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4 GB May Be Vista's RAM Sweet Spot

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the honkin' dept.

Microsoft 767

jcatcw writes "David Short, an IBM consultant who works in the Global Services Division and has been beta testing Vista for two years, says users should consider 4GB of RAM if they really want optimum Vista performance. With Vista's minimum requirement of 512MB of RAM, Vista will deliver performance that's 'sub-XP,' he says. (Dell and others recommend 2GB.) One reason: SuperFetch, which fetches applications and data, and feeds them into RAM to make them accessible more quickly. More RAM means more caching."

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767 comments

Turn SuperFetch off (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089960)

"More RAM means more caching."

Well, Duh...

Remember the $40/Meg RAM days?

More RAM (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090080)

means more CASHing!

Re:Turn SuperFetch off (5, Insightful)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090106)

"More RAM means more caching."
Well, Duh...
You say it's obvious; but it's amazing how many Slashdot posts I've seen which consist of "I've got XGB of RAM [where X>1] and Vista's using up 75% of it running the OS alone; therefore Vista must need XGB of RAM to even run, never mind applications!" -- conveniently ignoring that Vista's just using the extra RAM to cache frequently used apps, documents, etc., and it'll automatically be freed up if any application requests it...

Re:Turn SuperFetch off (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090126)

I remember the $40/MB RAM!

OS/2 reccomended 4MB
Vista? 4GB

Too bad we aren't doing exponetially better things with these boxes...

Re:Turn SuperFetch off (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090198)

> Remember the $40/Meg RAM

Used.

Re:Turn SuperFetch off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090442)

Young'un. I paid more than that for 3K.

THis is obscene! (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090460)

My XP box runs fine with less than 1G and runs pretty well with 1G. It is hard to see how 3G can be gobbled up by some eye candy and other "UI innovations". That an OS needs that much memory is plain crazy. Loading up all that RAM takes a lot of time and shows poor design.

My Linux box has 1GB and very rarely uses swap space.

At one time, a long, long, time ago (Windows 95 era) Microsoft could provide a very snappy experience with a 486 and 64MB or less of RAM. Orders of magnitude more CPU and RAM seem to be compensation for crap software, rather than giving useful improvements.

heh heh (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089968)

4 GB May Be Vista's RAM Sweet Spot

But I'm guessing it's going to be a sticking point for most consumers. At least, the ones without a sugar daddy.

x64 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089978)

It's an MS way to get people interested in the 64-bit edition which doesn't have a RAM 4GB limit :-)

Re:x64 (5, Insightful)

sepiid (1060020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090010)

was gonna say, you toss 4g in a 32bit box you will only see about 3gig. unless you go 64bit, but then you will see even less driver support available

Re:x64 (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090108)

I could be wrong, but I believe that was an XP limitation. You are correct though, if you want to go beyond 4GB, you must go to 64-bit.

I assume that the article is talking about 64-bit, other wise it would be saying, "In order to get maximum performance from Vista, Max Out the RAM!"

Re:x64 (2, Informative)

Chikenistheman (992447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090112)

It has nothing to do with RAM so I may be offtopic, but I beg to differ.

I run two boxes x64. One is an Intel P4 with EMT and the other an AMD Athlon x64. Both run x64 OS and both x64 and x32 programs. I have two devices that will not run on x64 out all my components. An old Linksys wirelss adapter and an old soundcard.

I understand the reason these drivers don't work is due to Microsofts changes to both Networking and sound processing in Windows. So honestly IMO the gap in support between 32 and 64 is dramatically closing.

Re:x64 (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090234)

"And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

Yeah, sweet spots tend to mean going under or over will mean less than optimal performance. I'm not exactly sure you can call it a sweet spot if you are just turning the dial to 11.

Great idea Microsoft! (5, Funny)

linuxkrn (635044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089980)


1) Cache contents of entire hard disk to RAM
2) Claim performance boost in Vista
3) Profit!

General Trend (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090178)

Over the past decades, you will notice that CPU/memory performance is mostly used to improve the quality of the user interface and the programming interface. The user interface consists of the windows manager and the response time. The programming interface consists of the high-level programming language like C#. The compiled code is less efficient than assembly language, so the CPU wastes some cycles in processing the inefficiency. Only a small percentage of the CPU cycles are expended for the core part of the application.

