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Experiment: Can Adding RAM Improve Your SSD's Endurance?

Experiment: Can Adding RAM Improve Your SSD's Endurance?
By , Achim Roos

A minor hardware upgrade can have a major impact. Adding RAM to your PC may help cut back on writes to your SSD, potentially increasing its lifespan. In fact, our benchmarks reveal up to a 63% reduction with 16 GB of DDR3 memory compared to 4 GB.

There are a number of different hardware upgrades capable of speeding up an aging PC. A new processor does the trick, though many times that turns into a new motherboard, new memory, and often a new power supply, too. An add-in graphics card is often the answer, particularly if you're a gamer. But two of the easiest and most effective purchases are an SSD and more system memory.

Switching over from a mechanical disk to solid-state storage is probably the most effective way to really feel your system get faster. However, adding RAM can also cut down on boot-up time, make applications start faster, and keep more programs open at a time without a big performance hit. The ability to fit more data into memory means your CPU will make fewer trips out to the slower tier of user storage for the information it needs.

But what if your machine already boasts an SSD? Will adding RAM still help, accelerating it further? Or can you save the cost and sink it into a higher-end GPU down the road? How much does more memory affect write operations? We're taking a closer look at those questions by repeatedly running our benchmark suite on an SSD-equipped machine, while varying the amount of RAM installed.

The result took us by surprise. In essence, there is no such thing as too much memory in a desktop with solid-state storage. The more RAM you add, the better off endurance looks, and the more I/O performance you get from the storage subsystem.

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  • 44 Hide
    lunyone , July 10, 2013 9:10 PM
    How is RAM at "Historic Lows"?? RAM in 2012 was about half the price today. I bought 32 gb's of RAM in late 2012 for $100 on sale. Today it's about >$200 for similar set.
  • 25 Hide
    CommentariesAnd More , July 10, 2013 9:26 PM
    I did feel the difference when I added 8GB RAM to my rig. It was in my pocket , not the SSD though. :p 
  • 14 Hide
    rdc85 , July 10, 2013 9:56 PM
    IMO more test needed to see better picture, like test when gaming, light browsing office, watching movie, etc..

    I think the test in this article all high memory usage apps, the average reduction of disk write may be lower/none in light workload...

    And also what the effect if the page/swap files is moved to hdd (not in the ssd) in some computer configuration (like mine)....
Other Comments
  • 44 Hide
    lunyone , July 10, 2013 9:10 PM
    How is RAM at "Historic Lows"?? RAM in 2012 was about half the price today. I bought 32 gb's of RAM in late 2012 for $100 on sale. Today it's about >$200 for similar set.
  • 25 Hide
    CommentariesAnd More , July 10, 2013 9:26 PM
    I did feel the difference when I added 8GB RAM to my rig. It was in my pocket , not the SSD though. :p 
  • 4 Hide
    agnickolov , July 10, 2013 9:41 PM
    I've happily been running with 12GB for over 2 1/2 years now, upgraded from initially only 6GB. I probably won't be going for 24GB though, since my system is rather old running an i7-920. However, 16GB or maybe even 32GB is definitely in the cards for the next build. If only Intel were to release a CPU worth upgrading to, 4.5 years later the current Haswell i7s are not even twice faster...
  • 14 Hide
    rdc85 , July 10, 2013 9:56 PM
    IMO more test needed to see better picture, like test when gaming, light browsing office, watching movie, etc..

    I think the test in this article all high memory usage apps, the average reduction of disk write may be lower/none in light workload...

    And also what the effect if the page/swap files is moved to hdd (not in the ssd) in some computer configuration (like mine)....
  • 5 Hide
    lunyone , July 10, 2013 10:20 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    How is RAM at "Historic Lows"?? RAM in 2012 was about half the price today. I bought 32 gb's of RAM in late 2012 for $100 on sale. Today it's about >$200 for similar set.


