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RAM bottlneck

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April 10, 2012 12:41:55 AM

I think i deleted my old thread or something but I cant get to it but I'm making this
My ram is ddr2 333mhz (my gma has ddr 1 ram at this speed) it's 2 gb
When I am in games I sometimes get 20 fps or lower but my CPU is hovering around 80% (arma2/WOW) and my gpu is at like 50%.
I have no idea what it could be but in resource monitor it says my ram is running at 100% ram speed usage thing.
Is my ram the bottleneck or just a lazy computer to blame.
I will be upgrading my computer in mid may but it would be nice to be able to do more with current setup
I have the geforce gt 545 ddr3 1.5 gb and a core 2 duo 2 ghz (e4400)

More about : ram bottlneck

April 10, 2012 12:57:42 AM

Your CPU would definitely need an upgrade, however your RAM is most likely the culprit. Going from 333 to 1600 would be like a tortoise and a cheetah difference :) 
a b } Memory
April 10, 2012 1:49:13 AM

Ram speed is not the culprit. The amount of ram is. Resource monitor shows ram usage not speed. 2gb is not enough.
Related resources
April 10, 2012 3:08:06 AM

Oh I thought it was 4GB for some reason. Yes, 2 GB is definitely gonna cause issues
April 10, 2012 12:08:53 PM

So even if its 90% ram usage at most (bf3 yes bf3 on my comp) its the problem
April 11, 2012 12:22:18 AM

yes, because it will be using the page file on your hard drive and that really slows it down.
April 11, 2012 12:49:34 AM

pezonator said:
yes, because it will be using the page file on your hard drive and that really slows it down.

could using system ready boost with my ssd help me out until then?
April 11, 2012 4:10:07 AM

Hmmm. I've never used it before but I'm sure if set up correctly, it should be better than using the pagefile. Let us know how it goes.
April 11, 2012 4:15:17 AM

Here's a few things for you to consider.

With current processors 'power' (speed/cores), the biggest limitations on the speed of systems are bottlenecks created by the RAM and the system bus.

The easiest way to think about it, is that any process that needs to get to the processor first needs to be loaded into RAM, and then transferred to the processor via the system bus.

Increasing RAM speed and size will definitely speed up your system. Your Core 2 Duo is pretty good processor. With Hyper-Threading, it can run 4 processes at the same time. Since there are very few programs that can utilise more than this, your processor is not going to be letting down your system too much.

I don't know how fast your system bus is, because you haven't posted you motherboard model, but I will assume it is running at either 800mhz or 1333mhz, and thus assume that this is not limiting your system too much either.

So it is safe to assume that it is the RAM which is dragging the system.

When you run a program, your operating system loads it into the RAM (which is like ultra-high speed storage). When the RAM runs out, it copies it to a portion of your HDD, which is called a paging file.
pezonator was right on the money.

Also, when your RAM fills up, your computer will constantly be trying to delete things and replace it, which will slow it down even more.

Using system ready boost may help a little bit, but your HDD (even SSD's) are still going to be significantly slower than any DDR Ram.

So, here are the specs you will be looking.

RAM speed: The number of times the ram cycles per second (measure in mhz). This is the number of times you RAM can write or read data per second. Faster RAM will improve system speed.

RAM latency (especially CAS): This is how long your system will wait in between writing or reading from the RAM, if it tries to read and write to quickly, the data can become corrupted. These latency settings are the four numbers, seperated by dashes, advertised with the RAM. I.e. my RAM is 2133mhz, 9-11-10-27. For these numbers, the lower the better.

RAM size: How much RAM you have in your system.
How much RAM you need is dependent on what you do with your system.
I.e. WOW will use somewhere between 3 - 4Gb of RAM (if it is available). You can get away with less, but if you provide it with enough for full utilisation, it will give you dramatic speed differences.

If you are running a 64-bit Operating system (the Core 2 DUO is capable of supporting 64bit) I would reccomend a minimum of 8Gb of RAM. If you are only running 32bit OS, you will not see any benefit beyond 4Gb (as maximum utilisation is capped at aroung 3.5Gb).

You don't need to go for super fast RAM, but most DDR2 Ram you will find will be 800mhz. If your system is capable of using DDR3, go for this.

You will see HUGE speed differences in your system performance by increasing the size AND speed of your RAM, and will probably get a couple more years of good gaming out of it for a very small spend.
April 15, 2012 7:30:31 AM

JamieCal said:
Here's a few things for you to consider.

With current processors 'power' (speed/cores), the biggest limitations on the speed of systems are bottlenecks created by the RAM and the system bus.

The easiest way to think about it, is that any process that needs to get to the processor first needs to be loaded into RAM, and then transferred to the processor via the system bus.

Increasing RAM speed and size will definitely speed up your system. Your Core 2 Duo is pretty good processor. With Hyper-Threading, it can run 4 processes at the same time. Since there are very few programs that can utilise more than this, your processor is not going to be letting down your system too much.

I don't know how fast your system bus is, because you haven't posted you motherboard model, but I will assume it is running at either 800mhz or 1333mhz, and thus assume that this is not limiting your system too much either.

So it is safe to assume that it is the RAM which is dragging the system.

When you run a program, your operating system loads it into the RAM (which is like ultra-high speed storage). When the RAM runs out, it copies it to a portion of your HDD, which is called a paging file.
pezonator was right on the money.

