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2GB vs. 4GB Ram for Vista Home Premium?

by retexan599 / May 6, 2007 7:22 AM PDT

This is no doubt an oversimplified question: I plan to get a new Vista Home Premium based computer and will certainly get at least 2GB RAM. An option on one of my possible choices is to increase the memory to 4GB. I am inclined to get the extra 2GB as I want this computer to last me for five years. I do plan to do some conversions of old VHS videotapes to DVD with this machine and have the feeling that the extra RAM will come in handy. Or....am I just absolutely wasting the extra 270 dollars for the extra RAM. Opinions welcome! Thanks.

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Beware that 4GB. There are complaints about...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 6, 2007 7:43 AM PDT

Vista as supplied will show from 3 to 3.5 GB of RAM. It has to do with the address space is also used for other things. Some owners seem upset with that.

It's also well known that past 2GB there is little gain.


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2GB vs. 4GB Ram for Vista Home Premium?
by billzhills / May 6, 2007 11:00 PM PDT

I would suggest spending the money on hard disk drives.

More information at Videoguys.


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by xFulcrumx / May 7, 2007 12:02 AM PDT

do you have the 32 or 64bit version?.
32 I assume and do you plan on doing vid editing?. or just transfers.
either way the extra mem will help despite what the others say.
profit says that theres little gain is false. when doing vid editing and such more mem is always good.

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3gb is good, but 4th gb is usually wasted on 32bit vista
by ramarc / May 7, 2007 1:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Depends

there's little gain in adding the 4th gigabyte of ram, not in adding more ram.

depending on your components and the memory address ranges they use, you might be able to use a bit more than 3gb. for example, i have 2gb of ram and my video card's memory range is 0x80000000 - 0x8fffffff (the first 256mb above 2gb). some components are greedy and require a large window while other components are fickle and use non-contiguous ranges (wasting even more ram). my pc's components take an address window of about 512mb. the 'better' your pc (from a features standpoint), the more address ranges it needs and all of those ranges start at the end of your physical memory. since 32bit OS's can only address 4gb of ram, if you install 4gb the memory address ranges for your various components will begin to hide some of your physical ram.


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by kpo6969 / May 7, 2007 6:02 AM PDT

I got my system recently with 2gb. Bought 1GB from Crucial for 61.99
Works great with 3gb.

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So, maybe just buy 3GB RAM instead of 4GB?
by retexan599 / May 8, 2007 6:11 AM PDT

1. It is sounding like (from the discussion here) there might be some value in going up to about 3GB, but probably a waste of money to go on to 4GB (all in a 32 bit system), does that make sense?

2. It also sounds like the bigger the video card memory, the more of a bite of the 3GB to 4GB increment is taken up by the other devices? I was considering getting a 768MB video card (vs. a 256MB card) but it sounds like the extra 512MB would cut down on the RAM (assuming I had the total of 4GB -- again is this making sense?

Thanks for all the input!

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The problem is payback.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 8, 2007 6:19 AM PDT

In XP we saw very little payback past 1GB. In Vista there is some payback from 1 to 2GB but the payback that I've seen from 2 to 3 only shows in benchmarks and then in the single digits. Your choice here.

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ram in XP
by photobug56 / May 11, 2007 1:24 PM PDT

I run XP Pro on an older PC. It had 1 gb ram, and was constantly starving for ram (lots of things running). Doubling to 2gb has led the pc to run a lot better.

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Here's my 2 bits...
by TrackStar1682 / May 11, 2007 3:47 PM PDT
In reply to: ram in XP

On my system, I run both WinXP and Vista, and I've been able to see how well they both take advantage of the extra memory (1 GB of DDR2 533 MHz v. 2 GB of DDR2 667 MHz)

In XP, the difference was really negligible and I really couldn't tell a huge difference other than things that would use way more memory than they did before. Example: iTunes running cover flow for a library of over 4000 tracks gobbled up a whopping 800 MB or so of memory!!! I can have a ton of stuff open either way and don't really have any problems in XP.

With Vista, things were a bit different. First off though, let me say that Vista does run well on 1 GB of RAM and that I had no problems running it with that much. That said, I was able to tell a pretty significant difference in how well everything ran when I upped it from 1 GB to 2GB. I can only guess that adding that extra gigabyte of memory would probably provide a little extra kick comparable to the extra kick XP experienced when moving from 1 GB to 2 GB.

