If I have 16 GB of RAM, how often should my CPU Usage spike?

I'm using a Dell Precision M6400 workstation laptop with Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) and 16 GB of RAM installed. The programs I use primarily are uTorrent, Sony Vegas Pro 10.0, Mozilla Firefox and VLC Media Player.

The thing is, I purchased and installed all that memory so that my computer would run as fast as possible, but sometimes the CPU Usage spikes near 100% when attempting tasks that should be simple with this much RAM, such as viewing HD video (usually 720p or 1080p) in Sony Vegas. The video will stutter or skip as the CPU Usage leaps to 90 or 95 as is struggles to play the video.

Even, and I tried just now to be sure, opening a new tab (in this case, Wikipedia's home page) caused the CPU Usage to spike near 100, although admittedly only for a few seconds.

I was under the impression that very few tasks could make a computer with this much RAM work so hard. Was I wrong?

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Also, I know those familiar with Sony Vegas may recommend that I simply use Dynamic RAM Preview, but I'd like to not have to if at all possible. Sorry for the double post.

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All the time in my opinion.

There is little connection if any between CPU usage and RAM (the amount.)

In fact if we think over how Windows manages RAM, more RAM could have more spikes. Funny thing about that.

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More RAM might mean more spikes?

If that's the case, then what's the best way to minimize CPU Usage spikes? Thank you.

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Sadly I think you would have to change the OS.

What I was alluding to was Windows memory sweep function. Here's a paragraph about it.

"In Windows Vista and later Windows releases, the
mapped page writer sweeps through the dirty page list at regular intervals and
flushes all the pages out to their backing store. If the number of free pages
is low, the system accelerates the sweep by using a shorter interval. In
earlier Windows releases, the mapped page writer flushed everything at absolute
5-minute intervals"

So there it is, it's how it works.

You can find the full article at:

There are other causes but more RAM can in fact cause the CPU to do more work. Your post only contains a few items such a network share that is offline. But I have no reason to note such.

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Any other possible reasons?

Are there any other reasons my CPU Usage might be experiencing abnormal spikes? I mean, just right now, I see that uTorrent is taking up 5% of my CPU Usage. 5%! It might not seem high, but I literally stopped all the torrents in that program, so why should be taking up any more than 1% at the very most?

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Seems like time to experiment

Go back to 4 GB and see what happens.
Then to 8 GB.
Please post back your findings.

4 GB should be enough for normal use like yours.


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Ahh a Torrent user.

You just explained so much. Sorry to read that. Those users bring us the oddest problems.

I'd wipe the machine, ban torrent and any thing that was downloaded from it and start clean.

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Laptop usage

One important item to understand about increased ram is that ram itself becomes another tasking item to manage. You can introduce all the fancy lingo but it boils down to that. Further, the 64-bit OS also while it desires more ram, it too needs glove-fit s/w to take advantage and/or best use the ram. In most cases that just isn't the case. The best example of s/w using all the ram or the implied advantage is CAD type s/w. Since, this is also a laptop, and usually laptops have integrated video not some separate video card, that too comes into play. The video will suck ram resources and hinders the operation in some way. While that isn't that comprising it just another item to content with. Also, the cpu monitoring spikes are that, spikes. Afterall, you want full cpu usage when needed and isn't going to measure it out and its on/off etc. usage. So, don't allow that to cloud the thinking. On top of all that you truly need to investigate just what's running. Google for freebies or such that provide a glimpse or more of what running in the backgrd. You may find alot more going on and if its just loaded and ready to pounce when needed, maybe more of a resource hog for the time-being. The video skip is an example of lag due to poor GPU handling very much a video card item. The integrated video isn't going to handle it well and/or provide the relief wanted, because the cpu truly does the crunch work more than the GPU. This is an area the GPU should be more capable as the cpu does increased duty.

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