In the bad old days, CPUs were very slow. Programming in assembly language was essential for a 6502. The user interface was ugly ASCII text. Most of the CPU cycles were expended for the core part of the application. The "core part" might be recalculating the entries in the cells of VisiCalc.

What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089984)

4 GB for the OS alone? This is ridiculous, even by Microsoft standards!

Only an idiot or a clueless bastard would use this sorry excuse for software.

Re:What? (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090022)

4 GB for the OS alone? This is ridiculous, even by Microsoft standards!
Didn't you even to read the summary? How are "applications and data" the "OS alone"?

Re:What? (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090054)

The article wasn't even big, it was a snippet with a few quotes thrown in. I wonder how much memory that guy is running on.

Re:What? (1)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090316)

The apps don't use that memory, the os does. The application programs are stored in ram (you know, like a "ram disk"), so that when the program is actually called upon, the program is already in ram and doesn't need to be read from the hard drive (you know, cause the hard drive is slower than the ram). This is a "feature" of the operating system.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090440)

The apps don't use that memory, the os does. The application programs are stored in ram (you know, like a "ram disk"), so that when the program is actually called upon, the rogram is already in ram and doesn't need to be read from the hard drive (you know, cause the hard drive is slower than the ram).`
Well, yeah. Just like the summary says. Hence my "didn't you even read the summary". If you really felt my quote was taken out of context and somehow implied that the memory use was due to running applications, the summary was only a scroll away.

This is a "feature" of the operating system.
Well, yes. IMHO, it's a damn good feature. If I have XGB of RAM, I may as well be using it to speed up my system, rather than have it sitting there like a lemon. Where's the harm? It frees it up when anything requests it.

Re:What? (1)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090446)

True.

Obligatory linux uses less ram post...

But... I have just moved from Ubuntu to Xubuntu, with Beryl (using nvidia, not XGL). In windows speak: I have aero-like graphics

Memory usage seems to hover ~250Mb (running no GUI apps) to ~350Mb (certainly < 400mb) running mplayer, firefox, audacious, abiword, gnumeric, Soft Squeeze etc at the same time. Windows speak: Can play pretty much any media I get, use IM, browse the web, write word and excel docs etc...

I have 1Gb of RAM and 1Gb of swap (which never gets touched).

Genuine question, what functionality would I gain by going to vista and quadrupling my ram?

I disagree (5, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089986)

I gotta disagree. I just used Vista last night for the first time on my GF's new laptop with 1 gig RAM, and it was just fine. Even with the souped up interface, it seemed snappy. I was a bit worried from all of this kind of anti-hype hype, but it was just fine. I'd be happy using it with 1 gig RAM. I'd say that it was a smidgen slower than XP would be, but then again, I didn't try turning off the super-slick Apple-esqe "Aero" interface, either (she likes it, I still use Windows Classic on all of my XP boxes).

Re:I disagree (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090032)

Was it actually running any sizable applications? Or just sitting there doing nothing? (and using 1Gb in the process)

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090052)

Um, what version of Vista did you use? What all did you do on this brand new laptop in one night's time? I do not think your one-night experience on someone else's laptop negates this experts 2 years experience. Do you really think it does?

Re:I disagree (4, Informative)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090194)

Surprisingly Aero actually has little impact on system performance. It is all of that other crap like DRM running in the background that is causing everything to slow down. Overall Vista is measurably slower than XP and many applications just run like shit right now on Vista. Just running the OS and doing some surfing or email won't show much difference than XP on modern hardware.

All I know is beyond whatever the benchmarks show Explorer is even slower in Vista than it was before. Go out on the network and wait in agony while the little green bar at the top of Explorer chugs along taking forever to finally display files. I'm sure this just the fault of the switches and Windows 2003 R3 servers I've been using though *rolls eyes*. I'm just really disappointed with Vista after all of this wait and at this point the only time I boot into it anymore is to check app compatibility.

Hint - Set VLC to GDI mode so you don't have to see the f'ing jarring screen transition anymore.

