How Much RAM Do You Really Need?

Memory Matters

Many believe that one gigabyte of RAM is enough for virtually any non-professional application scenario. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Have you ever launched a recent gaming title with lots of resource-hungry applications already launched? Everything might seem fine as Windows relocates the applications' memory data to the swap file on your hard drive. However, as soon as you hit a Windows key accidentally, the OS will hectically try to exchange the gaming data in the main memory by the application data that was swapped before

Cached Vs. Non-Cached Benchmarking

When using Doom 3 for benchmarking, you initially run the demo a few times and ignore the first results since they are lower. The reason for the lower result is that the game reads texture and map data from the hard drive to system memory, and hard drive access is a FPS killer.

If you don't shut down the game after the first run, the demo will be cached in the system memory, thus avoiding the hard drive access penalty the next time you run it. If you're testing a CPU or a graphics card, you obviously won't take the first run into account since you don't want the hard drive access to affect your results.

However, the testing methodology used to determine the RAM's impact on performance is different. In this case, gauging performance involves the benchmark results generated the first time you run the demo.

Think about it: Did you ever load a saved game, complete the level, load the same saved game again and play the level one more time just to avoid low performance caused by hard drive access? The resulting performance gain is why we included the first runs in the graph - and don't worry, the first run results were very consistent.

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  • survivor1940
    I am a little confused as to what ram would work better with the Asus P5KPL-CM motherboard running intel E5200 CPU. I will not be gaming.I know I can use up to 3.5 Gbs of ram on my Windows XP 32 bit OS.The question is which would perform better> 2x1Gb ddr2-800 pc2 6400 or ddr2-667 pc2-5300?
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  • yugiteddy
    I use a Mac and a windows computer from IBM. I use the mac most of the time... it has 768 megabytes of ram.
    The Mac is a powerbook G4.
    Applications do crash but I like to do things quickly so that's why. With the IBM (Netvista), I don't use it that much, but sometimes I control it through RDC. The "Netvista" has 1 Gigabyte of ram.
    I don't really mind about the computers and the ram-I just care about that I can use them and that they don't crash each time I play a game.
    From someone, who is learning applescript.
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  • usasma
    I've got 12 gB of RAM and I still experience slowdowns. Today it was due to numerous programs reading my hard drive - and even the RAID 5 array didn't help.

    Performance is achieved by striking a good balance between RAM, CPU, Hard disks, and the mobo.
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  • Anonymous
    my 256mb ram pc is working surprisingly fast.it take 2 minutes to load while my laptop got 2 gb ram and takes like 5mins to start up.my 256mb ram system has been (like you were saying) balanced to do tasks throughout the system that are necessary only and working amazingly well.
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  • Anonymous
    80725760
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