How Much RAM is enough?
by Uther8_07 - 10/31/09 7:22 AM
In Reply to: 64 bit or 32 bit? by Judesman
I'm running an *ANCIENT*, 8 year old HP Pavilion 7935 AMD Athlon 1.30 GHz PC, with only 1 GB of PC100 RAM, running 32 bit XP Pro SP3, with a fairly sizable load of running apps, and believe it or not, it runs just fine. Of course I've turned off a whole bunch of unneeded services.
As I am writing this, I'm running mIRC 6.21, (an IRC chat client), 2 instances of NetTerm 4.2a, Eve Online Apocrypha (an MMORPG) at 1680x1050x32, around 35 fps, Windows Media Player 11.0, and FireFox 3.5.4 with 3 open tabs (including this CNet tab), on an HP W2207 LCD monitor, all at 1680x1050x32 resolution. Never misses a beat. I can switch tasks in the blink of an eye. Surprise!
According to Task Manager, I still have 402,644KB RAM available (402MB), with a 577MB paging file. My 1,536 MB permanent paging lives on a second ATA100 120GB drive, which is on the second IDE channel. My boot boot C: drive is a 40GB ATA100, on the primary IDE channel, and it has a permanent 64MB paging file.
The system is very responsive - no stuttering or delay, switching from task to task. This PC has a lowly, ancient 256MB PNY nVidia FX-5200 PCI video card w/2005-vintage 71.84 nVidia drivers. It also has an equally ancient SoundBlaster Live! 24 bit PCI sound card. Yet the system as a whole runs everything very well, at a very good clip.
Even with all of those apps running, I know that can fire up Quake III at any time (also at 1680x1050x32) for a little multiplayer fragging, and it won't be a problem. Q3 will start right up in about 7 or 8 seconds, very smooth playing - around 50 fps, no lag or dropped frames.
My point is: 1 GB of RAM on a 32 bit system should be just fine for Windows XP, provided you do a little fine tuning of the OS. It's all about balance.
(By the way, just for the heck of it, I dual boot Windows 7 7100 RC1, also at 1680x1050x32 res., with Aero/Flip3D (DirectX 9), and it runs passably well with IE8 or FireFox, but I end up with nowhere near as much free RAM as in XP, but I expected that.)
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