benefit of 16 vs 32gb of ram?

cyclohexane

Platinum Member
Feb 12, 2005
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Building a new rig. Mostly will be for gaming, photoshop, running a few VMs, and maybe android studio.

Would it worth it to get 32gb of memory?
 

larryccf

Senior member
May 23, 2015
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what arcenite said X2

i've got 16 GB in my rig, and even when rendering video files (where cpu utilization shows at 99-100%), i've never seen memory usage above 6 gb, and even only rarely then - usually in the 3-4 GB range

fwiw
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,301
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what arcenite said X2

i've got 16 GB in my rig, and even when rendering video files (where cpu utilization shows at 99-100%), i've never seen memory usage above 6 gb, and even only rarely then - usually in the 3-4 GB range

fwiw

On the other hand, I've seen Windows Update on Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, take over 6.5GB of memory. So you might want 16 or even 32 GB, just to be able to handle Windows Update, if you are already doing other things with your PC and using up 6-7GB of memory already.
 

larryccf

Senior member
May 23, 2015
221
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i say this wishing i was more computer literate than i am, but even after pulling my GTX 750 Ti video card out and going back to the integral GPU, and increasing virtual memory to 16 gb minimum/32 gb maximum - when i went to task manager I expected to see higher memory usage - it was the same.

As to the windows update, except when i did a fresh install, i've never seen an update session total much over 1 gb (i've got update set to manual).

When i posted in another forum asking why everyone (including myself) went with 16 gb, when my system was only showing the usage i described above, a number of posters responded, in unison, because "same as us, you thought you needed it". At the time i assembled this rig, my memory cost $156 - today it's down to $80 - go figure
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,786
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Buy 16gb and if it is not enough buy another 16gb
Generally, I'd agree, but with the caveats that it's not ideal if you:


  • have a motherboard with only 2 memory slots (not uncommon in ITX or uATX rigs.)
  • are overclocking and want to keep the minimum number of slots populated for higher RAM speeds. (Assuming the choice is between 2x8GB and 2x16GB... although that maybe doesn't exist. Maybe if it was 8GB vs. 16GB and the choice was 2x4 or 2x8, but that's last years argument... I get so confused.)
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
9,291
30
91
Building a new rig. Mostly will be for gaming, photoshop, running a few VMs, and maybe android studio.

Would it worth it to get 32gb of memory?

16 GB would be enough for any/all of those uses...if you don't mind completely shutting down the last thing you were doing, before starting the next. If, however, you want to have 15 or 20 Memory Hog...err, Google Chrome tabs open, and be able to do some work with Photoshop, then stop PhotoChopping, without shutting it down, and take a break and play a game or two, all without shutting down the 2, 3 or 4 VMs, then you'll want at least 32GB.

I assume you are already aware that 16GB is the recommended minimum system RAM to use the newer versions of Photoshop, even if you aren't doing other things in the background (to do actual work with it, not just to get the software to start, like you'll find on the Adobe.com page for it). People who use Photoshop to work with large images have been recommending 16GB since 2011, actually: http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00ZKGM
 

MongGrel

Lifer
Dec 3, 2013
38,751
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Still just use 12 myself on the main, but I do not photo chop myself and read long ago it was pretty much ram intensive.

I'd imagine more is better if you are using that a lot.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
294
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www.bradlygsmith.org
Photoshop and After Effects can chew 16gb pretty easily

I had a huge panorama loaded in PS with several layers (the most I'd ever use it for) and it topped out around 8GB.

My questions are, does Windows rely less on VM the more memory you have (since it uses a healthy amount even before RAM is maxed out) thus speeding up the system, and how much RAM can all these 64 bit programs and games utilize now and in the future? I made a financial decision in keeping to 16GB, if I could make the choice based purely on the technology I'd have 32 or 64GB.
 

Magic Carpet

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2011
3,477
231
106
Building a new rig. Mostly will be for gaming, photoshop, running a few VMs, and maybe android studio.

Would it worth it to get 32gb of memory?
Get 32gb or leave free dimm slots for a future upgrade. We don't know exactly when 32gb becomes recommended, but it will happen. Especially useful when apps begin to develop memory leaks... the extra ram comes in handy. It really sucks when you are out of ram.
 
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zir_blazer

Golden Member
Jun 6, 2013
1,163
405
136
Depends on if you want to do all of the task you mentioned simultaneously or not, 32 GB is reasonable. I would max out at 32 GB early since I prefer to get matched kits (Sometimes on later batchs the manufacturer switches DRAM IC provider or whatever and they're no longer identical, even if they're the same model). Is not that RAM is that expensive.
 

zagitta

Member
Sep 11, 2012
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0
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I had a huge panorama loaded in PS with several layers (the most I'd ever use it for) and it topped out around 8GB.

