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System RAM how much do you need?

I am always amazed when I read on the web statements that say x amount of RAM is all you need. To say any set figure is enough is like saying you have enough money. Do you, maybe you paid your bills, wouldn't more money have been better? Couldn't you have done things now you wouldn't be able to do for a long time? When you do those things would it not be nice to do them with a larger budget?
Your computers system RAM is no different. Today software producers strive to create software that runs with as little active memory as possible. They do this to grab in customers who may otherwise say "well they require more RAM than my computer has, so I guess I wont buy their software" How do they accomplish this? are they actually making software with less memory requirements? For example Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a speech recognition software that takes your voice in real-time (ideally) and converts it to text. Anybody who has worked with audio files knows that sound file are large. So how can DNS possible make a meager 8GB work for you? Quick answer? they aren't, not really. The program will work but your performance suffers. Case in point, If Dragon can only use 4GB then you know that it is reaching it limit almost immediately. Why doesn’t it crash? Because it is paging those files somewhere. The place it pages them directly impacts the speed of Dragon from that point on. Just because Dragon paged the file does not mean it was done with it, it only means it needs more RAM so it sent a portion of the active file to your drive to make more space in the available RAM on your computer. Once this page filing starts, it gets worse and worse.

Think of it like a wood working project on a workbench that is only 2’X6’. Once you run out of space for your tools and your project you now have to put some tools away, even though you will likely still need them and have to go and get them again and again. This obviously is a colossal waste of time. But wait, there's more. it gets worse. Since you already ran out of work space you cannot get that tool again until you figure out what other tool must be put away, even if you are still using it. You spend more time putting tools away then getting them again then you do actually working. You look busy but are not accomplishing much at all. Same with computer benchmarks, just busy work. Unless you have more than enough RAM (or bench space) you have no choice since you just don't have the space to keep everything you need within reach all at the same time. Likewise with system memory, once the free RAM is gone and the page filing and virtual memory begins, the system speed gets ever slower at an alarming rate. If your program is not 64 bit (actual not compatible), page filing must happen, otherwise the program would crash.

But... if you have excess RAM! then those page files could be directed to be stored within the excess RAM rather than the computers drive. So when DNS (or any memory hungry program) needs those paged files, they are accessed almost instantly from RAM as opposed to a 50X slower SSD or 100X slower HDD. It is like having a poor man’s version of 64 bit program. You can now use the extra RAM that previously you had no algorithm to access. The O.S. takes care of that and your 32 BIT application runs almost as if it was a 64 bit because the page files are in instant RAM not on a slow poke drive source. So for programs that can only do limited RAM, excess RAM in a 64 bit O.S,. becomes even more important.

Is this the limit to extra RAM benefits? NO, if you have a 64 bit system and true 64 bit applications then the more RAM you have the better they run because they can use it without having to take the time to page it elsewhere. Yet there is more! Having extra RAM allows you to actually turn off that page filing altogether (in 64 bit systems) Disabling virtual can be a great way to go, test it though. The same applies for page filing, test your application before disabling page files to the drive. There are a small number of programs that are written to look for a page file even if you have enough RAM to avoid page files. Fortunately this doesn't happen often and when it does, the ability to turn on and off the feature take only minutes. It is time well spent, 99% of the time disabling page files is a huge boost in performance. Some find it a reasonable option to create a small page file just in case a program looks for one but because of the small size the program and Windows will be force to use the RAM rather than the drive.
One more thing, when your program maker says it only needs X amount of RAM, keep in mind it is talking about their program, not any of the other programs you may have cached in RAM as well. Rarely do you run only one program, you have the O.S, and many TSR programs and likely a few elective programs as well. They all need RAM! Now that M-tech can offer 64GB of super fast DDR4 memory, we will really begin to see program run faster, However, we have a trick up our sleeve to increase your RAM and it availability even more, its kind of a neat trick, mostly secret. Once your a customer, we will let yo in on the secret. Or, you could call and ask nicely. Chances are the technical adviser will cave and tell you anyways. :)


Here is a link to help you with this tweak and others. Some variations exist in how to do these changes depending on your operating system. So if you don't see the specific directions for your O.S., just do what we do. Google, "how to disable a page file for Windows ??" As time goes on we will update our pages to reflect the newer info, but until then, Keyword phrase searches can accommodate nearly every question you have.