    Considering that 4GB of DDR2 used to cost ($250) you can easily get 32GB of DDR3. And it will go down again with DDR4 since DDR4 should have 16GB sticks in mass.

    How does this relate to my statement? I know RAM was expensive when they first came out, but over the last 6-8 months time frame RAM has more than doubled in price, so your point is just moot as far as this article is concerned, IMHO.
  • 3 Hide
    Soma42 , July 10, 2013 10:20 PM
    Is this not just reflecting the reduction of the page file? I would think that by reducing the page file down to a minimum size you would achieve the same effect. You can probably turn it off at 16GB ram, maybe even at 8GB and really increase your SSD life.
  • 3 Hide
    vinhn , July 10, 2013 10:45 PM
    Yeah, last year, 2x4GB RAM were around ~$45, not it is ~$70. Not that I am complaining, it is low but not historic low.
  • 2 Hide
    smeezekitty , July 10, 2013 11:34 PM
    I don't suggest putting your swap file on your SSD. It will eat up the write cycles as well as valuable gigabytes.

    Put it on your data drive instead. Although it is slower if you have enough RAM it won't be a problem.
  • 2 Hide
    smeezekitty , July 10, 2013 11:34 PM
    Maybe this article will make 16GB not be considered such overkill now.
  • 6 Hide
    AndrewJacksonZA , July 11, 2013 12:03 AM
    Hi Manuel

    I have 24GB of RAM in my workstation at work. I don't have an SSD, just two HDDs. What I've done to get a NOTICEABLE improvement in responsiveness is to create a 4GB RAM drive (I use RAMDisk from Dataram,) set it up to be present at boot and set both my user and system temp environment variables to point to the RAM drive.

    Most importantly, I've set my swap file to 16MB and put the swap file on the RAM drive too.

    Both reads and writes are down from both HDDs. Do you have time to test this type of arrangement and perhaps update the article please because I feel that this setup is a very good use of a large amount of RAM?
  • -4 Hide
    zcoot , July 11, 2013 12:04 AM
    I was planning to get a SSD glad I saw this, might grab another 8GB of memory
  • -1 Hide
    csf60 , July 11, 2013 12:27 AM
    Very interesting article.
  • -3 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , July 11, 2013 12:34 AM
    What arrangement of sticks did you use? The 'Test System' section only refers to 2x8GB, which can't really do 4GB.

    Also, I see there being a difference between single and dual channel.
  • -1 Hide
    knightmike , July 11, 2013 1:10 AM
    CTRL + ALT + Delete > Start Task Manager > Performance

    After web browsing with 10 tabs open, playing World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike: GO, I have 3562 total, 1318 cached, 1421 available, and 122 free. That's 60% used and 40% available.

    Can somebody with 8 and 16GB post their results with similar usage? It would be interesting to see if the cached value changes.
  • 2 Hide
    dark_wizzie , July 11, 2013 2:01 AM
    But for regular tasks that don't take up all of the ram... this won't help?
  • 3 Hide
    Afrospinach , July 11, 2013 2:02 AM
    Quote:
    I don't suggest putting your swap file on your SSD. It will eat up the write cycles as well as valuable gigabytes.

    Put it on your data drive instead. Although it is slower if you have enough RAM it won't be a problem.


    Why bother getting an SSD if you are going to not use it? Wearing out is usually rather exaggerated in its relevance.
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , July 11, 2013 2:25 AM
    Been running my 8GB system with a small 64MB swapfile on a non system HDD for quite a while. I only keep the 64MB swap for those older apps that still like to know one is there.
  • -6 Hide
    Divyanshu Sah , July 11, 2013 2:41 AM
    i dont have any ssd but ya ram is incresing the speed of my pc.
  • -1 Hide
    CommentariesAnd More , July 11, 2013 3:16 AM
    How about RAMDisk ? Seems like I am buying 12GB of RAM.
    I am , I seriously am.............................
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