Babbman wrote:... As long as it's not DDR3 Triple channel memory, it's dirt cheap and the easiest way to upgrade an older computers performance. ...
Well, it's a cheap upgrade, but with older memory (PC2700 DDR) it's not dirt cheap. I bit the bullet yesterday and bought a 1G stick of Kingston memory from Fry's Electronics. Could have saved a few bucks via mail order, but had it in hand with a 15 day return if it didn't work. Also, could have saved money with some non-name brand stuff, but I hate it when computer equipment has operational idiosyncrasies. Pulled a 256KB stick out and dropped in the 1G stick and the computer simply smiled!
Funny thing is that with 512 installed, the OS used about 250KB for background stuff. When I have 1,256KB installed, it uses almost 500KB for background stuff. Hmmm.
So, if I bump up this computer to 2G, will it grab more RAM for background? And, operate proportionately faster?
In the late 80's, in order to 'upgrade' to 16MB Ram to run Windows 3.1, we were spending about $240. And that was for a single 4M stick. So for a little under $1000, we were brought up to the latest and greatest..lol... I see Crucial sells a 1GB stick for about $40 through Tiger Direct so when I say dirt cheap, I'm being relative..lol... and really, for the performance kick, it's a dirt cheap alternative to buying a new computer..
On the usage. That's typical. Windows has always 'managed' (and I say that very loosely) it's memory and allocates it based on available RAM. The more it has, the more it will offload into RAM rather than trying to page it to the hard drive. Ultimately, it leads to increased performance as there is less disk thrashing and as we all know, trying to fly in a very tight area is more demanding than when we have a big open field to play in. As windows or your apps need more memory, it will automatically allocate and deallocate as it deems necessary. When it runs short, it turns your hard drive into a pit 'o really slow memory.
Most unfortunately, there are issues with freeing up memory, as we all know from having to reboot after running stuff for a while. MS doesn't even follow all of it's rules so there are memory leaks here and there and/or blocks of memory that are never released. App developers are even worse. Try some simple tests by looking at your memory stats and opening a program. Use it for a while and close it down. More than likely, you will never see yourself go back to where you started. Just something that those who use the crap out of computers are just used to and don't even give a second thought any more. In fact, I reinstall my OS from scratch on a yearly basis just to bring everything back under my control as no matter HOW careful I am with installing stuff, something will get in there and cause issues. I went through the entire Win7 Beta Cycle and was reinstalling the OS on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. I got it down to a science by rotating hard drives and building some tools to automatically install all of my apps with one click. 25 mins from start to finish.
As an example with my system and memory, I'm running Windows 7 x64 with 12GB Ram. I have a few things running in the background (VMWare, antivirus, etc) and my current memory stats are:
yeah, that's 8 freaking cores...lol... This machine just cooks....
There are also a couple of other things to consider... I can't remember if Win98 has these but 2000 on up has the ability to give preference to allocating performance between programs and background services. Also, as you increase RAM, you can adjust the page file to balance out performance.
There are also some really excellent tweaking programs out there that will expose a few other performance enhancements otherwise hidden or buried.