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Mad Scientist
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#29007 19-Dec-2008 08:43
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Sorry to let you guys hear this but since i've spent some time doing little experiments i'll post my unofficial conclusions in case some people out there may be wondering

1) 1GB vs 1.5GB vs 2GB vs 3GB vs 4GB RAM?
do not ever use 1gb ram with vista it will make you life incredibly miserable. computer behaves like a daihatsu carrying 5 sumo wrestlers. surprisingly 1.5G acted like a turbo charger and there is actually no improvement between 1.5 and 2 G regardless of dual channel or not IF you're doing normal things like surfing net and playing video. boot time is minimum with 1.5-2G (58 sec). the next step of improvement comes at 3GB - doing pretty serious dvd video editing, running photoshop elements 9 whilst opening 10 windows in safari 3 and firefox 3 and ie7. increasing to 4GB of ram had minimal user impact.

conclusion: 2GB dual channel is best for most people. 3GB is max for most people who dont do hard core multitasking/video tasks. surprisingly boot times are slower with more than 2GB ram.

2) vista does not use all the ram it can?
the laptop has very few applications to load. with 3GB ram after booting, 860MB ram is used up. with 2GB ram after booting 650MB ram is used up. consistently. why?
the desktop has a few more apps to load. with 4GB ram after booting 1150MB ram is used up. with 2GB ram after booting 860MB ram is used up. sometimes its 950MB. again ... why?

3) dual channel vs single channel.
no difference if you dont max out your ram bandwidth doing high ram bandwidth things like ... err obviously i dont do them. probably does makes a difference actually as your WEI goes from 4.6 to 5.9 just by dual channeling, but it is not felt in normal use like booting up, playing media and surfing.

4) ddr2-667, 800, 1066?
no idea! i didnt feel any difference playing games and certainly makes no difference in booting times. probably the brand and therefore timings are more important than the ddr value - then again probably only makes the difference in hardcore users.

google says that nowadays ram is not the bottle neck, as long as you have enough. so just make sure you have at least 1.5GB if you're a normal person running vista. find the bottlenecks and fix them - graphics card for gamers, bloatware for all branded computers, malware for the unwary, ETC

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Mad Scientist
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  #185070 19-Dec-2008 08:45
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sorry for not being highly scientific as i absolutely have no benchmarking tools to proof anything. but then again in the real world what do numbers mean? if you're 8.4 and she's 7.99 are you a better person? will you get the dream job over her because of that?


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  #185657 22-Dec-2008 11:44
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Why does Vista Use lots of ram?

Vista tries to populate every byte of system memory with what it thinks you might need next. It's running a low-priority background task that harvests previously accessed data from the disk and plops it into unused system memory. They even have a fancy marketing name for it:  SuperFetch

Is Vista the only OS that does this?

No Linux and Mac OS X do a similar thing

Why is Superfetch good?

You have to stop thinking of system memory as a resource and start thinking of it as a a cache. Just like the level 1 and level 2 cache on your CPU, system memory is yet another type of high-speed cache that sits between your computer and the disk drive.

And the most important rule of cache design is that empty cache memory is wasted cache memory. Empty cache isn't doing you any good. It's expensive, high-speed memory sucking down power for zero benefit. The primary mission in the life of every cache is to populate itself as quickly as possible with the data that's most likely to be needed-- and to consistently deliver a high "hit rate" of needed data retrieved from the cache. Otherwise you're going straight to the hard drive which is slow.

Reference:  Coding Horror

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  #189115 13-Jan-2009 03:45
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and unless your the unfortunate fool who bought a 512MB name brand >cough HP cough< then dont evan bother with ReadyBoost. You'll actualy pay roughly the same for another 1GB of actual DDR2 ram as you would for a quality 4GB usb stick and it'll make a better improvement

@joker97:: your right in your thinking about timings rather than actual speed i've seen good quality DDR2-667 out perform crap quality DDR2-1066 anything with a rating of 5-5-5-15 or lower is great higher and you may aswell using dunny paper


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  #189127 13-Jan-2009 08:20
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re: 2) vista does not use all the ram it can?

well i've came across an article (sorry can't find the link now) that suggests vista starts to page when ram usage is beyond 40%. that makes some sense of why when someone upgrades from 1.5-2GB to 3-4GB ram utilization increases (as when using 1.5-2GB Vista 'HAS' to move stuff into pagefile.

that means 2GB may not optimal if you dont have a barebone OS! and 3GB is optimal/minimum for most people (if you have things like gadgets, live messenger, etc etc etc).
I note that when using 1GB there is no way vista can use only 40% of ram as that's way to little to function, so it uses about 80% all the time.

ok that's enough. i'm happy with my setup, looking forward to windows 7.

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  #189147 13-Jan-2009 10:08
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It's fairly well established that hard disk is the slowest part in any system.  Especially laptop's when they often slip in slower 5200 rpm drives instead of 7200 rpm.

Are you using ReadyBoost?  If not you should consider it.  All you have to do is get a cheap flash drive, plug it in one of your back of case USB slots and configure the drive for ready boost.

Vista will then page and use the USB as a disk cache rather than your normal hard drive.  Flash has a fast seek time of around ~1ms instead of 10+ms for a normal hard disk.

It really makes a difference for small file operations like loading dll out of page, laptops with 5200 rpm drives of course benefit a lot.  The extremely cheap cost of a flash disk makes it a no brainer / cheap performance improvement.

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