Also, when your RAM fills up, your computer will constantly be trying to delete things and replace it, which will slow it down even more.

Using system ready boost may help a little bit, but your HDD (even SSD's) are still going to be significantly slower than any DDR Ram.

So, here are the specs you will be looking.

RAM speed: The number of times the ram cycles per second (measure in mhz). This is the number of times you RAM can write or read data per second. Faster RAM will improve system speed.

RAM latency (especially CAS): This is how long your system will wait in between writing or reading from the RAM, if it tries to read and write to quickly, the data can become corrupted. These latency settings are the four numbers, seperated by dashes, advertised with the RAM. I.e. my RAM is 2133mhz, 9-11-10-27. For these numbers, the lower the better.

RAM size: How much RAM you have in your system.
How much RAM you need is dependent on what you do with your system.
I.e. WOW will use somewhere between 3 - 4Gb of RAM (if it is available). You can get away with less, but if you provide it with enough for full utilisation, it will give you dramatic speed differences.

If you are running a 64-bit Operating system (the Core 2 DUO is capable of supporting 64bit) I would reccomend a minimum of 8Gb of RAM. If you are only running 32bit OS, you will not see any benefit beyond 4Gb (as maximum utilisation is capped at aroung 3.5Gb).

You don't need to go for super fast RAM, but most DDR2 Ram you will find will be 800mhz. If your system is capable of using DDR3, go for this.

You will see HUGE speed differences in your system performance by increasing the size AND speed of your RAM, and will probably get a couple more years of good gaming out of it for a very small spend.

It's 333mhz tried it in an old government computer I had lying around tried it out with an extra 1 gig but the CPU was a Pentium that supported ht but i didn't get a CPU boost over my original setup tried my CPU (both lga 775) but it didn't work since it didn't work I need thermal paste for my old CPU it breaks 70 idle and over 90 in prime 95 running for only 10 secs I finally got to hear the HUGE CPU fan I have in my comp work It's hardest and lame tell you its LOUD just wish it worked in the new mb (I coulda even overclocked on that) :cry: 
April 16, 2012 7:46:50 AM

Sounds like the system is slowly dying...
You need to bring the CPU temps down, see if you can drop the core voltage (I'm not sure if you can, check out some overclocker forums), could also attempt new heatsink/paste/fan, but until you get those temps down it won't run stable.

As far as your RAM goes, if your using up all the mem and its switching over to a paging file, increasing RAM will stop the system slowing down (not speed it up) when the RAM fills up.

But remember that coz your bus is 333mhz, it will bottleneck transfer speeds around the system, so it is unlikely that faster RAM will give you more performance.
Personally, I wouldn't bother with the system unless I was going to run a very lite OS on it.
a b } Memory
April 17, 2012 5:00:51 AM

I'm going to have to disagree on the light os part. I still have my e6400 2.1ghz running games and never goes above 65C. I did have to replace the thermal paste as it has dried out over the years. It has 4 gb ram and have never had fps drop issues. My guess would be yours temps is causing it to throttle to protect itself. On top of the ram being maxed out.

I'm wondering if you think it's 333 because cpuz says it's that? You need to remember to x2 because ddr stands for double data rate. 667 is normal for a c2d and with 4gb+ at 3ghz can easily handle a more powerful card than 545. So imo ram speed is fourth to cpu, gpu, and ram amount.

While I would agree to not spend money on such an old system, I know some of us can't afford more so a small amount for more ram (hopefully used for cheap) would be worthwhile for the time being. 2gb is ~$25 new on newegg assuming you have empty slots.
April 17, 2012 5:36:45 AM

k1114 said:
I'm going to have to disagree on the light os part. I still have my e6400 2.1ghz running games and never goes above 65C. I did have to replace the thermal paste as it has dried out over the years. It has 4 gb ram and have never had fps drop issues. My guess would be yours temps is causing it to throttle to protect itself. On top of the ram being maxed out.

I'm wondering if you think it's 333 because cpuz says it's that? You need to remember to x2 because ddr stands for double data rate. 667 is normal for a c2d and with 4gb+ at 3ghz can easily handle a more powerful card than 545. So imo ram speed is fourth to cpu, gpu, and ram amount.

While I would agree to not spend money on such an old system, I know some of us can't afford more so a small amount for more ram (hopefully used for cheap) would be worthwhile for the time being. 2gb is ~$25 new on newegg assuming you have empty slots.



Thats a fair point.

I always think more towards the demands of virtualising or running databases. I had an old system, Pentium or a Core (1st gen) chip from memory, and had a light-weighted version of debian running on it brilliantly. Tried to move it to a server role, SMB/Media/SoftwareRAID/SQL, and it couldn't handle it.
I suppose with the majority of games though, a significant portion of the load would fall on the Video Card, so that would really be your biggest limiting factor.

As for the speed, I was reffering to the Front-Side-Bus or Northbridge speed. This ranged between 133-400Mhz for the LGA775 Chipset (from my memory). Whilst FSB speed isn't commonly looked at, once you start to look at high speed components it can create a bandwidth bottleneck. I've found this to be more the case as chipsets approach the end of their lifecycles and the components (processors and RAM) are backwards compatible but built for the next generation.
!