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Windows 7: Minimalist RAM Usage?

31 Jul 2009   #1
Zaraithe

Windows 7 Build 7100
 
 
Minimalist RAM Usage?

Hey everyone; this is my first post on these forums, so I'm sorry if I'm beating a dead horse.

When I run windows 7 idle, I get somewhere in the neighborhood from 600 MB used (for a second or two after start up) to about 900 MB used. This is from an idle computer running no programs, with Windows Classic theme and thus (I believe) Aero disabled, but it seems a little high. I've heard of people getting their netbooks to run on 250 mb idle and other nice numbers, and I'd like the same for my laptop (if possible).

I'm running an Intel C2D 2.33 GHz laptop with 4GB of RAM with Windows 7 RC 7100 x64. RAM is limited to 3.37 GB, because the motherboard doesn't address that high (turning on PAE and turning off DEP haven't helped the issue).

I understand that the fact I have so much RAM could be why Win7 is being liberal with its use, but I thought I would see if there were any tricks I could pull to get such low numbers. I've not gone through Black Viper's service list yet, so that may yield some results, bu I don't think it would yield a 400-700 MB difference...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Jul 2009   #2
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

So, here is the deal. Windows Vista and Windows 7 both cache RAM...which means Windows will gobble up as much as it wants and in the event that a program comes along and needs RAM available, Windows will drop what it has cached and free it up for the program in question.

Unfortunately, people often want to try to reduce their RAM usage as much as possible...but this really doesn't make any performance sense with Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you have 4GB of RAM, you might as well use as much as you can. If you have 8GB of RAM, you should want to use as much as you can.

So, there really is no point in having RAM just sitting there free. That's my point. Don't worry about it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2009   #3
spazzie

Windows XP Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
So, here is the deal. Windows Vista and
So, there really is no point in having RAM just sitting there free. That's my point. Don't worry about it.
Why should RAM be wasted on caching apps I never use? Surely this isn't good on the desktop, let alone Windows 2008 File Servers? ;-)

In Widows 7 RTM downloaded from TechNet Plus, I've found my foreground apps (browser, explorer, explorer shell, pop3 mail, word) are sluggish because Windows 7 wastes my RAM on never used apps instead of my current foreground apps.

Thankfully Windows 7 performs better than Windows XP when I disable superfetch, windows defender, drive protection, indexing, and tweak aero to suit my 256Mb GeForce 6200
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Aug 2009   #4
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I don't believe that Windows is caching apps that you "don't use". I just don't see a need for XXX amount of free RAM to be available at all times. If instead, the system can hold onto something that it might actually need again....why dump it out to RAM and then have to come back to the hard drive to get it again.

Personally, I'd rather have every single byte of RAM used. Free RAM just waiting around doesn't provide any benefit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2009   #5
spazzie

Windows XP Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
I don't believe that Windows is caching apps that you "don't use". I just don't see a need for XXX amount of free RAM to be available at all times. If instead, the system can hold onto something that it might actually need again....why dump it out to RAM and then have to come back to the hard drive to get it again.

Personally, I'd rather have every single byte of RAM used. Free RAM just waiting around doesn't provide any benefit.
Well Prefetch is caching Excel, Powerpoint, the entire office suit in fact ..I only use Word 2007 and Opera so I don't see the point in consuming RAM for the sake of consuming RAM and slowing down my foreground apps / explorer shell in the process.

In the 2001-2006 era before Vista-the-resource-hog came about, XP would run on 256Mb RAM and when you added another 256Mb or more you got a big speed improvement. Not any more with Vista/Windows 7.

Maybe PC users shouldn't install anything on a PC anymore for fear of Vista / Windows 7 resource hogging *users* RAM with apps we never use and making the foreground apps we do use run slower as a consequence.
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10 Aug 2009   #6
EarlZ

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 RTM
 
 

Thats why they added a feature to disable superfetch for those who do no understand how it works and for those who believe it slows the system down, Personally i only upgraded to 8GB's of ram for superfetch, i want my programs prefetched while im browsing and doing all other stuff it has never degraded my system performance at all.


Altho 7's caching is bitter sweet since the algorithm is far less agressive w/c is a good thing since it doesnt cache any of my useless files like movie files or torrent zip files but this time around the caching is so relaxed and it starts over 3mins after windows boot time w/c i find a bit bad.. i hope MS adds a way of fine tuning 7's prefetch though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2009   #7
darkassain

Windows 7 Ult x64(x2), HomePrem x32(x4), Server 08 (+VM), 08 R2 (VM) , SuSe 11.2 (VM), XP 32 (VM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spazzie View Post
Well Prefetch is caching Excel, Powerpoint, the entire office suit in fact ..I only use Word 2007 and Opera so I don't see the point in consuming RAM for the sake of consuming RAM and slowing down my foreground apps / explorer shell in the process.

