Windows and the virtual memory

How much memory is used?

Some yield tests

Advices and conclusions

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Juan Herrerías Rey

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How much memory is "sufficient"?

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Some yield tests

To illustrate the importance of the quantity of memory we have realized a few tests based on the suite Microsoft Office included with the program Winstone 99, centred not in the punctuation but in what more well-known the user: the time that is taken in doing the test (deducting the load in itself of the programs from the hard disk, for being independent from the quantity of installed memory).

Installed RAM Used time
32 MB 466 seconds
48 MB 368 seconds
64 MB 327 seconds
96 MB 307 seconds
128 MB 306 seconds
Configuration: Windows 98, Celeron 466, hard disk UltraDMA33, graphic card i740
(we might say that it is a question of a quite "typical" computer, neither slowly nor excessively rapidly)

Since it can be observed, from 96 MB scarcely change exists in the numbers, but to spend from 32 to 64 MB supposes an increase of the yield of neither more nor less than 42,5 %, and to spend from 64 to 128 MB an additional increase of 6,9 %. Bear in mind that this is a test, not the "real life", but anyway there is no doubt that to be employed with only 32 MB at Windows 98 is almost a madness.

An essential remark before throwing the bells to the flight and going out to buy memory: a memory EXCESS does not increase FOR ANYTHING the yield, only improvement will be appreciated if we needed more memory. So if it already has 48 MB or more and makes a use exclusively domestic or ofimático of the PC, he does not bother to install any more.


Advices and conclusions

Very well, it is already well of theories; let's go on to the action. If he is going to buy a new computer:

  • do not even consider to install less than 64 MB, and if it is possible to him try that there are 128 MB;
  • ask it to be a memory SDRAM PC133, to be able to be of a well-known mark, to facilitate the future updates;
  • be the quantity that is, that it avenges in the minor possible number of modules (nothing of 2 modules of 64 MB, better 1 of 128);
  • investigate the number of grooves that has the motherboard; at least there will have to be 3 grooves, or 4 in computers destined for servant or workstation.

If it already has computer, this is a moment as good as any other an enlargement of the memory appears. Despite the fluctuations of last year, the current price continues well below 300 ptas/MB, what for the "elders" expert in these topics turns out to be the cheapest to us (in 1.992 it was to 5.000 ptas/MB). Bear in mind that:

  • if it is a question of 486 or one of the first Pentium, with memory FPM, perhaps the best thing is not to extend, or to do it with second-hand memory. In any case think that his useful life will not be very long, so I did not spend very much;
  • in case of using memory EDO (typical of the epoch of the Pentium MMX), it can still find new modules, although if he buys them second-hand perhaps it saves enough. Do not update if the PC is not moderately rapid; and if it has to remove a few modules of little size to install others of 16 ó 32 MB, forward;
  • attention: the chipsets FX, VX and TX for badges Pentium cannot frisk any more than 64 MB of RAM, therefore to overcome this number can imply a certain speed descent, bear it in mind;
  • if the computer already uses memory SDRAM, good to 66 ó 100 MHz ("PC66" or "PC100"), try to install memory PC133, well along with the previous one or replacing it;
  • badges exist with grooves SIMM (for EDO) and DIMM (for SDRAM), and although theoretically there can be mixed both types (and many people have done it), some persons recommend not to do it. In my opinion it is not more risked of the normal thing, but it is warned just in case.

Certainly, in "ancient" computers with grooves DIMM, generally Pentium MMX or the first Pentium II, often turns out to be problematic to install modern modules of memory of PC100 or PC133, for very diverse and controversial motives (size of the modules, number of faces of the same ones, speeds of access, specific incompatibilities of the chipset or the motherboard...). In these cases perhaps the best thing is to ask them to extend the memory in a shop where they give him guarantees, or to risk yourself. Sometimes the problem is solved simply changing memory mark or replacing the existing modules, but in other cases simply it is not solved...

To buy modules of second-hand memory (and/or to sell them), I recommend to him the bulletin boards or specializing web sites of Internet, as or; and if he wants to know more on the update of the memory, pulsate here to go to the corresponding paragraph.

In the future the tendency seems that it is not going to change: every time we will need more memory (Windows 2000 already "recommends" 64 MB and adds that any increase on this quantity will improve the yield), and it would not be strange that within one year the computers were coming like minimum with 128 MB, instead of 32. And that despite the famous phrase of Bill Gates in the beginning of the age PC: "nobody should need any more than 640 memory KB"... for the one that does not know it, 640 KB is neither more nor less than 0,625 MB.


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