1GB v 2GB Opinions wanted please

  ross_mcculloch 16:04 26 Dec 2007

I'm after a new PC and can't decided whether to go for 1 or 2 GB...I don't do gaming but watch videos, listen to music, online radio, emails, updating my employer's website and a few other bits n bobs.

Any thoughts?

  silverous 19:16 31 Dec 2007

One thing I do miss from xp... I used to look at the 'peak' value to identify what the most memory in-use had been. If that was greater than physical memory you know you could benefit. I thought I'd done similar check in Vista but Bremner is making me wonder now. My pc isn't lightning, but I was fairly sure it was processor and disk bound rather than memory bound. Perhaps I should revisit. All I know is it isn't what I would call slow by any stretch, and it is a relatively (by today's standards) slow processor (an athlon xp 4000 if I recall correctly). It is at or above acceptable, but I think I need to check now that it couldn't be improved with more memory. All i'm saying is, you don't NEED 2GB, and i've been more than happy without it. I would agree if you have the cash 2gb is a safe option, but to go for more for most people is overkill.

  fishface113 21:59 31 Dec 2007

It is true that Vista will run happily with 1 gig. However it is plainly obvious that most new software becoming available for Vista will demand more and more. This is because as memory is quite cheap programmers dont feel the need to be conservative on memory requirements.
As a point of interest I noticed a marked improvement in overall system response when I went from 1 to 2 gig.
I now run 4 gigs of ram, and it is true that the system will not acknowledge the extra ram, it is there and is being used!

Te upshot of my comments are if you can afford 2 gigs of ram, you may not benefit now, but probably will in the future.

Good luck!

  bremner 12:37 01 Jan 2008

"I now run 4 gigs of ram, and it is true that the system will not acknowledge the extra ram, it is there and is being used!"

Only 3GB of it is being used - the remaining 1GB is sitting there unable to be accessed.

  silverous 15:23 01 Jan 2008

OK guys, explain this. I've got this browser open, I've got an email client open, I've got word open with a document in it. My memory utilisiation in Vista is 720MB out of 1GB available. Performance is instantaneous, my CPU is only 2-8% utilised.

Now....given that scenario, and "average" use, please explain why I "NEED" (need is a strong word) 2 gigabytes of memory?

I accept it may be beneficial, but right now it doesn't seem so.

That said, i'm looking at the "Memory" bar in task Manager. On XP I would have looked at "Peak" to see what the most memory I'd ever used was and if that was greater than physical I could use more. That doesn't seem to be there in Vista. My Page file in vista says 1207M / 2295M - does that mean I'm using 1207M of page file?

Right, just done some research, this article seems quite useful:

click here

It seems I have been confusing XP and Vista and the way the information in task manager works. My "Page File" value in Vista says "1224M / 2295M" that suggests that I'm using 1224M of Physical and Virtual (page) memory combined. As I have 1024M (1 GB) of physical memory that means, using what I am at the moment, I could use another 256-512MB of memory. Perhaps my processor and disk are stepping up to the plate as my system is not even remotely sluggish however I'm now tempted to buy 512MB / 1024MB of memory to see how that responds by comparison.

Given the above, and depending on budget and price of memory for a specific machine, I'm inclined to say 2GB for Vista as a guide however 1GB is way more than acceptable in my experience, and I suspect to a degree this will vary from machine to machine - with a fast processor and fast disk it may be that the page file can be utilised very quickly and the lag will be less noticable I'd imagine.

  bremner 15:40 01 Jan 2008

Two things come to mind.

You are using 720MB out of 1024MB, assuming you have a separate graphics card, this emphasises how 1GB is insufficient with onboard graphics.

You say you have three apps open and running. How many automatic processes are also running. You as a knowledgeable user have probably removed from startup anything that does not really need to run. A less knowledgeable user will have those also hogging memory. I am sure we have often seen computers with many icons in the bottom right of the screen, most of which are of unnecessarily running applications.

  silverous 19:42 01 Jan 2008

Not unless the onboard graphics uses the remaining 304 MB?! If you are using that much in onboard graphics then I agree - get 2GB. I am referring to 'average' home users. Again, for them I would suggest 1GB is 'fine' and certainly wouldn't stipulate 2GB is a 'need'. Recommended, maybe. I just looked to upgrade my memory to 2GB and it seems to be 40+ pounds for a GB of memory. To some people that will be worth paying just for peace of mind, but to be honest I'm struggling to see that I'd get a massive benefit from it and I'm not really an 'average' user as I do a reasonable amount of photo processing using large RAW files, edit movies, develop spreadsheets, databases etc. etc. How much impact is it really going to have if there is a little paging ? Lots of paging, I agree will impact but I haven't seen that with Vista on my machine.

I can't recall closing any unnecessary services as I didn't feel the need to do so, equally I have quite a large number of the bottom right of the screen icons (more than an 'average' home user) so that would suggest I have more memory I could shave to equate with a home user.

All in all I think it is a marginal thing - I suspect 1.5GB is perhaps nearer what is 'recommended' for Vista (from my perspective - again, I would say I am more demanding than an 'average' user). 1GB will perform fine for many home users, particularly with separate graphics cards (although I'm not convinced that makes a massive difference to the equation with 2D graphics), but if they are doing anything more than 2-3 apps open at a time or more intensive tasks (although as I've said, I do so without issue), gaming etc. then they should consider 2GB. I still stand by my assertion that most home users will be fine (how many 'average' users will care about a slight delay enough to fork out £40 ?) at 1GB.

  ross_mcculloch 12:58 03 Jan 2008

I'm going for 2gb, given that it doesn't cost too much more then it would be silly not too.

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