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Windows 7: RAM: 16 or 32 GB?

18 Jan 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
RAM: 16 or 32 GB?

Hi guys.
I'm in the middle of a re-build and wondering if I should reinstall all my RAM or just half of it.
With all slots in use, I can OC my RAM to 1866 but have to loosen timings (10,11,10,27) for mobo to see all 32GB. I've been told that this is due to additional stress on CPU's mem controller which is supposedly not great on AMD chips which have an on die controller.

On the other hand, when I installed only 16GB I was also able to OC RAM to 1866 but with much tighter timings (8,9,8,24).

I've also hit the 21GB bandwidth brick-wall which seems to be the limit for AMD FX processors.

How much RAM do I really need to have everything run smooth? Mainly games, some photo and video editing (Adobe CS6), some graphic design (Adobe and Corel), some MS Office work, browsing, emailing, etc.

I like to use a RAMDisk to keep writes of my SSDs, for internet cache, windows TEMP and TMP, but the software I use (Primo RAMdisk) dynamically allocates memory used by the RAMDisk. So if I set up a 4GB RAMDisk, only the portion being used is substracted from RAM, not the full 4GB. Usage is never above 1GB or so.

So should I keep all 32GB or go for 16GB with lower latencies?

Your advice would be very much appreciated.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Just personal opinion but considering that most users can make do with 8GB RAM, only if someone does a lot of video editing, has several VMs running in the backgound, is doing 3D CAD work, etc and all are being done at the same time, then 16GB might be the way to go. Here's some other forum threads that may give you some other perpectives.

How much RAM is too much? 32gb? 64gb? - AnandTech Forums

16GB enough? or go for 32GB? - Hardware Canucks

Do I really need 16GB of RAM?

1600Mhz 32gb vs 2133Mhz 16gb - Overclockers UK Forums

Have you tested your machine in your real world environment to see exactly what benefits or problems you have when running 16GB with lower latencies vs. 32GB and higher latencies? Whichever setup gives the best performance or most noticeable improvements is what I'd go with.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Thank you marsmimar.
I will do some testing once I get the rig up and running again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Jan 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64

I would install it all and dedicate half of it to a ram drive !
AMD Radeon
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2013   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Was doing RamDisk with Primo with 32GB installed, but latencies where very high.
Maybe I need to get 32GB of better latency 1866 memory?
Thanks Alan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Unless you open CAD, 3dmax, crysis 2, video renderer like sony vegas and adobe premier or virtual machines at the same time 16 GB should be more then enough . However , Capacity is far more important than frequency and timings. Like for example , 2GB of 2400MHz would lose to 4GB of 1333MHz because neither photo shop nor high quality gaming can be done on 2GB of RAM.
I m currently running win 7 64-bit, and i have only ever seen my memory usage hit up to about 4-5 GB running games and other programs.
But you could use RAM Drive to assist your resource hungry Video Editing Applications. So with 16 GB you have 4 GB for your GPU's, 4 GB for your applications and 8 GB for a scratch drive or swap file drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Thank you alikhan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Feb 2013   #8

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64bit, Debian GNU/Linux 64bit (virtual machine on a RAM drive)

I have 64GB, and as you might expect, I say use the 32GB, since you've got it. RAM speed isn't going to make much of a difference at these levels, and since you say you're hitting speed limitations anyway, no real reason not to.

Windows 7 SuperFetch can make use of available RAM too as a kind of system/HDD cache. On my computer it currently has about 14.5GB cached in the "Standby" portion of my RAM. This doesn't include the RAM programs use nor my RAM drive.

Going from 32GB to 64GB, my normal background programs (including BOINC, which keeps my CPU and to some extent my GPU dynamically fully loaded crunching in the background nearly 24/7, and the Minecraft server I run from a RAM drive) went from using about 4GB to about 8GB.

Windows and some programs are a lot smarter about how they use RAM these days. So if you've got it, they can often take advantage of that available resource, at least somewhat.

It's true that most people don't need anywhere near this amount of RAM on their computers to do more normal things, including high-end gaming, but it isn't true that these large amounts of RAM don't provide any general use benefit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Feb 2013   #9

Windows 10 Home Premium 64bit sp1

I agree 8GB is actually more then enough i dropped another 8 in for the heck of it my system at best will use close to 4 gb and that is with a demanding game or burning ripping video encoding pretty much most of thepower is coming from the CPU and the good dose of vram from the GPU that keeps me at low levels
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 RAM: 16 or 32 GB?

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