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Microsoft Windows

4 GB May Be Vista's RAM Sweet Spot 767

Posted by kdawson
from the honkin' dept.
jcatcw writes "David Short, an IBM consultant who works in the Global Services Division and has been beta testing Vista for two years, says users should consider 4GB of RAM if they really want optimum Vista performance. With Vista's minimum requirement of 512MB of RAM, Vista will deliver performance that's 'sub-XP,' he says. (Dell and others recommend 2GB.) One reason: SuperFetch, which fetches applications and data, and feeds them into RAM to make them accessible more quickly. More RAM means more caching."
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4 GB May Be Vista's RAM Sweet Spot

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:11PM (#18089960)
    "More RAM means more caching."

    Well, Duh...

    Remember the $40/Meg RAM days?
    • More RAM (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:19PM (#18090080) Homepage Journal
      means more CASHing!
      • Re:More RAM (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pverb (1066694) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @01:45AM (#18092878)
        Had a friend who tried to buy a Dell box today. They wouldn't sell it to him with XP on it; only Vista. I can only imagine what kind of deals Dell and MSFT have cut...
        • Re:More RAM (Score:5, Funny)

          by ThePengwin (934031) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:13AM (#18093740) Homepage
          Microsoft: "Hey dell"
          Dell: "What?"
          Microsoft: "Want some of this?"
          *Microsoft waves a bunch of cash in dells face*
          Dell: "Yes please :D"

          You can Imagine the rest...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by empaler (130732)
          I think that you can actually use the license to downgrade to XP Pro - I read it somewhere... :-s
        • Re:More RAM (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MojoStan (776183) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:11AM (#18094168)

          Had a friend who tried to buy a Dell box today. They wouldn't sell it to him with XP on it; only Vista.
          Does the friend know that "business" Dell PCs (e.g. Optiplex desktops, Latitude notebooks, Precision workstations) can be configured with XP? Only the "home" PCs (e.g. Dimension desktops, Inspiron notebooks) are restricted to Vista only. (Dimensions and Inspirons are also sold in the "business" section, but they are really meant for home users.)

          I can only imagine what kind of deals Dell and MSFT have cut...
          I think it's reasonable to believe that phasing out XP support might be worth the relatively few sales they lose by not offering XP to home users. Maybe my imagination should be more cynical.
    • by SEMW (967629) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:21PM (#18090106)

      "More RAM means more caching."
      Well, Duh...
      You say it's obvious; but it's amazing how many Slashdot posts I've seen which consist of "I've got XGB of RAM [where X>1] and Vista's using up 75% of it running the OS alone; therefore Vista must need XGB of RAM to even run, never mind applications!" -- conveniently ignoring that Vista's just using the extra RAM to cache frequently used apps, documents, etc., and it'll automatically be freed up if any application requests it...
      • by J.Dev.06 (1025842) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:33PM (#18090944)
        What I think is needed is a way to see what ram is used by superfetch and maybe even for what. If it's freed up immediately when another application requests it, then it's really shouldn't be considered used in the scheme of things. Sure the ram space is filled but its not used at that moment. I also am surprised by how many people are fooled by this and are jumping to a conclusion that Vista needs absurd memory to run. I read less to tech stories these days and focus more on the comments where people break the real info.
        • by Who235 (959706) <secretagentx9@ci ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:44PM (#18091054)

          What I think is needed is a way to see what ram is used by superfetch and maybe even for what.


          Vista: RAM is very important to your system. Are you sure you want to look at your RAM?

          You: OK

          Vista: Are you sure? Anything you do might cause your computer to perform poorly. Are you sure?

          You: OK

          Vista: Really? Cause I don't think you'd even know what to look for. Are you sure?

          You: OK

          Vista: Really?

          You: OK

          etc. . .
          • by r00tman (933759) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @11:06PM (#18091796)
            Translated for teh interwebs:

            Vista: O rly?


            You: Ya rly!

          • by crontabminusell (995652) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @11:36PM (#18092076)
            Am I the only one reminded of the Infocom game Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy whenever someone describes their experience with Vista?

            Corridor, Aft End
            This is one end of a short corridor that continues fore along the main deck of the Heart of Gold. Doorways lead to aft and port. In addition, a gangway leads downward.

