PC Hardware

General discussion

RAM Optimization Software

by ryanseeley / January 4, 2007 2:07 AM PST

Does RAM Optimization software (e.g FreeRamXP etc.) really speed up machines , or does it just stick background stuff onto the hard drive's virtual memory/ page file, freeing up physical memory to be used on a foreground application.

I've heard good things about this kind of software. However, my hard drive is slow (even though I defrag it every week). Therefore, I want to minimize the amount of info read to and from the hard drive to speed up the machine.

My machine has 1.2 Gigs of DDR 2700 Ram. I only use it to run Word, Outlook and Explorer.

Do I really need software that "frees up RAM" by putting some processes in my (slow) virtual memory? Or is there software that I can use that will force everything to be put into my physical memory (which given my low usage, there is plenty of).

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Free RAM is wasted RAM.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 4, 2007 2:16 AM PST

Such software preys on old DOS hounds and new users that haven't dived into how a VM based OS works. Here's a beginning tutorial.

http://www.aumha.org/win5/a/xpvm.php

"Why is there so little Free RAM?

Windows will always try to find some use for all of RAM ? even a trivial one. If nothing else it will retain code of programs in RAM after they exit, in case they are needed again. Anything left over will be used to cache further files ? just in case they are needed. But these uses will be dropped instantly should some other use come along. Thus there should rarely be any significant amount of RAM ?free?. That term is a misnomer ? it ought to be ?RAM for which Windows can currently find no possible use?. The adage is: ?Free RAM is wasted RAM?."

Why would you want to not use all available RAM?

bob

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Thank you, you confirmed my thoughts.
by ryanseeley / January 4, 2007 3:14 AM PST

Thank you. I am a newbie, but thought basically the same thing, why free up RAM if I am not having a problem running out of it. So, for the time being, I'm taking the optimizer off my machine.

One more thing though, does anyone know of any programs that are good at catching memory leaks, without having the side effect of freeing up RAM that would otherwise be legitimately used?

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I use something dirt simple.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 4, 2007 3:25 AM PST

I look at the task manager and watch the memory use.

I had this unreleased application I was writing and caught my bad code that way. While my application had run fine for 24 hours under load, the memory had started at about a megabyte but the next day was over 100 megabytes.

"Oops."

Bob

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Disagree
by ramarc / January 4, 2007 5:34 AM PST

The referenced article made a blanket statement without addressing any specific product. I use cacheman and it can demonstrably improve app response.

First, Windows is tuned in a very generic manner and really doesn't change its default behavior based on increased physical RAM. Remember, that XP was designed to run with 256MB of RAM but 512MB and 1GB are common nowadays. As proof, double your RAM... Windows will still suggest a page file of double the physical RAM even if you go up to 2GB. Cacheman fine-tunes aspects of the PC based on specific profiles and usage.

The system cache is extremely greedy and Cacheman effectively pares it down. It lets you decide how to handle unused DLLs (leave 'em open or close 'em right away.) It does all of this by simply changing some registry settings that are somewhat arcane.

Cacheman's only active management occurs either in low-memory situations or on a predefined schedule. Windows apps can request as much memory as they want and the OS will determine where that allocated memory resides. But there's a couple of Win32 calls that will force the executive to recover RAM and shove any 'old' pages to the pagefile. So, if an app requests 100MB and rarely does anything with it, away to the pagefile it goes. Cacheman will periodically kick the executive in the pants to do this and will use the same calls to get back to a desired available RAM amount.

The net effect of these actions is that the app(s) you're actively using won't have to wait as long for memory paging. This can be proven on your PC by timing your app startup or running an application based benchmark such as PCmark.

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Cacheman and MySQL = slug.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 4, 2007 5:55 AM PST
In reply to: Disagree

After numorous runins with too many memory free up utilities, I'll just pan them. Maybe something works but for the office we've rejected them all.

Maybe back in Windows 98 days...

Bob

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What's your OS?
by bob b / January 4, 2007 6:24 AM PST

If w98, I can think of a simple tweak that forces the use of all ram before the swap file goes active.

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I want to avoid the cache.
by ryanseeley / January 4, 2007 9:14 AM PST
In reply to: What's your OS?

I'm using XP. From the description of Cacheman, it sounds like it might be the opposite of what I am looking for. Basically, I'm looking for something that gets my computer to use all my physical memory, and VM cache nothing (or as little as possible), no matter how infrequently a DLL or other program may be used. This is basically the opposite of what most optimizer's seem to do. However, I still would want to catch and reclaim actual memory leaks (as opposed to infrequently used DLL'd within said memory).

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I want to avoid the cache.
by bob b / January 5, 2007 12:20 AM PST

TIC.
Here's the fix.
Install w98.
Add the conservative swap file tweak.
I think it will do exactly what you want.

XP...which I don't have.
From what I'm reading the tweak does not work.
Xp is designed to start swapping even sooner than w98.
If you find such a product it might go against the grain of the way XP is designed to function.
Maybe you can test by just turning the swap file off.
See what happens.

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