Bigger is better?
Now that we know
that PC133 CAS 2 SDRAM is the fastest solution out there, (especially if you have a fast processor) we've now got to determine just how much memory to get.
As you probably know by now, each software application you open eats up memory. The amount of memory taken varies depending on the program, and varies even more depending on how thoroughly the program is used -- opening a large spreadsheet in Excel is much more memory-intensive than opening a text document in Notepad. What happens when you run out of system memory? Your system grinds to a halt as it waits for the data it needs to load from the hard drive.
Ideally, you could store all your applications in system memory. Your system would never touch the hard drive when loading an application or fetching an important piece of data. Of course, we all know this isn't feasible. The amount of money it would require would put most of us in an extreme amount of debt! But you get the picture, the more system memory you have, the better your system "feels", at least if you tend to leave lots of applications running in the background.
Did you know?
For instance, when publishing a review, the staff here at FiringSquad runs through a wide variety of applications. For publishing the pretty graphs you see in each guides article, we use a combination of Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop. (And boy can it be a hassle some times!)
As we add images to the review, we've got to input the filename for that image into Allaire Homesite. Of course, we've always got to double-check our work. That means we've got to leave Internet Explorer open to make sure everything worked properly. This doesn't include the other programs we may have running in the background: Outlook, Microsoft Word, ICQ, Winamp, Flashpath (for the digital camera), the list goes on and on.
Today, the typical desktop PC comes with 128MB of SDRAM. Fortunately, only the cost-conscious budget PC's ship with anything less. But what kind of performance benefit would you get by upping your RAM to 256MB? That's what we're here today to find out.