestions or input.
January 20, 2012 5:13:33 AM

You may notice a slight increase in speed if you up not only the amount of RAM but the clock rate and timings.

January 20, 2012 12:57:37 PM

thank you skaz, it's not so much a 'speed' increase i'm concerned with. given my processor and hard drive limits (without investing for striped raid and a controller or ssd out of my price range), but trying to run these graphics apps at the same time. what i'm noticing is sluggishness moving from one app to another or opening a new browser tab with everything open. moving back from the browser to photoshop or illustrator there's a healthy (or irritating if you will) delay as it redraws the screen and all the tools in the program become functional again. i wasn't sure if having more ram would alleviate this issue.
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January 20, 2012 2:17:14 PM

If you think your breaking that 80% mark then it is possible that more more RAM will defiantly help. I personally noticed a slight increase in normal activity when i went from 4 to 6GB but I can say going from 6-8GB wouldn't yield much for of an increase for me.

Windows 7 RAM management does tend to load up the RAM with things you might tend to use. So it's sitting there ready to go.

In your resource monitor under memory whats does the bar say for "in use" and "stand by" during your program switching time.
January 20, 2012 2:44:17 PM

with illustrator, photoshop, browser open (about 30 tabs or so), bridge, windows explorer (several windows as i move files about) the 'in use' jumps up and takes the majority of the ram, 'free' goes to 0 and 'standby' is around 500mb's give or take, fluctuating.
January 20, 2012 4:06:41 PM

synphul1 said:
with illustrator, photoshop, browser open (about 30 tabs or so), bridge, windows explorer (several windows as i move files about) the 'in use' jumps up and takes the majority of the ram, 'free' goes to 0 and 'standby' is around 500mb's give or take, fluctuating.


If you are trying to make your system faster while running all that, get an i7 or a Quad-core 3 gig CPU with 8+ gig of RAM.
January 20, 2012 5:42:38 PM

thanks, i'll see what i can do. if money were no object i would opt for i7 6 core, 12gb's ram with striped raid of ssd's, but ram's about the only thing i can upgrade at the moment. would love to have an i7, but ~$100 is doable. over $1000 to totally rebuild a new system, not so much at the moment. i don't see the cpu being a major hangup, it rarely maxes out and hangs around 10-20% for the most part. that's with only 2 cores at 2.7ghz, if i'm not pegged at 80-90% i don't see an i7 offering too much benefit.

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January 20, 2012 5:49:32 PM
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Do you have a gpu if so what kind? If not I think a bump to 6GB of ram and a gpu will help yield decent gain in snappiness for you.

January 20, 2012 7:05:25 PM

the video is just run of the mill onboard, not a dedicated card. it's a gigabyte mainboard in the g41 series (intel x4500). the replacement board i was considering is just a slight variation supporting ddr3, just to bring down the price of the ram. other than moving from ddr2 to ddr3 and losing a floppy port, the two boards are identical. just an option i'm considering since together, the new mainboard and 8gb's of ddr3 are still $50-$60 less than 8gb's of ddr2.

with the onboard video chip sharing system memory, just upgrading the ram for now might be the best solution with what i can afford. i didn't bother with a separate gpu since it's not used for gaming or video rendering. other than the occasional video clip (youtube or news), most of the work done is vector and raster 2d.

so long as i'm working in one app or the other it runs ok, it's mostly switching between them where the system seems to struggle. moving from photoshop to the browser, opening a new browser tab, moving back to illustrator.. there's a hefty pause (i'm assuming as data is being shuffled back and forth into memory).

thank you for your input skaz.
January 20, 2012 7:06:33 PM

Best answer selected by synphul1.
January 20, 2012 8:56:18 PM

Ahhh yes. Makes sense now. The intel 4500 shares system memory with the OS. Good luck mate with the upgrade.
January 21, 2012 3:23:45 AM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr.
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