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How much RAM do you currently have in your main computer?

by Marc Bennett CNET staff/forum admin / July 26, 2006 10:19 AM PDT

How much RAM do you currently have in your main computer?

128MB or less (really?)
2GB or more
I don't know

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by John.Wilkinson / July 26, 2006 10:49 AM PDT

My primary computer has 2GB and my secondary, which I primarily use for work, has 3GB of RAM. It may be overkill for most, but it's necessary to accommodate my daily use. I find myself with multiple instances of Firefox, Word, VisualStudio, etc running at once, several security applications, as well as multiple desktop enhancements, and that's in addition to a virtual machine that I switch back and forth to. In short, I'm glad that XP Professional x64 and Vista (64-bit version) support more than 4GB of RAM, for I will likely break that mark before too much longer.


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Cannot go beyond 1G
by taboma / July 27, 2006 4:06 PM PDT
In reply to: 2GB+...

due to my older Mac G4. However, it is my work-at-home computer.
Pretty good as a matter of fact. For now.

Anyone want to discuss the speed factor of the computer V/S RAM?
Processor & buss speed and that sort of thing?
Kind of depends on what you are into it seems.

If I were into graphics and video special effects, such as DREAMWORKS,
I may opt for what?
A Super Computer? I am serious to know what these studios use for computers, ram and what atomic reactor.
Who knows?


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multiple instances of firefox?
by looseshoes / July 27, 2006 9:55 PM PDT
In reply to: 2GB+...

i can't really see why anyone would need to run multiple instances of firefox since tabbed browsing pretty much eliminates the need to do so. also the amount of ram necessary in a system is dependant upon several factors. i use my machine primarily for gaming and video editing. i've found that 1gb of ram eliminates the various bottlenecks in my rig, running two sticks of 512 pc 3200 in dual channel provides me with more than enough ram to quickly tackle any task. bear in mind that my system is sligthtly older. while i have newer components the motherboard is still an nforce 2 which limits ram speed to pc3200. the idea is to squeeze as much performance out of your system. i could easily pack 4gb of ram into my system, but it wouldn't really change anything. also bear in mind that there are other things that can slow down your machine, and no amount of ram is going to remedy this. what kind of hdd's are you running? SATA, ata100, ata133? this makes a big difference as well.

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More info...
by John.Wilkinson / July 28, 2006 1:02 PM PDT

My primary system has 2 160GB ATA133s while my secondary has a single 80GB SATA 3GB/s. (All 7,200rpm) My other specs can be found in my member profile. My computers aren't high-end, but they're not exactly budget models either.

For the most part I do rely on tabbed browsing in Firefox, but I do frequently have a couple of windows open so that I can switch back and forth between webpages using a quick-switch button on my mouse, something I can't do with tabs. (I wish I could, though.) Right now Firefox alone is using up 153MB, and I frequently find that number to be upwards of it's current location.

Aside from that, widgets and gadgets take up over 300MB at any given time, keeping me updated on news, forums, downloads, e-mail, weather conditions, stocks, and shipping orders. (My desktop is loaded.) A security suite and three third-party programs are running at all times, eating up another 300MB+. (I find myself not following what I preach...that is, going to only safe sites and downloading trusted software.)

I know that adding more memory doesn't necessarily speed up your system, and in my case there are several areas that could be improved in order to increase system performance. However, with numerous memory hogs running at once a lot of memory is a necessity. (I find myself using between a gig and 1.5 gigs most of the time, exceeding 2 gigs when running virtual machines.)


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More RAM will help
by dallas2000 / July 28, 2006 1:55 PM PDT

More RAM will keep your PC from caching to the hard drive when the RAM is full. Info stored in RAM is accessed much more quickly than your hard drive. So, more RAM will help even with a slower hard drive because you don't need to access the hard drive as much if you have extra RAM.

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by paolomcw / July 28, 2006 1:22 AM PDT
In reply to: 2GB+...

The point of firefox's tabbed browsing is to condense them all into a single window...why open several?

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by DaSpEcTeR / July 26, 2006 1:12 PM PDT

I have 2GB of RAM (4x 512 DDR PC4300). It was important for me to have at least 2GB of RAM so my PC will be future proof for Vista. I also use my computer for video editing and such which makes RAM all the more crucial for me.

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Mark, I just asked that question on Video editing to JW
by taboma / July 27, 2006 4:15 PM PDT
In reply to: 2GB

Go up to my question and also to help me.
I happen to do one post at a time without going down the list of other posts. I wanted to answer John Willkinson first.
Nw that I am responding to your link, is it RAM or refresh rate that is equally important? I do no video editing. Just graphics such as Adobe Photoshop.


