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DRAM Growth May Slow as Operating Systems Get Leaner

By - Source: IHS | B 49 comments

Operating system have been one of the major drivers for DRAM demand, and have experienced an almost persistent boost since the introduction on Windows 95 in 1994 - back then we were asked to upgrade our computers from a modest 4 MB of DRAM to 8 MB.

IHS now says that the trend of quickly growing DRAM demand may come to an end as leaner operating system do not call for rapid increases anymore.

"The growth rate of dynamic random access memory content in personal computers is set for a historic decline, with the average annual increase in DRAM amount for each new PC not expected to exceed 35% after 2012, down from an average 48% during the last quarter-century," IHS said. "After climbing 38% in 2009 and 25% in 2010, average DRAM content per PC will rise 30% in 2011 and 35% in 2012," IHS noted. "The year 2012, however, will represent the last high point for growth, with the amount of annual DRAM content growth in the following years expected to be significantly less than 35%." IHS said that DRAM growth per PC was 48% between 1985 and 2009 and ranged from 40 to 45% in the early 2000s.

The market research firm stressed that, historically, each new version of Windows demanded more memory, but that pattern broke with Windows 7: "From Windows 7’s release in 2009 until a year later, DRAM content growth per PC actually dropped 13% - auguring the kind of lower expansion rates likely to be seen in the years to come."

Microsoft already said that Windows 8 will not have hardware requirements that exceed Windows 7's requirements. Instead of operating systems, it appears that memory drivers will be shifting to more computing devices as well as applications, which would include more applications running at the same time as well as increased use of multimedia.

"As the appetite for digital data swells continually among consumers, so too will the memory requirements needed to feed the ravening beast," IHS said.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , August 3, 2011 12:27 AM
    Lean operating systems? That'll be the day.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , August 3, 2011 12:27 AM
    Applications or "games" should absorb memory not an OS as eye candy it might be. Also isn't it possible to make solid state HD's out of DRAM. There is always a need for faster memory especially for the upcoming cpu's.
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , August 3, 2011 12:27 AM
    Lean operating systems? That'll be the day.
  • Display all 49 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    schmich , August 3, 2011 12:35 AM
    It's a bit the point of the article but it doesn't matter if the DRAM growth is slowed. The article talks about the OS but also DRAM is cheap and most of us have quite a few slots to fill. Most gamers hanging around 8GB I'd assume which is enough to get rid of the Page File and run games.
  • 4 Hide
    demonicrotato , August 3, 2011 12:49 AM
    luc vrApplications or "games" should absorb memory not an OS as eye candy it might be. Also isn't it possible to make solid state HD's out of DRAM. There is always a need for faster memory especially for the upcoming cpu's.


    They could make HDs out of DRAM. The problem is that DRAM is volatile and doesn't retain information once the power is turned off. So say good by to whatever data you put on there.
  • 0 Hide
    bak0n , August 3, 2011 1:01 AM
    demonicrotatoThey could make HDs out of DRAM. The problem is that DRAM is volatile and doesn't retain information once the power is turned off. So say good by to whatever data you put on there.


    Notice he said solid state HD, not ram drives.
  • -1 Hide
    mister g , August 3, 2011 1:05 AM
    Eventually the tech companies are going to put out new OSs that need more and more RAM to function. In my opinion this is a temporary lull and growth would start again many people shouldn't see a reason not to upgrade with RAM prices as low as today.
  • 8 Hide
    itchyisvegeta , August 3, 2011 1:13 AM
    "The world will never need more than 640K of memory....."
  • 2 Hide
    palladin9479 , August 3, 2011 1:15 AM
    The fallacy of this article is that it assumes only the OS is going to be using memory. This is bullocks as if you have a ton of memory laying around you can easily create a large RAMDISK and use that for scratch area. I had 8GB (now have 16GB) and would create a 1GB RAMDISK as my "V:" drive inside Windows 7. I would then redirect the %WIN_DIR%\TEMP and the users TMP / TEMP folders to the V drive. Performance impact is incredibly noticeable when installing programs, browsing the internet, or just mucking around on some project or other. I've been debating making a larger RAMDISK and redirecting certain data folders on some of my games to there. Windows doesn't yet have the facility to properly utilize this function, I have to use third party programs to get this done.
  • 9 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 3, 2011 1:32 AM
    TA152HThey even convinced people that Windows 7 was faster and leaner than Windows Vista, even though all tests showed otherwise.