            >go south
            That entrance leads to the Infinite Improbability Drive chamber. It's supposed to be a terribly dangerous area of the ship. Are you sure you want to go in there?

            >go south
            Absolutely sure?

            >go south
            I can tell you don't want to really. You stride away with a spring in your step, wisely leaving the Drive Chamber safely behind you. Telegrams arrive from well-wishers in all corners of the Galaxy congratulating you on your prudence and wisdom, cheering you up immensely.

            >go south
            What? You're joking, of course. Can I ask you to reconsider?

            >go south
            Engine Room
            You're in the Infinite Improbability Drive chamber. Nothing happens; there is nothing to see.

            >look
            I mean it! There's nothing to see here!

            >look
            Okay, okay, there are a FEW things to see here...


            (the above with all due respect to Douglas Adams, Steve Meretzky, and Infocom)
          • by wass (72082) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @12:17AM (#18092352)
            Your post makes me wonder whether Microsoft might eventually add various personalities to the Vista warnings.
            Eg, as Martin the depressive robot :

            OS : You are about to visit a web page. It sounds like fun, but I'm just stuck being a boring OS assistant. Do you really want to go there?
            You : Yes
            OS : Figures, I'll never have even a fraction of the fun you're having using this computer. That page wants to run a flash application. Are you sure you want to go to that web page?
            You : yes, dammit
            OS : You are annoyed at me, I'm just a dumb lowly Operating System security warning system. You probably don't even care about me at all. Do you want me to stop nagging you?
            You : YES, PLEASE shut the hell up
            OS : Oh, that's great, I've been programmed with state of the art security warning information, and you just don't want to appreciate my pathetic self. Are you sure you really want to turn me off?
            You : YES, go away and never come back.
            OS : Fine, I'll just sit here in my own misery, and hope that you turn me back on one day, which you probably won't.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
        ``You say it's obvious; but it's amazing how many Slashdot posts I've seen which consist of "I've got XGB of RAM [where X>1] and Vista's using up 75% of it running the OS alone; therefore Vista must need XGB of RAM to even run, never mind applications!"''

        That sounds so much like what people have been saying about *nix systems for years. What's interesting is that, on my system, the available RAM has outgrown my ability to use it:

        Mem: 1426528k total, 1116820k used, 309708k free, 121976k buffers
        Swap

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Chris Burke (6130)
          That sounds so much like what people have been saying about *nix systems for years.

          Which is exactly what I was thinking... and I can't help but think in response: Is this really the first Microsoft OS to have built-in file caching? I mean, really? I guess I just assumed that around the same time Windows got big-boy OS features like memory protection that they also got file caching. I'm still assuming I'm not understanding, because it seems ridiculous.
      • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:56AM (#18094646) Homepage
        Yeah for low end websurfing use. Me I'm sitting here looking at it going "HOLY SHIT!" as I do video editing and that means I need to bump ram up to 8Gig or higher because the OS is such a pig.

        If I need 4Gig as the OS's sweet spot and I also need 4 gig for my editor app sweet spot, I start looking at different platforms.

        Problem is that these finding that "sweet spot" are not telling the full story. What apps are they running? if they are simply using low impact apps like office and IE/firefox and a few games then it's hands down the OS is being a ram pig and is incredibly unacceptable to those of us that use ram intensive applications.

        Reinforces my decision that the next upgrade I take is to the Mac.. Until then I need to find a NLE that will be happy in XP for a few years.
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:22PM (#18090126) Homepage Journal
      I remember the $40/MB RAM!

      OS/2 reccomended 4MB
      Vista? 4GB

      Too bad we aren't doing exponetially better things with these boxes...
      • by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:55PM (#18090528)
        I remember the $40/MB RAM!

        $100,000 for 16K? Teehee, and you had to build a new wing for it.
      • by SimonInOz (579741) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:56PM (#18090540)
        Some time back (ok, 1979) I built a system to monitor a Dutch nuclear reactor. It monitored temperatures, rod positions, and so on. Nothing important (cough). There was no suggestion of keeping costs down to save money (and I'm glad).

        The system had two colour graphic displays, a printer or two, and 4 operator terminals. It ran a real time, multi tasking operating system (called RSX11).

        The main system had 128kb of memory. Yes, 128kb.