Re:I disagree (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090224)

It's snappy iiifff yooou coome frommm ouuutbaaack Queeeenslaaand.

You will not see the SuperFetch problem day 1 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090258)

The huge amount of memory required by Vista is not seen the first day or even week. SuperFetch, as the article details, learns what you load and preloads the applications into RAM. So once it figures out that you use everything the first week (trying a new OS), you get crushed the next week when it loads stuff you dont need. If you do not have a schedule for using applications (I know of no one who does) SuperFetch keeps guessing and using RAM.

Re:I disagree (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090476)

We were just talking about Vista's basic memory needs today. A coworker was working with a brand-new out-of-the-box Toshiba tablet with 1GB and Vista. It ran like ass. Waiting on windows to open and close was like running XP with 128MB. He had a 3.0Ghz desktop with 1GB also running Vista. It ran worse than ass. The box would seemingly hang for minutes at a time.

When my laptop gets replaced this Spring I'm loading up FC6 on it and running XP in VMWare. I don't need the problems of Vista. I need my laptop to work.

Bad news for intel here.. (5, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089996)

If I remember correctly, the sweet spot for xp was 1 gig, meaning people got more bang for their buck upgrading the processor.

If vista scales all the way to 4, then we're looking at a windows market that will be very similar to the mac market, where upgrading the video card and ram will get you more bang for your buck than replacing the processor.

this will mean a slowdown in intel sales (and amd)

Re:Bad news for intel here.. (2, Funny)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090152)

Cue Vista copying the Mac.....

4GB (1)

FMota91 (1050752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090014)

So there is no relation between the "off-the-top-of-my-head" figure of 4GB RAM and the fact that dwords hold 32bits...

Isn't Vista 64bit-able? Why stop at 4GB?

Seriously (5, Interesting)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090016)

People do the same things with their computers today as they did 15 (even 20) years ago: play games, print, e-mail, read, write, collect media. While there is an argument to be made that OSD, due to higher resolutions and 3D algorithms, and networking have become more complex there simply is no efficient reason why the size of the codebase and the memory footprint has increased as much as it has.

There is a good reason: people remain employed.

Re:Seriously (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090072)

play games
Uhhh.. you been to the PC Games sections at a major department store recently?

PC Gaming is DEAD. It's only a matter of time before MMORPGs move to the consoles too.

Re:Seriously (2, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090294)

> PC Gaming is DEAD. It's only a matter of time before MMORPGs move to the consoles too

You have expressed the reason for the assertion. PC gaming is no longer about gaming. Gaming could be described as a system of rules around a logic puzzle. PC gaming is now about social networking and appeal (mostly visual).

Computers are the realm of intellectuals. PC games, the really good ones, were intense intellectual puzzles. A good transition to recognize is the shift in RPG style: from symbolic display to a concentration on realism. Times of Lore [wikipedia.org] marked this event. Before ToL were games such as Ultima 3 and Phantasie (Nintendo had Zelda) and even earlier were the text based games such as Zork. After ToL were the AD&D games and, later, the anime (eg. Final Fantasy series) style realism RPGs.

Developmentally the earlier games had more intriguing game plots, puzzles, and intrigue. The later games were more visually appealing and spectacular.

Re:Seriously (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090322)

if it's not dead I think it's definitely suffering, especially due to the retarded copy protections that games use these days. I haven't bought a PC game in quite a while and passed on several because of Starforce (I don't want it to nuke my dvd drive, or make my pc crash all the time) and securom v7 (registry keys with embedded weird control characters that make them unremovable, not to mention the probable security-hole sudo-like service).

Sucks because I really really really wanted to play GTR, GTR2 and Supreme Commander... oh well, at least Company of Heroes was not protected, thank God. I am afraid what kind of stuff the new games coming out later in the year (bioshock etc.) will use though, I wonder if it's time to have a separate dual boot partition just for games and their shoddy copy protection.

