Why I Won’t Use Less than 32GB of RAM

Gurg

Honorable
Mar 13, 2013
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Silly me. I thought you might be running something like MSI Afterburner or Task Manager Performance in the background and monitoring your active computer system to see the max speeds and usages of the various PC components. Thereby determining that you were using close to the maximum RAM usage and could benefit from either faster or more RAM capacity. Instead you are just flying by the seat of your pants which is not what I would expect from a tech site.

Personally I monitor my system to see what weak points are for my uses. I also keep up with sites like yours to see what is new and reviews for PC components. Finally I check various retailers to see the price of my current components and possible upgrades. Additionally I will check out top scoring systems on 3DMark TIME SPY that use my CPU or GPU and how they are generating those higher scores. Also see if buying a supposed upgrade CPU or GPU would improve my scores. Then I will make cost/benefit decisions as to whether I need or want to tweak my system with minor upgrades or replace it.
 
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rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
As a content creator for the site, I can agree with the content of this article.

Silly me. I thought you might be running something like MSI Afterburner or Task Manager Performance in the background and monitoring your computer system to see the max speeds and usages of the various PC components. Thereby determining that you were using close to the maximum RAM usage and could benefit from either faster or more RAM capacity. Instead you are just flying by the seat of your pants which is not what I would expect from a tech site. .
I wouldn't even consider using MSI Afterburner for anything like that.

A software suite like HWInfo would be much more suited to delivering this kind of information to a power user over an overclocking/fan control software UI.

Task Manager would provide enough information to start building a basis for real-time system allocation of memory usage, and would be one of the first places I would look. I can't find a reason why someone wouldn't use Task Manager to identify these items on a Windows PC and then work from there.

While you want this to sound like you are completely outraged, your argument offers little-to-no basis for debate over that in the article. It also sounds like you want there to be a much more difficult and in-depth set of steps to evaluate system resources, but the fact is that it should be simple for any user of any skill ability to easily determine these and make adjustments to suit their needs.
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
We keep saying 16GB is the “sweet spot,” of memory capacity. So why aren’t we all using it?
I think people say 16GB is the "sweet spot" for gaming/basic desktop use. Most people I see giving advice on these forums for how much RAM to get add a caveat that you may benefit from more if you're doing media production/content creation. Which is basically in line with this article (except for the bit about wanting two ranks per channel, but that doesn't necessarily require 32GB).

And as far as getting 32GB just for 'future proofing', by the time you need more than 16GB for gaming it'll probably be time to upgrade to a DDR5 platform anyway.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
Most people come to forums and want advice on what is the 'best' with the unspoken expectation of actually asking for 'what is the cheapest' which trumps any other 'best' recommendation...which often this leaves us in the neighborhood of 16GB of memory.

The original question is often misspoken in terms of 'what is the best?'

However, what truly should be asked is 'my budget is $X, what is the best I can get for this price?''

When the best options are provided, the prices are usually scoffed at, then the real inquiry comes to light, which first limits choice by price, then by performance.

Everyone wants a Ferrari but they want to pay for a Yugo.
 
Reactions: Mandark
Oct 24, 2019
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I have 16 GB at work and my Task Manager is always showing 15 GB in use. In addition to the normal Outlook and handful of applications running, I have 3 browsers open with about 25 tabs each. If I try to open both Visual Studio and SQL Server, my system will grind to a halt, if not crash. I definitely need to upgrade to 32 GB RAM.

However, Linux may have better memory management than Windows (and LibreOffice v MS Office applications) as I only have 8 GB on my 10 year old computer at home and usually don't run out of memory. I do only have 2 browsers open there with maybe 15 tabs each and not keeping so many applications running as I'm only using that computer maybe an hour or so a day v. 8 hours at work. But since memory is cheap these days, so when I replace/upgrade that computer, I'll definitely go for 32 GB. Memory is much more important than processor speed in my opinion. When you run out of memory, the computer will grind to a halt and/or crash, but a slower processor (and slower memory and slower bus) just means things take a bit longer to open, compile/process...
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
I have 16 GB at work and my Task Manager is always showing 15 GB in use. In addition to the normal Outlook and handful of applications running, I have 3 browsers open with about 25 tabs each. If I try to open both Visual Studio and SQL Server, my system will grind to a halt, if not crash. I definitely need to upgrade to 32 GB RAM.

