Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

How Much RAM is enough?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 wdrbbq

wdrbbq

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 07:32 AM

I recently purchased, and ultimately returned, a refurbished Dell laptop which came with 4 gigs of RAM but was expandable all the way up to 32 gigs. That got me to wondering: The laptop I'm currently on has 4 gigs of RAM as well as a meter which allows me to monitor RAM usage. I've noticed that only very occasionally, and for short periods of time, the usage goes to between 95% and 98%, usually during some type of scan. At what point would I begin to experience diminishing returns and not notice an increase in speed? How much is enough? In case it matters, I'm not a gamer. 


Edited by hamluis, 21 December 2016 - 08:06 AM.
Moved from WB/Email to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 07:35 AM

I should have mentioned that normally my RAM usage hovers around 60%.



#3 hamluis

hamluis

    Moderator


  • Moderator
  • 55,866 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Killeen, TX
  • Local time:07:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:05 AM

If you have 4GB installed and do not game or run unusual apps requiring a lot of RAM...IME, I find 4GB to be enough, whether the O/S is 32-bit or 64-bit.

 

RAM is the primary resource/fuel for the system.  It's supposed to have high usage at moments, depending on what the system is running then.  Having an excess amount yields no benefit that I can discern.  Creating a reserve that will not be utilized...seems dubious to me.

 

I claim no expertise in telling you the above...I only go by my limited personal experiences with various systems of my own, running both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.  I have consistently done video-editing (which is more CPU-intensive, not RAM-intensive as some seem to think) using 4GB RAM and never had a problem attributable to RAM amount.

 

Louis


Edited by hamluis, 21 December 2016 - 08:10 AM.


#4 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:16 AM

Thanks for your response. This laptop actually came with 2 gigs but I expanded to 4 gigs right away and never experienced what 2 gigs was like. I must admit, I expanded to 4 gigs simply because it was advertised that I could. I have no speed issues and wondered myself about overkill. I thought that maybe the 32 gigs might be useful to gamers but not to the average user who doesn't do it. Thanks again. 

Oh, by the way, this is Win 7, 64 bit. 



#5 nathanwellsonline

nathanwellsonline

  • Members
  • 16 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:06:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:45 AM

being a 64 bit system, the minimum requirement is 4 GB. If it works fine for what you use it for, you are good to stay at 4GB. I normally will install at least 8GB on a 64 bit system just because I don't like staying at the minimum requirements.



#6 hamluis

hamluis

    Moderator


  • Moderator
  • 55,866 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Killeen, TX
  • Local time:07:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:56 AM

The minimum requirement for a 64-bit O/S is NOT 4GB.  Many users don't do a thing onlihe which calls for more than 2GB RAM...how else could you explain the netbook?

 

The price of RAM is so cheap that many users just naturally gravitate to installing 8GB...not necessarily for any reason relating to system functionality.

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10737/windows-7-system-requirements

 

Louis



#7 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:56 AM

Good point. Thanks for the info. I didn't know about the 4 gig minimum for 64 bit. So then, the way they sold this laptop to me new was with 2 gigs, knowing it should have 4 gigs. As I said previously, I upgraded simply because they advertised I could and it was so simple, even I could do it. They implied more is better but never recommended it. 



#8 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:57 AM

Ok. That pretty much negates my last response then. We posted at the same time. Thanks. 



#9 nathanwellsonline

nathanwellsonline

  • Members
  • 16 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:06:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:01 PM

Yes, 2GB will run the Operating System but not much of anything else and your experience will be very poor.



#10 GreenGiant117

GreenGiant117

  • Members
  • 294 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:02 PM

Photo editing and rendering generally are what take the most RAM, even the most resource intensive video games rarely use more then a few gigs of RAM, the bottleneck is generally the CPU or GPU if anything.

That being said there are some games that require quite a lot, I run 16GB in both of my systems and never even run above 70% usage, moving to 32 would see little to no benefit to myself.

 

Now there are programs that will load things into RAM for faster usage (photoshop is very good at this) and some of them you can set usage limits (again photoshop) so if you are working on larger pictures like this one you can open is with 12 of your 16GB of RAM lets say. but if you had 32, or 64 you could load the entire thing into RAM for the fastest possible manipulation and editing.



#11 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:03 PM

I'll let you guys fight it out. I think I've got the idea. 



#12 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:06 PM

I see. Thanks. 



#13 Kilroy

Kilroy

  • BC Advisor
  • 3,391 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Launderdale, MN
  • Local time:07:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:58 PM

Personally I recommend 8GB, most people don't need more.  If you're only doing light web browsing 4GB will be fine, but if you're a heavier user additional RAM is the biggest bang for the buck upgrade you can do.

 

The available RAM doesn't really tell the story.  What you need to look at are your Hard Page Faults.  Hard Page Faults are when your machine does not have the information available in RAM and needs to pull it from the swap file.  The more often this occurs the more additional RAM will help you.

 

My work machine has 4GB of RAM and runs at 75% used with three browser windows and Outlook running.  When I really start working my page file is heavily used.  Previously we recommended users go to 8GB of RAM because of the number of hard drive failures we were experiencing.  It was nothing to do a hard drive replacement  every day of the week.  Once we started installing more RAM we went to about one a month.



#14 wdrbbq

wdrbbq
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 267 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:00 AM

Posted 21 December 2016 - 02:46 PM

Ok. Thanks. I just browse. There's no gaming. I have had 3 browsers open simultaneously with one of them being on interactive live radar with absolutely no speed issues. However, in planning for the future, 8 gigs would probably be a good compromise, just to give me a little more head room. I kind of knew intuitively that 32 gigs would be overkill. 



#15 Kilroy

Kilroy

  • BC Advisor
  • 3,391 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Launderdale, MN
  • Local time:07:00 AM

Posted 22 December 2016 - 12:44 PM

I've had 32GB in my machine since it was built in August 2012.  I don't think I've ever come close to using it.  I went with that much because I knew I'd have the machine for three or more years and had the money to spend.

 

I'm an heavy user at home, web browser on left monitor, World of Warcraft on the center monitor, watching a movie on the right monitor, while ripping a CD, DVD, or Bluray and 20 to 40 other programs running in the background is normal usage for me.  I don't think I even come close to using 16GB.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users