    Source?
  • 8 Hide
    gzhang11 , August 3, 2011 1:39 AM
    TA152HThis is insulting to Microsoft.Microsoft has been able to over 30 years to increase memory use (and processor use) without increasing functionality in a seamless and elegant way. They even convinced people that Windows 7 was faster and leaner than Windows Vista, even though all tests showed otherwise. Even the great Jobs has yet to accomplish this act of "I'll tell you the truth, forget what you think you see". It's a common ploy for OS manufacturers to say requirements aren't going up, but then the thing doesn't work quite as well, and recommended requirements are a bit higher. Give Microsoft some respect. Windows 8 will be slower and require more memory without doing anything extra that anyone finds useful. They've done it for years, and to expect otherwise is simply insulting to Microsoft's ability to bloat and slow down. While there's a saying in the industry that Microsoft has sold more processors than Intel marketing, I think it's also fair to say they've sold more memory than any memory makers marketing. Have faith, they will continue to. Taking billions of bytes of memory without added functionality is a talent. Selling it in numbers, worthy of great respect. Don't count them out.


    you have anything better to do? you seriously need to get of the basement buddy.
  • 7 Hide
    Kamab , August 3, 2011 1:40 AM
    TA152HThis is insulting to Microsoft.Microsoft has been able to over 30 years to increase memory use (and processor use) without increasing functionality in a seamless and elegant way. They even convinced people that Windows 7 was faster and leaner than Windows Vista, even though all tests showed otherwise. Even the great Jobs has yet to accomplish this act of "I'll tell you the truth, forget what you think you see". It's a common ploy for OS manufacturers to say requirements aren't going up, but then the thing doesn't work quite as well, and recommended requirements are a bit higher. Give Microsoft some respect. Windows 8 will be slower and require more memory without doing anything extra that anyone finds useful. They've done it for years, and to expect otherwise is simply insulting to Microsoft's ability to bloat and slow down. While there's a saying in the industry that Microsoft has sold more processors than Intel marketing, I think it's also fair to say they've sold more memory than any memory makers marketing. Have faith, they will continue to. Taking billions of bytes of memory without added functionality is a talent. Selling it in numbers, worthy of great respect. Don't count them out.


    Trollalalala
  • 6 Hide
    Maximus_Delta , August 3, 2011 1:45 AM
    TA152HThey even convinced people that Windows 7 was faster and leaner than Windows Vista, even though all tests showed otherwise.


    I agree with the above, provide your source? Back up your BS with some facts from the get go next time.
  • 0 Hide
    Kamab , August 3, 2011 1:46 AM
    palladin9479The fallacy of this article is that it assumes only the OS is going to be using memory. This is bullocks as if you have a ton of memory laying around you can easily create a large RAMDISK and use that for scratch area. I had 8GB (now have 16GB) and would create a 1GB RAMDISK as my "V:" drive inside Windows 7. I would then redirect the %WIN_DIR%\TEMP and the users TMP / TEMP folders to the V drive. Performance impact is incredibly noticeable when installing programs, browsing the internet, or just mucking around on some project or other. I've been debating making a larger RAMDISK and redirecting certain data folders on some of my games to there. Windows doesn't yet have the facility to properly utilize this function, I have to use third party programs to get this done.