        Today my dev machine has 2Gb of memory and the 3Ghz processor must - surely - be some thousands of times as fast.
        So I have 15,000 times as much memory, a processor perhaps 3,000 times as fast (I'm guessing, as figures are hard to pin down). That sounds like 445 million times as much power to me.

        And what do we do with all this grunt? Well damn, solitare looks good these days.

        So, were the old programmers really, really good? [We were, we were ...]
        Are the new ones really, really bad? [hang on, I'm still at it ...]
        Have we stopped caring about size and performance of programs?

        I think all of these things are slightly true - we used to care deeply about program speed and footprint. Now we don't.
        I suspect it has gone much too far - programs are far slower to load than they were even 5 years ago - they are large and bloated, and don't share things well. Anybody remember Sidekick - it was wonderful - and it was available at the touch of key (ok, 2 keys). Remember how FAST it was? I know it didn't do much, but it was dashed useful.

        And I still can't beleive I still write "for" loops.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Fordiman (689627)
          "Have we stopped caring about size and performance of programs?"

          In apps like codecs and statistical analysis (both of which commonly use FFTW), we haven't. Though, a lot of the time, we just throw it up to good 'ole SSE.

          Though, I feel our dependance on interpreted languages is getting to be a bit much. Same for XML. Same for all the UI sparkliness. All that extra processing power is going to parsing human-readable data and pretty, and I'm not exactly for it.

          Yeah. I'll stick to XFCE. I just wich there
        • by Nightspirit (846159) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @11:12PM (#18091854)
          Sounds like you havn't used anything between 1979 and 2000s. I can clearly remember my commdore64 taking 10 minutes to load up an app I had written, about the same time for windows 95 to boot up on a 486.

          The average consumer has seen mass improvement. Today I can simultaneously rip a DVD, listen to MP3s, browse the internet, and play a game with a core 2 duo. I was lucky to get 1 of these working at a time back in win95 days. It takes less than a second to load most apps (well, pretty much anything but adobe).

          I agree that we have stopped caring about size/performance because in most cases it doesn't matter.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by oldhack (1037484)
          "...I think all of these things are slightly true - we used to care deeply about program speed and footprint. Now we don't..."

          "Sometime back" (you geezer), computers were expensive, and so people did important things with them. Now most computers, people use them to jerk off (in all the glorious senses of the phrase). Rest of the paragraph is left for all yous to make up your owns.

          Better look into NASA systems and embedded medical systems for fairer comparisons with the "good ol' days."
        • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:01AM (#18093228) Journal
          Have we stopped caring about size and performance of programs?

          No. But our limits of acceptability have changed. As processing power has gotten cheaper, developers (myself included) have focused more on getting features out to market faster, rather than application performance.

          I think all of these things are slightly true - we used to care deeply about program speed and footprint. Now we don't.

          That's always been correct. We care more about how many features are available at what cost, so long as performance isn't noticably bad on commodity hardware.

          Do you remember when c was considered a "high level language"? What about the debates on how slow programs written in c were? I do. Times have changed....

          I suspect it has gone much too far - programs are far slower to load than they were even 5 years ago - they are large and bloated, and don't share things well.

          I don't know about that. Perhaps you don't remember loading DOS programs like PC-Write on an 8086 processer with 512K RAM? That was my word processor of choice, and it got slower the longer your document was. By the time you passed 100k, it was a dog.

          Anybody remember Sidekick - it was wonderful - and it was available at the touch of key (ok, 2 keys). Remember how FAST it was? I know it didn't do much, but it was dashed useful.

          I sure do. I also remember the care with with I never hit the two space bars together in a graphics program. (That would universally crash my computer). It shared TEXT ok, but anything graphical was another mess entirely.

          And I still can't beleive I still write "for" loops.

          If you don't mind me asking, what would you RATHER be writing?
      • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:19AM (#18093768)
        OS/2 reccomended 4MB

        Not to be picky, but OS/2 (even assuming 2.0, since it was the first 16/32bit release) REQUIRED 4MB of RAM, but didn't run well unless you 12MB of RAM, although I do know some people that got by with 8MB of RAM, I also even know peeps that ran NT 3.1 with 8MB of RAM as well, even though it was just as painful to watch.

        So bascially people are here making fun of Vista for wanting 512MB, and running 'much' faster than XP when configured with > 512MB...