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Future-proofing Vista...
by bobafett8782 / July 28, 2006 7:44 PM PDT
In reply to: 2GB

Make sure you have a pretty good graphics card, too -- my understanding is that Vista is going to have some pretty stiff requirements to run its Aero interface. That OS is going to be a beast...

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At least
by Ed-duh-win / July 29, 2006 5:57 PM PDT

At least 1GB of RAM and 128MB of Graphics Memory which can support Aero.

My computer doesn't meet the requirement...=(

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2 GB's
by bknowledge / July 27, 2006 2:42 AM PDT

I use my pc as a DVR and editing several TV shows by removing commercials would slow it down to a crawl, much less multi-tasking while doing it. So 2GB was a must but for my next system 4GBs is not out of the question.

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2 gb memory
by msa_amk / July 28, 2006 4:16 PM PDT
In reply to: 2 GB's

I use an HP m7360n media center pc to do video editing. The system came with 2x1gb memory (2gb), and was still slow. I doubled it to 4gb, and was amazed at the increase in speed. Memory is still the cheapest and most effective performance enhancement available.

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by aka_tripleB / July 27, 2006 7:33 PM PDT

I only have 1GB right now (1 stick). But I think I will soon be adding another 1GB stick because my computer lags sometimes when running certain programs (Online games mostly, though I doubt that I play much longer). When I upgrade to Vista, all I really think I'm going to upgrade is going to be the GPU. That was mid-range when I built this computer 8 months ago, but now it's at the bottom of the heap. Otherwise, this computer should have no problems with Vista.

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by axekick / July 27, 2006 8:33 PM PDT
In reply to: 1GB

I doubt that the 1GB of memory is causing your games to lag. Usually caused by your internet connection, or someone elses who is playing on your server. I play without issue(on occasion) with 1 GB, primarily STEAM games HL2 and CounterStrike. I do have a ATI X800 Pro video card but that is not anything exceptional by todays standards either.

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Battlelfield 2
by Kutusov / July 30, 2006 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Gaming

As far as I've read, battlefield 2 really demands 2gb ram. This new games seam to be badly coded as they suck huge amounts of RAM and power from Video cards... I mean, look at Prey.... it runs smooth in my amd 2800+ (32bits), nvidea6600gt agp and 1300 (more or less) ram. No way this could be possible for, say.... Oblivion. This last game just drags it **** on my system.... Oh well, an update is overdue...

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My video card is one below yours
by aka_tripleB / August 1, 2006 1:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Gaming

I have the ATI x700. Though I do understand what you're saying about RAM, I don't think it's going to be much of an issue if the Wii is as great as it sounds. I'm more of a console gamer, so I only would need my PC for video editting which I want to do. And that would be improved with more RAM.

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heh, I'm kinda in your boat
by ackmondual / August 2, 2006 1:33 AM PDT

I've got:
WinXP Pro
P4 3.0GHz
1.5GB of PC3200
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro

It seems like my vid card is yet another level below YOURS, but the most gaming I do on my PC are emulators, either PC games from years ago like Doom3 that I can run with a good performance/graphics settings ratio, or PC games even older then that that I can run full blast very well. So it doesn't concern me. I too am thinking about getting a Wii. I've always loved Nin games and I don't have the HDTV to fully support the other 2 nex gen's anyways

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Same here!
by beccaspitt2 / July 27, 2006 8:02 PM PDT
In reply to: 4gb

I have two 2GB Ram sticks on my desktop.

I'm an avid gamer and competitor, so computer lags, freezes, unexpected shutdowns, meltdowns, and memory breakdowns, are vital. I never want to see it happen.

It's the thin line between winning and losing, getting a raise and getting fired, or a final paper and an "F".

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Me 3!!
by Zeppo / August 2, 2006 3:54 AM PDT
In reply to: 4gb

Yes! 4 GBs of RAM.

WinXP only sees 3 GB because the other 1 GB is used by hardware on my particular motherboard (ASUS A8N-SLI Premium) but to have dual channel, RAM must be installed in pairs, and I need that extra RAM!

And yes, it runs better (faster) than with just 2 GB! Happy

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Memory Poll
by andre620 / July 27, 2006 7:48 PM PDT

This poll is not a typical snapshot of users in general, as most of your members have a keen computer interest and therefore require a maximum performance.
Great forum though!

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apple computers...more memory, more preformance
by niko521e / July 27, 2006 8:16 PM PDT

I did a test. With 256 of ram, mac osx tiger gave safari (the apple browser) 20meg of ram just being open. with 512, 32 megs. I now have one gig in my macbook pro, and 60+ meg! anyone know how much with 2 gig of ram? Im going to try out soon.
bottom line? With a macintosh, the more memory you put in, the better your computer will run, no limits!

