Is 512Ram enough?

badbilly27

Member
Jan 17, 2002
106
0
71
I'm in the market to buy a new computer and came across a quandry. What is enough RAM? One system maxes out at 512SDRAM and another at 1GSDRAM and yet another at 1G RDRAM. Am I hurting myself in the long run if I buy a system with a board that can only support 512SDRAM??

Thanks in advance. :)
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
25,060
3,410
126
If you look at all computers in use now, you will find that the largest percent of them have 128MB of memory. There are older computers still running fine on 64 MB, and there are some newer with 256MB. However the majority are at 128MB. Since the majority of computers have 128MB, most programs are designed for 128MB. Some of the future programs will assume 256MB, but these aren't out yet. Thus to be safe you should get 256MB. If you go with 512MB you are already purchasing four times the ammount that today's programs are designed for.

It really depends on your use. If you run multiple large programs you should get more than the average. If you do just word processing, email, and web browsing then you would be fine with far less than the average.

I use two computers everyday. Home computer for games: 64 MB. I can run almost every game ever made with 64MB. My work computer has 1 GB and I will get more with my next computer. However I do highly unusual work and I need it.

Basically I'd advise everyone to get 256MB if they want a computer to be good for 2-3 years. Get 512 MB if you want to have the computer for 3-5 years (although the processor speed will be a major problem at that time). If you need to ask, you don't need more.
 

Vapour

Member
Dec 12, 1999
49
0
0
dullard basically got it, but I have to put in my 2cents :)

If you're a games guy, 256 all the way. I noticed a considerable difference going from 128 to 256.

One thing you can do if you're running a system with 512mb is turn off you're swap file completely, so that it just uses ram. For Xp, 512 is what you need to do this.
 

sean2002

Golden Member
Apr 9, 2001
1,538
0
0
I have 512 in my rig and I have Seti, Photoshop 6, Bryce 5, and winamp, and IE open and I still have 276MB free, so I think 512 is more than enough
 

Mavrick007

Diamond Member
Dec 19, 2001
3,198
0
0
It also depends on the OS you will be using. If you are using Win98SE or lower, then 64/128Megs is all you will need, but if Win2000, I would go with 128Megs minimum and maybe more at 256Megs. For Win XP I would use 256Megs cause as all the new Win OS' out there, they just keep getting more memory hungry.

In all general purposes, you probably won't need more than 256Megs of ram, and if you do, you can always stick another stick in(as long as it's not RDram, then you will probably stick 2 more in or take 2 out and put another 2 in).
 

GTaudiophile

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
29,776
31
81
Put it this way. I have one DIMM of 512MB Crucial PC2100 DDR RAM. My Physical Memory usage monitor has never gone over 40%, so all I guess I needed was 256MB. I'm running Win2K.
 

badbilly27

Member
Jan 17, 2002
106
0
71
Great reposnses all!! I'll most likely be running windows XP on it and playing games like Quake III and the like. Additionally, I plan to do some light video work (i.e. DVD burning, etc).

My main question I was worried about is if I drop some coin for a new computer I would like to get some life out of it. My last computer had horrible upgradability. It seems the consensus is that if the computer comes with 512K SDRAM (max it can handle) I'll be fine for at least the next 3-5 years.

Next question: Should I be worried that I'm looking to buy a computer with SDRAM over RDRAM?
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
25,060
3,410
126


<< Next question: Should I be worried that I'm looking to buy a computer with SDRAM over RDRAM? >>



For memory intensive programs, a P4 with RDRAM tends to run about 30% faster than an equivalent P4 with SDRAM.
For programs that aren't memory intensive (email, Word, web surfing) then the two computers will run at the same speed.

Lowest pricewatch prices:
2x256MB PC100 SDRAM is 2*$35 = $70.
2x256MB PC800 RDRAM is 2*$69 = $138.
Funny going 4x128MB PC 800 is more expensive ($140).

So for memory intensive programs, an extra $68 will give you about a 30% speed boost.

Note: motherboard prices will vary so you might see more or less than $68.
Note: some manufacturers (Dell is a good example) charge triple what pricewatch charges so it may be a bit more than $68 if you don't build it yourself.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
55,855
13,967
146
Pairing a P4 with SDRAM is like buying a race horse and cutting it's legs off. RDRAM or DDR is what you want.
 

lorlabnew

Senior member
Feb 3, 2002
396
0
0
Is it right that with 512MB I could turn off swap entirely in WinXPpro?

Please someone confirm...thx




<< dullard basically got it, but I have to put in my 2cents :)

If you're a games guy, 256 all the way. I noticed a considerable difference going from 128 to 256.

