Articles: Memory

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I am talking about the latest new-generation games. Although the tests measuring the fps rate in a pre-recorded demo-scene do not reveal any vital need for a lot of memory, the real situation is completely different. During real gameplay the textures get uploaded from the hard drive as needed. As a result, if there is more RAM in the system, the system will request new chunks of texture data from the HDD much rarer. Such contemporary games as Quake 4, Battlefield 2 or F.E.A.R. launched with high image quality do not feel at home if they only have 1GB of system memory at their disposal. The game sends data requests to the hard disk drive one after another in complex scenes, thus causing unpleasant delays that spoil the gaming dynamics and simply prevent you from aiming correctly.

To illustrate what has been just said, we recorded a log file of momentary fps rates in Point of Entry level (Interval 08 – Desolation) run on systems with different amount of RAM installed. The graphics quality settings were at their maximum with only one single exception: we disabled soft shadows.

The system with only 1GB of RAM demonstrated disappointing delays, especially in the very beginning of the game level, when the action takes place in an open space.

The upgrade of our system memory to 2GB changed the situation dramatically: most delays were eliminated, and even in the very beginning of the game all movements were comfortably smooth.

Note that the performance of a system with 1GB of RAM dropped below 20fps in 8% of all cases. The system with 2GB of system memory fell below the 20fps in only 1% of all cases. And in fact, this 1% is almost solely formed by auto-saving option enabled for preset checkpoints, where this discreteness doesn’t irritate at all. In other words, it is really hard to enjoy playing F.E.A.R. with the highest image quality settings if your system has only 1GB of RAM.

The similar picture can be observed in other newest game titles that we have already listed above. So, if you are a happy owner of an expensive high-performance latest-generation graphics card, go for a memory upgrade: 1GB will be not enough for your appetite. This is exactly the user group (plus some professionals) that really needs 2GB RAM kits.

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