        Last I checked OSX even wants 512MB and 1GB of RAM for acceptable performance if you run a lot of concurrent apps since the windows are double buffered in system RAM for the composer.

        Also any *nix distribution with XWindows and a Windows Manager like KDE running, easly scale to where 512MB and 1GB are a sweet spot as well.

        Since this is the year 2007, I don't see Vista being far out of the ballpark, except for the fact it has some really smart caching technology that allows it to better use > 1GB of RAM via its Superfetch caching technology in ways other OSes don't unless they have the application load demanding it.

        Which is the point most everyone seems to keep missing in this post. They are in a fuss because Vista continues to get faster and faster as more RAM is added.

        Most OSes 'desktop performance' top out at 1-2GB of RAM and don't use the extra RAM for anything but dumb/lazy caching.

        So instead of making fun of Vista for actually taking advantage of this extra 'free' RAM and scaling it in a way that 'continues' to add performance even when applications don't need it, maybe we should focus our efforts in the OSS community to work on caching technology so all OSS OSes will scale RAM as well as Vista.

        (PS, Even though I'm responding to your OS/2 numbers, this post is meant more of a general response to everyone in here, so nothing personal to you, the OS/2 numbers were just a fun place to jump in :) .)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by div_2n (525075)
          Since this is the year 2007, I don't see Vista being far out of the ballpark,

          Since there are a very large number of desktops and laptops still being (successfully) used that won't even hold more than 1GB of RAM, I'd say the fact that 1GB of RAM will not provide good performance is beyond out of the ballpark. It's stupid.

          As far as I know, Vista is the only OS in existence that won't run that great with 1GB of RAM. So is Vista so much more advanced that it needs that much RAM? Since all the new play pretty fe
  • heh heh (Score:4, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:11PM (#18089968) Homepage
    4 GB May Be Vista's RAM Sweet Spot

    But I'm guessing it's going to be a sticking point for most consumers. At least, the ones without a sugar daddy.
  • by linuxkrn (635044) <gwatson@li[ ]login.com ['nux' in gap]> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:12PM (#18089980)

    1) Cache contents of entire hard disk to RAM
    2) Claim performance boost in Vista
    3) Profit!

    • by maynard (3337) <j.maynard.gelinas@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:37PM (#18090986) Journal
      It's a good plan. RAM density and processor speed has mostly followed Moore's law in transistor density. While disk storage density has followed suit, the I/O path hasn't followed suit. The typical SATA drive might burst ~70MB/s, but it still sustains ~40MB/s just like good 'old PATA.

      All modern OS's load huge executables compared with the good 3M workstation days (1 Megabyte, 1 Megapixel, 1 MIP). Microsoft is doing the right thing by aggressively caching commonly run items. And I note, they're late to the party: 'NIX does this too.

      And I say once again (as a NIX professional) that Vista's pretty damn good. Gone are the days when Windows was a toy. No longer. It has plenty of bullshit legacy cruft, but Vista is a BIG improvement.
  • I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:12PM (#18089986) Homepage
    I gotta disagree. I just used Vista last night for the first time on my GF's new laptop with 1 gig RAM, and it was just fine. Even with the souped up interface, it seemed snappy. I was a bit worried from all of this kind of anti-hype hype, but it was just fine. I'd be happy using it with 1 gig RAM. I'd say that it was a smidgen slower than XP would be, but then again, I didn't try turning off the super-slick Apple-esqe "Aero" interface, either (she likes it, I still use Windows Classic on all of my XP boxes).
    • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Informative)

      by bogie (31020) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:27PM (#18090194) Journal
      Surprisingly Aero actually has little impact on system performance. It is all of that other crap like DRM running in the background that is causing everything to slow down. Overall Vista is measurably slower than XP and many applications just run like shit right now on Vista. Just running the OS and doing some surfing or email won't show much difference than XP on modern hardware.

      All I know is beyond whatever the benchmarks show Explorer is even slower in Vista than it was before. Go out on the network and wait in agony while the little green bar at the top of Explorer chugs along taking forever to finally display files. I'm sure this just the fault of the switches and Windows 2003 R3 servers I've been using though *rolls eyes*. I'm just really disappointed with Vista after all of this wait and at this point the only time I boot into it anymore is to check app compatibility.

