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Old 02-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #1
makeyourself
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Do I really need 8GB RAM?


I'm going to be building a PC for Linux pretty soon and I was wondering what people's views are on whether more than 4GB of RAM is really necessarily on a Linux desktop.

I'll be using the PC for general tasks mostly (web browsing, Open Office, music, videos, DVDs, etc) with the occasional use of more resource intensive programs such as compilers, Virtual Box, very rarely some basic video editing.

Right now for instance, running KDE with several Chromium tabs open, a document viewer and a terminal emulator, I'm using just 503MB of RAM. Unless I was running a video editor, virtual box, image editor and compiling a program all at the same time (which I obviously won't be), am I likely to see much benefit from 8GB of RAM?

By the way, just so you have some more of an idea the system I'm building will have an i5-3570k (3.4+ GHz quad-core) CPU with integrated HD 4000 graphics and Asus P8Z77-V (Intel Z77 chipset) mobo.

Last edited by makeyourself; 02-16-2013 at 09:01 PM.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 06:53 PM   #2
EDDY1
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If the graphics card is amd hd4000 the graphics support is dropped so only legacy drivers. You need above hd5000 & above for supported drivers. 8-Gigs sounds good to me 4 will run decent though.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
TobiSGD
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The video chip is the Intel HD4000, not the AMD HD4000 (which also still has support through legacy drivers).

But anyways, only you can decide if it is worth to go for 8GB of RAM. It definitely helps if you want to run more than one VM at the same time, or compile larger software projects (compiling Firefox with "only" 4GB of RAM can be quite cumbersome). You can also speed up the system with mounting temporary directories into RAM. For basic usage (surfing the net, office work, watching videos, ...) you won't need 8GB of RAM, your system will run fine with 4GB.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
EDDY1
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You're right TobSGD just googled specs on it.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #5
makeyourself
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Originally Posted by EDDY1 View Post
If the graphics card is amd hd4000 the graphics support is dropped so only legacy drivers. You need above hd5000 & above for supported drivers. 8-Gigs sounds good to me 4 will run decent though.
Thanks for the speedy reply! No its the Intel HD Graphics 4000, the CPU that it's integrated into only came out in 2012 I think. It does work under Linux, although I've seen the odd bug report for the distro I use (Debian) that it might only work on 3.4+ kernels.

So you would say its realistic to fill 4GB of RAM under normal circumstances then? I suppose it helps to have some free RAM for disk-buffers.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:11 PM   #6
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Personally I have 16GB of RAM as my plan was/is to use a lot of virtual machines under VirtualBox. I'd say with 4GB you'll likely be OK but if you want to run more than one VM with a modern desktop OS you may well end up using swap. 8GB ought to be OK for the near future and leave you with room to get more RAM should yo feel the need.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:14 PM   #7
EDDY1
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4-Gigs is ok, depends on the load you're going to put on it.
What type of system are you using now, how much ram, how much of a load do you put on it. Maybe that will help.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:20 PM   #8
EDDY1
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I myself only use 8 of the 10 gigs of ram I have & run & test different OS'es in VM's.
About Asus I like them for their warranty on the Mobo, it's 3yrs. & they don't have a problem doing an RMA.
I just did an RMA on my mobo & hopefully they upgrade it. Also the new mobo's are 32Gig.

Last edited by EDDY1; 02-16-2013 at 07:21 PM.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:23 PM   #9
makeyourself
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Originally Posted by EDDY1 View Post
4-Gigs is ok, depends on the load you're going to put on it.
What type of system are you using now, how much ram, how much of a load do you put on it. Maybe that will help.
At the moment I have a single-core Pentium 4 running at 2.8GHz, integrated i915 graphics and a mere 1GB of RAM. Suffice to say, it runs pretty slow for Linux with more than a couple of general purpose applications / couple of browser tabs open. To my recollection, it takes about 3 hours to compile the Linux kernel. I've stated my general usage habits and current RAM usage above.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:38 PM   #10
John VV
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I currently have 8 gig , but am planning to upping it to 32 Gig
But i do a lot of work with some very large imaging data sets


it depends on what you want to do
and what you might be doing in two years
8 gig is not all that expensive so...
 
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:40 PM   #11
EDDY1
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It takes more time to do makemenuconfig than the approx 10 mins for the actual kernel compile.
The machine I'm on now my acer aspire 3620 2Gigs ram i915 is slow also. I run 1 VM & everything slows down even more & maxes out cpu & overheats.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:49 PM   #12
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Buy it with 4, try it. If later you think you need it then buy more.

Use linux tools to decide on how much or any in use.

Not sure this use is considered general use. " it takes about 3 hours to compile the Linux kernel. " It has taken me days on old systems way back when.

Last edited by jefro; 02-16-2013 at 07:50 PM.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 07:58 PM   #13
273
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Ah, I forgot, in some setups the RAM speed goes down when you use more RAM slots so it's probably worth buying one decent-sized module if you're after some raw performance at times.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 09:00 PM   #14
makeyourself
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Ah, I forgot, in some setups the RAM speed goes down when you use more RAM slots so it's probably worth buying one decent-sized module if you're after some raw performance at times.
Did you mean because of the strain on the memory controller? Apparently any consequent performance drop is only very slight.

Thank you for the views, going to have a look at exactly what's available at what prices before making a final decision.
 
Old 02-16-2013, 09:11 PM   #15
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makeyourself View Post
Did you mean because of the strain on the memory controller? Apparently any consequent performance drop is only very slight.
No, I did mean that the RAM speed goes down. The performance drop is probably low but, at least for my AMD CPU setup, the RAM speed clocks down for every module you add. It may not apply to Intel boards at all.
 
  


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