There's never been a better time to upgrade RAM
- 14 January, 2011 09:06
Slow PC? Cheap RAM could fix the problem...
In case you haven't noticed, memory prices have dropped through the floor. As such, I've been busily upgrading every computer I can get my hands on. For example, my 2009 MacBook Pro has been maxed-out to 8GB, which involved buying two 4GB SODIMM modules. The cost? Just $97. I dare say I could have got them even cheaper if I'd shopped around.
That's a huge amount of cutting-edge, DDR3 PC3-8500 RAM for a laughably tiny fee. This time last year an 8GB upgrade was little more than a pipe dream for anybody other than high-end users with extremely fat wallets.
Prices are set to fall even more as 2011 wears on, according to new research: which is great news for consumers, but bad news for manufacturers.
The problem is caused by a decline in PC shipments, along with oversupply from manufacturers. It's a perfect storm that favors end users, both in terms of upgrades and in purchases of new computers, which feature larger amounts of RAM. I wouldn't settle for anything less than 4GB in a new machine right now, but if you're buying a new computer, beware of older stock that might still feature a miserly 2GB.
Indeed, the situation has gotten so bad that performance manufacturer OCZ has decided to exit the RAM market completely, and reported significantly lower revenue from RAM in the third quarter of 2010 -- from $22 million in 2009 to just $6 million in 2010.
The benefits of more RAM
So is it time for a RAM upgrade? It's worth bearing in mind that, unless your computer is lacking in RAM, performance boosts will be modest. You'll just be able to run more programs at the same time, although you might find that some applications you've recently closed open almost instantly, because they're able to be cached in RAM.
If you're running Windows 7 or Vista with less than 2GB of RAM, then more RAM will certainly make things quicker, but if you already have 4GB then the rewards are likely to be smaller. However, upgrading could be seen as future proofing against upcoming operating system releases -- there hasn't yet been a release of Windows that's required less RAM than its predecessor.
On a 4GB system you're more likely to see more performance gains by upgrading to a faster hard disk, or even a solid state disk, if your budget can afford it (sadly the price rise only affects DRAM chips; flash memory, such as that used in SSDs, remains as expensive as ever.). Also worth investigating are the various hybrid hard disks that mix flash chips and traditional mechanical disks.
However, anybody who performs memory-intensive tasks such as video and photo editing or desktop virtualization is likely to enjoy the benefits of picking-in as much memory as the computer can take.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
- Oversupply Sends DRAM Prices to One-year Low - PCWorld
- Lower Prices to Hurt DRAM Vendors This Year - PCWorld
- Can We Blame the iPad Yet for Slowing PC Sales? - PCWorld
- How to Install an SSD in Your Laptop - PCWorld
- Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Review - PCWorld
- Virtualization: The Executive Summary - PCWorld Business Center
- downloading the System Scanner from Crucial
- How to Add RAM and Peripheral Cards to a PC - PCWorld
- Step-by-Step: 5 Laptop Upgrades You Can Do Yourself - PCWorld
- SIW download and reviews from SnapFiles
Why change management doesn’t work
Larry Page wants to see your medical records
Dual-Persona Smartphones Not a BYOD Panacea
After two-year hiatus, EFF accepts bitcoin donations again
CIOs struggle to deliver timely mobile business apps: survey
How the Cloud Changes the Game for Line of Business Managers in Midsize Companies
It can be argued that what distinguishes midsize businesses most from large and small companies is not size, but attitude. While attitude alone cannot mitigate the challenges faced by midsize businesses, technology can help. And no technology offers more promise than the cloud. This paper, explores midsize business challenges from the perspective, not of the IT department, but of the line of business managers they support. Read on.
In Control at Layer 2: A Tectonic Shift in Network Security
Network hacking and corporate espionage are on the rise and set to intensify. Information security risks remain commonplace, and most organisations need to increase vigilance. This paper has analyses the realistic threats to fibre optic Ethernet networks – both at the LAN and WAN level. Read now.
A Holistic Approach to your BYOD Challenge
More and more enterprises are seeing significant benefits from allowing employees to choose the device they use to get their jobs done, and are adopting bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. While the BYOD trend increases flexibility and productivity, it introduces a host of new challenges for your IT administrators. Click for more!