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Old 11-22-2017, 04:03 PM   #1
breadbin
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Upgrade ram in laptop, will it resolve disk access and general slowness?


Hi all. Really noob question that I'm sure I know the answer to but not definite. I have a Core i3 laptop with 4gb of ram. I use Linux Mint, the latest version. It runs perfectly and am really happy with it. I used to dual boot it with Windows but I since deleted that boot option because I can do everything I want now.

The thing is it runs perfect. That is until I run steam. I'm playing Terraria now and if I had Firefox open the slowdown is very noticeable especially going back to desktop. I know the 4gb is not big enough to fit steam + terraria + Firefox at the same time so it probably unloads something to disk. The question is though if I get another 4gb ram will that resolve? Like is that how Linux works? If I had enough ram it would keep them all there happy enough?
 
Old 11-22-2017, 06:13 PM   #2
syg00
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Yes.
As a 10,000 ft view, that is how it goes. Depends on what the actual issue is, but "ya can't have too much memory" ...
 
Old 11-22-2017, 07:11 PM   #3
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
Yes.
As a 10,000 ft view, that is how it goes. Depends on what the actual issue is, but "ya can't have too much memory" ...

Very true. It may not COMPLETELY solve your issue, but if you have the ability and money, throwing more ram at an issue never hurts it.
 
Old 11-22-2017, 11:17 PM   #4
AwesomeMachine
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I would say memory is probably your issue. You might want to look up your actual cpu and check what the max memory is that it will accept. Intel.com, or so.
 
Old 11-23-2017, 12:58 AM   #5
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadbin View Post
if I had Firefox open the slowdown is very noticeable
can't you close firefox completely before starting to play?

any web browser is a hog depending on the web pages.
even a fairly simple css animation like e.g. this brings the cpu up, and mem too if it's more than 1 tab...

i daresay, without FF terraria should be ok on 4GB.
 
Old 11-23-2017, 04:48 AM   #6
breadbin
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Yeah I do close Firefox before I start playing which is my current solution. I also use an old version of dreamweaver in wine which I have to close too. It would be handier for me not to 'have' to close everything before opening steam.

Like it's not the end of the world having to open and close apps but just thought it might be an idea to up the ram. I can get a 4gb for €40.
 
Old 11-23-2017, 09:45 AM   #7
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Maxing your physical memory out will definitely help. Running multiple programs in 4Gb of memory these days means that the programs are having to swap code in and out of physical memory in order to run. The chunks of "loaded-but-not-currently-running" code are swapped out to virtual memory, or the swap partition as it's known, (Yup! That's what it's for and why it has that name.) and swapped back as they're needed.

You get the picture?
RAM = physical memory (fast access), Disk swap partition = virtual memory. (slow access)

That's possibly why your system is slow, you've got a big system overhead involved in swapping code back and forwards between disk and physical memory. The term we knew it as was "disk thrashing" in the bad old days where you were limited on how much RAM could be fitted to a system. Nowadays 16Gb or more is fairly standard in a desktop system. Laptop? Not sure, 8Gb? you don't mention a make/model so I can't advise, but I reckon it'll be a far cry from the DEC PDP 11's 128Kb magnetic core memory and 5Mb RK05 disk cartridges I was brought up on! A whole lotta paging/swapping going on there!

Go on, max your RAM out!

Play Bonny!

 
Old 11-24-2017, 12:07 AM   #8
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadbin View Post
Yeah I do close Firefox before I start playing which is my current solution. I also use an old version of dreamweaver in wine which I have to close too. It would be handier for me not to 'have' to close everything before opening steam.

Like it's not the end of the world having to open and close apps but just thought it might be an idea to up the ram. I can get a 4gb for 40.
you are totally correct of course.
i just thought i'd point that out before you go spend the money.
 
