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How to know if you need more RAM

Jeffbx 2,262 July 24, 2012 at 06:28 AM in Computers (3)
I see so many people asking this question or just way, WAY overpurchasing RAM so I thought I'd post this. There is a very simple & quick way of seeing if you actually are running low on RAM before buying 16GB (this is for Windows 7).

First, use your computer! Fire it up and launch all of the apps that you generally have going. Open a few browser tabs, get your email going, etc. Try to do an average session - don't open every app on your machine. In the example below, this is my laptop that's running Outlook, IE with several tabs, Chrome with several tabs, Notepad, Windows Explorer, a couple of chat apps, Dropbox and Snag-It.

Launch Task Manager (ctrl-alt-del & then 'start task manager'; OR right click task bar at the bottom of your screen and 'start task manager')

Switch to the 'Performance' tab
Click the 'Resource Monitor...' button at the bottom of the window, and it will pop up a window that looks like this.

There are 5 different sections of memory usage on the bar graph, but only 3 of them are really important to you.

First one (in grey) is hardware reserved - this is RAM that hardware uses & there's nothing you can do about this, so not important. This amount will generally be pretty low.

Third one (in orange) is 'Modified'. Also not very important because this amount is generally low, but this is RAM that's in use by low priority tasks that can be quickly released for other use.

The green section is important - this is the total amount of physical RAM that your machine is currently using (ignoring the swap file). In the graphic below, the machine is using 3GB of RAM.

The next important section is dark blue (labeled 'Standby') - this is actually not labeled well, as this is your free or available RAM. This is memory that's available for use by whatever application needs it next. In this example, there's 3GB of RAM just waiting to be used.

Finally, the light blue section labeled 'Free' - this is also kind of misleading, as this is more like wasted RAM, not free RAM. The memory in this section is the amount that Windows is just ignoring because it has no use for it. It's not being used & it's not ready to be used by anything - it's just sitting there doing nothing.

So, if someone were to show me this display & ask if they need more RAM I'd say no way, as a matter of fact you already have too much installed. I'm only actually using 3GB with another 3GB on standby and 2GB doing nothing at all. As it's running now, having 4GB in the machine would be fine, and having 6GB would give me a safety buffer. It's got 8GB installed (see the line highlighted in yellow), so I'm wasting 2GB because Windows simply has no use for it.


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#91
So this is me right now:



What is the consensus? Do i need more? Do I have too much, just enough?
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#92
If that's your typical computing scenario, I'd say you would see no difference between having 4GB and 6GB in that machine. You're using 3GB & you have 3GB free - take it down to 4GB installed and you'd be using 3GB and you'd have 1GB free, and your computing experience would be exactly the same.

You certainly don't need more, but there's not really a concept of 'too much' except for the cost of the RAM. Having a lot of idle RAM in no way impacts your machine negatively - but buying too much RAM that you'll never use can impact your wallet negatively ;-)
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#93
When your monitor will become black and do 3 beeps.That symptom requires ram on the other hand if u play high definition game,you must have needed ram.However without ram a pc can not run.
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#94
Quote from Fayda View Post :
I am trying to use Adobe Premier Pro CS6 for video editing. The First thing they tell you is having at least 24 GB RAM. For this reason alone I am in the market for building a new PC. Looking for a notch bellow faster CPU. I will like to stick with AMD processor believe they give you more bang for your buck.
Thinking of this one.
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.p...re&id=1780
Any body have any other suggestion? I have a 10 Year Old DELL desktop that has reached it's upgrade limit. By the way I never played with Windows 7 yet. Just using XP even at work PC.
Heard Windows 8 can support upto 32 GB RAM.

Looking for any deals/suggestions on Video card, case, ram, HDD etc.

Thanks,
24GB of RAM? OMG

http://www.adobe.com/products/pre...specs.html
  • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
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#95
Great, a useful post for me. You know, I'm still kicking myself for buying a 8GB iPhone 4.
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#96
Quote from sd444 View Post :
24GB of RAM? OMG

http://www.adobe.com/products/pre...specs.html
  • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
Search Adobe Premier Pro CS6 and see for yourself how much is recommended. I was also shocked to see that 24 GB RAM.
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#97
Quote from luiswhite View Post :
Great, a useful post for me. You know, I'm still kicking myself for buying a 8GB iPhone 4.
Your iPhone has 8 gigs of ram. Wink
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#98
Quote from Fayda View Post :
Search Adobe Premier Pro CS6 and see for yourself how much is recommended. I was also shocked to see that 24 GB RAM.
That's the official page. Adobe putting "Recommended 24GB for memory leaks we don't know how to fix" doesn't help sell the software. Switch to a non-adobe NLE.
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#99
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
Your iPhone has 8 gigs of ram. Wink
I mean 8GB rom... Mad
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#100
Can you lower or disable swap file if you have more than enough ram? Sorry if it has been posted in the previous 7 pages.
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#101
Quote from redls1 View Post :
Can you lower or disable swap file if you have more than enough ram? Sorry if it has been posted in the previous 7 pages.
Follow the steps in the screenshots below.
In this case, custom sizes were chosen but you could choose "no pagefile" if you have sufficient physical ram to do so.
The minimum size for Vista and 7, is 16 megs, and the max should be close to matching the amount of ram in the machine.
In XP machines, the lowest setting can be as low as 2 megs.
If a program or group of programs need more ram that the allotted minimum, Windows will raise the minimum to the required amount.
If you come close to the maximum amount of physical and assigned ram, you will get warnings that tell you that you are low on memory, suggesting that you close some programs, before crashing the whole system.
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#102
I have 16gb of memory. Guess I will just leave it as it is as Im not low on disk space and maybe just keep min. and max. the same.
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#103
Quote from redls1 View Post :
I have 16gb of memory. Guess I will just leave it as it is as Im not low on disk space and maybe just keep min. and max. the same.
I doubt that you could ever consume all your physical ram, so it would be even better to just select "no paging file".
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#104
Thanks will give it a try. For what I do I read (kind late) I will never use that much but thought I got a good deal.
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#105
Quote from redls1 View Post :
Can you lower or disable swap file if you have more than enough ram? Sorry if it has been posted in the previous 7 pages.
You can, but it's a bad idea. The reason has to do with the way Windows treats memory. Contrary to the way most people think, Windows treats the pagefile as your primary store of memory and RAM as a high speed cache that it always tries to draw from first. I'll get lots of complaints from other people here about that description, but the fact remains, this is how Microsoft themselves describe the Windows memory model. And from an engineering perspective, it makes a lot of sense.
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