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#3192217 - 01/29/11 05:12 AM 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM?
- Ice Offline
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Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 8851
Loc: Philippines / North East UK
I am just curious, what would 8GB or 12GB of RAM allow me to do that I currently cannot do with 4GB of RAM? My current setup has 2x2GB RAM in dual-channel, but I got 2 more slots for RAM. So, what would happen if I plugged in 2x2GB more memory (total 8GB)? What would happen if I buy 2x4GB RAM, plug it into the dual-channel slots, then move my 2x2GB RAM into the spare slots (total 10GB)?

Just wondering... mycomputer
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#3192242 - 01/29/11 06:32 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
Gopher Offline
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Registered: 01/06/09
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Well, assuming you're running 64 bits, it'll allow you to run whatever it is you're running twice, three, four times. Because very few single programs actually so much RAM, it just lets you have more of it loaded at once.

If you do a lot of photoshopping or other image editing, it might be worth seeing your memory usage to see whether having that loaded and anything else (browsers, email) at the same time run you out of memory or come close.

More memory will NOT make your computer run faster UNLESS you were previously running out of it. It might give a "nice feeling" that you have 8, 10, 16GB of RAM, but to be honest you'd just be wasting your money. Save the money for when you need it for a more critical update, like a new system/video card.

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#3192248 - 01/29/11 06:55 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
- Ice Offline
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Of course I'm running 64-bits... even at 4GB with a 1GB video RAM, 64-bitty goodness is a must.

So... are you saying it'll just affect loading times? I don't do much Photoshop except for cropping pictures so that's not an issue for me. Wasn't there something about a guy with 12GB RAM having his OS loaded onto RAM and makes programs run faster? Admittedly, those are "programs" and not necessarily "games"...
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#3192271 - 01/29/11 08:00 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
Allen Offline
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Registered: 10/13/99
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A few weeks back, I went from a Phenom II X4 965 with 4GB DDR2 at 800 speed to a Phenom II X6 1090T with 8GB DDR3 at 1333 speed.

So, 50 percent more cores, twice as much memory, and the memory ran 67 percent FASTER.

Game and benchmark FPS performance change when Phenoms clocked the same (drum roll): NONE (within measurement errors -- certainly nothing visible).

FWIW smile
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#3192272 - 01/29/11 08:01 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
almccoyjr Offline
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Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 163
Loc: Austell, GA.
If your not going to run a high end server or render a lot of video, then 4,6 or 8 (depending on dual or triple channel) would more than suffice for gaming. It'll help to cut down on fetching primarily scenery files.

The other reason for having more ram is to be able to use a virtual ram drive, loading and running apps "directly"** from system ram, please note ** the quotes.

The software to do so now becomes critical as does the type of application you're going to be running. How the software uses or enables dynamic ram, real-time updates, file systems (Fat16/32 or NTFS), the cluster sizes offered and image compression become critical if you're going to be running some kind of campaign sim.

Now the physical amount of ram comes into play. Most free ramdisk software will have 4gb total access. That's including ram used to run resources. The balance is the used for the app. The paring down of resources or services can become an issue in a 4gb ramdrive, especially with some of today's monster video cards.

Most server ramdisk software will access at least a minimum of 128gb and can go as high as 2tb! Most will support up to 128 virtual drives when mirroring drive numbers.

I currently run a ramdisk that accesses 8gb of system ram. If I run the services really "lean", I have up to 6.5gb to use for the app.

A ramdrive will not necessarily increase the often misuse of fps as a measure of "true" performance (MHO), but it can totally eliminate micro stutters or slowing down during highly populated scenery. To say the app now loads faster is an understatement.

Sims like FSX and X-Plane 9 would require a whole lot of system ram; a freaking boatload of it in order to "dump" the whole app into rd. ARAM and OFF could be done with 12gb IF you were to use a scalpel as to what was being loaded and not run a dynamic capmaign. The "best bang for the buck" is between 16/32gb for sims that have huge dynamic campaigns.

Some of the sims I run in a ramdrive are CFS3 along with ETO, PTO and KTCS, IL-2:1946, Pacific Fighters, Wings of Prey. I'm using ProcMon to evalute OFF, FSX, X-Plane and RoF to see how "practical" they'd be. FSX and X-Plane would be very tedious to dissect and run. This would almost boil down to having to set up each individual plane with each type of scenery file you would would fly in. Whew!

As a footnote, I'm waiting for W7_64 to "mature" some more before I start to seriously look at SSD's.

plug_nickel





Edited by almccoyjr (01/29/11 08:04 AM)

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#3192278 - 01/29/11 08:21 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
Gopher Offline
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Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 3794
Loc: Midlands
It's funny how RAMdrives are coming up again; I remember using those back in the 8086 days for some reason or another...

If you know how to set up an OS to load into and then run off a RAM-drive, then yes, anything involving system loads will run pretty damned quick. This might be a world of hurt getting it to work on a windows system though. I've personally never done it, so I can't help there.

As almccoyjr mentioned you could also use a program to get games to run in a RAM-drive. Problem then is that this would also involve a lot of additional setup because they aren't designed to be run in such a fashion, requiring a program to handle and redirect loading calls. End result is that initial loading times will be the same or longer (you still have to load all of the data into the ram, requiring a long HD read) but you probably won't get stutter when in game because instead of data loads requiring HD access, they are now streamed from RAM which is orders of magnitude quicker.

To reiterate what almccoyjr said, loading from RAM won't increase FPS. It may increase initial loading times, but will reduce stutter caused by data loads (X-plane reading scenery is a good example of such data loads).