In the 2001-2006 era before Vista-the-resource-hog came about, XP would run on 256Mb RAM and when you added another 256Mb or more you got a big speed improvement. Not any more with Vista/Windows 7.

Maybe PC users shouldn't install anything on a PC anymore for fear of Vista / Windows 7 resource hogging *users* RAM with apps we never use and making the foreground apps we do use run slower as a consequence.
you might want to have a read on what superfect does and what it really is...
JSKYs - Vista's Prefetch or SuperFetch


Quote:
To start with, SuperFetch overcomes one of the big drawbacks in Windows XP's Prefetch technology. Prefetch improves efficiency by loading the majority of the files and data needed by an application or process into memory so that they can be accessed very quickly when needed. However, because these files and data exist in memory, they are subject to the laws governing virtual memory. In other words, when other applications need access to memory, any prefetched data is moved out to the page file on the hard disk. When it is needed again, it then must be moved back from the page file to memory, which of course offsets the performance enhancement.
this why you get a performance boost when added more ram...
the system does not have to page the Prefetched data out all the time...


Quote:
SuperFetch goes one step further to ensure that you get the most out of the performance enhancement. In addition to constructing the map files described earlier, SuperFetch also constructs profiles of the applications you use that include information about how often and when you use them. SuperFetch then will keep track of the applications in your profile and note when any prefetched data is moved out to the page file. SuperFetch will then monitor the progress of the application that caused the prefetched data to be moved out to the page file and, as soon as that application is done, it will pull the prefetched data back into memory. So when you go to access the application, the prefetched data will again be available in memory and the application will be very responsive.
while i admit the Vista Superfetch algorithm was a little too aggressive, it did its job, and so does Win7's Superfechter, it improves on this algorithm by making less aggressive and more intelligent...


SuperFetch Enhanced Prefetch - Instantaneous application launch - Softpedia
Quote:
In XP memory management with Prefetch is simple: every time you load up an application a corresponding PF file is created in the Prefetch folder with the direct purpose of making that application load faster at the next launch. One would think that the folder would build up and take a lot of space on the disk drive, but the truth is that Windows will preserve up to 128 prefetches. When this limit is reached the operating system will keep only the 32 most frequently used files and dump all the others.
while this is according to XP's prefetch, the rule still applies...
its 128 prefetches, and if out of those 128 you opened Excel or Powerpoint well that gets prefetched too...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by EarlZ View Post
Thats why they added a feature to disable superfetch for those who do no understand how it works and for those who believe it slows the system down, Personally i only upgraded to 8GB's of ram for superfetch, i want my programs prefetched while im browsing and doing all other stuff it has never degraded my system performance at all.


Altho 7's caching is bitter sweet since the algorithm is far less agressive w/c is a good thing since it doesnt cache any of my useless files like movie files or torrent zip files but this time around the caching is so relaxed and it starts over 3mins after windows boot time w/c i find a bit bad.. i hope MS adds a way of fine tuning 7's prefetch though.
Superfetch and Prefetch only cach apps and never has cache the files used themselves (and this includes Vista)...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2009   #8
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spazzie View Post
In the 2001-2006 era before Vista-the-resource-hog came about, XP would run on 256Mb RAM and when you added another 256Mb or more you got a big speed improvement. Not any more with Vista/Windows 7.
Well, back in those days, running with 256MB of RAM was somewhat on the minimum side and adding another 256MB did provide breathing room. You would see similar improvements with Vista/Windows 7 if you started with 512MB of RAM and then increased to 1GB of RAM. However people start with 2GB of RAM or more and expect dramatic increases when they go to 4GB or 8GB of RAM and based on their actual use of the computer...this just isn't going to happen.

I always found it amusing when the use of memory in Windows changed to more closely work like Unix/Linux. People in forums kept wondering where all of their memory went kept trying to free it up. Watch any modern Linux machine which is very good with system resources. You boot up and it's only consuming a little RAM at first, but in a short while the amount of free memory is often pretty low. The key is that swap file usage. If your free ram is somewhat low...but your swap file isn't being touched...you have no problems whatsoever.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spazzie View Post
Maybe PC users shouldn't install anything on a PC anymore for fear of Vista / Windows 7 resource hogging *users* RAM with apps we never use and making the foreground apps we do use run slower as a consequence.
Well, from the things I have seen personally and on this forum...most people are absolutely ecstatic with the performance they are getting from Windows 7. I generally don't run across too many people who complain that Windows 7 just isn't performing well and that it's very slow and clumsy and are struggling to figure out where the speed went. I'd believe that many are simply letting Windows do what it wants with RAM and aren't spending hours on end trying to second guess how it's doing it. I simply cannot remember the last time on a Windows machine I went into task manager to see how much RAM I had free. But I do go into machines and find out how much RAM they have installed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #9
spazzie

Windows XP Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by EarlZ View Post
Thats why they added a feature to disable superfetch for those who do no understand how it works and for those who believe it slows the system down, Personally i only upgraded to 8GB's of ram for superfetch, i want my programs prefetched while im browsing and doing all other stuff it has never degraded my system performance at all.


