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  • ciukacz - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    current pc games rarely use over 1gb (the game process itself) so on my rig with 4gb ram i have plenty to spare. what could an average home user do with their machine to need 16gb ? Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    It's not whether or not a user actually needs it, it's whether or not the THINK they need it. There are a shameful number of retail "gaming" desktops that are currently being sold with 12 and 16 GBs of memory. The average consumer thinks "more is better" and can better rationalize the cost difference. That's also one of the barriers keeping people from SSDs; why should they spend so much money on a drive that offers so little storage. They don't know how much it can actually do for them. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I agree. Consumers get hung up on numbers: hard drive capacity, RAM capacity, CPU clock, VRAM capacity.

    It's difficult to explain how those "numbers" work so they know when enough is enough.
  • TrantaLocked - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link

    Lol, remember when laptops used to be sold with 256MB of RAM when Windows XP was out? The people that paid money to upgrade to 1GB benefited GREATLY over the next 5 years and on. The people who went with the "normal" amount are now screwed, while those with 1GB still are able to at least surf the web and watch videos. You never know when a new boom comes around that will outdate the standard 4GB RAM in a matter of months. Reply
  • jonup - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Story of my life! You can believe how often I get "We need to get more ram, my computer is running slow!" at work.
    My answer: "No dumb shit, I have never seen you utilized more than 30% of you RAM. I told you to get an SSD when we were getting the laptops/desktops but you insisted on "at least 4GB of RAM with 64-bit Windows and 500GB hard drive. And stop being jealous of my 3-year old laptop, I am not trading it with you and did I mentioned, you insisted on 500GB!
  • jdietz - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    They should switch everyone to 60GB SSDs. At my work you're supposed to be storing all your work on the network anyway; it's not like you need that much local storage. Reply
  • GullLars - Thursday, June 02, 2011 - link

    Substitute "dumb shit" with something a bit nicer, and it's about the same as i've told countless people. People are still jealous of the performance of my soon to be 4 year old laptop with a 2GHz C2D, 2GB DDR2 800, and 30GB Vertex (1), and they got something like an i7-820QM, 8GB DDR3 1333, and a 500GB 7200RPM HDD. For anything except heavy duty number crunching/editing and gaming, my laptop humiliates theirs. I never use my laptop for that stuff anyways. Reply
  • XZerg - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Oh I can see the need for 16GB of memory and beyond if you know how best to utilize it. I already have 8GB of memory and I feel that is not enough. Few ideas to utilize your memory better to speed up your system:

    1) Ramdisk
    2) No Pagefile
    3) Allocate more memory for Virtual OSes that you may be running (for instance I use my personal computer with a virtual OS for Work, another for testing software, ...) The virtual Os allows me not to disturb any of my other environments (OSes).
  • clarkn0va - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Of course I'm not going to try to tell you that you don't need X amount of memory, but my home desktop has no page file, makes extensive use of ramdisks, and is usually logged into by my wife and me simultaneously. All this on 4GB.

    I think you and the OP both make good points though, that a) most people don't need as much RAM as they think, and b) most people could probably get better leverage from their RAM if they knew a little more about it.

    Certainly there are some uses that justify or necessitate more memory. Virtual machines, as you mentioned, are a big one. Then there are all kinds of server/multiuser roles, such as databases or terminal servers, where it's all just a question of scale.
  • Drag0nFire - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I've found it's pretty easy to use up >4GB of RAM. I call it a slow march of software laziness.

    For example, one frequent configuration that used to max out my memory:
    Win 7 takes about 1GB with all the normal background processes
    Firefox 4 (or Chrome) takes about 1GB with a bunch of tabs open
    StarCraft 2 takes about 2GB.

    I got a big boost by switching to 8GB, even though just a year ago I was laughing with the rest of you at all those idiot consumers. And even when I'm not playing SC2, I find Win 7 is smart enough (or stupid enough, depending on your perspective) to keep most of the available RAM busy.

    Your average consumer may not use 4GB for email and browsing, but with modern software it's not as hard as it used to be...
  • dananski - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    It's always sad when people throw money at something they don't understand. But that said, those of us who do understand can usually find a use for insane amounts of RAM. And the more available it is the more developers will take advantage of it in new games and other applications. Reply
  • keitaro - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    average? Whoever is going to run the Sandy Bridge E platform is not going to be average by any means. What is someone going to do with 16GB of RAM? Let's see...