My questions are, does Windows rely less on VM the more memory you have (since it uses a healthy amount even before RAM is maxed out) thus speeding up the system, and how much RAM can all these 64 bit programs and games utilize now and in the future? I made a financial decision in keeping to 16GB, if I could make the choice based purely on the technology I'd have 32 or 64GB.

Yes this and running virtual machines are the two primary reasons to get more than 16gb of RAM. On my system with 32gb of RAM I'm currently using 8gb (no VMs running) and task manager is reporting 18.1gb of cached data and about 6gb actually free memory.

I have virtual memory completely disabled and can run my full .net dev environment, an 8gb memory VM, misc programs like FF (+75 tabs), skype and foobar2k and still run dota2 without having to close anything or get anywhere close to running out of memory. Win10 virtual desktop is very nice for separating work and casual stuff such that i can just put the PC in standby and not have to restart all the dev stuff every morning.

If all you do is play games while having a browser and a music player open 16gb is more than enough but for me 32gb and a 5820k was an amazing upgrade.
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
9,291
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I had a huge panorama loaded in PS with several layers (the most I'd ever use it for) and it topped out around 8GB.

You must not own a 42 megapixel DSLR.;) <---edit: and shoot in the RAW format.

My questions are, does Windows rely less on VM the more memory you have (since it uses a healthy amount even before RAM is maxed out) thus speeding up the system

The type of VM that everyone in this thread before you was talking about was a virtual machine, not the virtual memory that you are mentioning. A virtual machine in the most basic sense, involves installing an OS (operating system) like Windows XP, Windows 7, OSX, whatever flavor of Linux you like, etc, inside/'on top of'/through your main/preferred OS.

A good example of this was about 8 or 10 years ago, I was wanting to try out some Linux, but where I had my main computer setup was on the opposite end of the house, and a floor above where the cable modem and router were located. Since this was before you could find wireless drivers for Linux for any of the desktop wireless PCI cards, my two choices were Linux with zero internet access of any type, or fully functional, fast (for the time) wireless access with any Linux distro on Earth, by running the Linux in a VM, which then uses the Windows drivers for your hardware.

This way, you also then never need to reboot your computer, just to switch from Linux to Windows, or vice versa. All of the operating systems run at the same time, and can easily be switched between. The only big caveat to all of this is that each and every OS you run, including your main OS, has to have its own system RAM.
 
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Magic Carpet

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2011
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(Sometimes on later batchs the manufacturer switches DRAM IC provider or whatever and they're no longer identical, even if they're the same model).
That is actually a good point. Especially true, if you are going to overclock them. 4 sticks have to be identical for best performance. I had situations with 2 different dual-channel kits not playing well together (had to loosen timings quite a bit for stability).
 

Z15CAM

Platinum Member
Nov 20, 2010
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Anything over 8 to 12GB's of Ram volume is RamDisk material for me.

Of course the faster you can run your ram without GUI platform instability issues the more volume you have left for booting RamDisk Partitions.

A 20% flood zone should be safe with a maxed out system to determine un-used Ram volume for RamDisk allotment.

I use RamDisk primarily for Windows Temp Files and Buffer files for say your Media Encoding Apps. WinZIP, WinRare ...etc but you can also Boot a Virtaul OS from RamDisk.

A RamDisk Virtual OS Boot is FAST - Consider the old DOS Boot where the OS loaded and ran in Ram.

A GUI Boot OS will always be slower - What is more dependable is yet to be determined.
 
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CurrentlyPissed

Senior member
Feb 14, 2013
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Windows 10, playing music (via YT), and playing even League of Legends, I can confirm 8GB is not enough.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,786
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So WinX eats over 10GB's of Ram - Poor Soles ;o)
Dunno about that. But with 8GB of RAM, playing SWTOR, I could alt-tab out to Firefox without a problem. After the Win10 upgrade, I started getting OoM errors. 16GB fixed it.
 

CiPHER

Senior member
Mar 5, 2015
226
1
36
i've never seen memory usage above 6 gb, and even only rarely then - usually in the 3-4 GB range
You guys talk about RAM in use by applications. But i would argue that applications should only use 10-20% of your RAM at most.

The other 90% of your RAM will be used for filecache instead, which is crucial to improve performance. Many talk about a 'RAMdisk' but this is an old fashioned way to emulate a harddrive and put a legacy filesystem on that. The proper way is to use special memory filesystems (tmpfs on BSD and Linux) or just leave the memory as is.

Ever since Windows NT and the introduction of VFS, your RAM will be used for filecache. So if your operating system and applications use only 1GiB, you can still have the other 31GiB filled with filecache. This is data from your harddrive and/or SSD. If any application wishes to read information that has been read before, it can be served from RAM memory instead and will be much quicker.

You can notice the effects yourself:
1) reboot the machine to clear all existing filecache
2) start an application, such as a game, measure the time it takes to start it
3) now exit the application, wait, and launch it again.

