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Memory going from 12gb to 64gb or 96gb. worth it?

Posted on 2017-01-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2017-01-11
I have a 5 year old Dell T7500 workstation. My C drive is a 10K rpm drive. I have 12gb now. I don't really notice any problem. However I have the chance to upgrade my memory very substantially at a very small cost. I wonder if I will notice the difference. My most heavy duty applications are Corel Draw and Photoshop. Is this a waste of money for me, or a wise decision?
Question by:Need-a-Clue
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 200 total points
ID: 41952693
You say Workstation. For Seven, Eight or Ten 64-bit, the system will use a base of 3 GB when working properly. 8 GB is great for most people. I have 16 GB to use multiple virtual machines.

64GB or 96GB?  No need. What you are using will work in 12GB easily. Open Task Manager to see what free memory you have will the heavy duty applications loaded.
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phoffric earned 200 total points
ID: 41952696
If monitoring of your memory usage always show that you have several GBs free, then with your current usage, I don't believe you will see a difference assuming that the memory speeds are as high as your current speeds. If lower speeds, then you may even see a slowdown in overall performance.
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CompProbSolv earned 200 total points
ID: 41952697
Any chance you'll ever run any Virtual Machines?   As John implied, more memory is very useful then.

If the opportunity to "chance to upgrade my memory very substantially at a very small cost" is short-lived, I'd consider doing it, but more likely to 24G or so.  There is a chance that you could benefit from that someday.

I'd agree with the others that measuring memory usage is a good idea and you'll likely not benefit from the additional memory now.

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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 200 total points
ID: 41952732
CorelDraw and Photoshop are certainly memory hogs and always have been.  However, I've not yet seen a situation where they used even 16 GB of main memory.  In fact, Draw has a built-in limitation on the amount of memory it will use, and most users never reset that limit.  So Draw is probably already limited to 1/4 of the memory in your system.

CorelDraw memory limits
If you can stuff the system full of memory for twenty or thirty bucks, by all means.  There probably won't be much of a performance change except that a) it will start slower due to memory testing at startup and b) it may do disk I/O slightly faster because the system will be able use the idle memory for disk caching.

But if the price is a hundred or two hundred bucks, put it toward a new system instead.  While the performance is satisfactory today, yours is "a 5 year old Dell T7500 workstation" -- and with the way Windows is going, you'll either want or need a new 32-core system in a few years.
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by:Tom Cieslik
Tom Cieslik earned 200 total points
ID: 41952736
If you not going to install Hyper-V or CAD software or any other Video editing software that require more memory for rendering HD video then adding memory is a waist of your money because you're OS will never use it, and if you'll add memory then system automatically will incrase your swap file (page file) on your local drive, that can really slow down your computer.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41952737
@Need-a-Clue  - Can you comment as the comments are becoming repetitive.
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dbrunton earned 200 total points
ID: 41952777
If you're getting 3 x 64 Gb memory chips for that machine and they are ECC (it will take 3 of those, ECC is what it wants) and they are cheap then go for it.   You've got a quad core Xeon in that machine as well.

As stated earlier the major apps that'll use that much memory are Virtual Machines, Video editors and possibly Photoshop. But oh, what a machine for that purpose.;

If you made it into either a gaming machine (Crysis would be wonderful) or a Linux server it would still be brilliant.
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Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 200 total points
ID: 41952787
Memory helps improve overall performance HOWEVER, it depends on what you do... Once you reach a comfortable level for everyday work, you probably won't notice any improvements.  Some things to consider - Is your edition of Photoshop 64 bit? Do you run MANY programs at once or just a couple?  If you run Photoshop, Excel, Word, Corel, Firefox, and several others, then the amount of TOTAL RAM used could start approaching a level that might slow things down...

I do agree that you need to look at your ACTUAL RAM usage during your heaviest use times and determine if that is straining or if you're well within your needs.

If you do use virtualization, then the extra RAM might well be worth it - though again, it depends on how you use it.  And when it comes to should you do it or not, I'd say if the RAM upgrade to 96GB was $100, then I definitely do it whether I need it or not... because you never know what project comes up that could use the RAM... but if it's $1000 I'd have to really think about that unless there was PROOF I needed it.
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by:Gary Case
Gary Case earned 200 total points
ID: 41952858
12GB is good, but these days not "great".   It's very easy to use that much with graphics-intensive processing; especially if you tend to keep multiple windows open at the same time.   And iif you do any virtualization at all, you can easily  use a good bit more than that.

One caveat:   your system has a triple memory controller; so be sure you add any modules you buy in 3's,  so you retain the optimal triple-channel memory performance.     If by chance you have dual processors, then they EACH support 3 channels, so you'd want to add 6 modules !!   (I suspect you only have a single  CPU, but can't tell that for sure from what you'd said so far).
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nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 41952889
for an upgrade, i'd put my money in an SSD
worth every dollar
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serialband earned 200 total points
ID: 41953442
It depends on how cheap.  If you get the upgrade to 64 GB or 96 GB, then you should probably turn off all swap and let it use only RAM.  You could also create a RAM Disk and load or duplicate files there that need quicker access.  If you have a 32 bit OS, then you really won't benefit.

Author Comment

ID: 41956858
Dear Experts...Thanks for your wise input. I think that for the time being and  probably until I get a new computer that I will either keep just my 12 gb memory or maybe go up one notch maximum. I did start Photoshop and Coreldraw and two other non memory hog programs and observed my memory. I still had plenty left. I actually was hoping for this outcome because this definitely fits into the "If it isn't broke then don't fix it category".  Now, onto another problem.

Author Comment

ID: 41956871
I appreciate all the advice Experts

Author Comment

ID: 41957863
Administrative Commentby:Kyle Santos
ID: 419573526h
Even split.

(Apologies for all the notifications on this adjustment.)

I have NO idea what you are trying to say above. Even split?? HUH? Apologies for notifications? What are you talking about? I am here because I pay my fee monthly to gain the answers from true experts. It is worth the money I spend. But it seems that if I do not follow a seeming endless set of rules and conventions that I am on the "bad list". I have only ONE purpose being on this site. That is to get information from true experts that will help me with whatever difficult situation I might be facing. I am NOT here to be subject to some people that seem to want to pick out every instance of ANYTHING I might do that does not follow the EE conventions and rules. If you have any problem with something that I do then WRITE ME AN UNDERSTANDABLE EMAIL an let me know what the problem seems to be. I am not on the same level as the experts. That is obvious. I do not want to be. I merely need their advice.

There ARE logical and unchangeable reasons why a person might not be able to respond to a question or post in what EE deems to be an acceptable window. If you don't believe that or don't want to put up with the unpleasantness of someone not behaving like an EE expert then let me know. I am not going to go into explaining myself and my situation that MIGHT cause delays in my responding. It is none of anyone's business but mine. You people need to think a little bit more out of the box and understand that everyone does not fit the mold of the "normal question poser".  I will not apologize for not fitting into an EE mold.

This is not the first time that this has happened. I don't think you people care a bit about what I think if I don't fit the mold.

An agitated non expert customer. Need-a-Clue

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