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Thread: Do we need more than 4GB?

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Do we need more than 4GB?

    Just a thought, and i'd welcome opinions and experiences:
    Is a standard home desktop (or laptop) computer going to benefit from more than 4GB of RAM?

    I ask this because of the relative low prices of RAM, and with 64 bit OSes now seeming without any driver issues or other things that plagued such OSes in the past it's an easy process to add more as needed.
    But is it needed? I have 6GB in my system and honestly couldnt tell you if there is a single jot of benefit over 4GB.
    My system has iTunes with a large library (30k+ songs, I know certain Hexites have much more) which may benefit in theory, but i'm not sure. Games? V. unlikely. Image editing? Personally i tend to use Paint.net and GIMP, and only use 1 image at a time, nothing complex.

    How about you guys? Do we actually just have more because we can?
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    Pork & Beans Powerup Phage's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    No - probably not. But with triple rate RAM the choice is 3Gb or 6Gb. Given the low prices, I went for 6gb on my Skynet box. The kids machine has 4Gb of DDR2 though.
    Society's to blame,
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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC View Post
    ... Do we actually just have more because we can?
    I think we probably do, yes. Even my test server at work, which I use as my main workstation, fold on, and run 4 or 5 test web sites with some pretty sizeable SQL Server databases, only uses just over 2GB of it's 4GB of physical RAM.

    My recent experience is that 1GB is an absolute minimum for most OSes now: even XP once you've got it patched up to SP3 and are running anti-virus software etc. (note, however, that XP SP2 is still very happy with 512MB). That said, for general surfing 1GB is definitely enough (as that's what my home laptop is currently using). I think for pretty much all home purposes more than 2GB is unnecessary: particularly under Windows 7 or XP (not so sure about Vista: frankly it's never going near any of my computers again ). However we're at the point now where 4GB is the pricing sweet spot, so there's little point not putting 4GB in a new build.

    But more than 4GB? I'm pretty sure the only thing it's necessary for is e-peen

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    <<== UT3 Player spoon_'s Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    I got 24GB in my main rig but need it from virtualization point of view.

    To add I'm on the limit of RAM sometimes :O

    Without VMs, 6GB was plenty - bought it from the very same reason as Phage - I thought 3GB was too little so went for 6GB as my mobo only takes triple channel RAM.

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    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    A lot of people probably only have around 3GB of system RAM at the most since 32 bit operating systems are still quite common.


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    ALT0153™ Rob_B's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    A lot of people probably only have around 3GB of system RAM at the most since 32 bit operating systems are still quite common.
    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

    4GB+ is on the increase, granted it's skewed towards gamers but I'm not aware of any other survey of this scale.

    I had 4GB, then for bought another 2Gb mainly because it was cheap. I've not seen over about 2GB usage on machine but it's always there!

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    Pork & Beans Powerup Phage's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    A lot of people probably only have around 3GB of system RAM at the most since 32 bit operating systems are still quite common.
    Oh yes - The laptop has 2Gb and my old P4 ended up with 3Gb.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    as with spoon , the only reason I run 8GB in my main rig was because I use it as my Vmware Lab.

    I do have a good old fight in $dayjob trying to convince people that they dont need quite that much RAM in their VM's - though I have seen a lot more than scaryjim's consumption , but thats at the enterprise level. ( especially when you start trying to run some horribly coded Java fat clients that will consume 1GB each )

    out of curiosity , what sized SQL db's are they scaryjim ?
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    I've had 6GB in my workstation for about 3 years or so. I now have 8GB in my laptop. I wouldn't be with less than 6 in my systems unless they're single purpose, like my mythtv box, which somehow plays HD with 2GB, an old FX-57 and no xvmc.
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    With games being distributed compressed onto 4.7GB DVD media it seems reasonable to want enough ram to hold a decent percentage of the final size for smooth game play.

    However, it could be argued that using an SSD to page areas of game in fast is better than having more system ram and hoping you already loaded that bit in the past.

    WoW is up to something like 12GB of hard disc space used and already recommends a 64 bit platform.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moby-Dick View Post
    ... I have seen a lot more than scaryjim's consumption ...
    So have I - using SPSS. Our new analysis machines are kitted out with a minimum of 8GB, and some of the specialist ones (working on > 2GB datasets) I specced for 24GB. And I'm glad I did, because one of the analysts on that project was monitoring the resource usage on his machine when doing a sort in SPSS, and his physical memory usage rocketed to about 14GB. Which explained why the old analysis machines, with only 4GB, took quite so long to run our SPSS scripts...
    Quote Originally Posted by Moby-Dick View Post
    ...out of curiosity , what sized SQL db's are they scaryjim ?
    Not as large as I thought, actually. I've just checked the live server too, and there are 4 or 5 commonly used databases sized between 150MB and 320MB. The test server has one DB that's just shy of 500MB, but it's one that's not used so much at the minute, as there's no ongoing development on that project. Physical memory usage on the live server is around 2.5GB - a couple of hundred MB more than on the test.

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Thats to be expected SQL does benefit from being able to cache as much of your db in memory as possible - when dealing with 100Gb+ databases it really benefits from the extra sticks.
    Its somethign that will get more and more common though as use of sharepoint goes up due to the "unique" ( read: stupid) way that microsoft puts all the objects for a sharepoint site into SQL rather than linking to a filestore like everyone else does
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    I went from 4gb to 8gb, noticed no difference in my daily usage ymmv, returned to 4gb

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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Bit Tech had a look at 2Gb vs 4Gb vs 8Gb ages ago which showed there was very little benefit from going past 4Gb:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/mem...emory-better/1

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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Tomshardware did this recent feature on RAM: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...rade,2778.html They found that >4GB helps for some games by allowing the GPU to access more system memory directly.

    This rarely gives more FPS though but does help with some graphical issues like late texture pop-in in a limited number of games.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Do we need more than 4GB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moby-Dick View Post
    ... Its somethign that will get more and more common though as use of sharepoint goes up due to the "unique" ( read: stupid) way that microsoft puts all the objects for a sharepoint site into SQL rather than linking to a filestore like everyone else does
    Eeek, nasty. I had to work with a CMS that did that once. It was an appalling mess of hack. In fact, at one point I found a comment next to some faff code that read "this is to fix the error in the specification"...

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