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Why do so many pre-built gaming systems have only 6GB of ram?

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October 6, 2009 1:02:20 AM

Guys I noticed that a lot of pre-built gaming systems that are as much as $4,000 only come with only 6GB of ram. Why is this? I've noticed that a lot of companies are doing this. Is it because it's cheaper to sell the systems like that? Or is it because of performance? For the longest time Dell was selling their gaming systems with only a max of 6GB of ram before they stopped selling them and went to Alienware.
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October 6, 2009 1:07:30 AM

Cost, motherboard limitation,etc.
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a b à CPUs
October 6, 2009 1:17:10 AM

It's mainly the fact most $4K systems are Core i7's running triple-channel DDR3, which generally means 3X2gb chips for the best performance.
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October 6, 2009 1:45:18 AM

Its not really a cost issue in high priced systems.

Problem is with ye olde 32bit OS.

Sure, i hear u say. With W7 coming out the majority of us will soon be on 64bit.
That doesnt change the fact most apps or games are still 32bit. After that, even IF you are running a 64bit app on a 64bit OS, who says the developers are actually writing code to take advantage of the extra ram? Heck, most games dont offer any support for quads yet.

The problem with games and lots of ram... they dont need it. Remember Halo on the 1st xbox? The game loaded and unloaded as you go with only a load time for a new level. That was on 64Mb? ram. If ur smart about the way you make a game, you dont need that much ram.

The DDR3 triple channel factor also plays a major part. You need 3 ram chips for best performance. That leaves you with 3, 6 or 12Gb. Very few users will NEED 12Gb.
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October 6, 2009 2:11:55 AM

mrmez said:
Its not really a cost issue in high priced systems.

Problem is with ye olde 32bit OS.

Sure, i hear u say. With W7 coming out the majority of us will soon be on 64bit.
That doesnt change the fact most apps or games are still 32bit. After that, even IF you are running a 64bit app on a 64bit OS, who says the developers are actually writing code to take advantage of the extra ram? Heck, most games dont offer any support for quads yet.

The problem with games and lots of ram... they dont need it. Remember Halo on the 1st xbox? The game loaded and unloaded as you go with only a load time for a new level. That was on 64Mb? ram. If ur smart about the way you make a game, you dont need that much ram.

The DDR3 triple channel factor also plays a major part. You need 3 ram chips for best performance. That leaves you with 3, 6 or 12Gb. Very few users will NEED 12Gb.


So you don't need 12GB of ram?
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October 6, 2009 2:36:44 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
Guys I noticed that a lot of pre-built gaming systems that are as much as $4,000 only come with only 6GB of ram. Why is this? I've noticed that a lot of companies are doing this. Is it because it's cheaper to sell the systems like that? Or is it because of performance? For the longest time Dell was selling their gaming systems with only a max of 6GB of ram before they stopped selling them and went to Alienware.


Simple.....RAM"s not the bottleneck. If it's not going to get them better benchmarks, vendors will consider the investment money thrown away.
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October 6, 2009 2:47:21 AM

So with most pre-built gaming systems that come with only 6GB of ram, is it to save on cost of building the system or performance?
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October 6, 2009 2:51:48 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
So with most pre-built gaming systems
It's not just pre-built systems. Who wants to pay an extra $100 when it gives no $100 improvement in performance? You're wayyyyyyy better off using the $100 to get the next faster CPU.
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October 6, 2009 2:58:34 AM



The only thing about that article that I disagree with is, when it states that there is no difference between 3GB, 6GB and 12GB of ram. On my computer Windows Vista 64 bit always uses 1.5GB and I purchased a game called Batman Arkham Asylum that requires upto 3GB of ram to run. So if I had only 3GB of ram it would make a big difference to have more than just 3GB of ram. So in other words if I had only 3GB of ram, I would only have 1.5GB left to run the game.
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October 6, 2009 3:04:58 AM

mrmez said:
Its not really a cost issue in high priced systems.

Problem is with ye olde 32bit OS.

Sure, i hear u say. With W7 coming out the majority of us will soon be on 64bit.
That doesnt change the fact most apps or games are still 32bit. After that, even IF you are running a 64bit app on a 64bit OS, who says the developers are actually writing code to take advantage of the extra ram? Heck, most games dont offer any support for quads yet.

