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8g vs 4gb RAM

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July 7, 2011 5:04:16 AM


With a budget of $65, should I be looking at 2x4gb 1333MHz or both speed 2x2g (1600MHz, 2133MHz etc)?

I'm a heavy gamer and do light, occasional video gaming. I work with a single 1080p monitor and often have multiple games running at the same time, and I like to be able to quickly alt-tab out of them without lagging.

Needless to say, any RAM I buy needs to buy DDR3. It'll get paired up with a Phenom II X2 555 BE @ 3.8GHz and a GTX460 768mb.

At the moment, with 4gb DDR2 800, I often see 50%+ memory usage in idle in Win7 64bit Home Premium.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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a b } Memory
July 7, 2011 6:34:01 AM

8GB is optimal for a hard core gamer. Better to have more of the slightly slower RAM than less of the slightly faster RAM. There is only a small difference between 1333 and 1600 RAM anyway.
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July 7, 2011 6:52:04 AM

win7 will use nearly 50% ram at idle regardless how much ram is in it, it just does that.
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July 7, 2011 6:53:42 AM

I would go with 8 because of the shared video memory, the more memory you have the more video memory your computer can use in games that require alot.
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July 7, 2011 7:00:14 AM

If he's a gamer then shared video memory is going to kick his performance in the nuts.

Anyhow, go with 8GB at a minimum. And while 4GB will run on your current platform just fine, memory is so cheap now that you might as well buy extra.
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July 7, 2011 3:33:07 PM

Best answer selected by jackofhearts495.
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a c 347 } Memory
July 7, 2011 3:41:40 PM

palladin9479 said:
If he's a gamer then shared video memory is going to kick his performance in the nuts.

ALL Discrete GPU(s) allocate 'Shared system memory'; ideally it's best if it's maxed-out rather than other processes dwindling it down. Yes, the Discrete GPU has it's own memory - it's the CPU/RAM's job to keep it filled as quickly as possible. Better the RAM than the SSD/HDD ;) 
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July 8, 2011 2:23:47 AM

jaquith said:
ALL Discrete GPU(s) allocate 'Shared system memory'; ideally it's best if it's maxed-out rather than other processes dwindling it down. Yes, the Discrete GPU has it's own memory - it's the CPU/RAM's job to keep it filled as quickly as possible. Better the RAM than the SSD/HDD ;) 


Umm no your talking GART, the process where the system maps system memory to space above the graphics memory. This was common with AGP cards because they had a dedicated bus from the card to the system memory, this would be a bad idea for a PCIe card. And while modern drivers sometimes map a small portion of memory above the graphics card's memory, this is a last-resort tactic as if your card needs to read / store textures from there then your graphics are going to come to screeching halt.
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a c 347 } Memory
July 8, 2011 3:39:54 AM

Don't want to argue. Look at you system now, my best guess is that close to 3GB for 'Shared system memory'.
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a b } Memory
July 8, 2011 5:27:39 PM

palladin9479 said:
Umm no your talking GART, the process where the system maps system memory to space above the graphics memory. This was common with AGP cards because they had a dedicated bus from the card to the system memory, this would be a bad idea for a PCIe card. And while modern drivers sometimes map a small portion of memory above the graphics card's memory, this is a last-resort tactic as if your card needs to read / store textures from there then your graphics are going to come to screeching halt.

Read this: Memory-Hungry Graphics Cards? The German parts are what I'm about to show you how to see on your own system.

To see how much system memory your graphics card can use, go to the WEI page and click the "View and print detailed performance and system information" link on the right hand side.

Here's mine:
Total available graphics memory: 4095 MB
Dedicated graphics memory: 1280 MB (from my GTX 570)
Dedicated system memory: 0 MB
Shared system memory: 2815 MB

See that "Shared system memory" line? That's how much system memory your graphics card can (and does) use to store textures and such. If I had 4GB of system RAM, it wouldn't be able to share as much, which would lead to missing textures and overall poorer gaming performance.
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