You May Need Less RAM Than You Think

Daniel_Chang

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Like many things, gamers tend to overestimate just how much horsepower they need, even when it comes to RAM. Here's an article from last summer.

How Much RAM? 4GB vs. 8GB vs. 16GB Performance

For their game tests, they had Chrome open in the background consuming 2.2GB of RAM. They compared 4, 8, and 16GB of RAM and found virtually no difference. That said, I'm a hypocrite. I still bought 16GB of RAM around the time that this article came out.
 

bigdogchris

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[H] is not about the bare minimum.
For our systems sure, but when you're building grandma a computer to check Facebook and email she doesn't need 64GB system with 16 logical cores.

But I do remember clearly back in the day when we got our first Windows 95 machine. I said I want 64MB of ram and the guy building it said 32MB is all we'll ever need.
 

DrLobotomy

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For our systems sure, but when you're building grandma a computer to check Facebook and email she doesn't need 64GB system with 16 logical cores.

But I do remember clearly back in the day when we got our first Windows 95 machine. I said I want 64MB of ram and the guy building it said 32MB is all we'll ever need.
If grandma has a Rolls Royce then she is getting the max that fits in the motherboard!!!!
 

atp1916

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I have also found that ram (single sticks) less than 8GB (like 2GB / 4GB) are far harder to sell than sticks of 8GB and up.

My next build is going to be 16GB sticks minimum. Probably going to aim for 64GB too.

Why? Because i want that much.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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i run at 16gb and it's not enuff....

i have chrome browser with dozens of tabs and websites open... while i'm gaming, live streaming, listening music or watching a video.

obviously this is running too many things at the same time which most people would not do. it's gotten so bad that i now use a chrome extension called "the great suspender" which does not load websites but retain their tabs. I can also adjust when a tabbed site will be suspended if it's not actively viewed.

so using that i now have enough ram. but that said 16gb is still what i need ^-^;

I also keep tons of tabs open (in Chrome none-the-less) and this is what I'm usually looking at during normal use, when I don't have a VM open or RAMDisk started:

Screenshot from 2016-07-09 21:46:55.png


I guess it is true what they say about Linux being more efficient with RAM :p
 

rive22

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Depends on the build. Given the good prices I always prefer to have the headroom. HTPC and file servers get 8-16GB depending on usage. Rigs built for offices, normal people, standard internet kitchen rigs, etc I put 8GB. Minimum for enthusiast rig 16GB. 32-64GB for content creation rigs, 64-128GB for video editing rigs, yes dual 4k editing can use it. ZFS rigs, sky is the limit.
 
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nysmo

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Standard rule of thumb still applies: by as much as you can reasonably afford
This is ridiculous. RAM is not like a monitor. A larger monitor has an immediate tangible benefit so it makes sense to buy as big and nice as you can so you dont have buyers remorse. However too much RAM is just invisible. You wouldnt even see the difference between 32/16/8GB in gaming for example. Buying more ram now is just a waste of money since ram prices continue to decline and you can easily upgrade at a later date. You cant easily upgrade a monitor as that would require a whole new purchase and discarding the other one.
 

nysmo

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Depends on the build. Given the good prices I always prefer to have the headroom. HTPC and file servers get 8-16GB depending on usage. Rigs built for offices, normal people, standard internet kitchen rigs, etc I put 8GB. Minimum for enthusiast rig 16GB. 32-64GB for content creation rigs, 64-128GB for video editing rigs, yes dual 4k editing can use it. ZFS rigs, sky is the limit.
Why would you need even 8GB for an HTPC or file server? Heck my old Pentium 4 rig could probably still serve both of those roles at the same time.
 

rive22

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Why would you need even 8GB for an HTPC or file server? Heck my old Pentium 4 rig could probably still serve both of those roles at the same time.
Like I said it depends on usage. In my mind an HTPC should be capable of everything as far as multitasking goes, everything from web, music, video, gaming, all at the same time, etc. It's very easy to exceed 8GB. Why 8GB on a fileserver? Cache for one, minimal price difference for two. 4GB for anything involves the usage of a page file far more often than an 8GB rig. It is not to say that less hardware can't do the same thing. I do it the way I do because I choose to. Simple as that.
 

raz-0

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For a web/netflix/word processing/email box? 8 gigs will do.

For real work or play, 12 gigs minimum, although 16 is more likely, I hit twelve with my rig with triple channel memory, and it feels on par with 16.

32 gigs is preferred though. Becuase you have those applications that make you need 12/16, and sometimes you need to run two of them at once with workloads that make them bitchy. For me, more doesn't help, but that's probably due to what I run and what I run it for.

