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To 8GB or Not to 8GB! That is the question!

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 4:13:22 AM

Alright too much bickering going on between the 4GB RAM and the 8GB RAM, we need to figure this out now! :non: 

"Random Access Memory (RAM) is the "working memory" in a computer. Additional RAM allows a computer to work with more information at the same time which can have a dramatic effect on total system performance." ( http://pcsupport.about.com/od/componentprofiles/p/p_ram... )

Dell says: "More memory (RAM) increases overall performance and enables your computer to run more applications at the same time."

With this being said we know that RAM does not have a direct impact on gaming. But we do know that the usual gamer isnt just gaming! That person is most likely listening to music, has a couple of web browsers up searching the net and downloading stuff.

For me personally I play WoW, I got music going, I'm downloading crap, watching shows online and surfing the net all at the same time (not watching shows and playing music at the same time though). I am a true gamer/multitasker, to be able to switch back and forth between all these we need the power of RAM!

So lets say you do get just 4GB of RAM, your gaming experience will be reduced if you are a multitasker like me. Thats a correct assumption to make right? 4GB RAM is screaming I got too much crap on my plate so I'm going to slow down, which will cause your whole system to slow down which as you know will mean gameplay is decreased. :cry: 

8GB RAM is sitting back running all the multitaskers tasks while smoking a cigar and sippin on some gin n juice watching the 4GB struggling. 8GB gives a gamer the ability to multitask better and not have to worry about over working his RAM to the point that it slows his system down. :sol: 

I also know that multitaskers require a lot more internet speed but we are not going to look at that this is strictly talking about RAM, I also know that this can be considered to be in the wrong section. But I believe if your in the homebuilt section looking for advice on everything so thats why I posted it in this section. Haze me if you want :p  I can take it! :ouch: 

So what say you? I want to see who can debate me against my own theory and what other peoples theory is. The battle of the age old question RAM vs Gaming.

The gauntlet has been thrown ladies and gents, in the famous words of Celebrity Deathmatch, LETS GET IT ON!

More about : 8gb 8gb question

November 11, 2011 4:35:28 AM

I personally work with a lot of RAM-consuming software i.e. Photoshop Lightroom 3.5 and Eclipse.

As such, I prefer having a lot more RAM than one can ever seemingly find use for. My current laptop has 6GB DDR3, and a build I'm hoping to do in March will have at least 8GB and possibly 16GB.

There's also the consideration that even regular software these days eat up a lot of RAM...like Firefox, with 1GB+ for ~10 tabs. This with only 5 addons enabled.

With 8GB kits going for ~$45CAD, RAM is cheap.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 6:22:52 AM

I would say go for the 16GB you will need it. But this topic is more for 4GB vs 8GB for gaming purposes. Like i said over the past couple weeks I have seen a lot of members getting into debates wether to go for 4GB or 8GB.

I'm also no talking about the price of RAM we all know its dirt cheap right now 8GB can be bought for around $45 with G.Skill.

I wish I knew a way to see how much RAM my PC is currently using so I could have more info to show people for this debate but currently most of the people who debate over this issue (myself included) can go all out and see where it stands in the end.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 6:26:12 AM

This Article was written in 2008 and I think it describes what I was talking about a little better I want to find some more recent reviews though...

How does the RAM affects the performance of your gaming computer?

The amount of RAM you have in your gaming computer affects the speed at which the game reacts. To process the huge amount of computation involve in a 3D game, there must be enough RAM to store all the information. For systems with a small amount of RAM, the memory space will be filled up easily and all overflow data is then written or page to the hard drive. When such situation arises, the CPU will have to travel a longer path to retrieve the data from the hard drive. This results in sluggish game performance and intermittently ‘hanging‘ of the game. To increase the performance of the game, the foolproof way is to increase the amount of RAM in the system. The more RAM you have, the better the game performance.

http://www.build-gaming-computer-guide.com/the-complete...
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 7:03:43 AM

Emelth check Task Manger while you are running a game . Look at the processes and see how much RAM your game [ and each other application is using ]
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 8:16:06 AM

Thanks Outlander forgot about that.

