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whatsryancookin2002
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Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:12 am

My laptop has a single RAM slot that currently has 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

Performance has been laggy of late, especially when dealing with intensive applications like Photoshop (it's an i7 @ 2.8Ghz, GeForce 940MX card).

I figured one of the culprits is the HDD which I'm soon going to replace with an SSD.

But with the RAM, since I have just one slot, I'll have to ditch the current 8GB module and get a single 16GB module.

I know more RAM would help a lot, but would the performance benefits be worth the price? RAM is pretty expensive where I live currently. 16GB of RAM would cost over $150 (yup).
 
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:59 am

Do you know for certain that the lag you're seeing is due to insufficient RAM, and not CPU throttling or HDD access?

If the lag is due to occasionally hitting the swap file, the SSD alone may mitigate that to a large extent since the swap file will be faster.

That said, 8GB is a little cramped for modern OSes/applications, so if you have the budget for it yeah I'd say go for the 16GB. And you don't really want to be thrashing the swap file on your SSD, due to potential flash wear.
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jihadjoe
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:03 am

I assume you have like 16GB of RAM in total? 8GB soldered and 8GB in a single slot?

If all your RAM is from the single 8GB stick then your laptop is running in single channel mode and that's a horrible design decision by whichever company made it. Even on an i3-class machine the benefits of going from single channel to dual channel are palpable.
 
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:06 am

jihadjoe wrote:
I assume you have like 16GB of RAM in total? 8GB soldered and 8GB in a single slot?

If all your RAM is from the single 8GB stick then your laptop is running in single channel mode and that's a horrible design decision by whichever company made it. Even on an i3-class machine the benefits of going from single channel to dual channel are palpable.

I've seen a lot of laptops with single-channel configuration. It doesn't seem to be all that uncommon. Most consumers don't understand the difference between single- and dual-channel; all they see is the GB number. Systems are configured and marketed accordingly.

But yes, we need to confirm whether this is 8GB total, or 8GB SODIMM + 8GB on the motherboard. Going from 8GB (total) to 16GB would benefit in many cases; but going from 16GB to 24GB probably won't, unless he's manipulating really large images or running VMs (i.e. workload that needs a lot of RAM).
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Usacomp2k3
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:43 am

I like cpu-z which gives very detailed information amount RAM sticks.
 
mikewinddale
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:14 pm

When your system starts getting laggy, take a look at your Task Manager and see what your resource utilization is. HWiNFO64 is good for this purpose too.

See what your CPU, RAM, HDD, and GPU utilization are. If your RAM utilization is only at 50% - for example - than that's not the problem. Upgrading your RAM to 16 GB won't help if you're only using 50% of 8 GB (for example).

In Task Manager, you'll the values at the instantaneous point in time (i.e. right now), but you'll also see a graph over time. The graph is possibly more important, because what matters is which resource your system has been consistently using for several minutes. A spike in CPU utilization to 99% for a second doesn't matter, but being consistently at 99% CPU utilization for 5 minutes straight is something else.

I'm also attaching a screenshot of HWiNFO64 with some of the important values circled. Notice the fact that it keeps track of minimum, maximum, and average values too, not just current. So click the clock at the bottom of the screen to reset those values, and then start running the program(s) that make your computer laggy. Run those programs for a few minutes, and then see what the min, max, and average values are.

Note that in my version of HWiNFO64, I've customized the layout, so your screen will look different. But all the same values and options should be there, just in different places.

Image

Image
 
Topinio
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:54 pm

mikewinddale wrote:
HWiNFO64 is good for this purpose too.

How? How have I not known about this for apparently nearly 20 years?

Thanks for posting about it, it looks awesome!
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ronch
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:05 am

If you're only experiencing lagginess lately and your workload hasn't changed and you're still using an HDD then it seems to me that your machine needs a good cleanup/defragging/clean OS and applications reinstall. And if you can ascertain that you're only running your RAM in single channel mode, going dual channel will practically double your RAM bandwidth. Going for an SSD will greatly improve performance too, and I'd do a clean OS reinstall too if I decide to buy a new SSD, unless I just did a clean install, in which case you might want to clone the HDD system drive to the new SSD instead. Personally I prefer to do a manual clean install.
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whatsryancookin2002
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:40 am

jihadjoe wrote:
I assume you have like 16GB of RAM in total? 8GB soldered and 8GB in a single slot?

If all your RAM is from the single 8GB stick then your laptop is running in single channel mode and that's a horrible design decision by whichever company made it. Even on an i3-class machine the benefits of going from single channel to dual channel are palpable.


Unfortunately it is a single 8GB stick, i.e. single channel. There is nothing soldered on. As 'Just Brew It' said, like a lot of consumers, I saw just the GB number and not the single/dual channel aspect.

So replacing the RAM for me would mean removing the 8GB stick, adding a 16GB stick in its place. Still single channel, I guess?
 
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:48 am

Yeah, for dual-channel you need to install DIMMs in pairs.
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The Egg
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:40 am

With laptops, sometimes they'll hide another SO-DIMM slot in a less user-accessible location. If you're sure that it's an 8GB module and the system only has 8GB, it sounds like you weren't so lucky.
 
whatsryancookin2002
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:38 am

The Egg wrote:
With laptops, sometimes they'll hide another SO-DIMM slot in a less user-accessible location. If you're sure that it's an 8GB module and the system only has 8GB, it sounds like you weren't so lucky.

Yeah, that's exactly it. It was a Lenovo laptop that wasn't particularly cheap and had its keyboard give way after just over a year of use. I'm disappointed to say the least.

Thank you everyone for all the help. Much appreciated!
 
Aranarth
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Re: Performance benefits of upgrading RAM worth the price?

Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:33 am

The Egg wrote:
With laptops, sometimes they'll hide another SO-DIMM slot in a less user-accessible location. If you're sure that it's an 8GB module and the system only has 8GB, it sounds like you weren't so lucky.


Often you will find one slot under the door on the bottom of the machine and a second slot under the keyboard.

Punch in the model number into crucial memory upgrade tool and see what it says.
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