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Windows 7: Is adding extra RAM going to make any difference to performance?


08 Oct 2011   #1
Spitoon

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 
Is adding extra RAM going to make any difference to performance?

Hi,

I'm new here and did a quick search but didn't really find an answer to my question.

I'm a user rather than a geek/nerd - and I mean no disrespect by using those terms, just trying to illustrate my level of knowledge and competence. I build my computers myself so I'm happy to take the lid off and understand what the bits do but I'm not a tweaker.

I'm looking for performance for graphics editing - high res and large files, 200MB files are not unusual - and do a lot of design and publishing work, sometimes on large and complex documents. Occasionally I'm working with video from phones but might get more into HD video in the future.

Current machine does what I need quite happily - Windows 7 x64, 6GB (DDR3 10600) RAM, ASUS Sabretooth X58. I've got an opportunity to add some more RAM - another 12GB - for not much money.

Might do it just to see what happens - but am I going to notice any difference at all? Are there any clever things that I (or the OS) can do with a surplus of RAM? Or will it just use more power?

At the risk of going way beyond my level of competence, I'd be happy to hear any suggestions to improve the current hardware setup. Or to put it another way, I think I might be developing an interest in tweaking!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #2
speedgamer01

Windows 7 Enterprise x64 no SP
 
 

Welcome to 7forums!

It seems that you have a pretty good machine. Gaming bottlenecking ends at 4GB (sometimes 6), but they say that for business animation or video editing the more the better is. However the maximum amount of ram that makes sense in extreme scenarios is 12GB.
Please provide us information about your CPU and video card.
The upgrade makes sense, but i would'n suggest to invest in more than a total of 12 GB of ram. (so if u have 6 now you can add 6 more, your post was a little bit confusing :P)
Pay close attention to the RAM frequency (in your case it is 1600 mhz i guess) and the brand of the memory module. The best is to have identical brands.

Good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #3
Corazon

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

I think you could definitely benefit from the extra RAM since your graphics software can use it for temporary storage, undo buffers etc. without having to fall back on paging to disk.
For raw power, the CPU is probably most important, with the videocard being second. I suspect that you have quite a beefy one but would be curious to hear more system specs. If your video is nVidia-based and your graphics software has support for CUDA or OpenCL or other forms of GPU-based processing, that should help things enormously as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #4
lhorwinkle

Win 7
 
 

Use the Task Manager to find out how much memory you're using. (Run F1-Windows-Help or Google-search to understand how to use it.)

Do that while running a heavy-duty application ... the one(s) that are causing you to want to add more memory.

If Task Manager shows that you still have lots of memory, adding more won't help.

This is contrary to the long-standing, web-originated myth that more is better. More is only better for those who profit from buyers who believe the myth.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

RAM is always useful. But you are pretty well sorted already.

With the extra 12GBs you could experiment with a RAM-Disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #6
Spitoon

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Thanks for all the quick comments. As soon as I started reading speedgamer01's post I realised I could have given a bit more info about the machine!

It is a pretty respectable machine. I have added to it and replaced bits from time to time to keep it up-to-date - in most cases each individual update didn't break the bank but I try not to add up the total cost!

The processor is an i7 920 and graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512 and, at the moment, three HDD, which get replaced or upgraded when space runs short (one is just used as a local backup of really important files as a bit of insurance to get up and running again quickly if the 'main' drive fails).

The current RAM is DDR3-10600 - can't tell you much more except that it came as a matched set of three strips. I have a couple of friends who know more about hardware than I do and they appear to have diametrically opposed views about RAM - one says it's got to be from Crucial, matched and fast....and, of course, the other says none of that stuff matters with today's processors etc. and just go for budget-priced stuff that works!

Corazon, I know very little about graphics cards - I got this one when I went for a large widescreen display and the old card couldn't do the necessary resolution. It's only a couple of years ago but at that time few of the common cards appeared to support 2550x1600 - even though I went for a cheaper option it cost quite a lot of money but, for what it's worth, graphics is the limiting factor for the WEI.

lhorwinkle, I used to watch the Task Manager closely before the last big update - I was using XP x86 with 4GB of RAM and when something slowed down, usually Photoshop, it seemed to be maxing out the RAM. Since the update I've got out of the habit because it's not been a problem. It's good advice to do a search to learn what it's telling me because I know I understand only a small part of the info it provides (and I'm probably misinterpreting some stuff).

And whs has mentioned what was at the back of my mind. I'm sorry to have to admit to being old enough to remember MS-DOS and 386s. Back in those days there were little applications that enabled you to set up RAM-disks if you had, say, a spare 512 KB of memory. Then I could only dream about being able to afford to buy such a colossal amount of memory so I don't know if they made a big difference, but all the magazines said it was the way to go. Everything is different today but I was wondering if it was still possible to do something clever along those lines.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #7
Hackerpunk1

Windows 8 Developer Preview, Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1, Windows 7 X32 SP1, Windows 7 Ultimate X64,
 
 

You might not feel the difference, unless you have a good CPU! If you have a good one, then do add it to 12GB RAM

Best Regards,
Hackerpunk1
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Oct 2011   #8
speedgamer01

Windows 7 Enterprise x64 no SP
 
 

That cpu should not give you any bottlenecks. You might profit from adding some ram, but you wont feel it.
The gfx card is about 3 years and 2 generations old which is enough for a high res system screen or using the cuda function at some softwares, but not really for gaming. So the card is pretty ok for your work.
If you have money you should invest in an SSD for the system. That would really make things faster.
They are expensive now, but you might be able to afford a 120gb one for the system, and leave the other data on the current HDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Oct 2011   #9
Hackerpunk1

Windows 8 Developer Preview, Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1, Windows 7 X32 SP1, Windows 7 Ultimate X64,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by speedgamer01 View Post
That cpu should not give you any bottlenecks. You might profit from adding some ram, but you wont feel it.
The gfx card is about 3 years and 2 generations old which is enough for a high res system screen or using the cuda function at some softwares, but not really for gaming. So the card is pretty ok for your work.
If you have money you should invest in an SSD for the system. That would really make things faster.
They are expensive now, but you might be able to afford a 120gb one for the system, and leave the other data on the current HDD.

Well, on my Old Machine, i had a Dual-Core E2160 and 1GB or RAM, even after i upgraded that RAM to 3GB, I do not felt any changes, but when I changed the CPU, i felt the speed!

Best Regards,
Hackerpuk1
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Oct 2011   #10
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Spitoon View Post
Hi,

I'm new here and did a quick search but didn't really find an answer to my question.
The quick answer is Yes. The more ram, then the better the perfomance.

The biggest performance increase is gained from using a SSD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Is adding extra RAM going to make any difference to performance?




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