    Run Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Opera at the same time, Trillian/Digsby/Pidgin, Xfire, Steam, mIRC/Xchat, uTorrent, Winamp/iTunes/Foobar, various desktop applets like time, weather, system info, and so forth.

    And if we want to go farther, we could add in Illustrator + Photoshop into the mix, along with maybe Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, or Paint.NET.
  • djgandy - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    16GB to run some browsers, IM clients and some music? This is your definition of a non average user? That sounds pretty average to me, well within the capabilities of any laptop on the market in the past couple of years.

    Even with Photoshop thrown in unless you are some major image pro 16GB is a lot of memory.
  • Klinky1984 - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Firefox w/ 20 - 30 tabs open & opera + chrome for debugging w/ their JS debuggers running or HTML inspection tools open could probably take 1 - 2GB easily. Throw in Photoshop which will gobble up RAM like no ones business. I really didn't think Photoshop was that big a deal, but once you start importing & manipulating a bunch of 7 - 10 megapixel images on a regular basis you start to see just how much RAM it really needs.

    You could probably also throw in a virtual machine running a Linux distro on it. Then maybe MS Visual Studios as well...

    Any RAM you don't use Windows will put towards disk cache anyways...
  • undermined - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    once you start running multiple screens you can really max out 4GB pretty easy just by running a few web browsers with multiple tabs and/or flash content so if you also game at the same time you can have more ram for a game and multi-task without limiting the performance.

    Otherwise if you only use 1 monitor and are just running 1 game full screen then yes gaming wont really push over 4GB but the upside of bigger ram kits becoming the norm is the price for them will come down also so even if you have 8GB-16GB or more it isn't like it hurts your performance either so personally I'm seriously considering 16GB for my next build just so if I want to run VM's or video/ photo work concurrently I wont realistically have a ram bottleneck and at current prices aren't bad at all.
  • B3an - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I've got 24GB on my current i7 980X setup. It's still not enough. Video editing software like Adobe After Effects really loves RAM. To make use of all 12 processor threads with this software i'd need atleast 32GB. The work i do in Photoshop also uses up to about 12GB (21MP+ res images with hundreds on layers).

    As for games i'd expect a dramatic jump in RAM usage when the next Xbox/PS4 comes out, possibly next year.
  • ciukacz - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    sure, no problem, i can easily think of many scenarios that would eat any amount of ram. virtualisation, sql server (i could do development on my home setup) obviously come to mind (sql server will happily eat any amount of ram you throw at it).

    but it looks to me like your usage scenarios lean towards professional side.
    i guess you are right about next-gen consoles.
  • B3an - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Yep my computer is more a workstation. I admit that the average user definitely wont need 16GB for anything, especially 24GB like i have. But then SNB-E is certainly not for an average user, like with 1366 boards.

    Although the more RAM you have the more Windows 7/Vista will use. I only have Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash open now, with Chrome, and it's using almost 8GB. If i had half the RAM it would be using around 5GB for this. Also when i boot up and nothing is open it uses way more RAM than on a 4GB system for instance. So the OS makes use of this extra RAM even if you're not doing much, which makes it snappier.
  • - Friday, August 12, 2011 - link

    You're absolutely right, Win 7 will take--and use--as much as it can. And since RAM is so inexpensive now, having 8-12GB has become the new norm for desktops. This also helps to future-proof your system.

    Who was it who said that 640K was as much as we'd ever need? Just imagine--1GB? Impossible!
  • seapeople - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    But with that kind of a set up, you obviously also have a SSD doing 400+ MB/s sequential transfer speed. Is it even possible to notice the split-second delay your computer experiences paging one of your uber images to disk when you open up your 30th image?

    But yeah, I suppose you're out of luck with the video editing thing.
  • AdamK47 - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Have you stopped playing PC games in 06? Reply
  • ciukacz - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    no, i am currently playing witcher 2 which has rather high requirements Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    i think the implication was that most games are written at the level of the current generation of consoles and then spiced-up with after-effects for the PC versions.

    so when the next generation of consoles comes out, we can expect higher resource usage in the PC versions as well.
  • eamon - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I cross-compile some stuff using mingw; and there's a limitation in make on windows which means that you either fully parallelize all compilations or do it in serial. Since each compilation process can easily eat 100-400MB, this gets out of hand quite quickly, and when it does, you can kiss the machine goodbye: everything grinds to a halt. Pressing numlock takes minutes, and starting something like the task manager is hopeless even after several hours.

    A little more usual perhaps would be zipping: 7-zip eats tons of ram, and compresses better the more you have.

