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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:11 pm 
hi podgeorge,

getting an additional 1 GB RAM won't necessarily make your PC run faster. I have only 1 Gb of RAM installed on my PC. At the same time i can listen to music, talk on skype, play games or use software, it doesn't slow down. So, it can be that your processor is weak, and also it can be that your running low on HDD space. What u need to do is, after you load all you programs press ctrl+alt+delete go in task manager and open the performance tab. If your RAM and processor aren't overloaded that means you need to get a HDD with higher capacity if your low on space. But it can also be that if you have an older PC your mother board can be malfunctioning. Hope I offered some help to you.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:42 pm 
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I'm a great believer in having lots of RAM. In my other job as a hardware columnist for Personal Computer World magazine in the UK, I've done lots of tests with different amounts of RAM and find that more is almost always better.

You have to think about what your computer's doing though. If you're applying a complex filter or transcoding video, then it's the porocessor that's doing most of the work, so if you want it to happen quicker, you'll need a faster one.

But the processor can only do its job with data that's loaded into RAM, so if it's full and having to swap data back and forth from the hard disk, then that will be a much worse bottleneck.

Upgrading the RAM will greatly improve this and allow you to more comfortably open multiple images.

As others have said, 32-bit desktop operating systems like Windows XP and Vista will only be able to 'see' and use a maximum of approx 3.2GB. If you want to use more than that amount you'll need a 64-bit version - most commonly Vista, but there is a 64 bit version of XP as well.

Note Vista 32-bit with SP1 now reports systems fitted with 4GB of RAM as having 4GB, BUT it will still only use 3.2GB of it - sneaky!

I was using a Vista 32-bit system this week with 4GB RAM, and had to remove 2GB for a test - and honestly, the difference when dealing with multiple large image files - such as those from the Canon 50D - was remarkable. The 4GB (3.2GB actual) system was MUCH faster than the one with 2GB.

Vista is memory hungry though. I'd recommend 2GB as a minimum for Vista and photo work, but XP can run quite nicely in 2GB.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:23 pm 
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At only 20 EUR for a 2x1GB DDR2 RAM it should be no question how much you put into your system: As much as it can bear!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:58 am 
Quote:
But the processor can only do its job with data that's loaded into RAM, so if it's full and having to swap data back and forth from the hard disk, then that will be a much worse bottleneck.


a nice large front side bus(FSB) is great for this as well.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:19 pm 
Having 4 GB of RAM compared to 2GB of RAM doesnt make your computer better, if only there is only 1GB RAM used from those 2 or 4 GB. What would make it faster is getting DDR-III that works on 1033Mhz and higher. And what goes to the processor, the more cache the better. Believe me, I've tried and tested it.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:48 pm 
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With the exception of some highly memory bandwidth intensive tasks, adequate quantity is usually more of an influence than quality for ram. For most typical computing tasks, even if you double the memory bandwidth (e.g. going from single channel to dual channel) the actual performance change is usually only a few % and only detectable if you look for it specifically.

Under most normal situations, only around 600MB of my ram is taken by programs and data. I can definitely feel the difference between 1 GB and 2GB in that case, but not the difference between very large changes in memory bandwidth and latency. In general the processor cache mitigates that to a large degree and few programs require fast random access to huge datasets.

So where does that apparently unused ram go? The operating system uses it to cache the disk. By having commonly accessed files already cached in ram means responsiveness is greatly improved. When the program ram usage fills up the ram and there is little free, you lose this and become disk speed limited.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:15 am 
I think there are some very good (but basic) points of view here and most of the essentials are covered. If you have speed issues with your PC upgrading the amount of RAM MAY help but it isn’t a miracle cure.

RAM is very cheap and very easy to source and install so therefore is a recommended upgrade.

People have mentioned Vista is memory hungry but how hungry?

To give you an idea a fresh install of Vista Ultimate 32bit with Office Enterprise 2007 but no other applications consumes about 1.3GB or RAM. The most important thing to take from this is if you have less than 2GB of RAM and are running vista you do need more!

Although 64bit is capable of realising additional memory up to 32GB (I think) it is important to mention 64bit compatibility!

No one has mentioned the problems 64bit software can cause if you don’t have 64bit drivers!!!!! This has to be a major concern and unless you are certain both all your software and hardware is compatible (most brand new stuff is these days) please avoid it like the plague.

General advice: IF YOU DONT HAVE A ROCK SOLID, LEGITIMATE REASON TO UPGRADE TO A 64bit OS THEN DONT!

Other factors affecting the speed of a PC;

BUS and HDD speeds;

Although it's great to have huge super fast RAM how does the data get there in the first place? 1, 2 or even 4GB of space isn’t huge so the image data can’t live there indefinitely. The reality is the data on the HDD, in relative terms a very slow storage device. if you are fortunate to own a SATA 2 drive spinning at upwards of 10,000rpm (most people don’t), once the data is read super quick how is it then going to get to your RAM?

This leads on to by far the most significant component of any PC the motherboard!

Someone touched on this before that unless your motherboard has the capacity to move data around at high speed and is compatible with the technology you wish to use DDR2/DDR3 etc it is irrelevant what processor, RAM or HDD you have.

Processor: speed test shows that Quad cores are significantly faster than Dual core equivalents however based on my experience it is often better to go for slower clock speeds as the latest releases are exponentially more expensive. A 2GHz quad core is phenomenally faster and more powerful than a 3GHz P4 of about 2 years ago. If you cannot justify the additional cost of a quad core processor then a 2GHz dual core equivalent will suffice.

I don’t want to sound depressing but if you have a slow PC, unless you have less physical ram than is required (approx 1GB on XP and 2GB on Vista, excluding applications such as lightroom with huge RAM consumption) (knows as paging, when data that would normally be held in fast RAM has to be swapped backwards and forwards onto a slow HDD due to space issues) it is unlikely adding another GB or so will to blow you away :)

One last note, there is a limited number of "slots" for ram to be fitted this can vary depending on manufacture. If you only have 2 "slots" and both are filled with 512MB ram giving 1GB total, buying an additional 1GB stick isn’t going to give you 2GB as you will have to permanently remove one 512MB module that currently occupies the space. Please check this first to avoid disappointment.

Sorry for the long post but I hope it helped.

www.dell.co.uk <- really there not that bad. £500 will buy you a perfectly good machine for photo editing as long as you’re sensible and spend it on the essentials.

If you have any further queries please feel free to ask, I’m an IT engineer and you guys have certainly helped me with my photography that’s for sure.

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:32 pm 
if your upgrading your ram dont forget it is best to get a matched pair :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:19 pm 
RAM - Amount of processes you can run at the same time. If you are using 80% of your RAM currently then upgrading the RAM will make no difference because you will never use the additional memory that you add. if you currently use 100% of your ram then it will be the best purchase for your computer you have ever made.

CPU - The speed in which processes are calculated.


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