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Old 01-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
VirtualLarry
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Default "The RAM wall", and obsolescence

I've been doing a little bit of thinking about this, and have come to the conclusion, that for NON-GAMING tasks, what really makes computers become obsolete, is often not the CPU, but the total RAM capacity that the hardware will handle, relative to the needs of the OS and software run on it.

For example, lets look at the Pentium III CPU. You could likely, in theory, run Win7 32-bit on it, if only if the motherboard/chipset in question would support enough RAM.

Modern web browsing also takes a lot of RAM. As well as CPU. (Assume that in the case of the P3, we have installed a flash- and ad-blocker.)
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:56 PM   #2
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ever heard of 64 bit
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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Welcome to the concept of the "fast enough" computer.
You also forgot the I/O bottleneck from HDDs, which is reduced significantly my SSDs.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fx1 View Post
ever heard of 64 bit
That has nothing to do with what I wrote. All physical motherboards have RAM limitations, and those limitations have nothing to do with the ISA limitations of the CPU or lack thereof.

For example, modern 4-slot Socket 1155 motherboards max out at 32GB of RAM.

Whereas, even older 32-bit "big" servers that supported PAE could address more than that, logically-speaking.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualLarry View Post
That has nothing to do with what I wrote. All physical motherboards have RAM limitations, and those limitations have nothing to do with the ISA limitations of the CPU or lack thereof.

For example, modern 4-slot Socket 1155 motherboards max out at 32GB of RAM.

Whereas, even older 32-bit "big" servers that supported PAE could address more than that, logically-speaking.
Actually you could have at least 128GB in 4 dimms. Its nothing but an artificial product limit in the (lower) CPUs. So not sure what the point actually is.

The same servers you mention that could handle up to 64GB. They can now today handle up to 4096GB.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #6
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I thought lazy programmers made computers obsolete?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
Actually you could have at least 128GB in 4 dimms. Its nothing but an artificial product limit in the (lower) CPUs. So not sure what the point actually is.
no consumer computer supports 128GB

and the point is that ram limitations are often the reason that a system becomes obsolete, more than CPUs nowadays.

like how i was ok with my Q6600, but needed more than the 8gb my p5k supported

which is why i did not buy a consumer computer to replace it

Last edited by tynopik; 01-18-2013 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonyo View Post
You also forgot the I/O bottleneck from HDDs, which is reduced significantly my SSDs.
It is easy to upgrade older systems with SSDs

RAM however has a hard limit
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tynopik View Post
and the point is that ram limitations are often the reason that a system becomes obsolete, more than CPUs nowadays.

like how i was ok with my Q6600, but needed more than the 8gb my p5k supported

which is why i did not buy a consumer computer to replace it
Thanks, you get my point.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:55 PM   #10
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Is this still an issue? AFAIK, RAM usage doesn't seem to be massively spiraling upwards. Windows 8, for instance, uses less RAM than its predecessor.

Processors these days all have integrated memory controllers that are more than capable of accepting higher amounts of memory than any consumer would ever need to worry about saturating. If a consumer needs more memory, they don't need to go out and buy a new computer; they just need to upgrade their RAM.

Last edited by Homeles; 01-18-2013 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tynopik View Post
no consumer computer supports 128GB

and the point is that ram limitations are often the reason that a system becomes obsolete, more than CPUs nowadays.

like how i was ok with my Q6600, but needed more than the 8gb my p5k supported

which is why i did not buy a consumer computer to replace it
RAM limitations is rarely the reason.

There are 32GB DIMMs, hence my answer.
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Competition is good at driving the pace of innovation, but it is an inefficient mechanism (R&D expenditures summed across a given industry) for generating the innovation.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
RAM limitations is rarely the reason.
fine, let's play semantics

it's a SYSTEM limitation on the amount of RAM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
There are 32GB DIMMs, hence my answer.
again, no consumer system supports 32GB DIMMS.

what's your point?

Last edited by tynopik; 01-18-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tynopik View Post
fine, let's play semantics

it's a SYSTEM limitation on the amount of RAM



again, no consumer system supporst 32GB DIMMS.

what's your point?
It was an answer to the OP.
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Competition is good at driving the pace of innovation, but it is an inefficient mechanism (R&D expenditures summed across a given industry) for generating the innovation.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
RAM limitations is rarely the reason.

There are 32GB DIMMs, hence my answer.
where??? Newegg doesn't carry any.

Edit: Apparently Newegg does carry one 16GB DIMM and one 32GB DIMM, but they are registered (server memory).