    I'm thinking 4GB for an average user, however, is probably OK. I'd still recommend 8 since it's not that much more expensive and it's so terribly annoying when you run out, but 16 really sounds like overkill. For an average user - I can't wait to get more :-).
  • mathew7 - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I actually had such a problem under linux with 2GB RAM while compiling the kernel. I found out that a "fair-usage" IO scheduling algorithm (which I believe windows uses) can be the culprit. This was my router (which has power to do even more). During the compiling I noticed my web browsing just stopped (timeout for every connection). Then ssh-ing in to the router took more than 1 minute and I saw HDD led was lit (not just blinking).
    Under linux the CFQ scheduler would monitor process IO usage give priority to tasks which have low usage. But, the gcc executions of make would mean new priority processes. So it would prioritize the whole make process (thousands of gcc executions) and even the IP routing was brought down (because of swap space probably). It took me 30 mins to stop the build process.

    In short: a "fair-usage" scheduling algorithm is killed by hundreds/thousands of short processes.
  • jonup - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    While I agree with you the 4GB would be sufficient for the average user, most of the time, think of the abilities you have with 16+GB of RAM. You cannot utilize a ramdisk if you only have 2,4, or even 6GB of excess ram. But if you have a system with 16GB you can probably run your OS on a 10-12GB ramdisk. Or even better on a 32GB you can run your OS and a few most oftenly used apps on a 24-26GB ramdisk and the rest of your apps off an SSD. With Ramdisk you get several fold the performance of the OCZ Z-drive performance. With SNB-E quad-channel controller you might be hitting 10+GB/s. Reply
  • neotiger - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Ummm, the "average home user" doesn't need Sandy Bridge, period. He also doesn't play computer games other than maybe Farmville or Cityville. He *definitely* doesn't need a discreet GPU.

    My guess is that very soon the average home user will mostly be using $199 tablets with ARM or Atom cpu and 2G RAM.

    But then again, anandtech has never been geared towards the average home users.
  • NordicRuneProject - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    You've no idea of what you're talking about, right?

    A "normal" 32-bit application under a 32-bit OS can already allocate up to 2 GB's of RAM. 64 bit apps (under a 64-bit OS) can allocate tons more. And if you think modern games "rarely use over 1 gb" is that your concept of a "modern game" involves Pac-Man.
  • ciukacz - Thursday, June 02, 2011 - link

    yes, i am perfectly aware of those limits.
    maybe you were playing pacman 4d on a ps2 emulator and you just didn't notice ?
  • albatrozz - Sunday, June 05, 2011 - link

    Since most consumers don't upgrade every 6 months as many of us might, consumers shouldn't buy computers for what they need today, but for what they'll need down the road. A PC with 16GB is overkill for most users today, but it won't be forever. And in fact, buying PCs with anemic amounts of RAM is one of the biggest problems with consumers today -- they'll spend $500 for a five year old C2D with 2GB of RAM and end up needing a new PC in a year (well, actually, right away in most cases, but they don't notice immediately because their shiny new PC is SO much faster than their old Athlon was).

    In any event, any power user can easily exceed 8GB of RAM usage, especially (as mentioned elsewhere) people running VMs, but even those doing significant multitasking. And at a mere $130 for 16GB, it's not exactly a huge waste of money if they don't need all that RAM either. Bigger isn't *always* better, but when price is roughly equal, then yes, you might as well go with more capacity.
  • earthrace57 - Monday, June 27, 2011 - link

    1. My laptop has 2 GB of runs Opera/Chrome (depends how I'm feeling that day :3) on 5-15 tabs...Skype...iTunes....Maplestory/Minecraft....I know Minecraft and Maplestory aren't the most demanding games, but usually I'm close to the max (maybe around 95% with Minecraft and 90% with Maplestory) but my computer still handles it well...Actuallly its usually the CPU usage that kills me because it truly is a low end computer (Celeron 450 @ 2.2 GHz)...but then again when I got it I didn't know much about computers....and I didn't realize that the Pentium was dual core (oopseys)...but now I know a lot more and I realize my mistake :3
    2. I think 8 GB is futureproofing quite enough for the average user...or a softcore gamer...actually 4 is enough for average user 8 for softcore-medium gamer...12 around the hardcore gamer/photoshop......16 into the futureproofing for photoshop/video editing.....24 into Hardcore video editing (around high-end youtube quality FYI).....32 is really for those who do insane video editing or futureproofing for those video editors
    3. That is my view :3
  • cactusdog - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I was thinking a 4x2GB would be standard kit for sandy bridge-e setup but for less than $10 a gig what the heck.