If you need more than 2 GB, simply add another 2 GB rather than buying just 1 GB. If it works well enough in spite of the fact that only 3 GB will show, just leave it. When you feel the need to unlock that extra potential stored away in that last gigabyte, just order your 64-bit copy of Vista. If you have a copy of the retail software, you can obtain a 64-bit copy at no extra charge other than shipping. Going 64-bit has its own challenges, but if you have the need, go for it!

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Same here
by b8375629 / May 14, 2007 12:09 AM PDT
In reply to: ram in XP

Yeah, I was running into the same thing, especially using Nero 7. 1GB just didn't cut it, so as soon as I put another stick of RAM in, my machine ran Nero better, too.

XP Pro works just fine with 2GB. In fact, I'd recommend an upgrade to that if you have enough slots to do it with.

With Vista, if you can put 3GB in, great. Beyond 3GB on a 32bit system, it's probably a waste of money.

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instead of more OS ram why not a RAM drive?
by Sugien2 / May 14, 2007 12:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Same here

For just a little bit more then the price of 4Gb of ram you could buy a 32Gb ram drive. This may be the least reported but biggest news in the computing world. This is poised to go into production systems in 2008; but why wait? A ram drive is a Hard drive in name only; because in actuality it is pure ram that is used in place of the HD. Today you CAN buy a 32Gb ram drive to replace your HD for around $320. Talk about a speed increase. Starting and loading office for instance would load up and run using a (physical) ram drive as quick as if you already had it loaded in from a normal HD and sitting down in the task bar and it loads and runs as fast as if you had simply clicked on it down in the tray and had it pop up on the desktop.
These new ram drives include a battery back up system to retain information when the system is shut down. Laptops in Japan already have the option of replacing a 120Gb normal HD with a 32Gb ram drive. These new Ram Drive are NOT what most techs are use to thinking of a ram drive where you load information into a segment of ram and use it as a ram drive; but rather a *physical* ram drive that is used as the *primary* hard drive for the system.

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That would be a good option...
by b8375629 / May 14, 2007 2:16 AM PDT

...although 32GB wouldn't be enough for most people. They would still have to use an external mechanical drive for storage. However I agree flash drives are the future, no question about it.

Unless they can get mechanical drives to spin far over 10,000rpm. ;^)

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It's up to you
by kpo6969 / May 9, 2007 5:06 AM PDT

For 60.00 it was worth it to me.

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Not necessary ....
by Watzman / May 11, 2007 1:42 PM PDT

Absolutely not necessary; 2GB is fine and going from 2GB to 4GB will be unlikely to make any difference at all in anything that most people do (including, I think, video editing). And if you only get 2GB, you can always add 2 more later, at any time (and probably for less money that it will cost with the new system, or even from any source at this time).

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problem with RAM in Vista OS 32-bit
by dovlash / May 18, 2007 6:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Not necessary ....

I have 4 x 1Gb of DDR2 533MHz, but in windows read 3326 Mb. When I go in BIOS there shows 4 slots of 1 Gb DDR2 533MHz and that is OK. My motherboard can support 8Gb. Why in Vista read lower? Thank you

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Sorry I thought I wrote why...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 18, 2007 6:15 AM PDT

You have 32-bit Vista...

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5 years?
by prince10bee / May 12, 2007 5:36 AM PDT

5 years is quite a while to go without any upgrades (well @ least for gaming it is (I'm a gamer)). 4 gigs is alot (the max Vista will do I think) but if you want it to last 5 years I would bump it up to 4 gigs.

You also might want to consider upgrading to Vista Ultimate. It doesn't need anymore RAM then premium and it has some features & tools to keep your computer running good for the 5 years, as I say again 5 years is quite awhile. But if you stick with Premium that is certiantly good eneugh.

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Ultimate vista can use a USB Thumb drive as extra ram
by Sugien2 / May 12, 2007 8:36 AM PDT

Instead of shelling out for extra system ram put that cash into the OS; because the top of the line Vista business Ultimate (the highest priced version of Vista) comes with the ability to use an inexpensive USB thumb drive as system ram. This way you not only get the binifits of the extra ram but the better OS which also has the NEW "Bit Locking" which allows you to encript a HD that can NOT be read by simply daisy chaining it into another system to read it, instead you can bit lock it to another thumb drive, or SD Ram card or any othe removable media

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Home Premium supports thumb drives, too
by indy2001 / May 12, 2007 3:21 PM PDT

You don't need to buy Vista Ultimate to gain ReadyBoost capabilities for a thumb drive. My HP Pavilion Media Center computer has Vista Home Premium with 3 GB of RAM installed. When I want to start the memory-intensive Flight Simulator X software, I add a 2 GB thumb drive. Without it, I tend to get an Out of Memory error from the software after a while. With the thumb drive, I haven't seen that error yet.

