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RAM question

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10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 OFFLINE   EarleD


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Posted October 16 2008 - 10:14 AM

Will I see a noticeable performance gain going from 1.5 gigs of RAM to 3 gigs of RAM? Computer is a Dell 8400 P4 3.0. OS is XP Home.


#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Ray Chuang

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Posted October 16 2008 - 10:31 PM

If you're talking Windows XP, no. Reason is simple: Windows XP will support up to 2 GB of RAM on most machines, and anything beyond that is not really supported. This isn't Windows Vista, where in 32-bit mode it can see up to 3.25 GB of RAM of 4 GB RAM installed.
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#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted October 17 2008 - 12:45 PM

No, it's a lot more complicated than that. XP can certainly use more than 2GB total for all your apps, but probably not more than 2GB for any single app.

As far as the original question, more RAM is unlikely to help unless you are using close to 1.5 GB on a regular basis. You can check this in the Task Manager; after the computer has been running for a while, check the "Peak Commit Charge", the most memory you have used at any given time.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   EarleD


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Posted October 21 2008 - 09:57 AM

I got the 2 gig RAM kit for $50, I figured why not. Seems to make a difference when using photoshop.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted October 23 2008 - 07:48 PM

I've just had to rebuild my machine after my AGP slot died. Since I needed to buy new RAM I went with 4gb, and I'm running on XP.

XP is recognizing 3.5gb of this. From my understanding this is due to my new video card having .5gb on board and XP can only see 4gb total ram - this is a limitation on 32bit OS's.

Ray says that XP will only work with 2gb of that - I have not heard that before, and did not encounter that fact in my research so I can't argue, but I did want to point out that it will definitely see more than 2gb.

BTW - RAM is dirt cheap now. If you can afford it, I would go for it. (and it looks like OP did)

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted October 29 2008 - 10:36 PM


I have found that the best performance gain is through increasing the size of your HD. If you have a drive with about 80% of its capacity taken up and you change this out to a larger drive with the same data only taking up 20% you are going to notice a major difference in speed. RAM on the other hand tends to improve with applications like Photoshop that do better with more RAM on your system. Otherwise I doubt you would notice that much of a performance gain.

You can pick up some good sized drives for not a lot of money. I picked up a 750G WD for about $100 not long ago and I am sure it can be hand for less now. I got the Green class as it is very quiet and uses about 40% less power than a standard drive.

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#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Will_B



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Posted November 01 2008 - 06:32 PM

The extra RAM is essential if you're the kind of person who runs ~3 major applications at the same time and wants to be able to quickly flip between them. I usually run Photoshop, Firefox, and iTunes simultaneously, and often 2 or 3 other minor programs too, and without the extra RAM it couldn't do it.
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#8 of 11 OFFLINE   amidcars



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Posted April 06 2009 - 04:45 PM

I think XP can only read upto 2gb RAM. If you want more then it would be of no use. The best XP can work at is 2GB. If you want more RAM then you need to switch to Vista..

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson



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Posted April 06 2009 - 11:47 PM

According to

Memory Limits for Windows Releases (Windows)

The limit is 4G with the 32 bit version and 128G in the 64 bit version.

A specific PC may have motherboard limitations that reduce this number.

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 07 2009 - 10:49 PM

Following up on Parker's comment, newer drives may be a lot faster than older ones. I have a year-2001 Dell 8300 with BIOS limit of 137GB for drives on the internal controller. I upgraded from a 40GB drive to a 80GB drive primarily due to the old drive being 8 years old, but the faster new drive made a noticeable performance increase. (I was only using 50% of the old drive.)
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#11 of 11 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted April 11 2009 - 06:54 AM

The 32-bit version of XP will support up to 4GB of RAM but will only make available 3.5GB (regardless of whether there is an onboard or expansion slot video card) for actual use.

The 2GB limit is per channel on a dual core processor system.

More RAM so that you aren't hitting the swap file frequently and a larger/faster hard drive are the 2 biggest keys to a faster computer.