Not much has changed since 4 GB of RAM became the “sweet spot” for performance and price in the enthusiast market. While 32-bit operating systems previously limited those 4 GB configurations to around 3 GB of useful memory space, today's test shows that 3 GB is still usually enough.
We remember days when having multiple Internet Explorer windows open could cause a system to become sluggish. But even that scenario has become unrealistic, as all the configurations we tested in this review supported over 100 open windows simultaneously.
If 3 GB worked so well, why do we continue to recommend 4 GB to 6 GB triple-channel kits for performance systems? Perhaps we’re just a little too forward-looking, but we can certainly imagine scenarios a typical “power user” could encounter where 3 GB might not be enough, even if today’s tests didn’t reveal any of them. For those folks, stepping up to a 64-bit operating system at the same time is undoubtedly the best course of action.
We can only recommend larger capacities of 8 GB to 12 GB for professional applications where its usefulness has already been documented and for servers. None of our tests required high-memory capacities and wasted RAM is a burden both financially and ecologically.