    But then again a 4x2GB kit might only cost $70, pretty wasnt that long ago that 4 Gigs of ddr2 cost $500.
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    That was my thought as well. 16GB of ram is likely not going to be a standard setup. But having 4 X 2GB would offer increased bandwidth (if needed) while keeping the wasted RAM to a minimum. Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    "but Patriot expects a 16GB SNB-E memory kit to sell for around $130"

    Split that up and it's 65 USD for an 8-set. Sounds like they're expecting prices to drop even further.
  • Golgatha - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I wonder if the new motherboards will have 4 or 8 slots for RAM. I would personally just like to buy another dual channel kit to add to my 12GB of RAM for 16GB total. On occasion I need more than 8GB, so if the boards only come with 4 slots for RAM, then I will be getting a 16GB kit and selling off my old 2GB sticks. Reply
  • red_dog007 - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Jeez guys. Do you guys even use your computer?
    Just with Chrome, FF and a few folders and maybe a small program open like WinRar type size I easily use 4GB of memory, which is all I have atm sadly.

    I could easily use 16GB which is going in my next system. Shoot, I could use up 24GB pretty easily if I had that space. Now 32GB would currently be out of my range, but in the next 2 years or so, I can see myself easily using 32GB.
  • B3an - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I was going to get Sandy Bridge E as a upgrade from my 1366 system, but the more i learn about it, the more pathetic it looks.

    No USB 3.
    No PCI-E 3.0.
    No Thunderbolt.
    Only 4 pathetic RAM slots (down from 6 on 1366 boards).
    Released WAY too late.

    Hardly a "high end" solution any more. And with Ivy Bridge coming just months after with USB3, ThunderBolt, and PCI-E 3.0 i dont see any point in SNB-E. Intel have completely killed the high-end.
    If this came out months ago and lead the way for Sandy Bridge as with previous high-end platforms it would have been great.
    If theres atleast SOME boards with 8 RAM slots i may look at it but otherwise i dont see any point in this platform at all. I've no idea what to upgrade to next as i need the fastest system available for my work, but SNB-E is an embarrassment to the words "high-end".
  • mtoma - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I think you're right, altough it is too soon to have a final saying on Sandy Bridge-E. We can only speculate on this, because Intel is so criptic about this future high-end platform.
    Besides possible lack of RAM-banks, I don't like the SNB-E manufacturing process (32 nm), wich will be almost 2 years old. Why not delay the product launch until spring of 2012, and use state of the art 22 nm manufacturing process? And of course the other goodies: USB 3.0. Thunderbolt, PCI-E 3.0? It's not like we ask Intel (God forbid!) to keep the same socket layout from one generation to another (like AMD does with flying colors).
    To me it seems that some twisted arrangement exists with AMD, to share the consumer market: Intel makes all the cool stuff, but periodically, they fuck up on something on purpose, while AMD makes cheap, good enough chips and behave themselves, they don't keep back technology.
  • neotiger - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    >Only 4 pathetic RAM slots (down from 6 on 1366 boards).

    WAIT!!! WHAT???

    Is that true, only 4 RAM slots??!!

    I had assumed that with quad-channel comes 8 slots.

    So with the new generation of mother board I could "upgrade" from 24G RAM to 16G RAM???!!!

    This is just pathetic!! And I was looking forward to 32G RAM...
  • naeonline - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    It supports up to 32GB of RAM but there are no consumer non-ecc Modules that are 8GB each to give you the 32GB total. Frustrating as ever!! Reply
  • neotiger - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    When I said 32G RAM, I was referring to my assumption that quad-channel RAM would mean 8 RAM slots. That would mean a total of 32GB (8 x 4GB) using just the current 4GB DIMMs.

    But if it's really true that all the new motherboards only support 4 slots, then the max memory will only be 16G (4 x 4GB).

    Right now I have 24GB because the motherboard supports 6 slots (6 x 4GB). In that case "upgrading" would mean going from the current 24GB to 16GB.

    This is just total BS.

    Can anyone confirm that the new motherboard really will not support 8 slots??
  • Rippleyaliens007 - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I see posts, on why one needs 16 gb, of ram, yet you have 4gb yourself. It is called this marvelous thing called GROWTH!!!!
    I remember 2mb being ALOT, and yes that is 2mb.. not GB..
    If you cant use it, then deal with it, but putting consumers in your shoes makes 0 sense.
    My main machine has 32 GB of RAM, 8 Cores, 2x SSD's and guess what.. ITS NOT ENOUGH FOR ME.
    My last server project i put in, had 2x 12 CORE Procs in it, 256GB of RAM. 4x of those servers, and guess what.. Customer needs 2 more. AS it is getting much more lean.

