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Is 16GB Ram worth the cash for Gaming?

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February 14, 2011 5:48:19 AM

So as the heading states, I currently have 4gb 1600 ram. I am running a 2600K at 4GHZ, and a GTX 580 OC'd. I am just wondering if adding 16GB of ram is worth it simply for playing games. If So, i'm looking between 200-250 for it, any recommendations ?
a b } Memory
February 14, 2011 6:29:02 AM

For gaming, the sweet spot is 8GB. You'll immediately notice that games load quicker, plus levels/maps do too. There will be less graphical anomalies and some games may allow you to choose higher detail levels. Plus, general multitasking is smoother.
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February 14, 2011 6:35:22 AM

Tom's Hardware: Memory Upgrade: Is It Time To Add More RAM?

"...we thoroughly recommend a minimum RAM size of 8 GB. Using 12 or 16 GB only makes sense if you're planning on using 4 GB of more of this higher amount as a RAM disk..." -Igor Wallossek
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February 14, 2011 2:37:03 PM

For playing games - no

Spend your money elsewhere
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February 14, 2011 3:02:37 PM

Y'all do realize that most games are compiled for 32-bit Windows? Any program NOT compiled for 64-bit will only use 2G RAM. If it needs more than 2G, it uses the swapfile, or the game may have its own resource manager that swaps data to the diskj.

Thus for gaming, you would be much better off spending that $200 on an SSD hard drive than more RAM.
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a c 347 } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2011 3:41:37 PM

Memory is and has been progressively getting cheaper and the progressive 'standard' has been migrating towards the 4GB density sticks.

There are progressive advantages using 8GB {2X4GB} & 12GB {3X4GB} to a point. Years from now the 'norm' might be 8GB or 16GB individual sticks.

Since this discussion is limited to 'Gaming' and barring hard choices like improved GPU or SSD versus RAM then I would recommend 8GB {2X4GB} over 4GB. Anything that you can do to stay away from 'Virtual Memory' is always a good idea.

Obviously, prioritize your purchases to GPU, SSD & CPU before RAM, {edit} and in such a way not to compromise the other components - 'Balanced system.'
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February 14, 2011 8:32:56 PM

well I am looking to get another GTX 580 in the future, I just do not see a need for it currently. I max all games and still easily pull 60FPS, (Games played : starcraft 2, dawn of war 2, Company of heroes, World in conflict) So buying another GTX seems a little bit excessive currently. The idea of an SSD is good, but I do not know much about them, except that they are "faster". I think they are a bit overpriced currently but that is just my opinion. I might just go with the 8GB (2x4) idea, any retrogradations?
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February 14, 2011 8:36:08 PM

And about the comment of Win 32 bit, I could be wrong, but I believe your comment is incorrect. The game would max register just below 4GB because that is the barred point for win 32bit.
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a c 347 } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2011 9:00:54 PM

It depends upon the Game, Resolution and AA values; I personally only like 8XAA or higher. SSDs makes all the difference in the world 'to me' everything is more responsive. BTW - here's a really good comparison article of GPUs and games -> http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/NVID...

The only 32-bit issue is the OS needs to be 64-bit to access >4GB of RAM; Home Premium x64 cuts-off at 16GB http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778(v=vs.85).aspx and @wribbs posted a very good RAM related article.
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February 14, 2011 9:48:35 PM

DXRick said:
Y'all do realize that most games are compiled for 32-bit Windows? Any program NOT compiled for 64-bit will only use 2G RAM. If it needs more than 2G, it uses the swapfile, or the game may have its own resource manager that swaps data to the diskj.

Thus for gaming, you would be much better off spending that $200 on an SSD hard drive than more RAM.


That's not true. If the 32-bit app was compiled with the right linker options, it will use up to 4GB if running on 64-bit windows. The same app on 32 bit Windows will use up to 3GB if your Windows is using 4 Gigabyte Tuning (4GT).

All of it is per process, so if your game happens to use multiple processes, then these limits loose relevance for most of the 64 bit systems. I.e. if 32 bit game uses 2 processes, you end up with up to 8GB of memory address space.