The problem with games and lots of ram... they dont need it. Remember Halo on the 1st xbox? The game loaded and unloaded as you go with only a load time for a new level. That was on 64Mb? ram. If ur smart about the way you make a game, you dont need that much ram.

The DDR3 triple channel factor also plays a major part. You need 3 ram chips for best performance. That leaves you with 3, 6 or 12Gb. Very few users will NEED 12Gb.



incorrect

individual applications use virtual memory, and i defy you to find any individual application that is using 4Gb of RAM. as long as you're not hitting that maximum, the application will not give a rats ass whether its 64 bit or 32 bit.....a 32 bit app running on a 64 bit OS will use (nearly) exactly the same amount of ram as the same app on a 32 bit os
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October 6, 2009 3:06:16 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
So in other words if I had only 3GB of ram, I would only have 1.5GB left to run the game.
No. That would be true IF Vista didn't give up some of the RAM it uses when nothing else is using that RAM. But Vista will give up a lot of that 1.5GB of RAM it's using to run other programs. Vista can 'slim down' to under 256K of RAM in a steady state operating mode - like when someone is playing a game.
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October 6, 2009 3:09:44 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
I purchased a game called Batman Arkham Asylum that requires upto 3GB of ram to run.
How did you figure out how much RAM that game required? The game developers say it will run on systems with 1GB of RAM total. And they recommend 2GB of RAM.
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October 6, 2009 3:50:23 AM

uh_no said:
incorrect

individual applications use virtual memory, and i defy you to find any individual application that is using 4Gb of RAM. as long as you're not hitting that maximum, the application will not give a rats ass whether its 64 bit or 32 bit.....a 32 bit app running on a 64 bit OS will use (nearly) exactly the same amount of ram as the same app on a 32 bit os


-Virtual memory is exactly that. Virtual. Its what happens when you run out of ram and your system starts grinding to a halt while it swaps data to and from Ram and HDD. Avoid having to use virtual mem like AIDS. :pfff: 

-A 32bit app on a 64bit OS can make sense. You have a few apps running using lots of ram. Example? Run 3 apps each using 2Gb. Sure the 32bit app can address 2Gb, but the 32Bit OS cant address 3x2Gb.

-More than 4Gb? Photoshop. I had to upgrade to Vista 64 (then to Mac) as XP32 kept crashing when it ran out.
For my photography system i find 8Gb is enough (8 is enough :lol: )
Game benches show 3 is plenty (tho please note you cant have other apps open for that to be true. Hell, PS CS4 is using 2Gb with just a few files open right now)

To the OP.

Why no more than 6Gb?
For 95% of users out there 6 is plenty. Thank the company for saving you $$$ :) 

For people asking IF they need more than 6.
If you are at the Rolls Royce dealership and you have to ask "How much is the a Phantom"
The answer is "more than you can afford"

When you need more than 6Gb you will know.
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October 6, 2009 3:58:43 AM

mrmez said:
-Virtual memory is exactly that. Virtual. Its what happens when you run out of ram and your system starts grinding to a halt while it swaps data to and from Ram and HDD. Avoid having to use virtual mem like AIDS. :pfff: 

-A 32bit app on a 64bit OS can make sense. You have a few apps running using lots of ram. Example? Run 3 apps each using 2Gb. Sure the 32bit app can address 2Gb, but the 32Bit OS cant address 3x2Gb.

-More than 4Gb? Photoshop. I had to upgrade to Vista 64 (then to Mac) as XP32 kept crashing when it ran out.
For my photography system i find 8Gb is enough (8 is enough :lol: )
Game benches show 3 is plenty (tho please note you cant have other apps open for that to be true. Hell, PS CS4 is using 2Gb with just a few files open right now)

To the OP.

Why no more than 6Gb?
For 95% of users out there 6 is plenty. Thank the company for saving you $$$ :) 

For people asking IF they need more than 6.
If you are at the Rolls Royce dealership and you have to ask "How much is the a Phantom"
The answer is "more than you can afford"

When you need more than 6Gb you will know.


Thanks for responding, but I'm still curious as to why most pre-built gaming systems that cost as much as $4,000 only come with 6GB of ram?
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October 6, 2009 4:02:00 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
I'm still curious
Nothing wrong with being curious.
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October 6, 2009 4:02:21 AM

WR2 said:
How did you figure out how much RAM that game required? The game developers say it will run on systems with 1GB of RAM total. And they recommend 2GB of RAM.


