I’ve been a big fan of memory since the first time I added another stick to one of my diy built pcs. Upgrading CPU’s always boosted my benchmark numbers, but it never made normal computer use feel much different. Maybe if I did more video editing, of PC gaming. Adding memory, on the other hand, always lead to a drastic improvement in the responsiveness of the system. Paging is slow.
Part of that dramatic impact is undoubtedly due to my work style. First off, I almost never turn my computer off. I also rarely close programs. What if I needed them again? As I write this blog post I have six or so IE windows open (w/ who knows how many tabs), Firefox, RSS Bandit, Windows Media Player, FL Studio, Outlook, OneNote…ugh, I’m tired just listing all of the running apps! Why create favorites when you can just leave the IE window open? I need RAM, and lots of it.
The official memory requirement for XP Pro is 128 MB, which is hard for me to believe. We’ve been running at 1GB. The Vista Premium Ready experience requires 1 GB, so I decided to bump our physical memory up to 2GB. 3GB is the limit on 32-bit Operating Systems, but I think 2 should meet our needs until we’re ready to upgrade to a 64-bit OS and a new motherboard.
I wasn’t sure exactly what type of RAM to purchase…DDR? DDR2? I wasn’t even exactly sure what type of motherboard we had, even after the assistance of SiSoft Sandra. Luckily, I had heard good things about Crucial.com. Their site includes a handy tool called the Crucial Memory Advisor. You enter the manufacturer and model of your pc, and they give you a list of compatible RAM sticks. A few clicks later and I was done.
Three days later the stick arrived, and about 45 mins later the upgrade was complete. Of course, 35 of those minutes were spent trying to remember how to open the annoying Compaq case. My old DIY boxes barely stayed closed!
It’s only been a day, but I’m already happy with the purchase. Fast-user switching definitely seems much faster, although it’s still not blazingly fast. WMP seems to open much more quickly, but I would have expected that to be more CPU bound then anything. It’s hard to judge the system overall, since we’ve only been on Vista for about three weeks, but thing seem much snappier.