Altho 7's caching is bitter sweet since the algorithm is far less agressive w/c is a good thing since it doesnt cache any of my useless files like movie files or torrent zip files but this time around the caching is so relaxed and it starts over 3mins after windows boot time w/c i find a bit bad.. i hope MS adds a way of fine tuning 7's prefetch though.
Prefetch worked great on XP, they should have just left it at that. SSD "disks" are just around the corner, so heaven knows what Microsoft engineers were thinking with this obsession to fill RAM just because "unused RAM is wasted RAM" (which of course is patently false). Every PC I have used running Vista even Windows 7 in x86 and x64 with prefetch "ON" results in poorly performing foreground apps due to prefetch resource hogging and hard disk thrashing.

By default I disable prefetch, indexing, windows defender, resource protection on Vista / Windows 7 PC's. The result is an OS equal to Windows XP in performance, a quiet HDD, cached physical RAM that rarely goes above 600Mb, free RAM averaging out at 2Gb, foreground apps and the OS in general are instantly responsive because they have a large pool of RAM available when required which doesn't need to be 'dropped' then re-fetched back from HDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #10
dmex

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spazzie View Post
Prefetch worked great on XP, they should have just left it at that. SSD "disks" are just around the corner, so heaven knows what Microsoft engineers were thinking with this obsession to fill RAM just because "unused RAM is wasted RAM" (which of course is patently false). Every PC I have used running Vista even Windows 7 in x86 and x64 with prefetch "ON" results in poorly performing foreground apps due to prefetch resource hogging and hard disk thrashing.

By default I disable prefetch, indexing, windows defender, resource protection on Vista / Windows 7 PC's. The result is an OS equal to Windows XP in performance, a quiet HDD, cached physical RAM that rarely goes above 600Mb, free RAM averaging out at 2Gb, foreground apps and the OS in general are instantly responsive because they have a large pool of RAM available when required which doesn't need to be 'dropped' then re-fetched back from HDD.
Caching helps prolong the use of SSD drives, the life of a SSD drive decreases with each read/write

I will say that from reading your current posts that you dont have a reasonable idea how the memory caching works at all, If you took the time to learn about the changes and research/run tests then you wouldn't have any problem with it....I just started an extra 30 instances of Visual Studio just to show some examples here...

Minimalist RAM Usage?-sysram.jpg

Look at the collums for each process, each instance of Visual Studio (devenv) has commited 21mb of data, has an available working set of 27MB available, currently shares 19MB between each process with an actual real memory use of 7MB (private).

You will notice all the instances of Visual Studio are sharing 19MB with a Private memory use of 7MB, after the first instance is running Windows is able to use that existing process's shareable memory for launching each new process and share xxx amount of ram with that process resulting in an actual private use of 7mb saving 20MB for each new instance I create, A classic example of these improvements with Memory Management if Firefox, You will notice its first launch after booting up your system is really slow but each new instance after that is launched near instantly.

That just never happened on XP, all these instances of Visual Studio would have consumed 27Mb of ram each instead of 7MB and ate all my available RAM.

You also have idea that the cached ram is actually slowing your applications down, You can see from the screenshot that I have 30mb of free ram with 2.1GB of cached ram... For example, when launching TF2 or CSS they query the amount of available RAM and reserve about 400mb each, Windows simply doesn't inform the requesting application that its using that ram for caching and consequently CSS/TF2 just over-writes the memory addresses its using, theres no unloading/clearing/deleting or whatever your thinking is going on that could possibly slow your system down... If it has to write data onto your page-file or something then it will defintly cause a slow down while that takes place.

BTW, Look at the Hard Faults/Sec graph on the right, That is your actual read/write usage of your RAM and you can see its almost nothing even though Im using 2gb RAM right now, That was also non-existent on XP and it would be constantly read/writing to your RAM resulting in a massive slowdown when your maximum RAM capacity was reached.

You could be listening to music, playing games, burning a DVD and transcoding a Movie and whatever else without even realising you had zero ram available provided you had a minimum 2-4gb ram installed, Yes you would notice a slow down while switching between applications but launching instances of current applications is near instantaneous and thats also something you could never do on XP.

Microsoft devs know more about Windows and its core management than anyone else, their much smarter then you or me and dont just do things because they feel like it, they play games, watch movies, burn dvds...etc just like "normal people" and dont just go around changing things because their bored, just like us...they want better management of things like Memory usage but hey if you feel that your smarter then you more than welcome to go ahead disable what you feel like.


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