Question Affect of going from 16GB to 32GB

Tech Junky

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Yes, my reason was because things crash when they bloat RAM use i.e. Chrome. Overall performance though improves is you bump the speed while upgrading. It depends on where you're starting at though if you'll notice it.

An overall system upgrade though results in further performance enhancements though.
 

igor_kavinski

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Jul 27, 2020
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32 GB feels a LOT better than 16 GB. You can have more stuff open without slowdowns. Even when paging happens, it's for shorter duration and the system seems to recover completely once the paging stops.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I'll defer to Igor and Tech for their insights about normal RAM usage.

I built my systems originally with 16GB or 2x8GB kits. I deliberately chose to double and quadruple the RAM in two respective systems for a particular purpose -- not the purposes discussed so far.

I was both curious and fairly sure that my caching program -- PrimoCache -- would show benefits by using more RAM for L1 caching and make L2 caching less necessary -- while not eliminating it.

Yes -- it makes a big and more noticeable difference. But not because I chose to keep open 100 web-pages in EDGE or run ten times more simultaneous applications than I can competently multi-task in my brain and fingers.

The 6th and 7th generation K processors I'm using are now considered ancient -- I suppose . . . maybe. But opening the storage bottleneck a little wider makes the dated processors seem . . . . not so dated.

Things are very fast here. Very fast. They can say that caching is a creation of illusion, because you need to run the app or open the file once just to get it into the cache. Well, with this much memory, a whole bunch of things get into RAM eventually and after that . . . . the blink of an eye.
 
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igor_kavinski

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I remember in the days of MSDOS, we would run SMARTDRIVE to make sure files/folders were deleted within seconds. If you forgot to run it (maybe because you needed RAM for something else) and absent-mindedly typed "del *.*" in some folder, it would literally take minutes for the prompt to come back!
 

WilliamM2

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Jun 14, 2012
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I usually double the ram everytime I build a new system. But this last time (2021) I didn't. I left it at 16GB.

You can use task manager to asee how much ram is being used, and how much available. Even with multiple programs, and Chrome tabs open, I've always got 9-12 GB free.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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At this point I say 32GB, not long from now that will be required.
Crap I’d like to go to 64GB or 128GB but 128 will require slower memory.
 

lakedude

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Mar 14, 2009
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Some number of years ago I did an experiment on this with benchmarks and doubling my RAM did absolutely nothing to improve my speed. It does give you a bigger workspace and yeah some apps are RAM intensive but if you mostly do one or two things at a time I expect you will be disappointed with your investment. Now if you run known RAM intensive apps or do a bizzlion things at the same time the more memory the better.

Please report back with your own findings.
 
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igor_kavinski

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When I first upgraded to 32GB RAM on my Z77 with i3-2100, I turned off paging. I think I received a low memory error only once or twice in two or three years. Otherwise, it was a very smooth experience.
 

kschendel

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Aug 1, 2018
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RAM size vs performance is usually a step function. If you aren't using 16 GB actively for program/data, going to 32GB won't make much difference. (Exception: very file-data intensive stuff using gigabytes of file data that the OS can cache in 32GB but not in 16GB. That's not a typical office use case, but might occur more often in content creation with numerous large active projects.)

I only need the 32GB on my primary computer when I'm doing multiple test runs in the background. I put 16GB into the cluster boxes, for cost reasons, and now I regret it; I never expected to load the cluster the way I do now on occasion, and I could probably cut 3TB TPCH load times by 1/3 or more with the added memory on each node.

So, the answer is "it depends". If you need 32GB you probably need it pretty badly. If you don't need it, adding it usually won't make a big difference.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
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Unless you are running VMs, doing photoshop or rendering, there is very little return with 32 gb
 
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igor_kavinski

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Wow, talk about an unbalanced system!
Original plan was to upgrade to i7 Ivy Bridge. But I underestimated it getting a price cut. It was only around 2019 that I was able to secure a used i7-3770 for roughly $135.

Another reason I held off on the upgrade was that my Asus laptop had a i7-4770HQ.
 
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Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
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Original plan was to upgrade to i7 Ivy Bridge. But I underestimated it getting a price cut. It was only around 2019 that I was able to secure a used i7-3770 for roughly $135.

