I'd just like to get some feedback from several i7 system builders on this: How much RAM does your i7 system actually use, and what programs are you running when it uses the most RAM?
Obviously, I'm trying to decide how much RAM I need.
Really depends on what you do and what's your budget. With your average internet use and gaming, you're good with 4GB or 6GB. If you do intend to keep your PC for a while and do load some big files (video or audio editing), then it'd probably be better to get 8GB or 12GB.
Greater than 12GB (i.e. 16GB or up), would probably only make sense with some server apps or multiple instances of applications.
You do have to take into account that Windows 7 does use part of the ram as a "cache" for SuperFetch. So it may be possible that, for example having 4GB of ram, 2GB is used by SuperFetch, and only 1GB is actually used by your programs.
It is the operating system and programs you run that decide RAM usage NOT the processor or motherboard. With an i7 you will be fine with a 6GB triple channel kit. If you do photo/video editing or use other software that needs more you can always upgrade to 12Gb.
All the above replies are valid. Have you by any chance encountered a problem or a "problem"? When I have office open, Firefox, and photoshop doing photomerging of say 15 photographs it takes on Win7 64bit more than 4GBytes of RAM.
Running 6GB with an i7 960. The most I see is around half of that, running my game, ventrilo, browser with at least half a dozen tabs open, and playing music. When I bring work home and use Office, I *might* use 20%.
If you're planning on playing with Video encoding and Photoshop, then you may want to consider 12GB. But 6GB should be plenty even for gamers.