Re:Seriously (1)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090348)

PC gaming is still huge, and the majority of upcoming big titles this year are for *ding ding ding* PC! Crysis, Alone in the Dark, Assasin's Creed just to name a few; not to mention a bunch of major titles have recently hit the PC. Anytime new consoles hit the market, a bunch of people say "PC gaming is dead" and then PC's blow all the new console's crap out of the water. I like consoles too (I'm picking up a PS3 and Wii this summer, most likely) but the idea that PC gaming is dying is ridiculous.

Re:Seriously (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090378)

With a 5-digit Slashdot id, you probably can answer this question honestly then: do you have 1024 times more fun playing Doom3 than Doom1?

I thought not... The point of the OP is that whatever we do today in almost any software that require *gasp* 4 gigs of ram isn't significantly different than what we did 10 or 15 years ago with 4 megs. Sure it's prettier and more polished, but it's roughly the same number of features and, gee, even the same speed. I don't think I was less productive with DT Publisher on my Atari MegaST than today, the only real difference is the result was printed on a slow, noisy 24-pin printer. But I don't work any faster today.

Re:Seriously (5, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090452)

Twenty years ago I remember an 80-character email program my school used that required remembering about 40 shortcuts. None of them were displayed. You could work on one email at a time -- that's it. There was no GUI email program with easy to understand menus. There was no way to work on more than one email at a time. You were fortunate if you got copy and paste.

Twenty years ago I remember the "media" I "collected". Amazing 256-color graphic files. Mostly of stupid things like bowls of fruit (porn really wasn't all it was cracked up to be at the time). No pictures of family and friends in high detail. No means of easily storing said photos for extended periods of time.

Twenty years ago I remember when a "state of the art" game was one that wasn't entirely text-based. When an adventure game's inventory had a max of 16 items and enemies were scripted (and therefore dumb as bricks). No photorealistic visuals to draw you in. No fairly natural AI to breathe life to the world. And certainly no way to play with thousands of others at the same time.

My point?

All of these changes have been the result of higher memory, faster processors, etc. Yes, we use a bigger memory footprint nowadays. So what? Isn't broadening the appeal of the PC (families storing photos and grandmothers that can actually work the email program) worth it? Yes, the fundamental operations haven't changed (write email, send email, etc). Big deal. Call that a testament to stellar original design than a foible of modern design.

Fact of the matter is I *can* do more, much more, than I could with my PC from 20 years ago. And I can do it in an easier way (blame Vista/OS X all you want -- they're still better UIs than what we used in '87). That's called "progress", regardless if the memory footprint grows or not (and the fundamental tenants of computing stay largely the same).

i.e. it is bloated to hell. (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090018)

I guess Microsoft figures that they are not going to release another OS for the next 10 years (assuming they're even in the OS business in 10 years time) so they better make it so Vista runs at best performance in about 5 years time.

Kinda makes you think Eric S. Raymond's argument about 2008 being the hard deadline for Linux to get it's shit together on the desktop has got some truth.

Re:i.e. it is bloated to hell. (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090306)

I guess Microsoft figures that they are not going to release another OS for the next 10 years (assuming they're even in the OS business in 10 years time) so they better make it so Vista runs at best performance in about 5 years time.
Heh. Vienna is just around the corner... but don't tell anyone.

Cheers.

The True cost of Vista.. (2, Insightful)

wandm (969392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090034)

Right, I have 512Mb, I need to buy 3.5 Gb, that's about £245 in UK prices, or about $460. Another number to add on the price of Vista upgrade..

Re:The True cost of Vista.. (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090200)

If a higher demand for RAM results in lower prices (big IF), then I'm all for it.

Re:The True cost of Vista.. (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090232)

Um, just because performance increases up to that point, doesn't mean you have to buy it. DO you always opt for the largest engine you can whenever you upgrade your car, just because it'll give you more performance (which it will)? No, you balance it against price. Ditto here. If you don't want to spend £245 on RAM, don't.

Sweet spot != required for good performance.

Re:The True cost of Vista.. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090382)

Right, I have 512Mb, I need to buy 3.5 Gb, that's about £245 in UK prices, or about $460.
Help is on the way [eetimes.com]

Re:The True cost of Vista.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090454)

Don't forget: you have to buy another copy of Vista if you add more RAM to your box. ;-)

Pre-emptive strike! (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090046)

In before 640K jokes.

