Memory Upgrade: Is It Time To Add More RAM?

The price of memory upgrades is at an all-time low. And more memory is always better, right? We decided to analyze whether or not now could be the time for a fat memory upgrade. As it turns out, there are arguments for and against backing up the truck.

We want to do things a bit differently in this article. We're going to start with 32-bit programs in a 32-bit environment, move to 32-bit programs in a 64-bit environment, and finally look at 64-bit programs in a 64-bit environment.

By doing this, we want to prove that those of you still stuck on 32-bit systems can, in fact, benefit from 8 GB or more RAM before inevitably making the switch over to a 64-bit operating system in the near future.

Also, we want to show how 32-bit programs in 64-bit environments can benefit from a decent RAM expansion, how graphics cards don’t just fill their video memory with textures, and why you'd better have more than 4 GB of RAM when it comes time to move into the 64-bit world.

We obviously can't cover all possible application scenarios with different amounts of RAM, but we'll offer an interesting excursion off the beaten path...and perhaps a surprise or two along the way.

If you find a logical argument here to justify dipping into your household budget for a RAM upgrade, then we will have achieved something. We believe it’s important to have a smooth computing experience at work and the ability to play games without suffering from stuttering caused by annoying hard drive access. Expect one conclusion right up front: more RAM certainly never hurts anyone.