      Hint - Set VLC to GDI mode so you don't have to see the f'ing jarring screen transition anymore.
    • by wall0159 (881759) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:58PM (#18090578)

      Heh. And Apple's "super slick" interface runs just fine on my three year old iBook (800Mhz G4, 640mb RAM) and I typically have >15 applications open at a time.

      I know this is not a reasonable comparison, as Windows can't open 15 apps at a time
      (joke)
      • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Informative)

        by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:51PM (#18091106)
        It is not flamebait It is true. Until recently I was running OS X on a 667 Mhz 1Gb RAM powerbook. which as 4 1/2 years old. And it ran the latest version of OS X quite well. Not quite at the sweet spot but good enough to get most of my work done. Granted my new MacBook Pro outperforms it in every respect, but still it ran well enough no to be annoying.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dal20402 (895630) *

        Sadly, Apple's not immune to RAM creep either.

        My experience is that Intel Macs want much more than PowerPC Macs. My PowerMac G5 has 3 GB of RAM and I *never* swap, not even when running the big stuff, and rarely go below 1GB free. My MacBook Pro has 2 GB and I swap regularly -- it's really irritating I can't upgrade further. Rosetta is a *huge* memory hog, and Intel-native apps also seem to take more room than their PPC equivalents.

        My school has several Intel iMacs with 512 MB. They start swapping befor

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:13PM (#18089996)
    If I remember correctly, the sweet spot for xp was 1 gig, meaning people got more bang for their buck upgrading the processor.

    If vista scales all the way to 4, then we're looking at a windows market that will be very similar to the mac market, where upgrading the video card and ram will get you more bang for your buck than replacing the processor.

    this will mean a slowdown in intel sales (and amd)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ucklak (755284)
      Cue Vista copying the Mac.....
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I see your point, but to be honest, wasn't more RAM always the better upgrade path? Sure, power users know not to skimp on RAM, but ordinary users typically choose the fastest processor and then go with at most half as much RAM as they should have bought. When I'm asked for advice on a new PC or an upgrade, a good chunk of extra RAM usually does the job. Nothing beats getting rid of swapping. Users just don't see the connection between memory and speed.
  • Seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:14PM (#18090016) Homepage Journal
    People do the same things with their computers today as they did 15 (even 20) years ago: play games, print, e-mail, read, write, collect media. While there is an argument to be made that OSD, due to higher resolutions and 3D algorithms, and networking have become more complex there simply is no efficient reason why the size of the codebase and the memory footprint has increased as much as it has.

    There is a good reason: people remain employed.
    • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SilentChris (452960) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:48PM (#18090452) Homepage
      Twenty years ago I remember an 80-character email program my school used that required remembering about 40 shortcuts. None of them were displayed. You could work on one email at a time -- that's it. There was no GUI email program with easy to understand menus. There was no way to work on more than one email at a time. You were fortunate if you got copy and paste.

      Twenty years ago I remember the "media" I "collected". Amazing 256-color graphic files. Mostly of stupid things like bowls of fruit (porn really wasn't all it was cracked up to be at the time). No pictures of family and friends in high detail. No means of easily storing said photos for extended periods of time.

      Twenty years ago I remember when a "state of the art" game was one that wasn't entirely text-based. When an adventure game's inventory had a max of 16 items and enemies were scripted (and therefore dumb as bricks). No photorealistic visuals to draw you in. No fairly natural AI to breathe life to the world. And certainly no way to play with thousands of others at the same time.

      My point?

      All of these changes have been the result of higher memory, faster processors, etc. Yes, we use a bigger memory footprint nowadays. So what? Isn't broadening the appeal of the PC (families storing photos and grandmothers that can actually work the email program) worth it? Yes, the fundamental operations haven't changed (write email, send email, etc). Big deal. Call that a testament to stellar original design than a foible of modern design.