Re:Pre-emptive strike! (5, Funny)

dotgain (630123) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090100)

"640,000 DIMM slots ought to be enough for anyone"

Re:Pre-emptive strike! (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090272)

"640,000 DIMM slots ought to be enough for anyone"
Ohhh, snap!

Article in a nutshell... (5, Funny)

diesel66 (254283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090048)

More RAM == Better!

This message brought to you by: Article in a Nutshell (TM)

He must still be running (2, Funny)

thammoud (193905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090058)

Display write and a 3270 emulator.

FUD (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090064)

Vista is very zippy on my 512mb iMac.

Re:FUD (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090218)

Running Vista in 512 MB ram under Fusion on my MacBook, I doubt that. Up my MacBook to 2gb ram and give Vista 1gb it works significantly better.

Sysreqs (1)

joeljkp (254783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090086)

I'm planning on putting Vista Business on my laptop with a Pentium 4 3.06 GHz, 1GB RAM, and 20GB drive space. Does anyone have any experience with Vista on this kind of system? Note that I don't care if I get to use Aero or not.

Re:Sysreqs (3, Informative)

RichMeatyTaste (519596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090186)

Ignore the FUD. We run it on everything going back to 3.5 year old P4's with crappy video cards and 512MB of ram. Does full Aero work? No. Does it work fine for Office/daily business use: Yes.

My home machine is a 18 month old P4 3.2GHZ with an upgraded (for games, $125) video card, 1gb ram, and Vista runs with full effects.

Even under the Macbook Pro (C2D, stock ram) it runs fine under paralells. You will never get Aero under virtual machines, but the OS works fine.

Re:Sysreqs (2, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090216)

Note that I don't care if I get to use Aero or not.

Then you'll be fine. Honestly, people, it's not that much different than XP. I have to assume that most of the people who are repeating these claims about RAM usage simply haven't booted Vista yet. I have 2GB on my Vista machine but that's mainly for VMWare and Photoshop work. It ran fine with 1GB (though there was a slight "Windows Experience Index" improvement when I added the second gig, probably because of the aforementioned caching).

Re:Sysreqs (1)

TheRealSlimShady (253441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090412)

I'm running Vista Business on an HP NX6120, 1GB of RAM and Pentium M 1.73 GHz, no problem at all. Aero doesn't work, but apart from that everything is fine.

Here we go... (0, Troll)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090090)

This will just be more fodder for the anti-Vista crowd... "Oh noes, 4gb ram? I can't POSSIBLY afford that! But I also can't POSSIBLY turn that service off. I'll never be able to use Vista! M$, I hate you!"

Really, the good thing about this is maybe it will spur an increase in RAM sizes. I'm sick of 1 gig sticks being the only affordable ones. I want 2 and 4 gig sticks to come down in price, maybe this will help.

Re:Here we go... (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090190)

anti-Vista crowd
That would be everyone on earth who isn't a Microsoft fan boy or shill. Vista is the upgrade no-one wants.

Re:Here we go... (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090340)

anti-Vista crowd
That would be everyone on earth who isn't a Microsoft fan boy or shill.
So everyone who isn't actively anti-Vista is a Microsoft shill? Let's see, that would be a good 99% of the Earth's population. Shall we round down to 6 billion people for ease of calculation? Hmmm... Microsoft has $50billion in reserves, which would give around $1.70 per person, per year of Vista's development. Wow, being a Microsoft shill sure doesn't pay very well!

Seriously, though, grow up. THe world is not divided into Vista-hating FSF evangelists and Microsoft shills.

Re:Here we go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090390)

So everyone who isn't actively anti-Vista is a Microsoft shill? Let's see, that would be a good 99% of the Earth's population. Shall we round down to 6 billion people for ease of calculation?

Yup, that's a lot of shills all right. Those bastards. And as soon as they get computers and get online I'm going to give them the worst (and only, so far) flaming they've ever had.

Re:Here we go... (1)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090388)

The real anti-Vista crowd wasn't planning to run Vista at all, so the RAM requirements will elicit little more than a chuckle.

To be safe... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090094)

...640 GB should be enough for everyone.

