Originally Posted by sonicwind
What about music and photoshop needs 2g of memory? Or is it that you just have a lot of programs open at once? Just curious. Music and images don't really have files that big, as opposed to video editing or running virtual machines.
1. Photoshop and other photo/image editing softwares will require large amounts of ram to edit. Especially if you are a professional. e.g. I use a program - Nikon Capture (to convert and edit RAW image files), the minimum recommended RAM is 768mb and recommended is 1GB. Have you ever tried using a program and running with the minimum? Go figure.
BTW, when I run Nikon Capture with 512mb, 1GB and 2GB, all increments made noticeable difference, running a single image at a time, not including other tasks in the background and not including running batch processes.
2. If you do not run such programs, 2GB will not be necessary at the moment, but my point of view is that to purchase a state of the art machine and running it with 512mb is pushing it and getting slower performance, with constant effort to close programs while not requiring them for the moment. With more RAM (1GHz for now), you do not have to bother about them, continuing with what's on hand, going back to the other programs when you need them without waiting for them to start-up again when you need them.
3. It can be understood why dual channel in the current crop of Sonoma's will not enhance speed by much. For the desktops, 2 x 400 MHz rams runs in dual channel to yield 800 MHz FSB. For the Sonoma's, the ram is already running at 533 MHz, thus only an estimated 5% of difference. Decide whether 5% of difference will matter to you, but bear in mind that a processor upgrade from one step to another yields a max of 6.5% of difference. e.g. upgrade from 740 1.73 GHz to 750 1.86 GHz. A smart memory decision is akin to upgrading your processor by one step.
4. If you intend to run with low amounts of RAM, at least go for a 7200rpm HDD, to help improve Windows swap file performance and upgrade the RAM when need arises.
5. The difference between CAS ratings of RAM makes a difference for non-RAM intensive programs, e.g. games. A system with 512MB CAS 2 ram will be faster than a similar system with 1024mb CAS 3 ram running most games and programs, where the memory requirements at any point is much smaller than 512mb at any one time, which is the case for most programs now. Run a search for CAS related performance issues, I'm sure relevant articles are available somewhere.
Summary: As I am speaking for people who are buying a high-end computing solution - It is advisable to get 2 identical sticks of memory to ensure Dual Channel operation. 1 GHz is minimal if you play games and look for some form of future-proofing. 2 GHz will certainly help if you run image/photo editing software and other memory intensive software. Performance will be boosted by purchasing the lowest CAS-rated ram within your budget.
The rest is up to you...