What is the optimal physical memory percentage in Windows?

Tilman November 11, 2010
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I recently upgraded my RAM on my small laptop from 1 to 2 GB. Before and after the upgrade I have been paying attention to the physical memory percentage indicated at the bottom of the Windows Task Manager. Before the upgrade, it was in normal use (i.e. NOT under heavy load) at about 80% (and under heavy load it approached 99%). Now with 2 GB RAM it is in normal use at about 50%-60% and the computer feels more responsive.

Thus, my question: What is the optimal percentage in terms of speed and performance that physical memory should be used? Is it so that the lower the percentage, the faster the computer responds? Or is it so that if I were to upgrade my laptop now to 3 GB (and correspondingly the physical memory percentage would go down to about 30%), my computer would not be any faster?

I might ask my question also the other way round: If I know that I need x amount of RAM memory in normal use, how much memory should I have in total? X times two? X plus 10%? Or X times three? I hope you get my point :)

Looking forward to your answers!



P.S. I am NOT asking this question because of the laptop that I have now (as the max RAM it can handle is already 2 GB anyway) but because I am (still) in the process of buying a new better laptop for Photoshopping and such things. My related question about which CPU I should choose is here: //www.makeuseof.com/answers/choose-intel-core-i5-i7-processor-laptop/

  1. Anonymous
    November 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Run scans for Malware, You might also have alot of background services running.

  2. Tilman
    November 12, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for your comment! Does anybody have any other opinions or any facts to present?

    According to your guideline, I would need 3gb of RAM for the way I am CURRENTLY using this small laptop that I have now. I am basically JUST surfing the net and doing some normal Word typing and such things, but with 2gb RAM, my physical memory percentage is constantly at 50% minimum. That would mean that if I plan to do photoshopping with my to-be-bought new laptop, I would need at least 6gb of RAM, as 4gb would certainly be filled much more than 50% almost all the time. Should I right away jump to 8gb? :D On the other hand, 8gb sounds a bit exaggerated if 2gb works at least somehow currently, and the only thing I would do more with the new laptop is photoshopping.

    Any comments?


  3. Anonymous
    November 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    For me, the optimal physical memory percentage is about 30%, max at about 60%. When I start seeing 60% constant while running intensive programs (CS3, VirtualBox, Crysis) , I start considering upgrades.