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What is the Max RAM that can be used and still get decent performance running app on WinXP SP2?

Is there a limit to the amount of RAM that can be utilized and still have decent performance in an application running under Windows?  
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SLCleary
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SLCleary
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1 Solution
 
jppintoCommented:
1GB is what is recommend. 512Mb was enough for PCs used for email, but  after installing service packs, 1GB is preferable.
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flubbsterCommented:
Perhaps you should have phrased the question as "What is the MINIMUM..." because that seems to be what you are asking. If that is the case, then I would agree with pinto above. XP 32 bit will handle up to 4G according to MS, but real world around 3.5G. Then some hardware will suck up some of it also.
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SLClearyAuthor Commented:
I apologize but I must not have been clear on my question.  I'm not looking to add memory but wanting to know if there is a % number that if exceeded would cause an application to degrade.

Have a requirement to have x% spare RAM for growth.  Let's say 50% ... but how much more growth over 50% can I go before performance degrades?
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
You can put up to 4GB in your machine, if your motherboard will support it, and about 3.5GB will be available to Windows XP.
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Jackie ManCommented:
According to PCBONEZ, it says:

Windows XP 32 Bit can only ADDRESS 4 GB of memory.

Think of addressing the memory as the index in an book.
The ADDRESS is the PAGE NUMBER of a page in the book and given in the TABLE of CONTENTS.
There are only 4000 lines (addresses) available in the table of contents. (I'm using 1000 lines = 1GB.)
(Or rather, Windows can only SEE the first 4000 lines.)
The size of the table of contents cannot change but the number of pages in the book can.
The book can have more pages than it has addresses.

The addresses used by Windows begin at the front and fill moving toward the back.
There are other things that need addresses: Video, PCI, some drivers.
~ Those start at the BACK and fill the table of contents moving forward.
~ These lines are RESERVED for this use.

Assumption: The addresses starting from the back of the book take 1000 lines (1Gb).
These would be lines 3001 through 4000 in the table of contents.

Case 1:
You have 2GB of memory.  
Windows uses lines 1 to 2000.
The video and such is using line 3001 to 4000.
No problem. Windows sees all 2000 lines that it's using.

Case 2:
You have 4GB of memory. Which would take 4000 lines.
But the video and such is using lines 3001 to 4000.
Windows can only -see- lines 1 to 3000.
The remaining lines (addresses) are still there but Windows doesn't know it because they aren't listed where Windows can -see- it.

~~ Okay, I'm ready for the Memory Etiquette Police to come and carry me away. ~~~~ 

Source: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21810159.html

Practically, 2GB of RAM is sufficient for normal operation as long as you got a fast CPU and GPU.
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flubbsterCommented:
NO... more memory should not degrade an app's performance. IT will use less swap space and run faster.
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georges_BGCommented:
It's all relative, depending on the applications you use and how many at the same time. I would recommend at least 1 GB of RAM for browsing, basic emailing. As you open/use more applications, I'd go with min of 2 GB. The more the better of course.
Keep an eye on the memory used throughout the day with the task manager.
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flubbsterCommented:
I have an almost unlimited amount of memory, but as soon as I start certain applications, like drink_beer.sys and execute party_with_friends.bat, I actually start losing memory.

go figure.....
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Jackie ManCommented:
Unless you need to do a lot for graphic and video editing or compressing or decompressing files, you do not need more than 2GB. In such situations, you can add the total RAM to 4GB and it is the limit that your 32bit OS can handle.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Adding RAM won't degrade your application.  Additional RAM does mean less swapping to disk which tends to speed up applications.  Windows XP will "run" with as little as 128MB of RAM but it will spend almost ALL of it's time swapping data back and forth to disk so that it spends very little time actually executing programs.

The statement "Have a requirement to have x% spare RAM for growth." doesn't actually make any sense.  Windows will use all of the RAM that is available if it needs to and swap out to disk if it exceeds that.  None is reserved.
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georges_BGCommented:
Your performance will degrade when you exhaust the RAM and start paging to disk to keep up with the demand. Monitor PageFile Usage% in perfmon. If it goes above 60-70%, you have a problem and need to add more RAM.
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LMiller7Commented:
Adding memory will never degrade performance. Unless of course there are hardware issues in which case nothing is certain. XP will use to good effect however much RAM you have. But there will always be a point of diminishing returns after which adding more RAM do little for performance. This point is heavily dependent on your workload.

The maximum RAM in 32 bit XP is 4 GB (of which about  3-3.5 GB will be accessible) but your hardware may restrict this further.

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