Why would you need even 8GB for an HTPC or file server? Heck my old Pentium 4 rig could probably still serve both of those roles at the same time.
My experience is that you can saturate 4 gigs in the HTPC role. 6GB would probably work very well, but next step is going to be 8 these days. 16 seems overkill, but I don't run a fancy setup stressed by usage patterns. Others might.
 

drakken

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My current build is overkill for many people. I'm running 3970X hexcore. 32 GB of system ram (could be an octocore) and titan x with 12 GB of video ram... just running six browser windows and the normal background services I have 9.8 Gigabytes in use with 22.1 Gigabytes available. 17.5 is cached memory meaning that it is programs I run often and it is faster to leave them in memory, the committed or reserved memory is about 11 Gigabytes, the pages pool 1.2 Gigabytes and non pages 1.5 Gigabytes. That is no video games no application etc... most people have eight Gigabytes of ram... Note it is setup as developer with some compiles and IDE but they are currently running. One thing I can do that is interesting is I can run three video games on different desktops with windows ten virtual desktops. Most games assume that you have no more than 2 Gigabytes of video memory so I can run each desktop by clicking the plus and run another game. Running Riders of Icarus, Black Desert Online and one other MMO usually starts pushing my video card gpu too much. I want to try it various combination but I don't want to fry the hardware.

But the memory for most people would be limited by what you want to do. When someone asks me how much computer to buy I always start by asking them what they do with it. Then I find out if they know anyone who plays video games or console games. Video games, Digital Content Creation and Data bases being the most heavy resources. My guess is that if you only do one thing a time target sixteen gigs if you run vent or team speak, run a dozen browsers on a separate monitor to look stuff up then considering the price of 32 gigabytes I would consider it even for normal gaming rigs. for a normal person 16GB. But I have sunk about twenty thousand dollars into my rig in the last ten years, and half that in a last five but the ram was a couple hundred dollars the same as one of my hard drives I replace every four years.
 

Wade88

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I think your idea of work can scale pretty far beyond 16GB. I had 8 4GB ddr3 in the x79 build that died but the x99 build that replaced ~1/3rd of the x79 system contains 4 16GB ddr4 3,000mhz dimms with 4 more slots just waiting for those kits to not cost $400. When they get down to ~$250 I will have 128GB memory and then in a few years i'll probably have to switch to dual e5 xeons to get more slots.
 

cyclone3d

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"8GB is a good place to start. While you many users will be fine with less, the low price of memory means there’s minimal benefit to starting with less. An upgrade to 16GB is recommended for enthusiasts, hardcore gamers, and the average workstation user. Serious workstation users may go further to 32GB. Anything beyond that is the realm of extreme, specialty rigs equipped to handle huge data sets, staggeringly large video files, or niche programs designed for researchers, corporations, or government."

Umm, did they even proof-read the article before posting?

That whole blurb from the article is chock full of mistakes and horrible grammar.

And please stop posting links to articles on pages that have pop-up ads and are coded so horribly that it won't even scroll smoothly.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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My experience is that you can saturate 4 gigs in the HTPC role. 6GB would probably work very well, but next step is going to be 8 these days. 16 seems overkill, but I don't run a fancy setup stressed by usage patterns. Others might.
My dedicated Kodi boxes running without a window manager on Ubuntu rarely ever use more than 500MB of RAM.

I usually equip them with 2GB for good measure, but even that really is overkill.
 

Deepminer

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No such thing as too much ram. :D

A shithouse full of ram is a hedge against obsoletion. Not to mention a beaucoup ramdisk for temp'ness and swapfile'nosity (for the programs that shit bricks when there isn't one present). My previous box had 128gb, and I miss running entire games off of a ramdisk (it spoiled me with respect to load times).
 

ManofGod

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I would not mind going to 32 GB of ram in my home machine again. However, the ram prices are already about $15 more than just a month ago and according to the QVL list for my mainboard, it will not work with 4 x 8 GB of the Hyper X 1866 ram I have installed. :(
 

Exavior

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Since Windows 7, the OS is supposed to superfetch commonly used apps in memory, so its not really wasted in theory anyway.

that is what I am talking about though. People put 32 GB into a pc and then bitch that windows makes use of it and bitch whine and moan about how they shouldn't see more than 1GB in use if not running a game and even then should only see a few GB in use. It isn't being wasted but people still don't think it should ever be used no matter what.
 

evilsofa

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At the time of this writing, 8GB of RAM is around $30 and 16GB of RAM is around $52 on newegg (DDR3 and DDR4 have very similar prices right now).

So we're talking about a $22 difference for 8GB vs 16GB. This is small potatoes for all but the small potatoes builds.
 

Ur_Mom

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Minimum? Right now, bare minimum is probably 8 GB. But, price matters a lot. If I can get 16 for a little more, I'll go for it. Why not? On top of that - I don't need it today, but I might in 6 months/12 months...

I remember when 16 MB was just way too much. 8 MB was more than anyone needed. Pentium 100 era. Some dude had 32 MB and was insane. When Win95 came out, he was more than ready. Tons of other people had to upgrade.....
 

kandrey89

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I have 24GB, and I use 16GB to 23GB routinely.
I wish I had 64GB!!! I constantly run out of RAM and have to kill chrome processes to free up space, also the more RAM I use, the hotter my laptop runs, which is bad I know but I can't simply close Chrome...

I have lots of Chrome tabs open, some are active, some are to read later, others are bookmarks. No I don't need plugins to bookmark and save for later, tried that, doesn't work, I just forget those and never look at them again, best way is to keep it open.
Lots of other windows like putty, excel worksheets, VLC, various other programs, shells, text editors.