Re:To be safe... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090450)

640 GB should be enough for everyone.


      Surely you meant 640TB...!

512MB!!? (1)

daybot (911557) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090128)

With Vista's minimum requirement of 512MB of RAM, Vista will deliver performance that's 'sub-XP,'

No shit. My Vista Ultimate system uses nearly 1GB RAM at startup, and I don't have many services running or apps installed, since nothing [pcdoctor-guide.com] I [podcastingnews.com] have [gizmodo.com] works [macdrive.com] on [pgp.com] Vista [cygwin.com] yet. [bumblebeesoftware.com] .

At work we decided that having a couple of developers running Vista from day one would the best way to ensure our compatibility. Sounded like a great idea till I drew that particular short straw...

It's indexing (1)

MrSteve007 (1000823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090330)

After startup, and while no intensive programs are running, Vista will max out its RAM usage to re-index the hard drive for the instant search feature. Once you start using applications, it'll redirect the ram to those programs. It's just trying to make the best use of underutilized resources/clock cycles. It will work with 512MB without problem - indexing just goes slower.

Re:It's indexing (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090468)

My dad bought a new Acer laptop with Vista pre-installed on it. He got rid of it within a week and threw XP on there because the performance was so awful.

I live a few thousand miles away so I didn't get to experience it myself, but considering he's the man who taught me everything I know about computers (Which is substantial), I'm going to take his word for it until I learn otherwise through empirical evidence.

Re:512MB!!? (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090376)

No shit. My Vista Ultimate system uses nearly 1GB RAM at startup, and I don't have many services running or apps installed,
As it says in the *summary*, Vista will use available RAM to cache frequently used applications and documents. It frees it up automatically if programs request it.

My Vista Ultimate uses about a Gig (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090424)

with nothing very exciting running - but then I have 2 gig in my system, so would hope it would shove anything that may be useful in there for me.
If you're about to tell me you've only got a gig in your laptop, then that may be a problem - if as I suspect you've got 2Gig, then wtf are you complaining about?

SuperFetch? (1)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090134)

Seriously, this is fucking dumb. Any operating system (including previous versions of Windows) caches data in unused areas of RAM until those areas are needed for currently running applications. Remember when you first run "top" in Linux and noticed that all almost memory was used up? That's because top stupidly shows you the total memory usage without subtracting buffers and cache.

RAM costs more than a computer? (4, Informative)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090140)

How much does 4GB of ram cost? I don't know the cheapest places to buy RAM but a quick search put a couple 2GB sticks at $450-500 ($225-250 each).

Before Vista came out you could easily get a low to mid-end XP desktop computer for $500.

I read the headline... (1)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090434)

And I said to myself, well, s%&*.

and this why ... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090144)

I run GNU/Linux on a custom box. 2GB of ram works fine for me as a workstation [frankly 1GB would be fine but I do a lot of large builds].

Fortunately, I didn't have to upgrade my box to choose Gentoo :-)

Re:and this why ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090344)

Eh, too busy flaming Vista to flame gentoo too.

Re:and this why ... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090428)

Fine you don't like Gentoo. You can *choose* Ubuntu, Debian, Knoppix, Suse, Fedora, etc, then there are the BSDs, etc. oooh I just love choice.

All these choices involve not shelling money to some evil monopolist who seeks to take the power from the users and lower the freedoms of all.

4GB? 64bit here we come! Lets just hope *nix wins (1)

MrFlannel (762587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090158)

http://catb.org/~esr/writings/world-domination/wor ld-domination-201.html [catb.org]

So, here we go into the 64bit market.

Anyone have details on Microsofts 64bit offerings? I've never kept up on it.

Re:4GB? 64bit here we come! Lets just hope *nix wi (5, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090298)

They have great 64 bit offerings. You just have to purchase 32 licenses for their 2 bit offerings to get there.

No justifcation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090162)

I don't care what anyone says, whether it's Microsoft, Apple, or the Linux community, there is absolutely no reason for an operating system in 2007 to require/suggest four (4) gigs of RAM. I fail to understand why software developers don't cut code bloat instead of just writing like everyone's system is a supercomputer.