Another reason I held off on the upgrade was that my Asus laptop had a i7-4770HQ.
Wow, I guess the Ivy Bridge i7s held value pretty well. I wonder what a 3770k would have cost around then.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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PICTURES WORTH 1,000 WORDS?

In an earlier post, I explained what I do with my RAM in a 32GB and 64GB system respectively. We have discussed the caching and the program at some length in this forum over a few years. The program is PrimoCache, by Romex Software.

I'm really not bragging or thumping my chest about this. These systems are using Sky and Kaby Lake processors with Z170 motherboards and DDR4-3200. Some say the hardware technology is six or seven years old -- I won't argue. But my Kaby processor was introduced during the year I build the Skylake. I built these systems with Primo in mind, after experimenting with it since 2014 on other systems.

Today's 12th Gen processors, PCIE version, NVME generation and RAM profoundly make the use of this caching so marginally beneficial that it isn't worth the $30 Primo license or the extra RAM. The latest NVME drives have 7,000 MB/s sustained throughput benchies.

On the other hand, one might want to mix older storage technologies -- for instance, one or more 4 TB HDDs. In that case, you might want to use L2 cache strategies (a 250GB NVME drive) as opposed to L1 caching (RAM). You could try two-tiered caching with those drives. I personally decided that the L2 cache is unnecessary when all the RAM slots are filled to the motherboard maximum GB spec.

You would certainly "see" much better benchies with recent Intel (or other) CPUs, but you wouldn't feel any difference, regardless of the observable increased benchmarks..

Here's the setup for the 32GB system, showing the C: drive configuration, hit-rate, and screen capture of the detailed settings (for instance, 16GB reserved for L1 caching and deferred writes.)

PrimoCache for boot.JPG

16GB RAM L1 cache.JPG

I ran Magician and Anvil on the same Samsung 960 (1TB) boot drive, respectively. I turned on deferred writes, but the read-rate benchmarks are the same either way.

Magician 960 boot.JPG

Anvil 960 boot.JPG

My experiences with the caching made my computer seem so fast that I had little incentive to upgrade the hardware to "Windows 11 compatibility" over the last five years. Of course, I wouldn't have known what was in store for us with Windows 11. But if I had upgraded a year or two past, I wouldn't be trying to make a new strategy for the end of Windows 10 support.

If I choose to build an Alder Lake system or something from the succeeding 13th-generation, I'll have little incentive to use more than 16 GB of RAM, but for the possibility of adding some slower high-capacity HDDs to the storage mix. I might not even cache a current-gen NVME drive, choosing to use the extra RAM exclusively for the spinners.

Different strokes for different folks. Y'all have heard of my 2021 vaping-pen accident. Other than that, I never had a problem with these aging systems, and since 2014 there's never been a problem with the Romex software. If there had been, I wouldn't still be using it.
 

Shmee

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Ah, I see, you are buying from Amazon. Check Ebay, they are much cheaper there. i7 3770k starts at around $70. Also, the 4790k can be had for around $100. Less probably with best offer.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
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Yeah, that's the idea. They are much cheaper that way. Older tech doesn't get much cheaper when you buy it "new" from stores, sometimes it even gets more expensive due to rarity. With an older CPU, buying used is the way to go usually, you already get pretty good buyer protection on Ebay, even if there isn't a 3 year warranty. Usually the CPU will either be obviously DOA or unstable, and you will get your money back right away, or it will be fine and will last for years.
 
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Charlie98

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Nov 6, 2011
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I've been curious about that, too. I still have 2 i5 2500K systems running, both were built originally with 2x4GB RAM cards and were completely fine. I have since upgraded them to 4x4GB RAM, just because I scavenged the DDR3 RAM from systems I changed platforms on, but even doubling the RAM made very little difference. Granted, I'm not a tab monster, and don't normally handle large audio or video files, etc.