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:30 AM   #9
!!!
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Lightbulb free? vmstat? <cmd>? switches? GUI for this? (top :doh:)

Hi breadbin! Back in 1990 (SunOS4.x), I used to use: vmstat
Now people use: free -lm (of course, see: man <cmd>)
Maybe you could post the output (or via termbin.com) of: free -lm
*when* your system is 'at its worst/slowest/most-loaded-down'.

Here's a page I liked (from DDGoo: linux how do I tell if i need more memory vmstat)
https://haydenjames.io/linux-server-...top-vmstat-sar (Idk how that got the 1st 2 pretty graphs)
(my Slimjet browser gets error ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH so I had to FireFox)

So, in summary, my thot is: there's cmds to check ram/swap status (but Idk Linux well)
Best wishes!!! (&I welcome other LQguru's technical input here!!!)

Last edited by !!!; 11-24-2017 at 12:31 AM.
 
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:08 AM   #10
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I would definitely recommend upgrading your ram to at least 8GB. I haven't really play many games that needed more than that to run decently. But, depending on exactly the issues you're facing, an ssd can make it feel like you've bought a new computer, given you have the ram to support the benefits the ssd can provide.

I would suggest running some programs measuring your cpu, ram, and disk i/o, while your are playing, and when you start noticing degradation in quality of game play, look at the system monitor output. If any one of these is maxed out, you'll see most benefit from upgrading that component.

In my personal experience:
1: ssd has a tremendous impact on load times while gaming. Other than that, it doesn't impact in game response time.

2: You also shouldn't need more than a quadcore i5 or equivalent to run even "heavy" games.

3: On the "heaviest" games I ever play, my system seems to benefit from ram the most.
 
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:15 PM   #11
breadbin
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Thanks for all the replies, I will output the memory usage after a bit. I'm watching a video on YouTube and 5 tabs open and I've 2.5gb physical free. 8gb of swap free so obviously it doesn't need to use it yet.

I'm sure there is a way to graph the memory usage or log it so I'll have to have a look at that.

I don't really want to game on this yoke really. The likes of Terraria and Minecraft maybe is fine. They both play well and I was pleasantly surprised. It was only a cheap laptop.

I have a pc for other games but for € 40 it might be a no brainer. I am considering an SSD too because it actually came up on crucial.com when I was looking for the ram. Well worth it. I put one in my pc and was blown away!
 
Old 11-24-2017, 03:22 PM   #12
!!!
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You might next look at cpu %usage, with: top
Then, there's something like: iotop etc for disk
Idk but found sibling link: https://haydenjames.io/linux-server-...g-application/
Learning this stuff is my version of gaming Best wishes!!!

Last edited by !!!; 11-24-2017 at 03:28 PM.
 
Old 11-24-2017, 03:48 PM   #13
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadbin View Post
...I am considering an SSD too because it actually came up on crucial.com when I was looking for the ram. Well worth it. I put one in my pc and was blown away!
Same here. My SSD was one of the best hardware investments I have ever made! They fly!!

When I originally built my PC, I only had 4GB of RAM, but I added another 4GB later on. I don't do a lot of gaming on it and it's a desktop rather than a laptop.

But never-the-less, I don't notice much if any difference as far as speed goes with the extra 4GB of RAM in it. I only really added another 4GB of RAM for virtual machines, not really for gaming. So while 4GB of RAM should be plenty for most (if not any) Linux distro, it doesn't hurt to add more as others have said.

I can confirm the real benefit of an SSD is loading times rather than making things run faster.
 
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:28 PM   #14
breadbin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by !!! View Post
You might next look at cpu %usage, with: top
Then, there's something like: iotop etc for disk
Idk but found sibling link: https://haydenjames.io/linux-server-...g-application/
Learning this stuff is my version of gaming Best wishes!!!
I like learning this stuff too never knew about the top command. I'm learning something new everyday!
 
Old 11-26-2017, 08:31 PM   #15
AwesomeMachine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadbin View Post
I can get a 4gb for 40.
Have you tried eBay? You should be able to get 4GB for 4 euros.
 
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