I wish 64GB was consuming 1/8th the power of 24GB and I wish 64GB RAM amount for DDR3 architecture was possible 6 years ago for laptops.
 

nutzo

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Depends on what you are running.

I have 8GB on my home systems, and it's fine. I rarely run anything that comes close to using it all.
At the office some system still have just 4GB and their fine for the apps they run. Some are still running 32 bit Windows due to some old apps, so they really can't use more then 4GB.
For users that run VM's, they get 16GB with is the most the laptops support.

As for servers, the last few I've bought, I went with 96GB or 128GB. Most my servers are now virtualized, so that's enough ram to run several VMs
 

snowcrash

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Name brand 16GB can be had for only a tiny bit more cost than 8GB so that is what I'll get for next PC upgrade at the end of the year. Not because I actually need 16GB. Haven't had a reason to with 8GB and a GTX780 currently and play most games at max settings. No problem tabbing out to run other programs. It just seems like anything more than 8GB is for technically oriented people. Like running VM or video processing.
 
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DeathFromBelow

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Not much point in running more than 16GB unless you actually need it. In my experience RAM disks don't provide much benefit for gaming over running off an SSD. 8GB is fine for most people.
 

Michaelius

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I was expecting some measurements or benchmarks to at least back up the amount of ram they suggested.

Still when I see someone suggesting 4GB for laptop is not enough that fells laughable - I had 4GB in my 2500K machine till 2014 and it never had any problems, then I got 8GB for i5 4690k and it could run Witcher 3 or Doom just fine.


The biggest culprit for ram usage is crappy Chrome browser.
 

rezerekted

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I used to play Myst with just 4mb of ram, man it was slow loading scenes. Now have 16GB but no longer play Myst.
 

AK0tA

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When I built my current build 8GB was a very good number and still today it runs most things very very well.
Life has taken a turn and now I do a lot of video editing and can see that 32 Gb would be awesome, I still get it done but it could be better.
 

prime2515102

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For a basic computer for basic tasks (word, chrome, misc non intensive software) I feel 4GB is perfect.
I'm not sure if I don't agree with this.

On my laptop, with Win7 x64, going from 4GB to 8GB didn't seem to do a damn thing. On my desktop, I can't be sure with Win7 because I've never had less than 8GB with it, but going from 4 to 8 made XP more "buttery" (a smoothness I take for granted since Win7). I'm not sure how much effort they put into 64-bit XP though as it wasn't all that popular.

So, modern OS (Windows anyway, I can't accurately comment on Linux as I haven't used it enough)? I agree. Still running XP? No.

On another note...

I decided to upgrade to 16GB and went ahead and left the other 8 in, and I do get some use out of it, but at this time, it's not even for gaming (I have the pagefile disabled also). Then again, I'm still running a 3GB 7970 at 1080p, so that's not surprising at all (finishing school and getting a decent job won't come too soon! ha!).


I turned my desktop into the main PC for my 'home studio' (if you want to call it that lol) and when you start loading sounds from virtual instruments, on top of working with who-knows-how-many tracks at the same time, the memory can start to fill up pretty fast (24-bit, 96khz non-compressed audio isn't exactly small). I've definitely exceeded 8GB, but I think it will be some time before I hit 24GB and get an out of memory warning.
 
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steakman1971

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I went with 'overkill' of 16 GB when I picked up my 2600K several years ago. RAM prices were higher then, but it was worth it for sure. Games today are hungry for more RAM than ever, running VMs always requires lots of RAM, I've started recording video in 1440p and working with that uses a ton, and of course Photoshop likes more RAM as well. My next machine, when I build it, will probably go with overkill again so I'm thinking 64 GB. I can't guess what games, or what my own usage, will need even in just a couple years. Why skimp and buy twice if I can indulge and skirt the issue from ever occurring in the first place? It's cheaper in the long run that way.
Same here - spent a little extra (although I think it might have been an additional $50?) to get 16gb instead of 8gb for my 2600k. This is still my primary rig. For what I do, it still runs fine.

My work laptop has 8GB. It's a Mac (don't judge) that runs Office, browsers, sometimes Xcode. Honestly, I would love to have 16GB in that device. Don't even think its an option though.
 

Keljian

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4 gig on my laptop, 5 gig on my work VM, 32 gig on my server and desktop.

32 was mainly for video editing, and it is sufficient for what I do. The server has a fair few VMs.
 

M76

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The question as with everything is what do you use your computer for? My work PC has 24GB and it is far from enough. An upgrade is far overdue, to at least 64GB.It's a $3000 PC from 2011.

For gaming I don't think anyone can justify owning more than 16GB, unless you're one of those crazy ones who'd create a 64GB RAM Disk just to speed up loading times.
 

westrock2000

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At work I have a TON of stuff open (15-20 tabs, multiple browsers, multiple applications, itunes, foobar2000, etc) and I can maybe muster 10-12GB of memory usage.

At home, it doesn't even come close and 8GB has been plenty. I just don't need all the different resources at once like I do at work, and I don't like the clutter or multiple applications and tabs open, but I have no choice at work.
 
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