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Thread: How much RAM do you need?

  1. #1
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    Default How much RAM do you need?

    I recently built a new computer. Fast processor, linux 64, 12G of ram. I wasn't sure if that much RAM was overkill or not. Here's what I'm finding:

    I haven't rebooted in about 3 days. I have a bunch of stuff open that I use during my normal workday. Of the 12 G, 4.2 G is free. The rest is used by programs or cache. I don't have the HD set up for virtual RAM (using the hard drive as ram which slows down the fetching of data).

    The conclusion I draw from this is that the system is using about 8G of ram. If you have less available ram, the OS will need to play games to work, which will slow your system down or possibly cause a crash. Since my other machine freezes with 4 G once a day, its apparent that for my use, the 4 G was not enough.

    Anyway, just some observations.

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    Get In Where You Fit In Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Wow, 12G!

    If I had a hat on I would take it off and bow to it's sheer magnificence.
    How many monitors are you running? What about video and audio cards ?

    Don't just tease us man, tell me the whole skinny.
    What else you got on it?

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    I have 2 monitors 28" and 24", one for each computer. I'd like to add a 42" TV on the wall to use as a TV / Monitor - kick back and watch youtube music videos. The mother board has a soundblaster x-fi card built in, but the driver isn't out for Linux yet so - no sound for now. Wireless keyboard and mouse so I can sit back from the monitor.

    If you are on windows, I don't think there are that many 64 bit applications yet, so I'd wait to install the 64. 32 bit apps don't always work that well on 64 bit machines. Of course, MS will be pushing the 64 so that will probly change quickly. Remember as well that 32 bit machines can only address approx 3.8G of RAM so if you are running 32 bit, more memory doesn't make sense.

    I tell you one thing though. If you use a desktop pc, the 28" monitor is well worth it. Its one of those once you try it things, you can't go back. I paid about $300 delivered for a I-Inc 28" monitor from TigerDirect. Never heard of the brand, but other than lousy documentations it has great specs and works great. I-Inc iH-282HPB 28" Class Widescreen LCD Monitor - 1920 x 1200, 15000:1 Dynamic, 16:10, 3ms, VGA, HDMI at TigerDirect.com

    Harold, you were running two monitors and liked it. How do you use that configuration? Do you use it to seperate work? If so, what are you putting on what monitor? Is it similar to having multiple desktops?

    I have a dual DVI video card on the new machine, so I can try that setup.

    On Edit: I just bought a 320 G usb flash drive at walmart for $75. Its about the size of a cell phone and is powered over the usb. Great, easy to use memory for off prem backup or whatever.
    Last edited by billbenson; 04-11-2010 at 07:39 AM.

  4. #4
    Get In Where You Fit In Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billbenson View Post
    I have 2 monitors 28" and 24", one for each computer. I'd like to add a 42" TV on the wall to use as a TV / Monitor - kick back and watch youtube music videos. The mother board has a soundblaster x-fi card built in, but the driver isn't out for Linux yet so - no sound for now. Wireless keyboard and mouse so I can sit back from the monitor.

    If you are on windows, I don't think there are that many 64 bit applications yet, so I'd wait to install the 64. 32 bit apps don't always work that well on 64 bit machines. Of course, MS will be pushing the 64 so that will probly change quickly. Remember as well that 32 bit machines can only address approx 3.8G of RAM so if you are running 32 bit, more memory doesn't make sense.

    I tell you one thing though. If you use a desktop pc, the 28" monitor is well worth it. Its one of those once you try it things, you can't go back. I paid about $300 delivered for a I-Inc 28" monitor from TigerDirect. Never heard of the brand, but other than lousy documentations it has great specs and works great. I-Inc iH-282HPB 28" Class Widescreen LCD Monitor - 1920 x 1200, 15000:1 Dynamic, 16:10, 3ms, VGA, HDMI at TigerDirect.com
    That's good stuff man. You are my new hero.
    I used to think a brand new car was the "end all be all" of getting new stuff, but even with all the amenities and peripherals, GPS, Satelite Radio, MP3 hook up, Speaker Phone , etc...it still doesn't compare to a new bad assed computer set up.
    (Wow, I really am a geek)
    Quote Originally Posted by billbenson View Post
    Harold, you were running two monitors and liked it. How do you use that configuration? Do you use it to seperate work? If so, what are you putting on what monitor? Is it similar to having multiple desktops?

    I have a dual DVI video card on the new machine, so I can try that setup.
    I can't imagine ever going back to one monitor. It feels like surfing the web on a cell phone, or shooting pool on a kids billiard table.
    When I get other people's computers, no matter how new it is, it still feels limited.

    Yes, I use it to separate work. I am pretty much always doing something that requires access to multiple bits of information or access to 2 or more different things.
    Even with 2 monitors ( and sometimes 3 if I run my laptop with a monitor plugged into it), I still have multiple windows open. That is not very convenient,since I need to have both mouses next to each other and I am constantly forgetting and trying to drag stuff onto the 3rd monitor which, doesn't work.

    My next set up, which hopefully is real soon, will be 4 monitors.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 04-11-2010 at 10:53 PM.

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    For the multiple keyboard / mouse issue, I bought a USB switch from Walmart online for 25 dollars Walmart.com: IOGear USB 2.0 Peripherial Sharing Switch: Computers So far its worked flawlessly. Sure beats multiple keyboards.

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    How much RAM do you need?
    The only truthful answer for most of us, except for Bill, is: "More than I have now!"

    I am so jealous. It sounds like a dream machine! I had two monitors, thanks, I think to eborg's advice awhile back. I was nice enough to let my daughter have one of them. Big Mistake! I really need to pick another one up cheap.

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    Sounds like a "dream machine" Bill!
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    I haven't taken the plunge to a new computer yet, but am seriously considering doing so this year. The way my desktop has been running the last couple weeks, especially today, it makes me just about ready to give up and buy new. Before a couple weeks ago, it ran very fast, and I've still not been able to identify why it slowed down. There's no sign of a virus, so for now it's still a mystery.

    When I do take the plunge, I was planning on going all out on RAM so I'm prepared for whatever power hungry apps they release over the next few years. I know I'll go at least 8, but I was thinking of going as high as 16. Bill, it looks like you did very well.
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    Steve, for someone like you, I'd recommend building one to get exactly what you want and need. It's really about a 4 hour assembly process. Software is the time consuming part.

    I know you are on windows. I have a strong suspicion that Windows OS's will continue to be far less efficient than MAC or Linux. It just needs to be more bullet proof because of spyware / virus's and more idiot proof for grandma and grandpa. A one size fits all product just plain needs to be more bloated. For that reason, I think Windows will probably need more robust equipment than other os's.

    As far as configuring the ram, cheap motherboards will only accept 4G. You need to go to the "gaming" boards. You need 6 memory slots to to go above 4 G. Again, 32 bit systems only can use 3.8 G of ram so you are talking about 64 bit systems. Today, the 2G RAM packages are reasonable. 4G SIMMS exist, but are still very expensive. I bought a 6 x 2G RAM package. For the most part RAM needs to be bought in sets or it may not work. If you are going to go to 16G, you are going to need 4G simms. At that point, I'd just go straight to 24G. Also, remember that the DDR3 RAM has an extra channel and is much faster.

    I think I should mention that these types of machines are only really required by people who heavily tax their systems. For most people here, an inexpensive xp machine is fine.

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