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Does adding more RAM to your computer make it faster? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Up to a point, adding RAM (random access memory) will normally cause your computer to feel faster on certain types of operations. RAM is important because of an operating system component called the virtual memory manager (VMM).

    When you run a program such as a word processor or an Internet browser, the microprocessor in your computer pulls the executable file off the hard disk and loads it into RAM. In the case of a big program like Microsoft Word or Excel, the EXE consumes about 5 megabytes. The microprocessor also pulls in a number of shared DLLs (dynamic link libraries) -- shared pieces of code used by multiple applications. The DLLs might total 20 or 30 megabytes. Then the microprocessor loads in the data files you want to look at, which might total several megabytes if you are looking at several documents or browsing a page with a lot of graphics. So a normal application needs between 10 and 30 megabytes of RAM space to run. On my machine, at any given time I might have the following applications running:

        * A word processor
        * A spreadsheet
        * A DOS prompt
        * An e-mail program
        * A drawing program
        * Three or four browser windows
        * A fax program
        * A Telnet session

    Besides all of those applications, the operating system itself is taking up a good bit of space. Those programs together might need 100 to 150 megabytes of RAM, but my computer only has 64 megabytes of RAM installed.

    The extra space is created by the virtual memory manager. The VMM looks at RAM and finds sections of RAM that are not currently needed. It puts these sections of RAM in a place called the swap file on the hard disk. For example, even though I have my e-mail program open, I haven't looked at e-mail in the last 45 minutes. So the VMM moves all of the bytes making up the e-mail program's EXE, DLLs and data out to the hard disk. That is called swapping out the program. The next time I click on the e-mail program, the VMM will swap in all of its bytes from the hard disk, and probably swap something else out in the process. Because the hard disk is slow relative to RAM, the act of swapping things in and out causes a noticeable delay.

    If you have a very small amount of RAM (say, 16 megabytes), then the VMM is always swapping things in and out to get anything done. In that case, your computer feels like it is crawling. As you add more RAM, you get to a point where you only notice the swapping when you load a new program or change windows. If you were to put 256 megabytes of RAM in your computer, the VMM would have plenty of room and you would never see it swapping anything. That is as fast as things get. If you then added more RAM, it would have no effect.

    Some applications (things like Photoshop, many compilers, most film editing and animation packages) need tons of RAM to do their job. If you run them on a machine with too little RAM, they swap constantly and run very slowly. You can get a huge speed boost by adding enough RAM to eliminate the swapping. Programs like these may run 10 to 50 times faster once they have enough RAM!

    Friday, March 16, 2007 1:13 PM

Answers

  • really a nice piece of information. just check it out.
    Friday, March 16, 2007 1:25 PM
  • yea.... i really think so...
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:37 AM
  • Thatz rite man... N I have studied it on net also.. but then there is one query.. According to piece of information, if i increase my ram which i did from 128 to 512, There should not be the need of the Virtual paging, but still, the system uses the same amount of virtual page and whenever i start an application. the virtual page size increase... now y does that happen???
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:52 AM
  • generally, the page file size is double that of RAM, at min. levels.

    even if you increase your RAM, some part of OS always remains on virtual page file. this part is never brought on main memory, even if you increase RAM. that's why, page file size doesn't change, even if you increase RAM.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 9:58 AM
  •  Sanket_Shah_734609 wrote:

    generally, the page file size is double that of RAM, at min. levels.

    even if you increase your RAM, some part of OS always remains on virtual page file. this part is never brought on main memory, even if you increase RAM. that's why, page file size doesn't change, even if you increase RAM.

    But what i m asking is that, the size should have reduced, but it still continue to increase.. ill give example, before when i had 128 ram, my page size was around 250, (used), then now when i hv 512 ram, still the page size increases n goes above 250, now why does this remain, I m not doubting that the speed increases, because i hv seen it increase. but y is the theory not seen practically???

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 10:46 AM
  • please check the paging graph, and other task manager graphs. there are no separate graph for RAM and Page File. The default page table graph includes both RAM usage and Page File usage. That's why, it seems to you that page file usage has increased, even if it has decreased.
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 5:48 PM
  • of course adding ram increases ur speed...generally applications use up the ram 4 running,,so when there are more appl running they require more ram,so having additional ram really helps u in promoting the effeciency and speed of ur system...
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 7:44 PM
  • adding ram doesn't help always, as your view is. there is always a limitation for that. if you go beyond that, it will not help you. and also, the speed of the computer not only depends on RAM, but also depend on processor speed.

    so don't believe the popular belief that adding RAM makes computer faster.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007 6:25 PM
  •  Sanket_Shah_734609 wrote:

    adding ram doesn't help always, as your view is. there is always a limitation for that. if you go beyond that, it will not help you. and also, the speed of the computer not only depends on RAM, but also depend on processor speed.

    so don't believe the popular belief that adding RAM makes computer faster.

    One more point to note over here is that Ram Also has a speed... which you can find out in system information or in bios.... Higher the Ram speed will also lead to higher performance.... But processors are limited to which ram speed they support.. this is also important that you should match the ram speed when you go for an upgrade... i have the speed limit of 226 Mz.. but you can find speed upto 666 Mz...

