Memory is the first thing to go…

The GERD has been very busy lately, you know, playing with gadgets. Lest you think otherwise, the GERD not only buys gadgets for himself. Why, it’s a wide smile indeed that spreads itself across this old tired GERD’s face (and across his multiple chins) when he can share a gadget with a loved one!

Recently my oldest daughter (you know the soon to be famous comic book artist and all around most talented Animation artist to ever grace the hallowed halls of SCAD), was home for the holidays. She was still using the same Sony laptop we bought her when she was in High School (and never complained about it!). That Duel Core Pentium piece of loveliness, combined with her Cintiq graphics tablet had stood up well to the rigors of our daughter’s feverish artistic triumphs over the years. However, it made the GERD a little sick to his stomach looking at his darling Daughter use that piece of antiquated hardware and, having just obtained a refurbished Asus Core i7 laptop at a very reasonable price from a top-secret source (ok, it was from ubid.com), the old GERD felt it was time for my Artist to get an upgrade.

Not content with the new gadget as I found it, the GERD felt the need to “tweak” it just a bit, but what to do?? It already had a 500GB hard drive! Hmmm, how about blasting the RAM! Well why not? Since we were running the 64-bit version of Windows 7, I could remove that paltry 4GB of RAM and, with the help of Amazon.com and Kingston ValueRAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 (PC3-12800) Non-ECC CL11 SODIMM Notebook Memory (KVR16S11/8), pump up the volume to the tune of 16GB. Take that Leonardo da Vinci!
For those playing at home and still using a 32-Bit Operating System, you are stuck with at MOST a little under 4GB of usable RAM; not matter how much you have installed, you’ll only see that first <4GB. However, once you upgrade that OS to a 64-Bit version, you can go up to at least 8GB, perhaps 16GB, and, if you want to go crazy, you can go up to 192GB (it depends on what version of windows you are using).

Remember, few things can immediately improve a computer’s performance like additional RAM. My benchmarks have seen a 35-40 second improvement in boot and app launch times when going from 4GB to 8GB of RAM. Zoom to 16GB (OS permitting) and things speed up even more. There is a limit, of course, to this speed train. My recommendation is to stick with no more than 16GB for laptops and most desktops, unless you perform some very serious graphic intensive operations.