My OP was talking about CONSUMER DESKTOPS.
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Last edited by VirtualLarry; 01-18-2013 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeles View Post
Is this still an issue? AFAIK, RAM usage doesn't seem to be massively spiraling upwards. Windows 8, for instance, uses less RAM than its predecessor.
it's possible, but it's not just the OS, it's also the amount and types of apps people run

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeles View Post
Processors these days all have integrated memory controllers that are more than capable of accepting higher amounts of memory than any consumer would ever need to worry about saturating. If a consumer needs more memory, they don't need to go out and buy a new computer; they just need to upgrade their RAM.
current (consumer) systems support up to 32GB of ram, perhaps that will be enough for most consumers in the future

but 8GB felt extravagant when 775 came out and look where we are now . . .
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
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where??? Newegg doesn't carry any.
HP sells them. They cost an arm, a leg, your first born child and your daughter's virginity, though.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
It was an answer to the OP.
i don't think you understand what the OP said.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualLarry View Post
where??? Newegg doesn't carry any.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/memory/...y_Modules.html
http://www.rutronik.com/news+M536e3ae00d2.html

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HP sells them. They cost an arm, a leg, your first born child and your daughter's virginity, though.
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/HP-...3/2320881.aspx

Oh yes.
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Competition is good at driving the pace of innovation, but it is an inefficient mechanism (R&D expenditures summed across a given industry) for generating the innovation.
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Last edited by ShintaiDK; 01-18-2013 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #19
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While you have a point, technically, I haven't been impacted by this limitation in a real world way. My first recent build with Win7 was more than fine with 4GB DDR2 RAM (and that was actually the limit of that board I believe). I replaced that with my current system, I went with 16GB because RAM was cheap. I don't think I've seen my RAM exceed 7.6GB in use except when I was tinkering with a RAM drive. It's always between 3.5GB to 7.6GB though in Win8. I usually have a VM running though, which I give 4GB.

With my current usage I can't imagine needing more RAM, so my motherboard being limited to 16GB really isn't an issue for me. By the time I need more than 16GB of RAM, the rest of my system will be obsolete too. I'll want a faster SSD, faster processor, better motherboard with standards of its time (SATA4, USB4, or whatever), etc etc. I don't really see the rest of the computer as being any more future-proof than the RAM configuration.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tynopik View Post
it's possible, but it's not just the OS, it's also the amount and types of apps people run
The vast majority of which do not even come close to using up 8GB, combined with the OS. Power web browsing users may come close, but that's the only common use case I can think of.


Quote:
current (consumer) systems support up to 32GB of ram, perhaps that will be enough for most consumers in the future

but 8GB felt extravagant when 775 came out and look where we are now . . .
We'll saturate it someday, but everything just seems so mobile focused right now that it's pretty much a non-issue for 95%+ percent of us.

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Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
Those have come down in price by quite a bit... maybe it's just an arm and a leg now.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:20 PM   #21
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Shintai, I'm going to ask you nicely to stop derailing my thread.

For the record, my point was that CONSUMER DESKTOPS often become obsolete, not because the CPU gets too slow, but because the total SYSTEM RAM CAPACITY gets exceeded during that platform's lifetime.

The existance of 32GB SERVER DIMMs has no bearing on my argument.

Edit: I suppose it would modify my argument slightly, if, during a particular platform's lifetime, the size of available DIMMs ranged from 2GB all the way up to 32GB. Perhaps that is the hypothetical argument you wanted to make.

Building platforms, that supported that much of a variable-sized DIMM, would definitely make a lot of sense for future-proofing, and reducing e-waste.

I'm afraid that Intel might see it in their best interest, in order to keep people upgrading platforms and not just CPUs, to limit the possibilities for exansion of RAM on any particular platform.
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Last edited by VirtualLarry; 01-18-2013 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:51 PM   #22
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This isn't the memory subforum.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:58 PM   #23
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RAM becomes an issue when you don't have enough of it and that in turn results in the computer using the hard drive as virtual RAM, dragging the experience to a literal crawl. Right now, 4 GB is plenty for those who like to web browse and not much else, i.e Facebook, watch porn all day, etc
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:01 PM   #24
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Quote:
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RAM becomes an issue when you don't have enough of it and that in turn results in the computer using the hard drive as virtual RAM, dragging the experience to a literal crawl. Right now, 4 GB is plenty for those who like to browse, do Facebook, watch porn all day...
If your a compulsive wanker and have the habit of having tons of tabs open,4gb just might not be enough in this case.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:07 PM   #25
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I don't think running Windows 7 in a PIII would be a pretty thing, even if you had 8 GB of RAM in it.
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