Will it still swap out apps when I have free RAM? (1)

DoctorPhil (875161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090168)

Windows XP wants a gig of RAM only because it will start swapping out the OS and any applications you're running interactively when you have less than about 600M of RAM free.

So this may just mean that Vista will start swapping your applications out to disk when you have less than 3G of RAM free.

(I'd put a smiley after that, but it's not really a joke when it might be true. :P )

More Ram means more caching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090176)

More testicles means more iron.

Seriously, what does more ram have to do with caching? Or are you talking about VM??

VISTA (1)

sjipca (913723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090180)

I thought VISTA was supposed to make our lives easier not harder. Why do we have to buy so much RAM just to get our OS working. Some do not even need 4 GIG unless they have so many high powered programs it's ridiculous. BUT before buying Vista Consumers need to really think what am I really getting for the price and new features.

Please clarify... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090220)

Is this with: 1) The off the CD software only? 2) With MS only software 3) Regular computer usage? Peace

completely not true (3, Interesting)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090226)

On 512MB Vista runs perfectly fine, having automatically turned off the UI bells and whistles and throttled back some of its services. In my experience 1GB is the sweet spot, which is how much I have on my Dev box.

Increased bloat + static OS expectations = (3, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090244)

What does Vista do that's really NEW and WANTED in an operating system? Not much. More eye candy? That's worth $300? The customer will decide, but I'll say this:

This much bloat simply isn't necessary. Caching is one thing, but the RAM requirements of Vista simply for code space are massive compared to XP for roughly the same functionality. That's a center that cannot hold.

What we expect from an OS is pretty well-known and well-defined now. This means the innovation will slow and there will be increasing reluctance to upgrade simply for the sake of upgrading, especially when the upgrade is a worse performer than the software being upgraded!

This is fertile ground for optimization.

An example:

Compare the executable size and memory utilisation of uTorrent and Azureus. Azureus represents the old guard of BT clients, you might say. A large, bloated code base in Java, implementing features that you wouldn't think would require that much code. And boy it's a dog, and crawls on any sub-1.5Ghz laptop. Enter uTorrent. I would say Azureus is the Vista to uTorrent's microLinux. For the uninitiated, in terms of program size (exe + libs) and memory utilization, we're talking about 170kB/4MB to 7.6MB/16.3MB, respectively. uTorrent was able to bring just about all the features present in Azureus and compact it into a 170kB .exe. And lo, the damn thing is snappy even on my old P233/64MB laptop.

I think this will be the end of Microsoft. The API expected for a Windows box is known. It's publicized. The time is ripe for a competitor to come in and reimplement it, using less RAM and resources while conforming to the same standards, and for a fraction of the price. If this were to happen, and if the software companies were to realize they didn't have to sit beholden to *Microsoft's* "Windows" anymore, then we'd really see some fur fly in the marketplace.

Re:Increased bloat + static OS expectations = (1)

ukatoton (999756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090456)

Am I to assume you have not heard of ReactOS, a project to essentially build an open source clone on Windows NT?

And WINE?

G#n4a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090276)

to plac3 a pap3r

Vista just makes good use of.. (4, Informative)

Rdickinson (160810) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090286)

Vista remembers what you run, and when. it loads all this into ram before your going to need it.

The sweet spot for memory will be vista requirements(512mb or so) + space for whatever apps you usualy concurrently run, IE/FF, photoshop, iTunes, whatever, it'll dump those into system ram before you even click their icons, reduce real world loading times significantly.

Despite the MS jokes, an OS that leaves ram unused isnt doing its job properly, it can always free memory , quickly, if needed.

Re:Vista just makes good use of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090438)

Despite the MS jokes, an OS that leaves ram unused isnt doing its job properly, it can always free memory, quickly, if needed.

Sure. All the OS has to do is cause an uncaught exception on a random open application! You can always just kill the window that has the dissertation you've forgotten to save for 8 hours!

Hasn't this been a feature of Word for a dozen years now?

May I have your attention please (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090302)

Note to *nix users: You want to run *nix? Then shut up and pay for driver/app development.

Note to Mac users: You want to run OS X? Then shut up and pay for the pretty hardware.