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USB thumb drive and bit lock tech
by Sugien2 / May 13, 2007 4:18 AM PDT

Only business Ultimate has the Bit lock tech ability

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2GB RAM vs 4GB
by Gordie37080 / May 12, 2007 11:46 AM PDT

I recall getting my first 386 PC with my guru bro-in-law in the early 90's. 2mb of RAM...512 mb HD...he bumped it to 4mb of RAM.

A few weeks later, I made the bold statement that someday there would be a need for 2 to 4 GB of hard drive and 256mb of RAM.

He told me I was nuts.

I say, go for the 4 GB now, BUT, shop around. The cost of your extra 2 GB sounds very expensive, unless you are having someone install it for you.

You can find great deals on RAM at Tiger Direct and other such sites.

A year to 18 months from now, when you have bought some new programs and updated others AND when advancements we can't comprehend NOW will be casually accepted, you will be glad you "wasted" the money now.

Some hungry developer is going to work on all of the problems mentioned here, and there will be solutions in the not too distant future.

Also, don't forget that there will always be new advances in peripherals, and this will likely come into play in your need for RAM.

Besides, if you get 3mb now, depending on the configuration of your mother board, you will likely have to trash the 1GB to add the 2GB the other 2 GB.

I'm now looking forward to the days of 256GB of RAM and 4 TB of HD.

Heck, my Blackjack Smartphone already accepts a 2 GB micro SD chip...and I am sure making use of it.

ALWAYS dream ahead in the PC world...

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two thumbs up
by alcobaseta / February 2, 2009 10:01 PM PST
In reply to: 2GB RAM vs 4GB

Very interesting and amusing Giordios. We got to the moon but we didn't get much further. Methinks technology must have started to plateau by now. I mean you can see the difference (just) between 1920x1080 and 1366x768 but is anyone (other than Steve Austin.. $6M not Stone Cold) going to notice higher resolutions than that?
I have just come from Tom's where they did an exhaustive comparison of all RAM types. Although the price difference was significant a blind man on a galloping horse would be pushed to notice any realworld performance differences.
Maybe human faculties will begin evolving to keep pace with our computers.

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Pretty easy to find out in Vista
by skrubol / May 14, 2007 12:37 AM PDT

Vista includes a handy new performance monitoring tool called resource monitor. The way I get to it is by doing a ctrl-alt-del, bringing up task manager, switching to the performance tab and clicking the resource monitor button. The statistic you want to look at is 'hard faults' under memory. I find the naming to be a little odd, but a hard fault is when Windows has to read or write to the page file rather than RAM. When I had 1GB RAM, I was frequently seeing well above 1000 faults/min for some processes. If you aren't seeing above 500 or so hard faults/min for the processes you think you need more memory for, you probably don't need more RAM. I wouldn't pay much attention to your virus scanner, or this statistic within a few minutes after starting Windows. With 3GB, my AV program (AVG,) still gets a lot of hard faults, and as Windows is starting, several processes do.
Video transcoding/editing may not take as much memory as you may think. Most transcoding utilities I have consume 1-200MB at most. Uncompressed DVD quality video is only about 0.5MB/frame. DVD compression doesn't usually need to deal with more than 30 frames at a time, so you can see it doesn't have a large memory footprint. Editing programs may take more because they tend to be bloated software.

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4 gigs better than 2 for vista
by Crybabii / January 4, 2008 10:45 PM PST

I can assure you that 4 gigs ram will give you benfits of 3 gigs of ram on vista 32 bit.. and the 1 gig that doesnt show on vista 32 bit would be used to help Pci hardware.. e.g soundcars etc.. so its not all lost

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Sorry, that's not true.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 4, 2008 10:51 PM PST

"the 1 gig that doesnt show on vista 32 bit would be used to help Pci hardware.. e.g soundcars etc.. so its not all lost"

That's some drival or bad excuse you are hearing around sales counters today. It's a sure sign they are unaware how computers work.

Remember these are salespeople talking to consumers. They need these lies to keep from wasting time on the truth.


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