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Is 8 gigs Ram overkill?

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October 15, 2008 3:08:52 PM

Currently assembling a system for a fanatic gaming relative. This handicapped war veteran spends 80% of computer time gaming, FPShooters. He does photo editing, surfing, emailing, DVD playback, TV sports recording the rest of the time. My question is the amount of RAM he wants in the system. He wants 8 gigs of Mushkin Ascent DDR2, PC2 8500. I said we're both doing quite well with 4 gigs in our current computer setups, why spend the extra $140 for the other 4 gigs. Simon says he's heard over and over that you never have enough RAM. I said I've heard it too, but is it true that more RAM (4gigs vs 8) really will enhance what he does now and will be doing with the computer, playing shooters. He can afford the $140 extra. 8 gigs it will be if I hear otherwise.

System build components: both our picks:

Asus Rampage Formula
E8600
Zalman 9700 cooler
Coolermaster Cosmos 1000RC
Radeon 4870x2 (1) - talked him outta 2 of these- for the time being.
WD Caviar 1 TB HDD
PC Power 860 watt PSU
Vista 64 bit Ultimate
28" Samsung monitor

Thanks for any input.

More about : gigs ram overkill

October 15, 2008 3:16:36 PM

Vista will make good use of it for superfetch. (which will decrease load times on your most used apps) but other then it won't help much with anything else IMO.
October 15, 2008 3:20:04 PM

For what he does/wants to do with it, seems a bit on the overkill side of things... but I can't say much since I have 8GB :p 

But I dual/triple box MMOs and disabled my swap file with Vista64, so 4GB was not enough; 550-600MB per game opened + extra ~500MB from extra loaded resources because of disabled swap file + music in the background + browser opened + anti-virus + etc... etc... etc...

I went with PC2 6400 with my OC'ed E8400 though, so I saved a bit there, total price for 8GB was 215$ taxes in, so very cheap, and very effective.

8GB isn't overkill as much as 2x 4870x2 lol, you won that round, let hi have his ram :p 
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October 15, 2008 3:29:41 PM

Well just ask him to get decent 4gb of Ram, run them dual channel and if he feels that he need more ram he can always add 2gb or 4gb more.
October 15, 2008 3:40:45 PM

I would definitely recommend the 8gb. I had four in a similar system and when I added another 4gb my system ran much better.

Honestly, there is no application (afaik) that will really require 8gb for a regular user standpoint, so you will be able to do the same things with 4 or 8gb. The difference for me was loading times.

With no swap file, Vista was much more responsive and if you are one of those guys that works with several things open at the same time, 8 gb is very welcome.

With all the stuff open (msn, skype, avirus, steam, mobileme, hardware drivers&software, itunes, etc) Windows is taking about 2.5 gb of the memory and caching the remaining for the other programs. ALT-TAB works incredibly good with 8gb and the load times are way better.

So, to make it short, go for it. Given the memory prices of today I think is a reasonable investment.
a c 106 } Memory
October 15, 2008 4:01:25 PM

The answer is it depends.....
If you only do one thing at a time, like playing a game, then 4gb is enough. Most games are built with 32 bit code, so they can't take advantage of more than 4gb.

If, on the other hand, you run multiple applications at the same time, then the extra 4gb can keep those tasks from interfering with your game or main application.
Also, some applications can make use of more than 4gb. I think photoshop is one of them.

With the low cost of ram these days, I would go with the 8gb .

Some other comments:

The Zalman 9700 cooler looks great, but it is not as good as some less expensive alternatives. The Xigmatek S1283 comes to mind:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a top end system, why not splurge on a Velociraptor for the OS and frequently played games? Use a large second drive for backup and storage.

What Samsung 28" monitor are you looking at? I am not aware of one that size.
They have a 27" 275T which is 1920x1200, and a 305T which is 2560x1600. They both are very good.

