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Standard User GeoffB
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 29-Apr-12 10:09:30
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Upgrade memory?


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When I got my new Dell almost 2 years ago (see my signature) I opted for 4GB RAM as I'd heard that Win7 ran better with a lot of memory. I have upgraded an older laptop (WinXP) from 1GB to 2GB and found some improvement in speed and response. The Crucial memory scanner tells me that I have capacity for 2x4GB modules so the question is this...is it worth shelling out £40 or so for the extra 4GB?
I tend to have several applications running at the same time and have taken to minimizing iPlayer whilst working on other things (please don't ask why!). I'm running
Home Premium 64 bit.
On the same issue, remind me why the modules have to be installed in 2s. They don't recommend one 8GB module, just the 2 4GB ones.

Dell Studio 15 with Win7 64bit and 4GB RAM
IE9 and Live Mail
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Standard User Deadbeat
(knowledge is power) Sun 29-Apr-12 10:48:53
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
It depends what applications that you're using of course but for general use, 4Gig is plenty. Of course, if it's cheap enough and you have the cash to spare.......

I use a few hefty apps on my well modded Aspire 7520 but I can't say that anything over 4Gig makes any difference at all.

Edited by Deadbeat (Sun 29-Apr-12 10:50:51)

Standard User micksharpe
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 29-Apr-12 11:08:03
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
Using two memory modules allows the CPU to use two channels simultaneously to access memory, thus giving faster operation. Three and four-channel memory is now possible with the latest CPUs.

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise” - Robert Fritz
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Standard User camieabz
(sensei) Sun 29-Apr-12 13:17:03
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
I would suggest you consider tidying your system prior to increasing from 4GB, as I feel it is plenty. Newer Windows versions use almost all memory by caching the thing you will use more often (Superfetch). This is a good thing, but the startup services and apps will occasionally impact on system performance.

I'd be looking to reduce the startup apps. I have six necessary ones (ATI gfx, sound and security) and one personal use one, from a list of 34 (28 disabled). Also disabled a fair chuck of unnecessary services. Boot time is less than a minute (mechanical drive), and boot memory usage is 1.2GB. It used to be less with another gfx card.

You would be amazed at how much carp is loaded when you boot up, and I recommend you look into that first.

~ Camieabz ~

All Connection Data ~ plusnet

mod'er·a'tion n.
Synonyms: temperance, restraint, modesty.
Standard User Chrysalis
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 30-Apr-12 03:57:37
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
unless ram prices have shot up in the past 3 months thats a very high price for the ram.

but regardsless you should see an improvement from 2 to 4 gig of ram. although if your windows install is 32bit it may not all get utilised.
Standard User GeoffB
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 30-Apr-12 06:35:33
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
I'm OK with disabling startup programmes and have disabled a lot, but I've always been reluctant to touch the services as it's hard to see what some of them do and I don't want to mess up my system.

Dell Studio 15 with Win7 64bit and 4GB RAM
IE9 and Live Mail
BT Infinity via HH3
Standard User camieabz
(sensei) Mon 30-Apr-12 11:21:01
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
Check out black viper's wiki on them. Very informative.

~ Camieabz ~

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mod'er·a'tion n.
Synonyms: temperance, restraint, modesty.
Standard User Deadbeat
(knowledge is power) Mon 30-Apr-12 11:46:21
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by GeoffB:
I'm OK with disabling startup programmes and have disabled a lot, but I've always been reluctant to touch the services as it's hard to see what some of them do and I don't want to mess up my system.

As already posted, Black Viper's guides are very good. Do a couple at a time and if you do mess up, just boot to Safe Mode and re-enable them.
Standard User RiffRaff
(knowledge is power) Mon 30-Apr-12 13:38:36
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
There is some evidence that shows that machines with 8GB RAM respond, and wake from hibernation etc faster than machines with 4GB. Then again, it's from RAM suppliers (Corsair and i forget the other). Allthough real world users do report it's true to an extent.

One thing i can vouch for, and i definetley notice, which is to be expected really, is that with 8GB RAM over 4GB, the machine responds quicker, when you have multiple applications left open.

A lot of people got into the habit over the years (particurlarly before 4GB was seen as the baseline) of closing an application when they weren't using it. Of course back then, the swap file located on the mechanical hard drive became inundated, but even when 2GB machines became the norm people still close applications.

These days (and as has been pointed out it depends what applications you use) the number of applications you can now leave running, without even bothering to close them, has dramatically increased, to the point where you can actually disable the swap file, or (as some apps still need to know its there even if they dont actually use it) at the very least make it tiny, as the extra RAM will pick up the slack. So, long gone are the days of staring at the HD activity light waiting for the page file to catch up.

After my own testing, I found I do notice a (what I would personally deem) significant difference when using 8GB over 4GB and i've now go into the habit of leaving pretty much all apps open, whereas before i used to close them. I'm a home user so the apps i'm talking about are the more common ones.

On that basis, i'd personally say yes, its worth going up to 8GB.

BUT...

You have another option (assuming you dont already have one), which would give you a far more noticable affect on performance: an SSD drive which you will install the OS on.

So, even in view of all the above, and again assuming your machine doesnt already have an SSD, i think overall you would be better putting that £40 toward the cost of an SSD. Smaller ones are fairly cheap nowadays, you could still keep your existing mechanical hard drive[s] for storage, back up, extra programs etc. Of course as yours is an OEM pre built PC, you may be reluctant to reinstall the OS, but you would notice the affects of that SSD, above the transition between 4GB and 8GB RAM (assuming you dont use a lot of intensive apps at once) in my opinion. The mechanical hard drive is still usually the bottleneck in most of todays PC's.

Of course if money is no object, get both tongue

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Edited by RiffRaff (Mon 30-Apr-12 13:40:31)

Standard User micksharpe
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 30-Apr-12 13:57:56
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Re: Upgrade memory?


[re: RiffRaff] [link to this post]
 
There is no need for paging today. I run 12GB with no page file. I could probably get away with 8GB and I can go up to 24GB if necessary. I tried an SSD but found it very unreliable. One reason for disabling the page file was to avoid hammering the SSD. I have now gone back to an HDD and, frankly, I have noticed very little performance degradation. Loads of memory is the way to go, imo. I would only consider using an SSD in a laptop to conserve power and they would need to be a lot more reliable than they are now.

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise” - Robert Fritz
.
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