Does Windows 8.1 take advantage of all available RAM? Seeking Expert opinions!

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by MonarchX, May 27, 2014.

  1. MonarchX

    MonarchX MDL Expert

    May 5, 2007
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    #1 MonarchX, May 27, 2014
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
    No games actually needs even as much as 8GB of RAM, but some MS OS "experts" say that Windows 8.1 x64 takes advantage of ALL available RAM, regardless of whether a specific application uses that much or not. I have an entry high-end x64 PC (3770K @ 4.6Ghz, GTX 780 Ti, 256GB SATA III SSD, 16GB Dual-Channel RAM @ 2200Mhz (10-11-11-27 1T), Win8.1 Pro x64 + Update 1) and it is well-optimized with the latest BIOS version, BIOS settings, BIOS Option ROMs/Firmwares for Intel RST, MEI, NIC, iGP, and ASMedia USB3.0 / SATA, latest drivers, software, and OS updates, but with no heavy background apps, no bloated driver apps from Intel, Creative, ASUS, or nVidia, and no 3rd party processes/services. The few small apps I run in the background take up less than 150MB of RAM combined and 1-2% of CPU cycles at the most, but most of the time - 0%.

    I personally tested several games' load times with 8GB of RAM (Dual Channel - 2 sticks) and 16GB of RAM (Dual Channel - 4 sticks) @ exactly the same clock speed, timings & command rate, using the same drivers for all the PC components, etc. in an attempt to have controlled/maintained conditions. Pagefile was enabled, located on the system SSD drive, and set to be managed by the OS. 16GB of RAM did improve overall games' load and reload times, making the start/save/load/reload/restart cycle experience snappier, even though some of the tested games were supposedly using only 3-4GB of RAM if you were to believe my Task Manager. There was only a slight FPS improvement, mostly in minimum framerate and framerate immediately following loading. Load times improved by 1-3 seconds, but it was consistent improvement and rare game stutters were also reduced in frequency and duration time.

    If you were to trust my test results, then Windows 8.1 does take advantage of all available RAM, regardless of what Task Manager reports for any specific game RAM allocation and OS RAM allocation. However, I am not an "expert" and I could believe that my upgrade and my load time improvements were just some wishful placebos, supported by badly controlled load time tests, given some concrete evidence that Windows 8.1 does NOT use up all the RAM the PC has if the application does not ask for that much, which can be seen in the Task Manager. In that case, I would return 8GB of RAM and get my $100 back to spend it on something else! Otherwise, I'd keep it to get that snappier and smoother game experience if its not a placebo after all...

    EDIT: The explanation I heard earlier is that with less RAM (8GB), Windows has to constantly flush data out of RAM to load new data and that flushing out takes to perform. With more RAM (16GB), it doesn't have to flush it all out to load something new, preventing that data-flushing delay, which is what helps with the whole start/save/load/reload cycle. Could someone comment on that, please? It would utter BS, but that is what I read... somewhere... at some point... I think... maybe.., but definitely... I think...
     
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  2. endbase

    endbase MDL Guru

    Aug 12, 2012
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    I would say in my opinion that it would depent on not the amount of ram except if you would cross your barrier and the systems is going to use the page file that would be slower. but realy the speed of your RAM does make the different and if i see it correctly you allready have fast RAM @ the moment.

    But i must say less is more sometimes but for youre placebo effect more is better i also have 16 GB of Ram and I standard use only 35 % of it but it is just my feeling that 8 Gb is not enough with my habbits to let everything open :p

    Greetz Base
     
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  3. MonarchX

    MonarchX MDL Expert

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    The explanation I heard earlier is that with 8GB of RAM, Windows has to constantly flush data out of RAM to load new data. With 16GB of RAM, it doesn't have to flush it all out to load something new, which is what helps with the whole load/reload or start/restart snappiness.
     
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  4. Salad

    Salad MDL Novice

    Jul 22, 2008
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    Windows just gives your games the amount of RAM that they need. The remaining available RAM is used to cache other programs, that's how it takes advantage of the available RAM.

    You can hover your mouse on each legend in the Memory tab in Resource Monitor to see the description.
    hxxp://puu.sh/93JPA.png
     
  5. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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    Any Apps just takes as much RAM as it needs from the available (if available) for to work properly. As more memory you have, as more apps you could open without to lose performance, called Multitasking. If your memory is used totally, the system starts using the available Virtual Memory and also start's to slow down because of the lower speed of that Virtual Memory, which is mainly just simple HDD Space!

    For to prevent the "early" use of Virtual Memory, which will be happens all times automatically by the Windows Memory Manager, you have to disable the Pagefile and the Hyberfil file.

    A way around would be the use of an fast SSD Drive assigned as Pagefile because it's much faster than an mechanical HDD while it's using NAND Memory! Expensive but useful for who need that speed, and have enough money for to spend for it too!!
     
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  6. murphy78

    murphy78 MDL DISM Enthusiast

    Nov 18, 2012
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    The cache is a little weird. It will keep file information in memory, but only up to like 2gb of each file.
    So unless you're playing a game that has each file under 2gb, you won't notice the full benefit.
    I wonder if there's actually a way to tweak it to use an unlimited file size, or at least like 8gb max per file...
     
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  7. MonarchX

    MonarchX MDL Expert

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    #8 MonarchX, Jun 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
    (OP)
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