The other problem with using a ram-drive for games is that you'd need quite a lot more RAM - probably somewhere in the region of 8-16GB depending on the game's footprint on the HD and maximum dynamic RAM requirements.

@Allen:
You mentioned that you went from DDR2 to DDR3 - bus speeds went up, but what about CAS latencies? wink (I'm also guessing that the GPU is the same).
I don't suppose you've looked at how much faster you can calculate Pi to a million significant figures? biggrin

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#3192290 - 01/29/11 09:04 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
- Ice Offline
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Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 8851
Loc: Philippines / North East UK
Ah, I could always depend on Allen for practical information. Cheers!

almccoyjr and Gopher, you guys realize I'm no computer programmer, yes? reading I have to do a lot of reading just to understand half the posts here. Lol! Anyway, thanks for your replies. The gist of what I absorbed was that it isn't worth the effort to do this RAMdrive at my current "hobby" level.

I guess my question was more of: will the extra RAM overhead (8 or 12 vs 4) improve performance, whether FPS or load times? I never thought RAM would affect framerates, I know GPUs do that, but I'm glad to see that load times wouldn't significantly improve.

Oh well... I'll be gunning for more screens and maybe a videocard upgrade then! biggrin
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#3192291 - 01/29/11 09:05 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
speedbump Offline
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Registered: 11/23/05
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Loc: Edgewood TX
Some boards don't like all slots populated. The older 680i, 780i 775 socket boards would not OC well with all slots populated. Some boards will only run dual channel with two slots populated and some will run dual channel with all four, but the memory has to be the same size. I imagine there are some Intel boards that can run whatever you put in them.

I don't think it would be worth it myself. They had my memory on sale the other day for 89 bucks with 15% off so I think if you insist on getting more memory, get a couple of 4Gb sticks and sell your old memory. IMHO.

FYI, my system idles at around 2100Mb of RAM used. So you can see that having more than 4Gb with Win 7 64 is preferable since Win 7 64 likes to eat RAM.

I remember working on a brother and sisters identical Gateway computers a few years ago. They had Vista 32, P4 3.4Ghz procs and should have been pretty fast as the dual core rage had not set in yet. They said they were so slow they were painful and the reason was they had 512Mb of memory. I put in 2 1Gb sticks in each computer and that solved the problem for good.

I guess when Win 8 come out 8Gb will seem puny.

Actually, you money would be best spent on a video card I think.

Also, from the way I understand it, if you have 4Gb of RAM, and a 1Gb video card on a 32 bit system, the video card takes precedence. In other words, of the 3.5 or 4Gb total the system can use, the video card comes first, then the RAM, so effectively, you would only be able to use around 3Gb of the 4Gb you have because of the video card. Does that make sense?
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#3192303 - 01/29/11 09:28 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: Gopher]
almccoyjr Offline
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Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 163
Loc: Austell, GA.
Good points. There is a big difference in the developmental history of vrd's from the 8086 period to now. Significant progress was made when W2K PRO hit the scene due to the way the OS could now treat cpu's.

Yes, you're still loading the the rd image into a vrd from the hd, but the "how the software addresses" various functions in my post negates the majority of the load time issues and greatly minimizes them in some apps. Once the image is loaded into system ram, the results are often quite phenomenal. Faster than a SSD. FE1 is a good example. It has the most ill conceived, poorly written, executed load/run sequence I've ever experienced. Mig Alley was number 1 until FE1 cam along. "Dumping" the program into an uncompressed image, using Fat32, 512k cluster dramatically speeds up the load/run process. The "handling of load calls" is accomplished IF the whole app is imaged and loaded. Removing docs or video not used directly in game also will speed up the process. Running compression can be very tricky and can result into turning the vrd into a eide drive at 5400rpm.

An app loaded into a vrd will perform just as poorly when proper game cfg's aren't setup. You'll just be able to launch a crappy running app faster. I look at the time to get a sim's cfg setup and the vrd setup as ground crew maintenance and pre-flight mission briefing. Once done, imaged and save for future use.

The primary kicker to a vrd is the amount of system ram, it's cost/gb ratio, supporting mobo and the size of the application. The more you can "dump", the more complete the sim experience will be. I've seen Crucial 24gb (6x4) 1666 triple non-ecc for under $300.

One thing I failed to mention is how the software uses multi core cpu's. Those that I've looked at, professional or server versions, handle dual and many are configurable for quad. I don't how they would work with the newer hexa/octa core cpu's.

In a Max PC issue they did a very in depth analysis of dual/triple channel, speed to cas workup. The direction of the article was towards speed over cas depending on the chipset.

plug_nickel

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#3192304 - 01/29/11 09:30 AM Re: 4GB vs 8GB vs 12GB RAM? [Re: - Ice]
Speedo Offline
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Any new upper midrange or high end system should have 6 or 8 GB of RAM. It's so cheap now there's really no excuse - 8GB of quality DDR3 can be had for less than $100. Yeah, you can get by ok with 4 GB, but having more will allow the OS to do more caching and so on to increase your overall system responsiveness.

RAM drives, OTOH, are kinda silly/pointless to me. Most normal motherboards only support 24 or 32 GB of RAM. I'm not sure you could realistically even fit 32 GB of memory in a normal desktop system at the moment - the largest memory kits I can find on Newegg are 24 GB, and they use all 6 slots in a triple channel system. Even assuming you could fit 32 GB, most games today are so large that you'll only fit maybe 2-3 games on your RAM drive if you're leaving 6-8 GB for the system. And to get even 24 GB of quality RAM you're looking at spending $400-500. If you have that much to spend, drop $100 on 8 GB of RAM and the other $300-400 on a SSD (you'll get roughly 160-250GB, depending on what you buy).
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