Alright I'm currently using my laptop specs are:

Toshiba Satellite A660
Windows 7 64 bit
i5 @ 2.67 GHz
NVIDIA GT 330M
6GB RAM

Currently running Mozilla as my browser with 5 tabs open
Itunes music playing
VLC running playing District 9
External HDD attached
ALFA Wifi booster attached
TuneUp Disk Doctor checking my computer for errors

CPU Usage @ 17%
Memory @ 2.73 GB (47%)
101 Processes

I'm not even gaming and I am using almost 50% of my RAM now imagine if I was gaming ontop of that do you think that if I had 4GB system would it be able to handle it...
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 8:30:23 AM

My work Laptop:

Intel Core 2 Duo
T9600 @ 2.80 GHz
2.96 GB RAM

Using Internet Explorer with 6 windows/tabs open
Card Reader connected
Microsoft Word opened
Microsoft Outlook opened

CPU usage: jumping between 1% & 24%
Memory: 1.40GB

Again using almost half of my RAM and not gaming.

I would like for others to post how much RAM they are using when gaming. As most know already I'm deployed and cant really game online.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 8:53:10 AM

You are not using that amount of RAM . Windows has just pre-fetched a lot of data from the hard drive because you might need it .
But its still a good idea to use MSCONFIG and its start up tab to stop programs automatically loading when you boot . Many start with windows and occupy RAM . For the most part you can turn off anything thats not windows, your AV and firewall. It will mean a fraction of a second delay when you do want to open ,say, Office but it will mean that Office isnt hogging system RAM even when you dont use it

Run you game and then see what the game is actually using .
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 9:01:03 AM

I've done that already after my 1st time turning my laptop on when i first got it
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 9:22:16 AM

Anyway.......

the 4 or 8 gig issue .
When you are building a gaming rig and you have a budget dont worry about having "only" 4 gig . Its more than enough , and adding more makes a difference thats so small you wouldnt even notice it .
If you have the option to have 8 gig then consider where else you could spend the money . Maybe it could go towards a better graphics card , or higher spec processor . Those would be a better way to spend money .

A general use house hold email pc will run fine on 2 gigs of RAM

If you edit or encode dvd's ,or use photoshop, then 8 gigs or more can pay off
November 11, 2011 10:13:16 AM

8Gb period. If you cant afford, 4GB is fine
November 11, 2011 10:38:37 AM

I went from 6gb (3x2gb) to 12 gb (3x4gb) over the summer. Very little impact on gaming.

However, similarly to the OP, I am a multitasker/heavy user. I could use up a lot more than the 12gb if I had it available when not gaming.

I think that, with regards to 4gb vs 8gb you should really only go for 4gb if you only plan on using the machine for gaming, and have no plans on using it for productivity.


"A general use house hold email pc will run fine on 2 gigs of RAM"

I could say the same thing about 1gb, 512mb even. Doesn't take much ram to check email....Hell it won't be long before most PHONES have 2gb of memory in them.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 12:27:07 PM

When building on a tight budget there will be things that can be easily upgraded later (RAM) and things that can't (CPU & MB for example). When it comes to making tough choices I'm with Outlander_04.
Emelth said:
I'm not even gaming and I am using almost 50% of my RAM now imagine if I was gaming ontop of that do you think that if I had 4GB system would it be able to handle it...
Of course it could handle it easily with 4GB of RAM. You aren't 'using 50%' of your RAM, you only think you are based on what you see in Task Manager.

Since you have 8GB you can easily test yourself to confirm your system will run fine on 4GB. Test with 4GB and 8GB.
You're going to be surprised at how well Win7 manages RAM usage.

Windows 7 memory usage: What's the best way to measure? "Windows memory management is rocket science."





a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 12:54:30 PM

I have 8gigs of ram with win7 ultimate. I play alot of fps like cod and bf. I run dual monitors so the second screen always has core temp, task manager, and afterburner on it. It also might have ie, vent, or even an avi playing in vlc. I dont think i have ever seen my ram usage go over 3.5 gigs or so.

I guess i could get it up to 5 or 6gig if i edited a photo with photoshop and worked in an access database while gameing, but i am not corrdinated enough to do all 3 tasks.