I was reading the game requirements from the game package and it states required memory 2GB and recommended memory 3GB.
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October 6, 2009 4:08:34 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
I was reading the game requirements from the game package and it states required memory 2GB and recommended memory 3GB.


And from that, how do you infer that 6GB is not enough?
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October 6, 2009 4:12:47 AM

And how do you know thats just for the game and not also including OS? So when it says it needs at least a C2D 6300, thats just for the game as well?
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October 6, 2009 4:16:05 AM

eidolon said:
And from that, how do you infer that 6GB is not enough?


No I was saying that 3GB is not enough. I'm happy with 6GB, I'm not going to go through the trouble of paying for more ram and paying a computer shop to install it, especially if there is NOT going to be any performance increase.
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October 6, 2009 4:17:28 AM

clairvoyant christopher said:
No I was saying that 3GB is not enough.
Why are you saying 3GB is not enough?
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October 6, 2009 4:19:15 AM

4745454b said:
And how do you know thats just for the game and not also including OS? So when it says it needs at least a C2D 6300, thats just for the game as well?


I was just reading the requirements for the game and thats what it said on the back of the game package.
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October 6, 2009 4:20:10 AM

4745454b said:
And how do you know thats just for the game and not also including OS? So when it says it needs at least a C2D 6300, thats just for the game as well?


clairvoyant christopher said:
No I was saying that 3GB is not enough. I'm happy with 6GB, I'm not going to go through the trouble of paying for more ram and paying a computer shop to install it, especially if there is NOT going to be any performance increase.


Installing RAM is probably one of the easiest possible things you can do on a computer. You certainly don't need to pay a shop to do it!

Anyway, there should be enough posts on this thread so far to make it pretty obvious that 6GB is a lot already.
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October 6, 2009 4:23:39 AM

eidolon said:
Installing RAM is probably one of the easiest possible things you can do on a computer. You certainly don't need to pay a shop to do it!

Anyway, there should be enough posts on this thread so far to make it pretty obvious that 6GB is a lot already.


I agree with you 100%. But do you know why most pre-built gaming systems that cost as much as $4,000 only come with 6GB of ram?
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October 6, 2009 4:24:27 AM

Yes; we know why.
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October 6, 2009 4:24:51 AM

$4000 gaming systems are built to run games well. That level will include a i7 920-975. The motherboards that run those processors will have 6 ram slots. To run the ram as best as possible, they use three sticks of 2gb each to get triple channel mode. It could be 4gb sticks, and 12gb, or 24gb, but that is very expensive today. If you run a game, you are not going to be doing lots of multitasking; that is where lots of ram helps. No games I know of actually use more than 3gb of ram. But, there may be lots of other things going on that use extra ram. 4gb is OK, but 6gb seems to be the sweet spot.

Here is a Corsair study on why 6gb is better than 3gb:
http://www.corsair.com/_appnotes/AN811_Gaming_Performan...

Would 12gb be better? Maybe, but the value is not there for games.
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October 6, 2009 4:54:24 AM

geofelt said:
$4000 gaming systems are built to run games well. That level will include a i7 920-975. The motherboards that run those processors will have 6 ram slots. To run the ram as best as possible, they use three sticks of 2gb each to get triple channel mode. It could be 4gb sticks, and 12gb, or 24gb, but that is very expensive today. If you run a game, you are not going to be doing lots of multitasking; that is where lots of ram helps. No games I know of actually use more than 3gb of ram. But, there may be lots of other things going on that use extra ram. 4gb is OK, but 6gb seems to be the sweet spot.

Here is a Corsair study on why 6gb is better than 3gb:
http://www.corsair.com/_appnotes/AN811_Gaming_Performan...

Would 12gb be better? Maybe, but the value is not there for games.


That Corsair study article is very interesting. I bookmarked it. I though a "sweet spot" was only something a woman has.
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October 6, 2009 6:08:06 AM

You guys are super fantastic! I thank you all so much. Please feel free to continue to send me your opinions & answers I really need the help.
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October 6, 2009 11:40:46 AM

generally , if your computer is using more than 2 gb of ram YES 2 gig ,there is some bloated program hogging it ...windows vista for instance
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October 6, 2009 1:48:51 PM

clairvoyant christopher said:
That Corsair study article is very interesting. I bookmarked it. I though a "sweet spot" was only something a woman has.



Yes - Located inside her man's right hip pocket...
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