    I hadn't realized that there was free software allowing you to do this. Awesome.
  • 4 Hide
    palladin9479 , August 3, 2011 2:00 AM
    Windows 7 was faster and leaner then Vista due to the way Vista handled both Windows Display Manager and SuperFetch cache management. Vista WDM maintained a copy of every application's display resources, this means that every window and graphical effect existed twice, once inside the program and again inside WDM. Windows 7 WDM doesn't do this, it only maintains a copy of what's actively displayed on the screen and not what's in background, or off-screen. Next Vista's ReadyBoost was treated as a separate service and didn't interact with Windows built in memory management nor file system caching. It would attempt to consume all available memory while reading every file you've accessed, most notably all your internet cache. When Vista would go to load a program there wouldn't be any free memory, so the paging mechanism would kick in and the oldest memory pages were swapped to disk, this includes SuperFetch's pages. In actual use what would end up happening is Super Fetch's cached contents would be paged to the disk, thus it was slowing down your system with all the disk I/O while not actually providing anything tangible performance wise. Having more memory didn't help the matter as SuperFetch would just try to fill it all. More memory just meant you had longer until you've accessed enough unique files that superfetch had enough to fill up. I've maxed out a 8GB system with superfetch running on Vista 64. In Windows 7 you'll notice that the OS tries to keep a portion of memory free at all times, to prevent the heavy paging of Superfetch to the disk. Windows 7 is also smarter about how it manages superfetch cache.

    Anyhow, yeah there are quite a few free programs that let you play with ramdisks. The two I've used are Imdisk and Softperfect Ramdisk.

    http://www.ltr-data.se/opencode.html/#ImDisk
    http://www.softperfect.com/products/ramdisk/

    Imdisk is really useful as it's 100% command line driven and easily incorporated into startup / shutdown scripts.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 3, 2011 2:44 AM
    It's unfortunate really, because I would always love more than the amount I have currently. You could never have enough RAM, in fact.
  • 3 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , August 3, 2011 2:48 AM
    i googled and found this among many similar conclusions>
    Quote:
    So is Windows 7 the best OS for gaming? Based on the results we’ve just looked at, I’d have to say “yes”. Windows 7 delivers the best combination of features and game performance of any OS tested today. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s also just as stable as Windows XP and Vista and seems more responsive. The addition of gestures and the new taskbar really push Windows 7 over the top."
    source: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/windows_7_gaming/page12.asp
  • -2 Hide
    master9716 , August 3, 2011 3:06 AM
    Once Apps and New gen games requier faster ram or when the Lazer processors come out drr wont be able to keep up thats when ddr will become important again.
  • 2 Hide
    razor512 , August 3, 2011 3:44 AM
    the OS should use as little memory and CPU as possible

    If companies like Microsoft were to limit their programmers to modern systems that are down clocked to like 200MHz and 512MB RAM, you will see major improvements in system performance, just because modern computers have more memory and CPU power does not mean you need to make the OS more demanding.

    On my windows xp install, at startup the system only uses about 40MB ram, On windows 7 that memory usage jumps to over 1GB.

    When loading different things built into the OS, the hard drive light stays on longer under windows 7 than windows xp

    Loading less data is faster than loading more data

    If microsoft wants a truly successful Os that will quickly gain all of the windows user base. Then make a new OS that has requirements along the lines of windows 98 or windows 95, just with the modern instruction sets

    A leaner SO always improves performance, for example on a linksys wrt54g if you move from the stock linksys firmware to a lighter firmware such as tomato, the routers simultaneous connection throughput increases along with the max number of connections it can handle with huge performance increase noticed when using peer-to-peer programs such as bittorrent.

    The main difference is the tomato firmware uses far fewer resources so more memory can be dedicated to handling a larger number of connections and the lower CPU usage frees up the CPU so more CPU resources can be focused on improving throughput on a large number of simultaneous transfers.

    Even with professional programs the newer versions tend to run faster on older hardware because the developers focus on reducing the resource usage. for example a program like maya, with new versions you will see the main program use less resources allowing for more resources to be dedicated to the more time sensitive tasks such as rendering

    all OS makers need to focus on reducing resource use so that there will be more free resources that can be dedicated to running the programs that the user wants to run.

    Your OS should not have the system requirements of half life 2. The job of the Os is to provide an environment for a user to run their programs.
    If you don't believe me then ask your self, would you use a OS like windows, linux or the mac OS if they only allowed you to run the OS and not install any additional applications?
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