In my experience 4 gigs is enough.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 1:08:13 PM

If you are running a 32 bit OS, 4 gig is enough to game with..
If you have a 64 bit OS, 4 gig is still enough, and you get to use all 4 gig, instead of just around 3~3-1/2 gig you have with a 32 bit OS, depending on your hardware.
November 11, 2011 1:12:08 PM

From my experience, also being a gamer and heavy multitasker, I would say absolutely go with 8GB. While playing games such as WoW, Dragon Age 2, Battlefield 3 and listening to music, recording videos of gameplay, running a VOIP program and having a browser or two open, I easily utilize between 4GB and 6GB of RAM.

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 1:47:44 PM

Emelth said:
This Article was written in 2008 and I think it describes what I was talking about a little better I want to find some more recent reviews though...
http://www.build-gaming-computer-guide.com/the-complete...
A bad example. It say more about 2008 when 1GB of RAM was 'standard' in budget builds.
It was still common to find owners with 256-512MB RAM systems stopping by here looking for upgrade advice.
It wasn't all that long ago that RAM was running $100 per Gigabyte. By 2008 I think it was running 2GB for $50.

a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 1:54:26 PM

Above I said in my experience 4 gigs is enough how ever i just saw that newegg has 1600mhz ddr3 16 gig kits for 90 bucks. If I were to get a new board or a new computer I would just get the 16 gig kit. Chances are you will never need it but for that little bit of extra expense its nice to know that its there if it is ever needed.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 8:50:39 PM

bucknutty said:
Above I said in my experience 4 gigs is enough how ever i just saw that newegg has 1600mhz ddr3 16 gig kits for 90 bucks. If I were to get a new board or a new computer I would just get the 16 gig kit. Chances are you will never need it but for that little bit of extra expense its nice to know that its there if it is ever needed.


There would be no performance gain
You'd throw away $45 that you could have spent on a better graphics card, mb or processor?
Really?

a c 122 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 9:15:39 PM

Emelth said:

With this being said we know that RAM does not have a direct impact on gaming. But we do know that the usual gamer isnt just gaming! That person is most likely listening to music, has a couple of web browsers up searching the net and downloading stuff.

For me personally I play WoW, I got music going, I'm downloading crap, watching shows online and surfing the net all at the same time (not watching shows and playing music at the same time though). I am a true gamer/multitasker, to be able to switch back and forth between all these we need the power of RAM!

So lets say you do get just 4GB of RAM, your gaming experience will be reduced if you are a multitasker like me. Thats a correct assumption to make right? 4GB RAM is screaming I got too much crap on my plate so I'm going to slow down, which will cause your whole system to slow down which as you know will mean gameplay is decreased. :cry: 

I really hate to be rude, but :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

If you are playing something really challenging, trying to multitask is a good way of getting killed.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 9:22:02 PM

@ JSC;
What I liked most was someone saying "we need to figure this out now!" ;) 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 10:37:51 PM

It's only 45... I'm a high roller
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 10:45:59 PM

No one is going to suggest you not contribute to improving profitability at the reseller and MFGR. But no one would want you to think you'll be getting $45's worth of performance improvement either.

You'll get better performance raising your memory bandwidth and adding an extra .1Ghz CPU overclock which cost you nothing.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 11, 2011 11:00:59 PM

bucknutty said:
It's only 45... I'm a high roller


Im very pleased for you .


But for the most part people ask questions on this forum because they have a budget .
They are trying to get the best performance out of a fixed amount of money , and when they are building a pure gaming pc that means using enough RAM , but not too much .
IMO that happens at 2 x2 gig . The benchmarks done by the Toms staff a couple of years back show tiny increases in performance by upping that to 2 x4 gig of RAM . Depending on the game and resolution those increases often amount to less than 1 fps .
It just doesnt work out to be good value .
And some posters claiming you "need" 8 gig of RAM for gaming are wrong .

The situation is different for a heavy multitasker or someone running productivity apps . More RAM can definitely be useful in minimizing swap file usage and eliminating the latency that will introduce.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 12:39:07 AM

jsc said:
I really hate to be rude, but :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

If you are playing something really challenging, trying to multitask is a good way of getting killed.