    No one considers getting the software, until they have the hardware. Now we have apps that can fully utilize multi GB of ram, this trend trickles down to the consumer. ITS not about gaming all the time, but being able to actually do some work, lol
  • Gonemad - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I have 12GB and spared myself a ramdisk of 6GB just to test out new software. Smaller ones go all the way installed there, while larger ones demand some trickery to work (hardlinks or something)... but anyways, I love the idea of having a "spare" drive to run volatile stuff.

    If the system gets borked in any way, shape or form (virus, whatever) just pull the plug and the whole thing evaporates in the thin air. If the new software is worth installing, then it gets properly installed on a HDD.

    Plus I love having 4GB/s on a drive, not involving extra cost for a SSD, or RAID controllers and loads and loads of conventional HDDs. It is pretty comical to run a disk defragmenter on a ramdisk, since you can't see it working, it finishes in the blink of an eye.

    If I could spare myself a whole 24GB of RAM some other games would be stored there. And I don't give a damn about boot time, because if you choose to do so, these things can be preloaded during boot taking sweet 2 minutes to do it. But, using suspension instead of shutdown saves you all the hassle, even in a desktop.

    Oh yes, not everybody can see reason to have 6+ gigs of RAM, but those who know better...
  • jecs - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    This happens because sometime ago (a few years) everybody benefited from more memory and CPU power, and these capacities grabbed so much attention that it became a rule: more ram = better faster performance. And this is true today and very fortunate for power users, but yes it is coming to an end where most people are even starting to migrate to less powerful systems like tablets.

    And, as the megapixel race, and as the bigger monitors or tvs with more contrast and colors and speed, and dynamic contrast ratio, the memory may start to slow down as a big feature in the next months or years.

    Who needs a 16-32 or more megapixel consumer camera? Scattered aficionados.
    Who needs a 105' 2600-1600px trillion colors, 1000000:1 contrast, >240 refresh rate? (I want one, don't need it and can't afford)
    Who needs 178-178 viewing angles? Everybody!
    Who needs 5+ ghz 16 cores CPUs (I do)
    Who needs 32+ memory (I do)
    Higher internet speed? We all want it, many people need it
    SSDs? Evrybody.
    Less power consumption? Everybody
    More battery life? Everybody

    Just some features I can think off right now.
  • Ikefu - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I could use 16Gb+ no problem. My home computer is both a work machine and my gaming rig.

    For work I use multiple Virtual Machines running simultaneously to simulate computers/equipment talking to each other on large industrial networks. Each VM uses 1Gb minimum of Ram so I can run out of space in a hurry. I have 8Gb right now and really wish I had 16Gb so I could add more VMs or bump up my existing ones to 2Gb each

    For personal use, 8Gb has always been plenty though. But I really want to see how much using 4 memory channels speeds things up versus using only 2.
  • venomblade - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    lol no matter what I do i've never gone over 4gb, or even close to it, 16gb? No thx. Reply
  • GullLars - Thursday, June 02, 2011 - link

    The price pr GB of this just made me want a new generation RAM-drive...
    A full size dual slot PCIe x16 Gen2 with 8 DIMMs, BBU, and a SATA port to dump contents to an SSD (or HDD if u're an irrational cheap guy). 4x8 = 32GB, which is enough for OS and core apps, and then just stick with the SSD RAID for the rest of apps and games.
    The price pr GB of DDR3 is now lower than what it was for SLC when i bought my first 2 32GB SSDs.
  • salmanshah - Friday, June 03, 2011 - link

    You need more than 22GB RAM to compress files with 7zip! Reply
  • s1ugh34d - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    I upgraded to 4GB last november, I will not upgrade to more till at least 2012. I used 1.5GB of ram for 5 years, never needed more, just the fastest ram for AM3 was 4GB sets.

    I do know people that need 8GB for digital djing, and some people need more for really hefty virtualization, but the average gamer never needs more than 3GB. even crysis doesn't take that kind of memory, even when windows is hogging up all the resources in the background.
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  • KokoBill011 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    ..if I`m only in position to buy myself, not 16GB but 64GB of RAM I would do it right now...why not...???? Tell me ...why NOT, if I have a large wallet...... (which I don`y)...!!! Reply

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