---good kuck---
October 15, 2008 8:36:36 PM

Im upgrading to 8gb of RAM when I get vista, I just want to future proof a little bit. plus I like to record videos with fraps and more RAM always helps with that. I just hope it wont overheat when I have 4x2gb modules in my system.
October 15, 2008 10:24:26 PM

What about ReadyBoost - is there an overkill - what is it? 16gb? 32gb?

....BTW, my $0.02 is yes get the 8gb as long as its a 64b OS. (My apologies if that was clearly stated already.)

I am wondering, with 64b Vista Ultimate, where does more not help with readyboost? I am about to buy a dedicated usb drive to be used for RB, and I am specifically looking at the patriot 32gb ($80 at newegg). With money I regularly put it in this machine, if there is ANY improvement over 16/8/4 GB then I'm doin it. But I am curious, has anyone done a real world comparison testing multitasking and load times of files of RB drives over 4gb?

I actually just have 4GB of RAM in my system, as I just switched from XP to Vista minutes ago. I do plan on going to 8gb, but I thought in the mean time a sizeable ReadyBoost would help, and would always be an asset. The little reading I have done so far actually seem to indicate that RB helps 2gb systems the most, and 4gb systems dont gain much. Of course, those people are not raving lunatic bleeding edge eraly adopters like those i know that are in this forum.

Thoughts?

October 15, 2008 10:26:41 PM

BTW - Regarding monitors, I have looked at all the 30" displays, and I wound up with the Dell. I really like it and reccomend it to all. I believe geofelt is correct in that the 28 is not 2560x1600, but 1920x1200
a c 106 } Memory
October 15, 2008 10:59:15 PM

Re ready boost:
The idea behind ready boost is that a USB drive has minimal access time, compared to a hard drive. It has much slower data transfer than a hard drive. USB drives are slow enough, that there is not much data that qualifies as a good thing to cache. Vista looks for frequently loaded small files and loads them into the readyboost drive, ready for fast access. It is not a substitute for paging or ram. The size is limited to 4gb of data. When I used it, there was nowhere near that amount of data that fit the criteria. At boot time, readyboost will populate the usb drive with what it thinks you might use, based on previous experience. In fact, if you have 8gb, Vista will be keeping a copy of lots of those small files in ram, making a readyboost usb drive pointless. I removed mine.
October 16, 2008 1:13:29 PM

Well, right now I have 4gb of ram, and even if it only puts a few files on there, if they are regularly accessed, and it improves time, then its worth it to have something. I'll benchmark the apps I use myself, but you definitely have steered me away from bigger=better as it is for smaller frequently accessed files. Wouldn't make sense to use big fat files as the throughput times are slower. This will motivate an 8Gb move sooner.

Thanks.
October 16, 2008 5:36:16 PM

you won't need ready boast, it is a waste of a good usb drive. if you get a 32gb usb use it! Put some movies on it, heck you could easily fit a few games on it and take it wherever you go! readyboast is not a substitute for REAL ram, even a page file works better
October 16, 2008 6:30:24 PM

Thanks all. Very helpful and insightful. Will go for 8 gigs. Simon will be happy. To Geofelt, my bad, it's a 26" monitor. A real step up from his 19".
Anonymous
a b } Memory
April 1, 2009 9:08:45 AM

If you are using Vista 32 Bit... I believe it can only (effectively) use 4gbs of memory. So, it is a no-brainer to go with 4, if you cannot get your hands on Vista 64 Bit.

In my case, I upgraded from 4GB of GSkill DDR 3 memory to 8 MB of the same...

I see noticeably faster boot times. Apps indeed do start faster.

I have seen some "quirks", since I went from Vista 32 to 64. But, nothing major. I saw a marked improvement in going from 4 to 8 gigs (in 64).

Go for 8 gigs, since he needs to use apps and loves games.

In World of Warcraft, I am running scans, downloads and other crap in the background. I alt-tab a bunch. I have enjoyed the ability to hop in and out of the game faster. I am sure this would apply to other games, but have not yet tried :) 

Send me money.
DH
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