How much performance should increase if I double the RAM??

Hello all,

I have Toshiba Satellite P15 479, It came with 512 MB RAM 256 X 2 ( PC 2100 )

I purchased 1 GB PC 2700 and ran Sandra's Memory Bandwith Banchmark on the system. To my surprise insted of seeing significant increase in performance the performance was half than it was with the orignal configuration. I tried bunch of configuration after that ( 256MB , 512 MB, 1 GB, 1.25 GB ) and the best performance was the original configuration.

I concluded that since the RAM was from unknown manufacturer it was not performing as should.

Today I went to Fry's again and purchased 2 X 512 PC 2700 Kingston SO-DIMM and was expecting performance to go around double on the Sandra's graph....

It did go up but not quite as much as i had expected, It went up like 10% that how its suppose to be? or am i missing something?

Is it worth to pay $120.00 for this kind of performance increase??

any guidance will be appreciated

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BurbbleConnect With a Mentor Commented:
>> ran Sandra's Memory Bandwith Banchmark on the system

This benchmark is just measuring how fast the RAM is. Adding more doesn't make the RAM faster, but it can make programs and other tasks appear to go faster.

The original memory was probably a lower quality, hence the lower speed score. The new memory is PC2700 compared to the older memory which was PC2100; this is probably the reason for the speed increase (or it is a higher quality, or both).

LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hi hatimad,

Performance depends on a lot of things, not only the amount of RAM.
What you're seeing here is that 512MB was probably enough for your system, and your system may have never used all of the available space. This is why upgrading the amount of RAM doesn't give you any extreme performance boost.

What you might want to try is open up your registry editor and browse to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CuurentControSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

There change:
DisablePagingExecutive to '1'. This will allow to use all your RAM before writing to the paging file. In-case all RAM is done, the OS will use the RAN in conjunction until the RAM will be freed again...

Now, try your benchmark again.


hatimadAuthor Commented:
Hello LucF

Thanks for your reply, I did try as you suggested and ran the benchmark couple of times but the results are almost identical as before.
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hatimadAuthor Commented:
Here is a little more info if that helps...

The part number i am using is KVR333SO/512R ( Powerbook G4 )

and the part number which comes up from kingston website for my laptop model is KTT3311/512 ( Toshiba )
LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
That shouldn't really matter, both use the same memmory timings.
Have you checked the BIOS if you've set the timings right for this new RAM?
hatimadAuthor Commented:
Ummm, How do i do that?

I dont think my BIOS lets me do anything like that...
LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
You might be right, but please search for it. But never try overclocking your RAM, resetting a BIOS to defaults on a laptop isn't easy in case you have a boot failure.


LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
And please understand that you'll never, ever will get a double score on any benchmark with just upgrading the RAM, in fact, with an upgrade from 512 to 1GB 10% is pretty good for an average system.

There is a point of diminishing returns.  Going from 128 to 256 is a dramatic change, the increase in performance is very noticable.  Going from 256 to 512 is quite noticable but in general if you are doing single tasking (not opening up a bunch of programs at once, instead just opening up say Word and nothing else), then you won't feel much of an increase in performance since 256 is probably enough to satisify Word and Windows requirements and 512 is just overkill.  But if you open up Word, Excel, 8 different interent explorer pages (maybe some complex ones), and a few other odds and ends and you have a bunch of programs running in your taskbar, then going from 256 to 512 is going to be noticable.  On that same token going from 512 go 1 gig of memory is only going to be really noticable if you do heavy duty stuff like opening up a bunch of programs, maybe some photoshop rendering, some movie rendering, etc.  Then the 1 gig of memory will feel worth it.  

Some games though really get helped by lots of memory and 1 gig and make the game run better than only 512 megs of ram.

Its all a matter of what you do with your computer.  I"m not surprised in the least that the benchmarks only show a 10 percent increase in speed when going from 512 megs to 1 gig since the benhmark probably doesn't need to make use of any of that additional memory.  

So in a nutshell, if you open up a ton of programs or you do heavy duty work (3d rendering, complex excel math worksheets, etc) then the 1 gig of memory will feel useful, but if you are a casual user (open up word and excel and a few webpages but rarely more than that) then the 1 gig of ram might not really feel that much different than the 512.  

Thanks's about time somebody piped up with the facts...)T
hatimadAuthor Commented:

Thanks everyone for the feedback...

>> This benchmark is just measuring how fast the RAM is. Adding more doesn't make the RAM faster, but it can make programs and other tasks appear to go faster.

this makes sens....

my idea behind adding more RAM was
1) To reduce time for the windows to load and shutdown
2) To open applications faster
3) I might soon decide to host a server on this machine ( major reason )

Since I cant see any significant difference myself after adding more RAM, I wanted to find a software to do it for me and I came across Sandra

well i guess sandra wouldnt work....I need some software which can benchmark my system exhausting my RAM and only RAM so I can see the difference and make a decision wheather its worth keeping RAM or not...

any ideas??