      Fact of the matter is I *can* do more, much more, than I could with my PC from 20 years ago. And I can do it in an easier way (blame Vista/OS X all you want -- they're still better UIs than what we used in '87). That's called "progress", regardless if the memory footprint grows or not (and the fundamental tenants of computing stay largely the same).
    • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zollman (697) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:07PM (#18090666) Homepage
      Of course, unlike 15 years ago...
      • people watch and store videos and music on their computer -- sometimes simultaneously. (MIDIs don't count. )
      • they use websites that have active content beyond animated "under construction" gifs (flash isn't just for pretty intros anymore -- it's critical to real interfaces and applications);
      • they store and expect to quickly search through significantly more data (years and years of email, with attachments);
      • the security environment has become much more complex (and that's not all Microsoft's fault);
      • people use encryption (SSL and DRM, for example), without even noticing it;
      • people run many more applications side-by-side... even if it's just two IM clients and a browser with a stack of open tabs;


      And that's just the mythical "average user". Operating systems have to support more than the average user -- they have to support the guy writing apps for the average user (development and debugging have gotten significantly easier); the office of the average user (managing a large userbase); the folks writing content for the average user (both professionals and YouTube).

      Many of these things are transparent. And, yeah, I could go back to using pine, bash, rxvt, and WindowMaker (although that's only 10 years ago, not 15), grep through my emails when I needed to find something and use IRC to talk to my friends.

      But you know what? This is better. A lot better.
      • by rlp (11898) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:24PM (#18090844)
        > people watch and store videos and music on their computer -- sometimes simultaneously.

        Sure, you can watch video with a 800 Mhz, 256 MB, Windows 2000 box. But you can't do all the real-time encryption / decryption operations required for modern DRM systems. So we're SO MUCH better off with today's faster machines and Vista.
    • People do the same things with their computers today as they did 15 (even 20) years ago: play games, print, e-mail, read, write, collect media.

      That is true inclusively but not exclusively. 15 (or 20) years ago people used PCs for mostly office applications and home computers for games and light word processing. Geeks and tech-types used computers for programming: either work-enhancing or hobbyist programming (often both).

      Interfacing with other computer users in real time thro
  • by wandm (969392)
    Right, I have 512Mb, I need to buy 3.5 Gb, that's about £245 in UK prices, or about $460. Another number to add on the price of Vista upgrade..
  • In before 640K jokes.
  • by diesel66 (254283) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:17PM (#18090048)
    More RAM == Better!

    This message brought to you by: Article in a Nutshell (TM)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arth1 (260657)
      More RAM is not always better. I have two boxes here, one with an Asus and one with a DFI motherboard, and what's common for both of them is that you can run 2 GB in dual channel mode, but not 4 GB. So if I upgrade the RAM, the speed of all the RAM goes down. No, thanks -- faster startup for apps won't offset them running more slowly. I'm flac'ing some CDs as I type this, and would rather that not take longer than necessary.

      Another issue is that the tag and MMU caches are of a finite size on some CPUs.
  • by thammoud (193905) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:17PM (#18090058)
    Display write and a 3270 emulator.
  • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:23PM (#18090140) Homepage
    How much does 4GB of ram cost? I don't know the cheapest places to buy RAM but a quick search put a couple 2GB sticks at $450-500 ($225-250 each).

    Before Vista came out you could easily get a low to mid-end XP desktop computer for $500.
  • completely not true (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dioscaido (541037) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:29PM (#18090226)
    On 512MB Vista runs perfectly fine, having automatically turned off the UI bells and whistles and throttled back some of its services. In my experience 1GB is the sweet spot, which is how much I have on my Dev box.
  • by dsanfte (443781) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:31PM (#18090244) Journal
    What does Vista do that's really NEW and WANTED in an operating system? Not much. More eye candy? That's worth $300? The customer will decide, but I'll say this:

    This much bloat simply isn't necessary. Caching is one thing, but the RAM requirements of Vista simply for code space are massive compared to XP for roughly the same functionality. That's a center that cannot hold.

    What we expect from an OS is pretty well-known and well-defined now. This means the innovation will slow and there will be increasing reluctance to upgrade simply for the sake of upgrading, especially when the upgrade is a worse performer than the software being upgraded!

    This is fertile ground for optimization.

    An example:

    Compare the executable size and memory utilisation of uTorrent and Azureus. Azureus represents the old guard of BT clients, you might say. A large, bloated code base in Java, implementing features that you wouldn't think would require that much code. And boy it's a dog, and crawls on any sub-1.5Ghz laptop. Enter uTorrent. I would say Azureus is the Vista to uTorrent's microLinux. For the uninitiated, in terms of program size (exe + libs) and memory utilization, we're talking about 170kB/4MB to 7.6MB/16.3MB, respectively. uTorrent was able to bring just about all the features present in Azureus and compact it into a 170kB .exe. And lo, the damn thing is snappy even on my old P233/64MB laptop.

