Is more RAM always better?

I'm getting a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop for my wife. She runs mostly Word, Excel, Outlook, and some web surfing, simple photo editing, and on-line streaming video. No games.

The base system running Vista Intel T4200 (2Ghz/800Mhz/1MB cache) comes with 3GB shared DDR2 at 800 Mhz. I can also upgrade to the T6400 (2Ghz/800Mhz/2MB cache).

I had always been taught you always need to max out your RAM memory, cause bad things happen when you don't.

Is that rule of thumb still true?

Is 3 enough or should I go to 4?
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  1. Quote:
    I had always been taught you always need to max out your RAM memory, cause bad things happen when you don't.


    The worst that could happen is the system would write to the slower hard dive in the event all the system RAM was used. A faster processor with more RAM is fine if you can afford it and desire a faster machine. But 3 Gbs and a slower procesor would be plenty for the applications you listed.
  2. for what you describe you don't need more than 2 gig, and i doubt you would use all of that
  3. Thanks guys! Will the faster processor be noticeably faster with vista and word for the type of stuff she does?
  4. better processor will help more than over 2 gig all day long for your use
  5. although nominal increase in processor for a lot of $ is rarely worth it
  6. With Dell the 4gig upgrade gets you Vista 64 too...
  7. The 4gig ram update seems to not give me vista64, just "vista home premium sp1 32 bit."

    FYI, the processor upgrade from Dual Core to Core 2 Duo is $35. (Still wondering: if both are 2.0/800, why is latter faster than former?)
    3 to 4 GB ram is $25.
  8. T6400 has more cache on the CPU and maybe a few more instructions.

    I have a T5250 with 2Gb of ram in my laptop. I wish I had at least 4Gb of ram because I have a lot of IE8 tabs open with a few Office documents, spreadsheets...

    When I have big Excel spreadsheets open it get slower browsing through my data as I open more IE8 tabs. I'm on Win 7 32bits.
  9. If it's using a 32-bit OS then having 4GB isn't going to make much of a difference because she won't be able to use all that RAM. At best 3.5GB will be usable.
  10. I'm using Win 7 32bits because now I only have 2Gb of ram, if I had 4Gb I'd install win 7 64bits...

    And 4Gb on a 32bits O/S on a laptop it's not that bad if the video memory is shared with the ram because the O/S will reserve maybe 512MB for the video and 3.5 Gb for the ram anyway. 32 or 64 bits O/S, 4Gb won't make a huge difference.
  11. I was going to ask about that, since the integrated graphics (rather than dedicated card) takes up a lot of RAM, no?

    nocteratus said:
    I'm using Win 7 32bits because now I only have 2Gb of ram, if I had 4Gb I'd install win 7 64bits...

    And 4Gb on a 32bits O/S on a laptop it's not that bad if the video memory is shared with the ram because the O/S will reserve maybe 512MB for the video and 3.5 Gb for the ram anyway. 32 or 64 bits O/S, 4Gb won't make a huge difference.
  12. jkandell, a laptop with half the specs you listed could run those applications perfectly.

    you won't notice a difference with any of the upgrades you mentioned, the only thing that might change something is if you upgrade the processor a lot or get a graphics card
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