See here for details http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778%28v=vs...
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February 14, 2011 11:10:23 PM

Me personally i think 16gigs is way to much for gaming. 8gigs is probably a bit overkill also but i'd prefer 8gigs for gaming. That extra 100bucks can go towards alot of other stuff like SSD, pc case, heatsink or whatever.
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February 14, 2011 11:14:42 PM

Please someone list a game that is using more than 4 gigs for gaming... This is getting out of hand..
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February 14, 2011 11:16:39 PM

brohde88 said:
well I am looking to get another GTX 580 in the future, I just do not see a need for it currently. I max all games and still easily pull 60FPS, (Games played : starcraft 2, dawn of war 2, Company of heroes, World in conflict) So buying another GTX seems a little bit excessive currently. The idea of an SSD is good, but I do not know much about them, except that they are "faster". I think they are a bit overpriced currently but that is just my opinion. I might just go with the 8GB (2x4) idea, any retrogradations?


If your playing BC2, Starcraft 2 getting a SSD will be a huge advantage for you because you will load much faster then everyone else. Next thing you know you'll be capping a base before they load in BC2. Plus you already have a GTX 580, that thing is a beast! Me personally i'd rather get a SSD over another GTX 580. You can get a good SSD for the same amount of a GTX 580 or even get 2 120gb SSD's and put them in raid 0 for gaming...That'll be insane!
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February 14, 2011 11:17:54 PM

christop said:
Please someone list a game that is using more than 4 gigs for gaming... This is getting out of hand..


Thats what i wanna know also lol...Maybe Shogun2 when it comes out might use more then 4gigs maybe lol...
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February 15, 2011 12:03:09 AM

This is a little off topic, but what is RAID 0, and where would you go to find it or set it up? also, why would you need 2 SSD's other than for raid? I had a Kingston SSD before and was NOT impressed. I had SC2 installed and it was nowhere near as fast as I expected.
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February 15, 2011 12:05:33 AM

Also, assuming that 8GB is the best choice, would the best option be 2x4 or 4x2, I was gonna go with some G.Skill 2100.
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February 15, 2011 12:16:30 AM

brohde88 said:
This is a little off topic, but what is RAID 0, and where would you go to find it or set it up? also, why would you need 2 SSD's other than for raid? I had a Kingston SSD before and was NOT impressed. I had SC2 installed and it was nowhere near as fast as I expected.


Not sure if i'll explain this right since im still kinda new to the pc stuff. But i believe Raid 0 can only be done with 2 or more hard drives, it will not work with 1 hard drive. It's basically taking 2 hard drives and putting them together for faster speeds and more hard drive space. So if you have only a 500gb hard drive and you put another 500gb for raid 0 it'll be 1tb. Not sure if the hard drives have to be the same brand but i would recommend using the same exact brand. I'm not quite sure how much faster it'll be in raid 0 vs 1 hard drive but im pretty sure it'll be faster. Also you probably had the 1st generation SSD's maybe that's why it wasn't as fast as you thought it should be. The new ones have much faster read and write speeds.

Here's a some videos of raid 0's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U1lreTDsqo

intel x25 raid 0...this video is kinda old but his load time is pretty fast on crysis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYCEV3npxm0

Everything is on youtube lol...

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a b } Memory
February 15, 2011 12:21:03 AM

christop said:
Please someone list a game that is using more than 4 gigs for gaming... This is getting out of hand..

The game itself doesn't have to use 4GB of RAM to feel a boost when the system has 8GB.

Video cards have had the ability to reserve system RAM for texture storage for years now. Games are starting to get to the point of actually needing the video card to take advantage of that ability. The system RAM that the video card reserves isn't available for the game itself or any Windows background tasks.

Doesn't it make sense that if you have more RAM, everything would run smoother? It certainly does to me -- up to a point, of course.