    I think this will be the end of Microsoft. The API expected for a Windows box is known. It's publicized. The time is ripe for a competitor to come in and reimplement it, using less RAM and resources while conforming to the same standards, and for a fraction of the price. If this were to happen, and if the software companies were to realize they didn't have to sit beholden to *Microsoft's* "Windows" anymore, then we'd really see some fur fly in the marketplace.
  • by Rdickinson (160810) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:34PM (#18090286)
    Vista remembers what you run, and when. it loads all this into ram before your going to need it.

    The sweet spot for memory will be vista requirements(512mb or so) + space for whatever apps you usualy concurrently run, IE/FF, photoshop, iTunes, whatever, it'll dump those into system ram before you even click their icons, reduce real world loading times significantly.

    Despite the MS jokes, an OS that leaves ram unused isnt doing its job properly, it can always free memory , quickly, if needed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sj0 (472011)
      Except for the hour and half at startup where Windows loads every application you've ever loved into memory, right?

      Ever turn off swap in a modern Windows? All things considered, I'd like to disable executable caching, and just keep swapping for file reads and writes within programs. Not swapping out the programs you're actually using is a pretty damned good first step towards a zippy system, in my experience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by asuffield (111848)

      Despite the MS jokes, an OS that leaves ram unused isnt doing its job properly, it can always free memory , quickly, if needed.


      Sure. Which is why every other operating system has done it for years. Some have done it for decades. I think even fricking *minix* does it.

      Yet again, Windows is so far behind that it's just not funny. Seriously, is this the best they've got?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:36PM (#18090302)
    Note to *nix users: You want to run *nix? Then shut up and pay for driver/app development.

    Note to Mac users: You want to run OS X? Then shut up and pay for the pretty hardware.

    Note to Windows users: You want to run Vista? Then shut up and buy the extra memory.
  • by tritone (189506) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:39PM (#18090342) Homepage
    From Dell's website [dell.com] A Windows Capable PC has 512 MB RAM and is "Great for... Booting the Operating System, without running applications or games.
  • by amcdiarmid (856796) <(amcdiarm) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:51PM (#18090490) Journal
    It's not really an interesting article. To summarize:
              Guy says you need 4GB for sweet spot.
              Same Guy says you need 2GB for XP sweet spot.

    I'll give you that nowadays you might want 1GB for XP, but 2GB is excessive for most. I know plenty who are happy with 512MB running OS + AV + Word + Browser. (Although 768MB is better.)

    Take Minimum Spec, Multiply by 4. That's more likely to be the minimum usable. (See minimum specs for previous MS operating systems for comparison purposes.)
  • by AcquaCow (56720) * <acquacow@hot m a il.com> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:58PM (#18090576) Homepage
    This just goes back to the old saying that "unused memory is wasted memory."

    You should always cache as much as possible.

    The problem is, if consumers saw their memory usage at 100% all the time, they would freak out.

    I've had 4gb for a while, as I use Photoshop heavily. I'm going to make the vista jump just so that I can run more/all of that 4gb, plus get some 64 bit action.

            -- Dave
  • by devphaeton (695736) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @09:09PM (#18090690)
    ....if you don't want Vista to run like OSX.

    Besides, this will just accelerate the "faster and cheaper every month" rule for hardware. It's a good thing(tm)
  • XPonential (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @10:11PM (#18091316)
    Let's see, 95's "sweet spot" was what, 32 Mb? Windows '98 was 64, Win2K did well in 256, XP likes 512+ and Vista really wants four gigabytes? Ouch. Of course, when you factor in how much less the cost per bit of memory and hard disk is compared to a decade ago, it's not too incredible ... but still.
  • by denoir (960304) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @11:27PM (#18091986)
    In the case of the more common 32 bit version of Vista, you'll never get 4 GB of usable memory. The reason is that all the devices in the system need allocatable addresses which can only go as high as 32 bits so they occupy the address space that would otherwise be available for the RAM. Modern graphic cards also swallow a fair bit of address space. The end result is that you'll only get about 3 GB usable memory of the 4 GB physical memory.

    If you are using Vista x32, do *not* buy more than 3 GB of memory or you will be just throwing your money away.

"Out of register space (ugh)" -- vi

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