Wow, really? Well lets just say this if you think WoW is a challenge now of days then I feel sorry for you, up your gaming abilities 'kid'. I've been playing this game since Vanilla, unforutnatly since being deployed I havent touch much of Cata since it came out but I can still going in there and roflstomp any raid while multitasking. WoW a challenge lol that makes me giggle... :lol: 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 12:54:47 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Anyway.......

the 4 or 8 gig issue .
When you are building a gaming rig and you have a budget dont worry about having "only" 4 gig . Its more than enough , and adding more makes a difference thats so small you wouldnt even notice it .
If you have the option to have 8 gig then consider where else you could spend the money . Maybe it could go towards a better graphics card , or higher spec processor . Those would be a better way to spend money .

A general use house hold email pc will run fine on 2 gigs of RAM

If you edit or encode dvd's ,or use photoshop, then 8 gigs or more can pay off


I know what your saying and I agree to a point. I didnt want to bring money into this but it keeps coming up so oh well lets get it out of the way.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $30.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $45.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tell where you can find a $15 upgrade besides an AMD cpu

or here this one just must of have its price lowered

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $40.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So now we have a $10-$15 upgrade where would you put?

a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 12:57:48 AM

WR2 said:
@ JSC;
What I liked most was someone saying "we need to figure this out now!" ;) 


Cant take jokes? My whole first post was nothing more than a joke lol.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 1:23:29 AM

Emelth said:


So now we have a $10-$15 upgrade where would you put?


$10 is the difference between a 2500 and a 2500k

$15 is the difference between an OK cpu cooler and a great one .

$15 is the difference between a psu that blows up and one that doesnt

$15 might buy you a mb with SLI / crossfire instead of that single slot board

Its can even be the difference between a stock clocked graphics card and an OC model with a better cooler

But you are right its not a huge saving . But it is a saving , and for a gamer on a budget where every cent counts you cant justify spending money on RAM , and esp not as you could upgrade it so easily later on .


I think you missed the point of JSC's post about multitasking . Often what keeps you alive in an FPS is the sound of an enemies foot steps or similar tiny detail . You wont be playing music or putting up with any other distraction unless you like being re-spawned .
Gaing definitely isnt a place I would multitask .

And the bottom line remains . Moving from 4 to 8 gig of RAM wont increase your fps in any detectable way
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 1:32:05 AM

.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 1:33:13 AM

a 32 bit game cant use 3.6 gig of RAM . I suspect thats the total system usage

Check the processes tab in task manager to see how much the game is using and then let us know please
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 1:39:36 AM

Outlander_04 said:
$10 is the difference between a 2500 and a 2500k

$15 is the difference between an OK cpu cooler and a great one .

$15 is the difference between a psu that blows up and one that doesnt

$15 might buy you a mb with SLI / crossfire instead of that single slot board

Its can even be the difference between a stock clocked graphics card and an OC model with a better cooler

But you are right its not a huge saving . But it is a saving , and for a gamer on a budget where every cent counts you cant justify spending money on RAM , and esp not as you could upgrade it so easily later on .


I think you missed the point of JSC's post about multitasking . Often what keeps you alive in an FPS is the sound of an enemies foot steps or similar tiny detail . You wont be playing music or putting up with any other distraction unless you like being re-spawned .
Gaing definitely isnt a place I would multitask .

And the bottom line remains . Moving from 4 to 8 gig of RAM wont increase your fps in any detectable way


Now where in my posts have you even seen me say RAM increases FPS. I have never said nor do I believe it does, I say not having enough RAM will overwork the computer too much if you run a lot of tasks like me.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 1:42:20 AM

OutLander show us what your RAM looks like, your asking for everyone elses but your not saying anything about yours?

a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 1:47:24 AM

Emelth said:
Now where in my posts have you even seen me say RAM increases FPS. I have never said nor do I believe it does, I say not having enough RAM will overwork the computer too much if you run a lot of tasks like me.


Im not arguing against you , and Im not putting words in your mouth .
Im just saying what I know to be true .


As for your question about my RAM usage..
This is a Win XP computer running DX9 . RAM usage in any game can not exceed the amount of vRAM on the graphics card . Your answer is 1 gigabyte no matter what game I play


why are you evading telling yours?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 2:19:30 AM

I posted mine yesterday I have nothing to hide I just trying to have a friendly debate. Hopefully noone is taking this personal I mean its just RAM and we are supposed to be debating not arguing
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 2:54:42 AM

Emelth said:
I posted mine yesterday I have nothing to hide I just trying to have a friendly debate. Hopefully noone is taking this personal I mean its just RAM and we are supposed to be debating not arguing


no you didnt .

