How much RAM?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Kpfeifle, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Kpfeifle

    Kpfeifle Mu-43 Regular

    Hi all,
    My main photo processing machine is a year old laptop running windows 7 (64 bit) and having a slow i3 processor with 4G of RAM. I'm using Lightroom 5 and DxO to process RAW files as well as some plugins. Well I realize this is not an optimal's what I have. How much would things be improved or speeded up by increasing the RAM? I could either add another 4G to the second slot, or replace the current 4 with an 8 and later on update to 16. Does having that much RAM really make a huge difference to these programs? Thanks!

  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Short answer: yes. More processing speed and an SSD will make a bigger difference in feeling faster, but particularly if you're editing RAWs and going to larger files (TIFFs in LR or PS), more RAM = always a good thing.
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    8 is minimum, 16 is preferred.
  4. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    umm you should open the memory graph while you edit a photo and check. unless you have a lot of other things running theres an ok chance you might be fine, as long as your not into swap and there ram still free, adding more ram won't do much.

    keep in mind these photos are only about 12 to 15mb depending on your camera...
    ssd will only affect the load and save times, depending on what processiong you're doing, the cpu might actually be the bottle neck.

    i can edit photos on my laptop, 4 or more at a time while running all sorts of other thing and only just barely hit 4gb.

    more ram does not make a computer faster, it only makes computers that are out of ram and swapping faster (ignoring disk cache), if you're not swapping, it'll do nothing usefull at all.
  5. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Has anyone actually done the test of running LR on a 32bit machine versus 64bit machine and used the same set of raw+present/process and done side by side bench test to demonstrate that LR is actually a true native 64 bit application? Even a dual boot system with the same hardware would reveal significant differences if the app has had any kind of optimization for 64 bit versus 32 bit architecture.

    Some folks have noted that they don't see LR bumping past 2.5GB of memory usage which implies there has not been much effort in optimizing for 64 bits. It doesn't really matter what your hardware is doing if the software is the bottleneck.
  6. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Depends are you even using the all the RAM you have? Bring up the task manager and hit the performance tab. It'll show you how much RAM you are using and how much you have left. Do what you do and post a snapshot of that tab and then we can make a call of whether more RAM will help you or not. If you aren't even using all the RAM you have now, adding more RAM won't help. You may be much better off putting that money into getting a SSD. Since the disk I/O could be your bottleneck.
  7. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Guest

    Agreed. Just bumped my Win 7 64 bit LT up to 8, and LR 4 is noticeably faster.
  8. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Read/write speed is the current bottleneck in all computers. When you run out of memory, most OS would write to the physical disk for random access (virtual memory, page file, scratch disk, different names but refers to the same process). So you can either upgrade to a faster disk (solid state) or get more memory so it doesn't write to disk as often.

    The effect should be the same in theory if solid state disks approach memory speed. It's not there but it's much faster than a platter based hard disk.

    Memory is cheaper.
  9. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I have an i7 with ssd and 4G ram running Win7 64bit, I upgraded to 8G and there was no difference in speed or feel.
    Looking at the memory usage even with only 4G installed I'm not using it all.
    It's a nippy and fast puter.

  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    The SSD was probably being used as a scratch disk when you at 4GB RAM. That's how ultra-books/MacBook Airs compensate.
  11. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    That's how all computers work. They use the storage as virtual memory. Unless that's turned off. Most people overestimate how much ram they use. I have 8GB and I do a lot of memory intensive things. I've never hit up against the 8GB. Right now I have about 10 browser windows up, a full development IDE and the biggy a virtual machine with 1GB dedicated to it. I'm hovering just under 4GB.
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, but the SSD's make the process faster, hence my reference to ultra-books and MBA's. If you upped your RAM to 16GB you will probably see your machine use more RAM.
  13. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Not all ultrabooks use SSDs. Many use HDs. The ultrabook spec specifies transfer rate, not type of drive.

    That's not how it works. If you don't need that much RAM, you won't use more RAM just because you have more. If you are using too much memory, then it will. The key is not to look at the amount of RAM being used but the total amount of memory, RAM + paged memory. On a Mac it gives the false illusion that it's using all the RAM you throw at it because the way it reports RAM usage. The only really used RAM is the wired and active RAM. The inactive RAM are pages it's keeping around just in case you might want to use it again, it's being used as cache. Effectively it is free RAM. So on a Mac you can go from 4GB to 8GB and it might appear to be using more RAM because you have it, if 4GB of that is inactive RAM it's not really. It's not reporting those pages as free just in case you ask for them again although they will be gobbled up instantly if something asks for memory.
  14. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Of course, some ultra-books have spinning disks. As a Mac user I look at pages in/pages out. My comments were general in nature. While I know that folks have 4GB and do just fine, I think that 8GB is the new minimum and 16GB is the sweet spot for using products like Adobe PS and some other CC/CS products. Upgrading RAM has no negatives. YMMV.
  15. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Tuan Huynh
    Ram is cheap, spend the $110 for a 2x8GB kit and toss in an SSD or add an mSATA SSD and accelerate your optical drive. What kind of laptop is it?
  16. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Yeap. An SSD upgrade will make your computer faster, If you can afford to upgrade both the RAM and SSD then it would be better.
  17. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    RAM will help, but you are running an i3 CPU. How much do you want to invest in a system with this processor?

  18. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    If you can up the RAM cheaply then add another 4. But the biggest change would come from and SSD. if the machine only has room for one drive the go at least 240-256gb.
  19. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    I think one of the best upgrades I have made in recent memory (both on my laptop and my desktop) was swapping in and SSD. Phenomenal difference.
  20. pod

    pod Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 4, 2012
    One thing I did recently was to disable my Q35 Intel on-board graphics for a Adobe compliant GPU PCIe graphics card .. (my system is old). This made an improvement on my system, seems to render faster generally .. worth checking if your imaging software products use hardware rendering engines not software to decrease the load on the CPU & memory ?

    Photoshop CS6 GPU FAQ
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