How much RAM should be enough for comfortable work of an up-to-date platform? Most today’s systems are equipped with 512MB or 1GB of RAM. This amount of memory has been quite sufficient recently for work in most contemporary applications. However, the memory makers and retailers started pushing forward the idea that today’s systems need as much as 2GB of SDRAM. Is it really so? Some people believe it makes sense, some don’t, but it is us who will be digging out the truth. Since there appear more and more 2GB memory kits in the market, we decided to carry out our own investigation that would show us whether contemporary computer systems will really require over 1GB of system memory.
We are going to run our tests using an AMD Athlon 64 platform. Firstly, these systems are more widely spread among computer enthusiasts, and secondly, the 1GB DDR SDRAM modules seem to be the most interesting ones from the user prospective these days. The thing is that they are very much different from the 512MB modules in their characteristics. It can be explained by the fact that they are based on principally different microchips.
By the way, 1GB memory modules used to be pretty rare and cost quite a bit of money until recently. However, the situation has changed lately, as the memory chips needed for 1GB memory modules production became wider available. As a result, there appeared some pretty fast overclocker’s DDR SDRAM modules with 1GB capacity in the market. Unfortunately, they cannot boast the same characteristics as 512MB solutions most popular among computer enthusiasts. Of course, you can equip your system with 2GB of memory by installing 4 x512MB modules. However, this solution will always work slower than a system equipped with a pair of 1GB memory DIMMs (this is primarily true for Athlon 64 systems, but also works for Pentium 4 based platforms in many cases). Moreover, a solution like that would be less economical. Anyway, all these statements need to be proven by practical tests, so let’s pass straight to the tests then.