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Can too much RAM affect the performance of any computer?

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April 2, 2010 8:26:25 PM

I read an article and it stated that if you overload your computer with too much RAM, it will take the CPU longer to access the information? I have a a i7 920 @2.79Ghz and 6GB DDR3 SDRAM AT 1066MHZ Triple Channel. I was thinking of adding 12GB of RAM would it cause my computer to go slower? The article stated that everything in RAM has a memory location, and your CPU fetches the data from a memory location, so if there are many to search through, it will hinder your performance. Is this true?

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a b à CPUs
April 2, 2010 8:34:44 PM

nope. Having more ram will not hurt your performance. if anything, it will increase performance as it wont have to access the slow HDD/SSD as often.

although having a very large page filing will hurt performance.
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a b à CPUs
April 2, 2010 8:43:21 PM

Well.. if microseconds matter than much... ;) 


Seriously, though - I strongly doubt this - {increased latency due to large memory footprint to search} - is anything that could possibly be noticed by a human being. Though if the idea of it sits in your head and festers (...happens to me all the time), what you can do is monitor your memory usage with the current (6GB) of RAM you have.

For example, in Win 7 you can use the Resource Monitor - Open it to the memory tab and leave it where you can see it. {A dual monitor setup rules for this} The Grey (system), Green (in Use), and Orange (Modified) areas are of concern, since this represents the memory that's actively being used and would have to be paged or written to disc before it could be made available for something else. The Blue (standby/cached) and Light Blue (Free) areas are available to applications at all times, so they're of no concern. Very simple - Load up your comp with whatever you do that represents the highest levels of stress, then maybe open a few more programs just for grins. Then check the resource monitor - Do you see a lot of Grey/Green/Orange? If yes, then you may want to consider adding more ram. If no, then you don't need any more than you already have.

Hope that helps.


{edit} Warmon's words about caching are also on point. The benefit of being able to cache more objects in active memory outweighs the latency cost of having a large amount of RAM by several orders of magnitude.
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a c 233 à CPUs
April 2, 2010 8:55:23 PM

Generally filling all slots, rather than half, on a MoBo results in having to use looser timings and lower overclocks. If you are actually consistently using more than 6 GB, then it's probably worth the hit....however if you are not, then it's a unnecessary hit.
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a b à CPUs
April 2, 2010 10:49:14 PM

Yeah- generally the only thing you will notice is having more trouble OCing your RAM and maybe even loosening timings and stuff. Caching should show more of a positive affect on performance than the negative of the latency.
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April 3, 2010 1:31:17 AM

I run 12 gigs a 1600mhz with (I think) 9-9-9-24 timings on an Asus P6TD deluxe without any issues. I don't think x58 chipsets will do much more than that though, and I think they only officially support 1300mhz.

Working from memory (my brain) here though so you might want to double check it.
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