Those of you who are hesitant about the whole "games really do run better on a system that has 8GB of RAM" thing are acting like I'm saying "having a heart attack is good for you" instead. I don't get it...
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February 15, 2011 12:37:47 AM

The current standard is 4GB, which is more then enough for pretty much all games except for a select few that are played at ridiculous settigns/resolution. 6GB is perfect but seeing how the all the midrange sockets are dual channeled, 8GB would be the absolute maximum i'd get for gaming. Anything over that is overkill.
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February 15, 2011 12:58:24 AM

I agree 8 gigs is the most i'd go for now.
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a b } Memory
February 15, 2011 2:26:28 AM

brohde88 said:
Also, assuming that 8GB is the best choice, would the best option be 2x4 or 4x2, I was gonna go with some G.Skill 2100.

Don't bother with the 2133 RAM. The performance gain isn't worth the extra expense. DDR3-1600 is SB's sweet spot. Also, don't bother with faster timings -- again, the performance gain isn't worth the extra expense. The cheaper CL9 stuff is good enough.

You already have 4GB of RAM though. Just get another 4GB kit of the same brand, type, and timings for maximum compatibility. You can use all four RAM slots with no problems on a Sandy Bridge system.

If you were going to sell your current RAM or use it in a different system, I'd recommend getting a G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL kit for your Sandy Bridge. That's a Ripjaws X DDR3-1600 CL9 1.5v 2x4GB kit.
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February 15, 2011 7:20:12 AM

Two of the links provided state that a 32-bit program will only get 2G memory space from Windows 7 64-bit:

Link 1: Memory Upgrade: Is It Time To Add More RAM?

Page 3:
Quote:
We know that a 32-bit application only can address a maximum of 2 GB of RAM and that 32-bit Windows systems can actually handle just 3.25 GB (or even less if more than 4 GB of memory is installed).


The gaming benchmarks page shows a 1-4% increase for more than 4GB RAM for all games but the 64-bit version of Half Life 2.

Link 2: Memory Limits for Windows Releases

The top item in the table:
Quote:
User-mode virtual address space for each 32-bit process : 2 GB with IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE cleared (default)


The Windows limit of 2GB for a 32-bit process is not the same thing as the physical limit of 4GB for 32-bit addressing.
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February 15, 2011 12:55:08 PM

+1 @DXRick

yoggiepl said:
All of it is per process, so if your game happens to use multiple processes, then these limits loose relevance for most of the 64 bit systems. I.e. if 32 bit game uses 2 processes, you end up with up to 8GB of memory address space.


This would work if the main game executable spawned or invoked other executables. It wouldn't work if it just spawned threads, which is what game makers do now. I haven't seen a game that uses multiple executables, aside from game launchers (wherein the launcher process dies after the game is launched).


RAID-0 strips the data stream in half, and writes each half into each disk (putting it simply). The bad thing with RAID-0 setups is that if one fails, all your data would be irrecoverable. Though, I'm not sure if this is a concern with SSD's. Theoretically, you'd get nearly double the read and write speeds with a RAID-0 setup.

Try looking for drives with Sandforce controllers, I believe Kingston drives were mostly made by Intel. Drives with SandForce controllers do usually beat Intel SSD drives (especially with sequential write performance). Though I couldn't quite remember which SSD drives have the SandForce controller.
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a b } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 15, 2011 1:25:17 PM

brohde88 said:
And about the comment of Win 32 bit, I could be wrong, but I believe your comment is incorrect. The game would max register just below 4GB because that is the barred point for win 32bit.

I agree. Theoretically, a 32-bit OS can address up to 4GB of RAM. There are limitations in Windows 32-bit OSs that allow it to only have around 3GB available even if you have 4GB installed. For example, one of my systems has always had 4GB of RAM physically installed. I started with Windows XP 32-bit and my system properties displayed 3GB installed. I upgraded to Windows 7 64-bit and 4GB are displayed as my "installed memory" amount.

Though, as DXrick points out, those 32-bit apps have their own special limitations in Windows. 64-bit apps/games, now that's a different story. Really RAM doesn't have much of a noticeable impact on the performance of a game unless you're working with too little.
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February 15, 2011 1:46:07 PM

aren't most post 2007-08 games capable of using 8 gigs of ram ..??
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February 15, 2011 3:27:59 PM

A simple google search found this (no idea of date though): The list of 64-bit games

Hopefully, future releases of games will include 64-bit binaries.
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February 16, 2011 5:26:13 AM

I took out the standard ram that came with my machine. The timing is 9-9-9-24.
There are some other things on it like this....