The difference between the first and second time you launch the application is that the second time it will be read from RAM memory instead. The second time you start the application will be quicker, particularly if using a harddrive instead of SSD. But even an SSD will not be as fast as your RAM memory.

You can also see how much RAM memory is in use for caching. Open Task manager (control-alt-delete) and click the Performance tab. In Windows 8+ you also need to click the memory icon on the left. Here you can see:

In use - in use by applications, should be 10-25% of your total RAM
Cached - your file cache, should be 80%+ unless your computer just had a reboot cycle
Free - memory not in use for anything - wasted memory
Available - total memory available by applications, this basically is Cached + Free memory.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
294
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
You must not own a 42 megapixel DSLR.;) <---edit: and shoot in the RAW format.



The type of VM that everyone in this thread before you was talking about was a virtual machine, not the virtual memory that you are mentioning. A virtual machine in the most basic sense, involves installing an OS (operating system) like Windows XP, Windows 7, OSX, whatever flavor of Linux you like, etc, inside/'on top of'/through your main/preferred OS.

A good example of this was about 8 or 10 years ago, I was wanting to try out some Linux, but where I had my main computer setup was on the opposite end of the house, and a floor above where the cable modem and router were located. Since this was before you could find wireless drivers for Linux for any of the desktop wireless PCI cards, my two choices were Linux with zero internet access of any type, or fully functional, fast (for the time) wireless access with any Linux distro on Earth, by running the Linux in a VM, which then uses the Windows drivers for your hardware.

This way, you also then never need to reboot your computer, just to switch from Linux to Windows, or vice versa. All of the operating systems run at the same time, and can easily be switched between. The only big caveat to all of this is that each and every OS you run, including your main OS, has to have its own system RAM.

Thanks for that. I do shoot RAW, but only on an old 10MP Canon 40D, so yes my memory usage isn't anywhere as much as that. Fortunately 10MP at full frame is the perfect amount of pixels to print at 13x19 (the size of my printer).

Edit: Yes I understand VM vs. VM, I was just wondering about why it's used so much on systems with lots of RAM. There was one program (I forget which) I got an error with when I disabled virtual memory, so I just leave it on.
 
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kitatech

Senior member
Jan 7, 2013
484
3
81
Brad....I've jumped from the 40D to the 24mp Nikon D610 this past year and 8gb of RAM was just barely satisfactory....so I've bumped to 16gb this week....should give me another year or two on this 1st gen i7 PC

....also needed to add a 1tb HDD for those 15mb files.
 

JimmiG

Platinum Member
Feb 24, 2005
2,024
112
106
You guys talk about RAM in use by applications. But i would argue that applications should only use 10-20% of your RAM at most.

The other 90% of your RAM will be used for filecache instead, which is crucial to improve performance. Many talk about a 'RAMdisk' but this is an old fashioned way to emulate a harddrive and put a legacy filesystem on that. The proper way is to use special memory filesystems (tmpfs on BSD and Linux) or just leave the memory as is.

Ever since Windows NT and the introduction of VFS, your RAM will be used for filecache. So if your operating system and applications use only 1GiB, you can still have the other 31GiB filled with filecache. This is data from your harddrive and/or SSD. If any application wishes to read information that has been read before, it can be served from RAM memory instead and will be much quicker.

You can notice the effects yourself:
1) reboot the machine to clear all existing filecache
2) start an application, such as a game, measure the time it takes to start it
3) now exit the application, wait, and launch it again.

The difference between the first and second time you launch the application is that the second time it will be read from RAM memory instead. The second time you start the application will be quicker, particularly if using a harddrive instead of SSD. But even an SSD will not be as fast as your RAM memory.

You can also see how much RAM memory is in use for caching. Open Task manager (control-alt-delete) and click the Performance tab. In Windows 8+ you also need to click the memory icon on the left. Here you can see:

In use - in use by applications, should be 10-25% of your total RAM
Cached - your file cache, should be 80%+ unless your computer just had a reboot cycle
Free - memory not in use for anything - wasted memory
Available - total memory available by applications, this basically is Cached + Free memory.

This mostly applies if you're still using a mechanical HDD, though. With Windows 8 and 10, Superfecth/Prefetch will actually disable itself for SSD's, even if the service is still running. Windows 7 will disable the Superfetch service entirely if it detects an SSD with sufficient performance as determined by Windows System Assessment. There are still some other caching mechanism at work (the "Cached" data you see in the Task Manager is just the top layer of the Windows cache system, added with Vista), but SSD's are so fast that the actual performance difference is minimal.

32GB of RAM will allow you to turn off the paging file. Some people are allergic to paging files and will develop symptoms like sweating and palpitations if they discover that their system is using a paging file. So for them, this is very important.