One thing you can do if you're running a system with 512mb is turn off you're swap file completely, so that it just uses ram. For Xp, 512 is what you need to do this.
>>

 

gregor7777

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2001
2,758
0
71
Pairing a P4 with SDRAM is like buying a race horse and cutting it's legs off. RDRAM or DDR is what you want.


Yeah, it's like a man with breasts.

Using my RAM as a swap file in XP, how much of a performance gain might one expect to see in applications involving large graphic files? Video editing as an example.
 

squirrelman

Senior member
Jan 1, 2001
869
0
76
I noticed you said your going to do some light video editing and I have some experience with this. I like to record Simpsons episodes in Mpeg2 with my TV tuner card and I edit out the commercials. I originally had 256mb of DDR with my 1.2ghz AthlonMP and It wasnt very stable all the time. I then added 256mb more and for some reason the programs all ran alot more stable and editing was much easier. It also did make it faster. I would say for you 512mb might not be a bad idea.
 

XBoxLPU

Diamond Member
Aug 21, 2001
4,249
1
0
Twek XP

I just added a 256 stick and now have 512 ddr total.... :D

I am running no pagefile and my pc is running quite smooth!

 

lorlabnew

Senior member
Feb 3, 2002
396
0
0
Interesting.

I know it should be possible, all this just depends how much your programs need in real life and also how WinXP handles memory internally (this is not really clear to me). I think last time I checked my page file stats, it showed about 370MB (heavy multitasking involved). What I'm affraid of is that my machine wouldn't somehow boot and I couldn't fix it from the recovery console, I couldn't access my data, and had to reinstall.

I have 512MB RDRAM



<< Twek XP

I just added a 256 stick and now have 512 ddr total.... :D

I am running no pagefile and my pc is running quite smooth!
>>

 

AluminumStudios

Senior member
Sep 7, 2001
628
0
0
A machine that maxes out at 512 seems very limiting. I have an older system (PIII-500). When I built it I never imagined the tasks that I would be doing with it 2 years in the future. I have 512 RAM and it is nowhere near enough for AfterEffects, Premeire, and some of the other software that I use now.

One day I found myself with Photoshop, Premiere, and AfterEffects open. Task manager reported that I was using more than 1 gig of RAM! I was 500 in the hole!

Most of the machines we are buying at work are coming with 512 megs of RAM. I think that is still a little high-end right now, but certainly will be standard in a few months. I wouldn't want to be stuck at that level.

 

badbilly27

Member
Jan 17, 2002
106
0
71
Ok I have to ask my stupid question. Does the MB need to be able to be equipped to handle RDRAM? Meaning, I can't just swap out my SDRAM for RDRAM, right?

Thanks
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,586
1,000
126
OK, 256 MB on my XP machine truly is suck. Is 384 enough for Word, Photoshop, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer? Probably not right?

I only have 2 slots not blocked by my heatsink, and the slots each have 128 MB sticks.

If I'm gonna upgrade the mobo in a year, do think it's OK to uprade to 384 MB only (swap out 1 128 MB stick)? Or should I still upgrade to 512 (swap out both 128 MB sticks)?

I also have some BX memory questions in this thread.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
55,855
13,967
146


<< Ok I have to ask my stupid question. Does the MB need to be able to be equipped to handle RDRAM? Meaning, I can't just swap out my SDRAM for RDRAM, right?

Thanks
>>



Right. RDRAM requires an RDRAM mobo.
 

badbilly27

Member
Jan 17, 2002
106
0
71
Thanks on the RDRAM MB answer.

So in summary, if I have a choice between a system I really like that can only handle 512MB SDRAM and one that is a strong system (not as sexy) but can handle 1G RDRAM I should go with the second option.

Thanks
 

Mavrick007

Diamond Member
Dec 19, 2001
3,198
0
0
What system do you have? I haven't seen a system out in awhile that can't accept more than 512Megs or more than 1Gig of ram.
I think my old Super 7 even accepted up to 768 or 1 gig or more.
 

Whitedog

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 1999
3,656
1
0
I haven't tested Every Game out there, but the most intensive games out there right now only gobble up less than 300 megs ram MAX! So 512 will be plenty until the end of life for that computer.

Personally, I would never buy one of those Intel POS boards... but that's just me.

I run XP Pro with 768MB ram, page file disabled and have never had my ram usage more than 50%.
I have "12 applications/48 processes" open right now. System cache = 262MB.
 

oldfart

Lifer
Dec 2, 1999
10,207
0
0
512 Meg ram is overkill 99% of the time. Unless you are doing something really out of the ordinary, its not a big deal.