My newest system... which isn't very new, anymore, is a R7 2700x... which I built with 2x16GB RAM. All else being equal, that is to say my use of the PC vs the older ones, 32GB of RAM was a complete waste of money... the new system seems to use more RAM, but I don't know if I've ever seen it go over 8-9GB in my version of heavy use. Sure, I don't have a page file, anymore, but other than having all that RAM setting there, picking it's nose, waiting to be used... I don't see any real world difference. I can attribute the newer system's snappiness to a more modern processor just as much as too much DDR5 RAM.
 

Tech Junky

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@Charlie98 You're spot on when looking at RAM anything above 16GB is a waste usually. Now, I keep 15 tabs open for various things and chrome alone chews up ~7GB and the base boot is ~4GB so, that's 11GB right there. On nay system I run chrome on I put 32GB in because I can leave things open and open other stuff w/o things crashing to release resources.

My Linux server though that runs everything on the network I put 16GB in just as a base but, it's usually only using 3GB.

All systems though run DDR4 because it's cheaper and just as effective.

When I tried firefox this week for a day.... it bloated to 20GB+ if left unchecked or until a tab crashed and then it would reclaim the RAM. The FF RAM issue reminds me of Chrome a while ago that had a similar issue though the tabs never crashed it just consumed to the max amount it could and kept running.

Games don't really use that much ram unless you have a GPU that isn't up to the task on its own. If I open a game it sits between 3-4GB on the GPU and maybe adds another 1-2GB on the system side.

Now, if we were all still using spinners for drives I could see the impact of more RAM being helpful to load apps into it instead of constantly seeking from the HDD. These days though even a SATA M2 doesn't even push RAM use.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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When I tried firefox this week for a day.... it bloated to 20GB+ if left unchecked or until a tab crashed and then it would reclaim the RAM. The FF RAM issue reminds me of Chrome a while ago that had a similar issue though the tabs never crashed it just consumed to the max amount it could and kept running.
I must have missed that part. I only use FF... and regularly have 10 or so tabs open. No RAM bloat for me...
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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RAM size vs performance is usually a step function. If you aren't using 16 GB actively for program/data, going to 32GB won't make much difference. (Exception: very file-data intensive stuff using gigabytes of file data that the OS can cache in 32GB but not in 16GB. That's not a typical office use case, but might occur more often in content creation with numerous large active projects.)

I only need the 32GB on my primary computer when I'm doing multiple test runs in the background. I put 16GB into the cluster boxes, for cost reasons, and now I regret it; I never expected to load the cluster the way I do now on occasion, and I could probably cut 3TB TPCH load times by 1/3 or more with the added memory on each node.

So, the answer is "it depends". If you need 32GB you probably need it pretty badly. If you don't need it, adding it usually won't make a big difference.
Seconded. Shortening this, when you hit 16GB RAM on Win10/11, it's not about how much RAM you've got but how much you use it.

For most of 2010-2020 I've been spec'ing systems for basic use with 4GB RAM. In the later years I noticed that Win10's memory usage peaks higher than it used to and so on 4GB systems I was sometimes seeing 75-80% memory usage without any apps open. At that point I decided to make my minimum recommendation for basic use to be 8GB, because even a single tab in use in Google Chrome will chew up in the neighbourhood of a gig of RAM.

Within a year of that decision I had a high spec PC to build and we went with 16GB RAM (TBH the spec was mostly processor and storage intensive, the customer decided 'why not' on more RAM). It was at that time I noticed that Win10 was still peaking at just over the 4GB mark without any apps open on both the 8 and 16GB systems. Ergo unless the user's needs require more RAM, modern versions of Windows are not begging for more at present.

Windows will use spare RAM for caching, but in the days of boot SSDs that isn't going to make a noticeable difference to performance, and caching implies that something has actually been requested which again largely comes back to the user's typical usage.

People have already suggested keeping an eye on memory usage in Task Manager, I second that too. I haven't found a consistent way to make Windows start chewing a tonne of memory yet, so you'll have to try various things and keep an eye on it. Historically I've gone with 75-85% memory usage as being a limit at which more RAM ought to be added, but memory pressure is the actual performance kicker and I've looked into accurately diagnosing it on Windows and haven't had any luck so far.

I've been kicking around on 12GB RAM for ages now, and I'm mostly on Linux these days and am experiencing significantly lower memory usage.
 

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