Ram question

Built a pc last fall when I stupidly fried my old motherboard. Nothing too special, i5 2500, GTX 550 ti graphics card and 4gb of ram. Went to Microcenter a couple of days ago and saw they had a Kingston 8gb ram pack(2 4gb sticks) for $30 so I bit. Wiped my system and installed the 64 bit version of Win 7, and now have 12 gigs of ram going, but I’m sitting here wondering if it really makes a difference. Skyrim worked just fine before the ram install, Photoshop never really gave me problems, I’d see a bit of slowdown if I had too many things open at once, but that wasn’t often. I mean, $30 for the ram, it’s cheap enough that I won’t regret the purchase, but how many gigs are people around here running? Am I just getting diminishing returns with 12gb, or is it worth it?

For average usage 12GB is overkill. It’s good if you’re running virtual machines, heavy video editing, 3D rendering, etc…

No harm in having it, though … Win7 will cache stuff to otherwise unused RAM to make things a little snappier and for $30 you can’t really go wrong.

You don’t need anymore than 8gbs to run 64-bit Windows 7. The extra 4 gigs aren’t really going to improve the performance of your machine. You’re going to choke out on processing power long before you’ll run into RAM issues.

But it’s not going to hurt anything. If you want a decent performance upgrade, consider getting a nice aftermarket cooler for your CPU and overclocking it. The i5 can reliably be overclocked as long as you have a proper cooling unit to keep temperatures bay.

Yeah, unless you have a use case, more than 8GB is not an improvement that’d be felt for most people. That being said, I have 16GB instead of 8 in my Desktop because it was $30 more and I’m harsh on my computer’s memory. I then proceeded to, day one, set up Firefox to eat up 4GB for caching, turned off disk caching (which forces all cache to reside in RAM), pushed the cache lifetime way up, and then the rest of my computer only had 8GB again. This is a stupid thing to do for anyone who likes logic, though; unless you’re insane with how you use your browser, you’ll never need anything close to this.

Goes back to his 6 windows totaling >650 tabs…

I cry at all the suggestions that 8 is enough.



For “us”? Oh yeah. 16GB or bust. Also, you’re not performing until you have an SSD; that shit is the upgrade that you really feel (moving to an SSD from spinning platters is more noticeable than the 4->8/16 RAM upgrade, by far). But for norms, >8GB may be a little overkill.

Which reminds me, I need an SSD in this Desktop. My laptop’s still my main machine, and the Desktop’s just for streaming and some PC gaming, but still… SSD boot volume = sex.

Better to have and not need than to need and not have.
Some apps make use of that ram, like photoshop.

That’s what I’ve been thinking, overkill, but harmless overkill. I just couldn’t resist 8gb for $30. Now I just need a second 550 for sl-I DON’T NEED THIS, WHY DO I WANT IT?

It’s not the size but the speed that matters. Higher freqs and lower timings (anything that’s faster than DDR3-1600 and with better timings than 9-9-9-24 will still be fairly pricey). That’s how you’ll see an improvement. Size will only really help you for context switching. In terms of memory, even 4GBs is sufficient. My old, old gaming machine (E6750, 4GB DDR2-800, 8800GT 512MB, all stock) was able to run Skyrim on medium/high on 1080p and Battefield 3 on low/medium at 720p.

The next upgrade you should do is move to SSD. Let your computer work with a very little or no page file so it relies on the large amount of RAM you have.

This is all assuming you’re doing general stuff like gaming and Photoshop.

EDIT: Also, to deter you from a multi-GPU setup.


freezer b hit the nail on the head.

Having more won’t hurt, but you won’t see a difference. Most pcs bottleneck at the hdd and gpu now.

my qx6850 (4+ year old cpu) with 4 gigs ddr3, raptor hdd’s in raid 0, and a gtx 570 run everything on highest settings at 1900x1200 with framerates between 60 to 120 consistantly.

Invest in your hdd and gpu… That is where you will see the difference…if you want to see the difference with ram, then benchmark it :slight_smile:

With 12GB, I can play Skyrim with Photoshop and all my normal stuff open, with 2 big work VMs running. Totally worth it. Without the VMs 6GB would be plenty though.

By far the biggest jump in performance for day-to-day stuff for me was getting an SSD.

There are exceptions to any particular needs… VM’s can easily suck up tons of resources

But with 4 gigs:
photoshop CS6 w/4 large images open
google chrome with 13 tabs open, then another 2 separate chrome windows open
fraps (on, not recording)
MSI afterburner
all the usual background programs… AV and stuff

used 3.34 gigs of ram… (82%-83%) and the game runs the same and framerates were the same.
without all this running it sits at 1.31 gigs used.
edit: 2.13 used with just game running

Not that I would ever use all this at once… but at times I do alt-tab out of games and do stuff.


better to have it now than later. you’ll never know when you’ll need the extra memory