BTW, why didnt 1 GB RAM showed decreased in performance when it was supposedly PC 2700?? was it just the junk??

hatimadAuthor Commented:
I mean why DID 1 GB RAM showed decrease in performance......
LucFConnect With a Mentor EMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Thanks Burbble, I missed that little fact...

hatimad, if you want to see if the amount of RAM makes big differences for you, the best way to test is using some memmory intensive programs. High-end games come to mind.
One option is using something like 3dMark or PCMark from Futuremark:

hatimad, performance on your system in the terms of speed is more to do with the processor power, while the ram will allow you to run more memory intensive tasks it will not speed your machine up in any way as all of your computation work and transfers to memory have to be sent through the CPU.

The 10% increase in Ram performance therefore in my opinion was not worth the money.  Now if you could upgarde the CPU then that would be a different matter, in fact I am not sure that running 2700 opposed to 2100 will give you a real advantage in the memory stakes as your motherboard speed will only be set toto run at a certain bus speed.

The performance will always be dictated by the sped of your CPU!

In that case I would take the ram back and save yourself the money......

I hope this makes sense

bobo_techConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Windows load and shutdown times isn't going to be affected by how much ram you have un less you have so little ram that all your applications are paged out to the hard drive when you shut down, then it will take some time for windows to clean them up during its shutdown process.  Loading time for windows I really don't think its going to be affected.   Application opening time might only be faster if your system is already loaded down with a lot of open applications and they are paging out to the drive.  In that situation, having more ram will allow the applicaitons to open as fast as they could when you had  no open applications.  (remember, your biggest bottleneck with your system is the speed of the hard drives when it comes to opening and closing windows and applications).

Ram would help a lot with hosting a server.  Thats why most big servers are loaded up to the gills with as much ram as they can handle.  The more ram they have and the faster drives they have, the better it is for a server.  So yes, going with more ram makes sense when you want to host a server but then again, what kind of server are you trying to host?

Hatimad, like Burbble said, the reason why the first memory benchmark was slower with the orginal 1 gig was probalby because yoiu had low quality ram that clocked itself down.  Alll the memory in a system will run only as fast as the slowest memory in the system (if you have 1 stick of pc1600 ram and 3 sticks of pc3200, all the memory in the system wil only run as fast as the pc1600, on most motherboards).  So yes, it sounds like it was junk.
ITcrowConnect With a Mentor Commented:

In general, system performance depends on all the following factors:
1. Processor
2. Memory
3. Swap ( On unix systems 2X of RAM )
   Virtual Memory ( Let windows decide or 384 MB to 1 GB )

Having said that, every software works in a different way, some are number
crunchers and exhausts CPU. While others are dealing with more files and
file handles, using more memory.

To improve the performance of your existing system, you should first monitor
which resource you are lacking. In windows, task manager shows you a
report current resources. For unix systems 'top' and some other tools do the

In your case, if after adding up more memory performance has degraded very
slightly ( 0-2% ), it could be the memory management overhead. Remember
even on heavy load also, this overhead remains the same and you end up
getting better performance.

If you are planning or making it a file server ( ftp/http ) more memory and
better processor will definitely help.

As far as OS ( Windows / Unix ) boot and shutdown time goes, more CPU is
what is going to make it faster. More memory doesn't help in this case as OS
is supposed leave memory for user programs.

Not relevant to your current situation, but few other things one should look
for a robust high performance system is:
1. More CPU Cache
2. Faster FSB.
3. More RPMs in HDD.

I have seen drastic OS load time improvements on faster disks (10000 RPM),
as opposed to disk provided with machine which was 4800 RPM. This was on
a 2 GB RAM, 2.4 GHz machine.
tmj883Connect With a Mentor Commented:
To realize the difference larger amounts of RAM can make in a system, try opening some very large picture files...larger than the amount of free RAM that you have...if your system must use virtual memory to render the image, the system will be terribly slow(as pointed out by other experts). Keep the RAM, it will be useful. T
hatimadAuthor Commented:
My system configuration is

P 4 2.8 HT
800 FSB
60 GB HDD 5400 RPM.

Since its the damn laptop, thats the best i could get 8 months ago and paid arms and a leg for this baby elephant...

anyways, although this RAM is not very useful for me now unless I host a server, I have decided to keep it. I dont think in near future the price this RAM is going to go below $ 60.00

I will distribute points among all the answers that helped, If you think its unfair, let me know ..

Thanks again for all your replys

Thank you for you feedback on your problem hatimad

Best of luck to you

hatimadAuthor Commented:
oops ran out of points let me add some
Glad I could help.

I just realized that you got *two* 512MB modules for $120... Pretty good price, I'd say  ;-)

Thanks for the points

I said take it back ang got no points :(
Probably using one 1 GB chip decreased performance because some systems work better on SYMMETRIC memory configuration (256 and 256, 512 and 512, etc)

I don't remember "strict technical explanation" - please accept it as fact. Or find it yourself
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