Note to Windows users: You want to run Vista? Then shut up and buy the extra memory.

Not going to happen for most laptop users... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090310)

Laptops have 2 memory slots, 2GB sticks run over $500 each from crucial, and it's still quite rare for any laptop to support more than 3GB RAM.

4 Gigs of RAM, Oh My! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090336)

I truly get a kick out of watching all you /., or *$, or whatever you call yourselves, spin completely out of control over one article. For all your moaning, did anyone actually read what it said? An IBM Consultant was running a beta and suggested users run Vista with 4 GB.

512 min, 4GB suggested. That's a hell of a mark up. Those of you with gray matter between your ears will pull the panties out of your bums and settle on a healthy 1-2 GB of RAM. If you're not running 1-2 GB of RAM but you're posting on /., or *&, or whatever the hell this is, then you have identity issues.

Windows Vista Capable according to Dell (5, Insightful)

tritone (189506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090342)

From Dell's website [dell.com] A Windows Capable PC has 512 MB RAM and is "Great for... Booting the Operating System, without running applications or games.

2 GB for XP?! (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090352)

The guy who says that 4 GB is "optimum" for Vista also says that 2 GB is optimum for XP. I don't know where he gets that, because all of my XP machines run just fine on 512 MB RAM. By using that logic, 1 GB should be just fine for Vista (which is what I've seen).

Re:2 GB for XP?! (1)

myz24 (256948) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090416)

As always, it depends on what you do. I've never been able to use just 512MB and my systems have always had 1GB. After SP2 and Adobe's CS2, I had to bump the ram on my work PC to 1.5GB. Since I never run CS2 at home, I left it 1GB. I would guess that, if you were happy with 512MB on XP that 1-1.25GB on Vista is going to work ok for you.

Diminishing returns (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090364)

Well, Vista will probably do even better with more RAM, but people with 32bit versions will probably see some diminishing returns above 4GB.

Seriously, though, what is the maximum addressable memory on 32bit Vista? I think it was something like 3GB in Beta 2.

Re:Diminishing returns (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090410)

Seriously, though, what is the maximum addressable memory on 32bit Vista? I think it was something like 3GB in Beta 2.
Isn't that per-process? In other words, surely the OS can use more than 3GB, but individual programs (processes really) cannot?

I doubt it (1)

graphicsguy (710710) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090374)

Given the article comment that 2 GB is the "sweet spot" for XP, I don't put much stock in the suggestion that 4 GB is the sweet spot for Vista. I've never run into any serious memory problems running XP on a 1 GB machine, for example.

Services in vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090394)

There are at least thirty different memory-hog services you can turn off [slashdot.org] in order to reduce vista's memory footprint.

Or, you could just turn off aero...

Mac OS System 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090402)

... runs just fine in 1mb of RAM, on my 4mb system. Why do I need to upgrade to 4000mb again?

And I thought I was running a bloatware OS compared to a C=64...

software and hardware backscratching (1, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090408)

That is the best reason yet to dump Micro$oft.

The cycle looks something like this: Dell makes money when they sell new hardware. Microsoft makes money when they sell new OS and software. The reality is, most people don't need either - they just want systems to surf the web, do email, buy clothes and watch porn. Dell can't force you to upgrade that 3 year-old computer, unless the software runs slllooooooowwwwwww. So, Dell LIKES Microsoft products. Microsoft writes software that needs nice shiny new hardware to run well, with and insane amount of RAM just for the OS. Ironically, the worse the efficiency of the Microsoft software, the more money they BOTH make. Intel is not out of the game either - they make money for new chips sold too - but mostly they are just along for the ride because their product has not become commodity yet like PC memory.

I freed myself from the MS empire when my laptop was stolen and I switched to a Mac laptop in Nov 2005. Now everything is either OSX or Linux, and I havent missed it at all. I still use Word and Excel on Mac - but EVERYTHING else is now gone from my computer life from Microsoft and I like it that way.

I read freshmeat for the first time this morning in like 6 months. I was very happy to see many many packages at post-1.0 realease numbers. Not that it means anything quantitative, but encouraging nevertheless.

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