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Mac - more memory, more performance!?
by Zeppo / July 28, 2006 4:56 AM PDT

That's good to hear!

In the days of the Classic Mac and the Mac si and Mac IIci, more RAM meant more RAM to use but did not increase the speed of the computer one bit. This had something to do with the processor, I believe. I was amazed when I had to switch to a PC platform and put more RAM in it. In a PC more RAM = more SPEED. As an old Mac user I didn't know such things were possible. Now I use 4 GB in my AMD Athlon 64 X2 built system so it can perform to its limits! Can I say JOY, JOY... Happy

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Not a very intelligent assessment
by bobafett8782 / July 28, 2006 8:10 PM PDT

RAM works in all computers in the same way, whether it's a Mac or PC. Older computers weren't designed to handle multithreading (again, Mac or PC), and memory management was pretty weak back in those days, so you would only really see the benefit in singular programs that cache a lot into memory, such as Photoshop -- not in overall system performance.

The benefit of having more RAM is that's it's much faster than having to borrow cache memory from your hard drive; so anyone who is a hardcore gamer, multi-tasker, graphic content creation or does a lot of batch file processing will benefit from extra RAM. Your Athlon may "feel" faster because, with extra RAM you're able to pacify apps or background processes that hog an excessive amount of RAM.

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What are talking about??
by Zeppo / August 2, 2006 3:14 AM PDT

Certainly more RAM allows the processor, whether AMD, Intel, Motorola (Mac) to put more instructions into RAM rather than on the hard drive. This is simple to understand.


There was no ''feel'' of speed whatsoever when more RAM was installed in a Mac, literally. And it had something to do with the way the Motorola CPU processed data. When I switch to the PC platform and installed more RAM into my computer, there WAS a noticable ''speed'' increase. As a result of my experience with the Mac, it was a bit of a shock to me when speed actually increased in the PC.

I have LONG since gotton over that shock but still remember it. I was assessing nothing here - simply making a statement about the old Mac and its past. Happy

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Not a very intelligent response
by bobafett8782 / August 3, 2006 3:07 PM PDT

I'm not even going to touch on the use of broken sentences. Happy

First of all, you're comparing your modern, high-performance computer to a 15 year old machine. Not hard for even a novice to figure out that there's going to be a difference in performance there. I said there was no difference between Mac & PC's of the day with added RAM/ gained performance, just as there isn't any difference today between modern systems. Go back and re-read my post -- I already explained why. I take that back... Macs now have far better memory management thanks to OS X -- with features such as protected memory -- but that's another subject...

Give up on the notion that RAM makes your computer faster; that's a myth. The performance gain comes from your processor caching data on solid state RAM, as opposed to your hard drive which is much slower.

For the record, my first computer was a Mac Performa (era '96, or something like that). I'm on my third machine now, and I definitely have noticed improved efficiency -- not just from a faster processor -- over the years.

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Under 20 mb with 2+ gb RAM installed
by bobafett8782 / July 28, 2006 8:52 PM PDT

I'm running 2.25 gb of RAM on my computer, so I had to check this out of curiosity. With a fresh start in Safari, it looks like it uses 18mb. Now that I'm on CNET and have two tabbed windows, it's taking 58mb (is CNET's site a memory hog!?!). I can remember seeing my usage balloon up to 350, 400 mb when I've done some serious web surfing. I don't have any idea why you would be using more RAM with more installed, though.

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by jgvillan / July 27, 2006 8:17 PM PDT

I feel that 1GB is more than enough for reagular 'basic' computing, business applications, and light gaming. Sure, the more the better, and I woudn't mind having more, but its on a laptop, and would rather wait until pricing would go down alittle further before I can justify pulling both 512MB for 2 1GB. For now, I like it enough. It has more than my desktop of 768MB, which I rarely use. =P

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Better Question: How much RAM would you put in a New PC?
by fatboy97 / July 27, 2006 9:23 PM PDT

I currently have 1G of RAM, but this is a very old pc by todays standards - it's nearly 3 years old. If I was to have buy a new PC today I would be thinking in the 2G or higher range.

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Yes! 2 GB minimum in new system...
by Zeppo / July 28, 2006 4:47 AM PDT

Todays Window XP based systems work comfortably with 2 GB. Those, such as myself, who often use memory intensive programs should opt for 4 GB.

I use a database program (with a large database) that would take 3 to 4 times longer doing searches with 2 GB, when compared with 4 GB. Too, maintaining the database with its tools to update its index and improve its search capability are much faster with 4 GB.

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