CM3X2G1600C9NX

and XMS3-1600.

It does not look line ANY of the ram offered on new egg by corsair (the supplier of my current RAM).
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a c 347 } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 16, 2011 2:08:41 PM

Since I already discussed -- yeah get 8GB {2X4GB}, I wanted to add my 2cents about 'SSD' and RAID 0. The newer e.g. RevoDrives are internally RAID 0, but that nothing in comparison to 2 SSD connected through the MOBO, BIOS and inconsistent bandwidth.

Currently, the RevoDrives require a free PCIe x4 and are running {R 740MB/s|W 690MB/s} effectively breaking the SATA3 limits of 600MB/s; plus the newer Z-Drives are running {R 1.4GB/s | W 1.4GB/s} but are very expensive.
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a b } Memory
February 16, 2011 3:31:19 PM

8 GB of RAM is lots unless you are into photoshop or something that would actually use it. For games, even 4 is enough. But add an SSD if you want a performance boost....every computer should have one.
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February 16, 2011 4:22:24 PM

brohde88 said:
And about the comment of Win 32 bit, I could be wrong, but I believe your comment is incorrect. The game would max register just below 4GB because that is the barred point for win 32bit.


You can have 4GB on your machine, but user level applications cannot use memory about the EFFF-FFFF range, which is reserved for the kernel.

so yes, there is a 2GB limit.

You can use the /3gb flag, but your programs are still limited to 2gb, it just means there is 3GB available for user level apps.

An app may make use of the full 3GB, but it needs to use special APIs and needs to be programmed just for that. There is no reason for a game company to waste time debugging a bandaid work-around for using more than 2GB when it's much much easier to port the game to 64bit(which they also haven't done yet).

A single 32bit app may not use more than 2GB of virtual space, that includes swap. Swap is just used to "swap/page out" data from memory. The data still needs to be addressable which means it still must follow the rules for 32bit.

An app may make use of PAE to address up-to 36bits, but non-server versions of Windows do not allow this. PAE is still supported in non-server editions, but it is artificially limited to 32bits. DEP requires PAE in order to work.

MS decided to limit PAE in non-server editions because their tech support was getting flooded with calls about BSODs caused by bad consumer-grade drivers that didn't account for PAE.

In order for PAE to work past 4GB, ALL DRIVERS in your system must all support PAE, but most non-server drivers don't. Instead of "not working", they just cause silent corruption until your computer crashes with an error that doesn't help because the drivers were writing to the wrong place in memory.
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a c 347 } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 16, 2011 4:23:22 PM

Eagle Eye_54 said:
8 GB of RAM is lots unless you are into photoshop or something that would actually use it.

As was already post 2-3 times - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-memory-upgrade,...

All of my systems since mid-2010 are either 8GB Dual or 12GB Tri; as stated RAM is cheap. Currently, I prefer the 4GB sticks.
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a c 347 } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 17, 2011 12:44:38 AM

Of what you linked -> F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

Here's an excellent article regarding SB + RAM -> http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/memory/2011/01/11/the-...
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February 17, 2011 1:23:18 AM

Wow, you win. Great article and I guess there really isn't any point to anything over 4GB of ram. Well alright, I guess a SSD is the way to go then.
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February 17, 2011 1:50:21 AM

Best answer selected by brohde88.
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a b } Memory
February 17, 2011 2:20:36 AM

brohde88 said:
Wow, you win. Great article and I guess there really isn't any point to anything over 4GB of ram. Well alright, I guess a SSD is the way to go then.

You really should get 8GB of RAM. Everything will be smoother, including games. Plus, multitasking will work better. Benchmarks don't tell the whole story. Trust me, I have a 4GB kit and an 8GB kit in my system. I've tried both alone, and I could immediately tell the difference in gaming. Plus, the price difference is $50. Do you really want to miss out on real performance improvement over a measly $50?
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a c 347 } Memory
a b 4 Gaming
February 17, 2011 11:55:36 AM

I would go the 2X4GB that you selected above AND the SSD.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 3, 2012 9:28:58 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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