However, Linux may have better memory management than Windows (and LibreOffice v MS Office applications) as I only have 8 GB on my 10 year old computer at home and usually don't run out of memory. I do only have 2 browsers open there with maybe 15 tabs each and not keeping so many applications running as I'm only using that computer maybe an hour or so a day v. 8 hours at work. But since memory is cheap these days, so when I replace/upgrade that computer, I'll definitely go for 32 GB. Memory is much more important than processor speed in my opinion. When you run out of memory, the computer will grind to a halt and/or crash, but a slower processor (and slower memory and slower bus) just means things take a bit longer to open, compile/process...
I have more screenshots that show less than 70% use with 16GB under the same scenario as the 32GB screenshot. And the difference is that fewer things are cached to DRAM. In fact, I believe one thing we didn't hit on in enough detail is that certain browsers will cache fewer files in an attempt NOT to dip into virtual memory.
 

tracker1

Distinguished
Jan 15, 2010
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I recently jumped from 32gb on my 5yo system to 64gb in my new build (128gb was too much of a performance dip on x570).

I do software development and usually have multiple containers/databases etc running in the background. NVME storage and plenty of RAM count for more than even total CPU resources. My old i7 4970k was a little sluggish, but running out of RAM is painful.

I'll probably jump to 128gb as faster options come out, and upgrade other computers at home. For me 64gb is a pretty sweet spot. It depends on what you're doing. I wouldn't consider building a statement with less than 16gb though. Bugs me that so many laptops don't support more.
 

tracker1

Distinguished
Jan 15, 2010
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... If I try to open both Visual Studio and SQL Server, my system will grind to a halt, if not crash. I definitely need to upgrade to 32 GB RAM.

... Memory is much more important than processor speed in my opinion. When you run out of memory, the computer will grind to a halt and/or crash, but a slower processor (and slower memory and slower bus) just means things take a bit longer to open, compile/process...
If you're doing software dev work, I'd go 64gb if you can... Even from 32gb it's been a night and day difference for me recently. I'm using Linux on the system in question and usually have multiple databases and backemd services running.

Also, FYI, if you've got docker desktop installed in Windows, and aren't using unsupported features, using the Linux container versions of SQL are great. Can recover from scratch in under 30 seconds for a respectable setup. SQL projects can only be built in Windows, but can connect to a container. Easier to manage vs express or dev installs in Windows native too.

Using Windows laptop in the office and my own Linux desktop at home.
 

Geef

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Sep 12, 2006
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It appears to come down to 'Do you want more TIME for running 50 programs at once by buying cheap 32GB of ram' or 'Do you want more FPS by buying expensive 16GB very nice timing 14 or 15 CAS 3000MHz+ ram?'

It really1 depends on what you do with your machine.
 
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Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
It appears to come down to 'Do you want more TIME for running 50 programs at once by buying cheap 32GB of ram' or 'Do you want more FPS by buying expensive 16GB very nice timing 14 or 15 CAS 3000MHz+ ram?'

It really1 depends on what you do with your machine.
No. You can get better gaming performance from 32GB of DDR4-2800 C14 than from 16GB of DDR4-3600 C18, which our article compared like that so that the ratio of frequency to latency would be constant.
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/SYZVDKhjk8poNr7qyW8rGf-650-80.png
And of course the performance of the 32GB configuration comes from its added ranks. And of course you can look for better timings than the equivalent of 10ns latency. But from the direction you're presenting, 32GB of DDR4-3200 C16 tweaked to C14 would be better than 16GB of just about anything.
 
Oct 24, 2019
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Dear The Article Writer,

If you need 32 GB - 64 GB for what you describe in your article then please take this advice.

This is a constructive criticism.

Learn to optimize your computer processes -> Task Manager.
Focus and launch ONLY what you need.

You can achieve this ONLY at 16 GB with Windows 10 1909.

I hope that helps you and thanks for sharing your article with us.

Regards,
 
Reactions: daglesj

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
Dear The Article Writer,

If you need 32 GB - 64 GB for what you describe in your article then please take this advice.

This is a constructive criticism.

Learn to optimize your computer processes -> Task Manager.
Focus and launch ONLY what you need.

You can achieve this ONLY at 16 GB with Windows 10 1909.

I hope that helps you and thanks for sharing your article with us.

Regards,
Why would I want to do that when, for the $60 price difference, I can run all of those processes at once? It's not like I'm starved for CPU or storage resources ;)
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I re-installed Windows on a new SSD to verify that audio issues I had been having for the last couple of months were software-related instead of hardware-related, have only the bare minimum of what I need installed and I'm already at 9.1GB RAM in use with only web browsers and usual list of sites loaded. Quite glad I got 32GB of RAM back while DDR3 was near its lowest prices ever. I'm definitely going for 32GB again whenever I may be upgrading unless DRAM prices rebound to stupid high first.
 
Reactions: Mandark
i went with 32 GB when it cost $200 in Feb 2017, but 8-12 months later it was $400.

Although it certainly appears 16 GB might have easily been enough for my needs, with 32 GB I should never have to worry if I'm running too many applications, VMs, etc...
 

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