What are the advantages of increasing my RAM?
Question by Osama Javaid /

I have a Core i3-2100 3.10 GHz processor with 2GB nVidia GT430 and 4GB RAM. The only instant upgrade I can afford right now is upgrading RAM. What advantages should I expect when doubling the RAM to 8GB?

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Answers (11)
  • praveen suthar

    you won’t see much difference between 8gb vs 4 gb ram perfomance,, uless you have large files to open, many windows to open at same time or play games with long load times inbetween levels its pretty stupid to get 8gb of ram is you don;t even know what use you have for it. its a waste of money

  • Sachin Kanchan

    when you upgrade your ram you might be able to use multiple instances of the same bulky program, or a number of different programs simultaneously without any difficulty…
    but you must also make a note that you must use windows 7 64 bit….because for the 32 bit part, it is only capable of using 3 GB of ram…in other words if you have 8 GB ram ..even then your laptop will be able to use only 3 gb…what a waste…

    further you will be able to play other high end games flawlessly as u already have a 2 GB graphics card

  • alexander

    for now, i doubt you would feel much of a gain by adding in another stick of memory. assuming you bought the system in a pre configured package, you most likely have 2 sticks of single channel 1333ghz ddr3 memory.
    if i were you id hold out for just a little bit longer, and save up money for a 1600 mhz dual channel kit with some decent latency timings.
    i can recommend the G.Skill RipJawsX – PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel 8gb Kit. its not the fastest kit in the world, or the best overclocker, but it has a great value/price relation
    not sure about where in the world you live, but here’s a link to a cheap europeean e-tailer: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY-060-GS&groupid=701&catid=8&subcat=1517
    please note that the europeean union is probably the most horribly expensive place in the world to buy electronics, so if you are an american or asian, you should see a pricepoint a whole lot lower.

    sticking in 2 sticks of 2 gb ram now would reduce your newly purchased ram to the speed of the current ram in your system, and you will not be able to take advantage of the dual channel architechture. the only benefits you will see in everyday use from upgrading the amount of ram, without upgrading the speed it operates at will be the computer sustaining the pace it had when freshly booted over a prolonged period of use, a result that could be duplicated by rebooting your computer

    (techspeek explanation incoming: over time, lots of programs, both currently in use, and formerly in use, will leave data in the memory that it doesn’t need anymore, thus filling up space that isn’t needed.)
    i agree with the former poster though that in memory intensive aplications you might see a bit more of an immediate impact of increasing memory amount, and for video editing a new gpu would do wonders for you as well. i can recommend looking for last gen gpu’s at your preferred e-tailer (perhaps even manufacturer refurbished, or from their clearance sale) as theres a new generation of of gpu’s hitting the market right now , you will see a ton of great offers on last gen tech. (the radeon hd 6770 was always a great value/price performer in both gaming and video rendering, and so was the gtx 560. if you arent to shy about power consumption, you could probably find some extremely cheap gtx 480’s somewhere and get some pretty decent performance for a steal.

  • pceasies

    You also need to take into consideration your processor. Sure you have 4GB of RAM and can upgrade, but will you be able to utilize all 8GB before your processor and other resources are maxed? More applications will use not only RAM, but also small shares of the CPU. If you do a lot of multitasking, especially with web browsers, document editors, and other light-weight applications, more RAM should help speed things up. If you want to try and use Photoshop and Premiere at the same time, probably not going to work well.


    Hello, an additional benefit of adding extra RAM, is that virtual memory would used less in your system. Virtual memory is a part of your harddrive set apart to be used as extra memory when your physical memory runs out. You might notice your computer slowing down a lot when that limit is reached. Another additional benefit, would be that you could reduce the amout of virtual memory in your harddrive and therefore increasing space overall in your drive.

    The most important benefit though, is that you can run more heavy resources applications at same time.

  • ha14

    With 64-bit, 4GB of RAM is the new minimum standard, you need 4GB of RAM to take full advantage of 64-bit’s memory management, you can run applications with zero slowdown.

    Adding more ram will help ability to instantly switch more faster between different applications, to open a new application instantly. Have many different applications open without the system becoming sluggish.

    The best way to experience how adding memory improves the responsiveness/feel of the computer is to actually use 8GB or more of memory for a few weeks, and then drop back to 4GB.

    now if you are overclocking, running virtual programs, converting big video files… sure more ram you give better will be but there is also a limit of the max performace, this depends also how programs are coded.

    By now if you do not use all the 4GB memory then probably adding 4 more will not make great performace gain. Get a SSD harddrive or 2 (Raid 0), add 8GB ram, notice the difference!

  • Oron

    If you have a 32 bit version of Windows then it would make no difference at all, since Windows 32 can only “see” around 3.2GB RAM. With 64 bit versions of Windows, the advantages would be as Bruce indicates, but realistically, you will only feel a difference if you use (very) memory-intensive applications, such as running a virtual system, Photoshop with very large files etc. Otherwise, I suggest you stay as you are, and perhaps save up towards a hybrid disk such as the Seagate Momentus XT, which will give you high(ish) capacity drive with near-SSD performance at a reasonable price.

  • Bruce Epper

    You would be able to maintain more simulataneously open applications, work with larger databases, spreadsheets, etc. Video processing would be faster with the additional memory. Audio processing could also see a benefit. The system itself could use more RAM for caching which would affect many system-level processes. There are many other potential benefits, but they all depend on how you use your system.

    If you are not doing heavy work with large databases and spreadsheets, video and audio editing, running multiple virtual machines, etc., the benefits of additional memory tend to be minimal since you are already at 4GB. If you are a gamer, you may see better response with some memory intensive games, but with your current video card, I don’t think there is much on the market as far as games go that would see much, if any, improvement on game performance either.

    • Osama Javaid

      Yes I do video editing and gaming. Sometimes I have problem editing smoothly with HD videos, is increasing RAM a solution to this? OR should I go for better graphics card like GTX series?

    • Bruce Epper

      It really depends on what software you are using for editing. The software vendor’s recommended hardware is generally the best way to go as they have optimized the software to work better with that hardware. For example, with Adobe Premier CS5, you should use a GTX430/570+ or a Quadro 2000/4000 card. They are pricy, but the performance with Premier is excellent. An i3 processor is a bit on the low end for HD video editing as is 4GB of RAM. The chipset on the motherboard may be a part of the bottleneck as well.

      The way I would go about upgrading this for better video editing performance would be the video card first to at least a GTX470, boost RAM to 8GB, more if the system will support it, and then look at 2 SSDs. The first SSD would be for the OS, you could also put your video editing software on it. The second SSD would be configured solely as your temporary/cache for your video editing software. This will greatly enhance the editing performance of the system.

      The reason I would go with the video card first is the the GT430 is designed for better playback performance, not gaming or editing. It is more for a home theater system than anything else.

      Since you are running a 64-bit system, upgrading your memory will relieve the stress of the system hitting the pagefile when using memory intensive programs such as video editng software.

      The SSDs are after the RAM because of their relative price vs RAM in your situation. If you were to do only 1 SSD, at least initially, you would want to keep your OS and programs on a mechanical disk and use the SSD as your video software’s temporary or cache space only. Video editing software, especially when doing HD, requires large amounts of RAM and temporary space for the rendering process. By putting its scratch space on an SSD, you will see much faster rendering and transcoding times.

    • Brian

      Great answers. So if I just watch netflix, youtube, other online videos and then itunes, email and chrome, will I notice an improvement going up from 4gb? It doesn’t sound like it.