    Monday, March 19, 2007 12:58 AM
  • agreed with you varun, but only to some extent. because its the speed which is matched with the system speed. the speed is the number of times in a second data is refreshed. higher the speed, higher the power consumption.
    Monday, March 19, 2007 6:17 PM

All replies

  • really a nice piece of information. just check it out.
    Friday, March 16, 2007 1:25 PM
  • yea.... i really think so...
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:37 AM
  • Thatz rite man... N I have studied it on net also.. but then there is one query.. According to piece of information, if i increase my ram which i did from 128 to 512, There should not be the need of the Virtual paging, but still, the system uses the same amount of virtual page and whenever i start an application. the virtual page size increase... now y does that happen???
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:52 AM
  • generally, the page file size is double that of RAM, at min. levels.

    even if you increase your RAM, some part of OS always remains on virtual page file. this part is never brought on main memory, even if you increase RAM. that's why, page file size doesn't change, even if you increase RAM.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 9:58 AM
  •  Sanket_Shah_734609 wrote:

    generally, the page file size is double that of RAM, at min. levels.

    even if you increase your RAM, some part of OS always remains on virtual page file. this part is never brought on main memory, even if you increase RAM. that's why, page file size doesn't change, even if you increase RAM.

    But what i m asking is that, the size should have reduced, but it still continue to increase.. ill give example, before when i had 128 ram, my page size was around 250, (used), then now when i hv 512 ram, still the page size increases n goes above 250, now why does this remain, I m not doubting that the speed increases, because i hv seen it increase. but y is the theory not seen practically???

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 10:46 AM
  • please check the paging graph, and other task manager graphs. there are no separate graph for RAM and Page File. The default page table graph includes both RAM usage and Page File usage. That's why, it seems to you that page file usage has increased, even if it has decreased.
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 5:48 PM
  • of course adding ram increases ur speed...generally applications use up the ram 4 running,,so when there are more appl running they require more ram,so having additional ram really helps u in promoting the effeciency and speed of ur system...
    Saturday, March 17, 2007 7:44 PM
  • adding ram doesn't help always, as your view is. there is always a limitation for that. if you go beyond that, it will not help you. and also, the speed of the computer not only depends on RAM, but also depend on processor speed.

    so don't believe the popular belief that adding RAM makes computer faster.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007 6:25 PM
  •  Sanket_Shah_734609 wrote:

    adding ram doesn't help always, as your view is. there is always a limitation for that. if you go beyond that, it will not help you. and also, the speed of the computer not only depends on RAM, but also depend on processor speed.

    so don't believe the popular belief that adding RAM makes computer faster.

    One more point to note over here is that Ram Also has a speed... which you can find out in system information or in bios.... Higher the Ram speed will also lead to higher performance.... But processors are limited to which ram speed they support.. this is also important that you should match the ram speed when you go for an upgrade... i have the speed limit of 226 Mz.. but you can find speed upto 666 Mz...

    Monday, March 19, 2007 12:58 AM
  • agreed with you varun, but only to some extent. because its the speed which is matched with the system speed. the speed is the number of times in a second data is refreshed. higher the speed, higher the power consumption.
    Monday, March 19, 2007 6:17 PM
  • What do you think is the minimum RAM required for a system running on XP and using Ms Office2003, Adobe,Matlab...
    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:16 PM
  • I had run this all at 128 Mb ram.. now i dont think that it will run on less than that...
    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:44 PM
  • For XP if you have heavy system resource hulk antivirus installed like Norton ,McAfee installed then you definately need at least 128+256 = 384mb ram installed because you will see that even when you are running no application at all the system takes about 210 mb of ram hence you are left with 174 mb of ram and full unused page file or virtual memory left so you can handle every application comfortably with that.

    any other antivirus you can have 256 mb of ram

    512 mb will give very high performance for gamers
    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:32 PM
  • Hi, U can use a benchmarking software to mark and measure the difference in the program execution efficiency.

    U can use SiSoftware Sandra:

    SiSoftware Sandra is a 32 and 64-bit Windows system analyser that includes benchmarking, testing and listing modules. It tries to go beyond other utilities to show you more of what is really going on under the hood so you draw comparisons at both a high and low-level in a single product. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, ODBC Connections, USB2. Version XI.SP2 adds new hardware (processors, chipsets, south bridges, environment monitors, devices) and operating systems (Windows Server 2007, Windows Mobile 6) support.

    Download it for free at:

    http://www.download.com/SiSoftware-Sandra-Lite/3000-2086_4-10671255.html?tag=lst-0-2
    Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:12 AM
  • its 1gb min ram requirement, for the current day computer activity...
    because
    vista itself, requires min 1gb, so if you are rnning vista and are a hardcore gamer, 2gb should be your min requiremtn...
    Thursday, May 24, 2007 1:17 PM
  • Basically by passing of time the requirement of Ram is becoming more and more,, and the reason is not due to requirement of it but due to the cheapness of RAm..

    Ram is becoming so cheap that the whole concentration of the programming world is shifted from saving memory to increasing productivity and saving processing time.. that is the reason why now a dayz we dont think so much of not using a extra variable in the program, but instead of saving the process time....

    So now Time complexity plays a more vital role than the Space Complexity....
    Thursday, May 24, 2007 2:00 PM
  • If you cannot purchase ram right now then increase the page file to about 3 times the size of ram

    for linux those released now a days are requiring 512 for very good performance


    Thursday, May 24, 2007 2:16 PM