You posted some information about total RAM usage of your computer .

Look in the processes tab , find the game itself , and report how much RAM is being used by the GAME .
You may have to run the game in a window .

It would be great if other people would post these figures too .

a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 3:04:40 AM

Like i said in my previous post as well with my RAM usage, I'm deployed the only PC game I play is WoW, while deployed armed forces members dont have the pleasure of online gaming as some of the other branches may have on the "softer" bases
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 3:11:36 AM

When we read your comments and think back to other comments and articles we've read over the years we naturally wonder who is getting it right? Who best understands what is happening 'under the hood? Who is shooting from the hip and who has taken the time to test and study the issue?

THG RAM study with 3GB, 6GB and 12GB of RAM: The notion that bigger is better has taken a beating lately in all aspects of society.
"we began various tests to determine if any “normal” user would see larger benefits during multitasking. The most common “background” applications we could think of were file downloads, video encoding, and virus scans, while the most demanding top applications are games. Because virus scans tie up the hard drive, we limited our background applications to video encoding (TMPGEnc with DivX) and file transfers (Windows Vista SP1 x64 standalone update at 726.5 MB) while retesting our Far Cry 2 benchmark. Simultaneous use of these tasks had no noticeable effect on game frame rates, and while DivX encoding times did slow down by around 60%, memory capacity did not affect those results. We even tried opening more than 100 Internet Explorer windows, but there was no noticeable impairment even with only 3 GB available."
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 3:52:49 AM

No one with a even an average gaming budget is going to seriously consider passing up a chance to get 8GB of RAM for what is a near bargain basement price. And no one I know is going to seriously suggest they reconsider.

But to suggest to someone with a very tight budget that 8GB of RAM is the 'minimum' needed for seriously enjoyable gaming experience isn't helping get the 'best bang for their bucks'. Big budget builds are easy - just keep throwing money at it. Tight budget builds take more careful crafting and balance. A 'one size' fits all mindset or thinking everyone works with his system the same as every other person isn't the best way to approach helping people who show up here looking for help.

Here is another good THG RAM article from last year Memory Upgrade: Is It Time To Add More RAM?.
It's interesting to see them throw an 'old school' twist into the mix along with the type of charts and discussion that can help someone make up their own mind.

a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 4:07:48 AM

Another point worth making is that people from outside the US read and post on the boards . RAM cost might be much more where they are from

And today when I was looking at Newegg all the RAM kits that used to be "free shipping" suddenly have $10 shipping . That tends to work in favor of buying 8 gig to cut shipping costs . Maybe .
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 4:14:54 AM

Very informative articles especially the 2nd post you made WR2, hard to believe that they got 100+ web browsers open are they loading or already loaded is one thing I would have liked to know
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 4:15:06 AM

I saw the RAM shipping shoot up too - but it looks it's back to 'business as normal'.
Free shipping is back for a very large number of kits.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 4:21:59 AM

I would think THG was watching during the whole process - from the initial window all the way up the line. If there was anything that would skew the results I'd hope that they would have taken the time to mention bumps in the road (flash sites? slow web servers?) during the testing. Seems they think there was nothing worth reporting.

November 12, 2011 4:25:02 AM

me personally i think 4gb is usually sufficent but for the extra couple $'s to upgrade it to 8gb your better being safe then sorry and wont have to in the end turn around and spend more money then that bit extra on 8gb's of ram instead of 4gb's
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 4:28:34 AM

Hmm well I've learned a lot from TH and the members on the board since I started a year ago and I also believe they would have thought it all the way through but still they are human mistakes/forgetfulness happens. I would have liked to seen it stated what web pages they were on
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 4:36:49 AM

If it comes down to $20 extra for RAM that would have a builder bypass performance upgrades like Outlander_04 suggested:
better CPU, better CPU cooler, CF/SLI motherboard, a PSU upgrade for CF/SLI, a OC'd GPU
I'd recommend getting the higher performance parts and get the RAM upgrade when a builder had the extra funds.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
a b } Memory
November 12, 2011 4:39:26 AM

Emelth said:
I would have liked to seen it stated what web pages they were on
There's nothing better than seeing it for yourself, on your own hardware. I would think it wouldn't be too hard to do that type of testing on your own.
!