Originally Posted by jhughy2010
Anyhow, I would think that quantity will always enhance a users experience. Comparing 1600mhz to 2400mhz might not enhance the experience at all though.
That's true to a point but you see drastically diminishing returns after a certain point.
The idea that "more ram is good" implies that you can keep improving forever. It's more accurate to say "not enough ram is bad" once you have "enough" adding more than that will only see a marginal increase in performance. (plus it can slow down things like waking up from hibernation)
The analogy I used to use when teaching was an office.
Your desktop is your RAM (working space for document and applications)
Your filing cabinet is your hard drive (storage for documents and applications that aren't active)
And you are the CPU. (you're the one manipulating everything)
The main problem you run into with regards to quantity of RAM is having to rely on virtual memory (aka the page file) too much.
If you can remember back in school when they had those little tiny desks with the chair attached. They sucked because they just didn't have enough room. You couldn't have a textbook open and a notebook to take notes at the same time. You were constantly shuffling things around in order to work. It's a very inefficient process. When your PC runs out of physical memory it starts using virtual memory. Virtual memory should
just be for services that need to be loaded, but aren't actually used much. They get thrown in virtual memory to free up room for more pressing things. If you don't have enough physical memory (the small grade school desk) then your computer starts moving things you are actually working on, into virtual memory. Since virtual memory resides on the hard drive (the file cabinet in our analogy) and the hard drive is several orders of magnitude slower than ram, it makes getting anything done, rather difficult. That's why your computer is slow when you don't have enough ram.
If your desk is big enough to handle everything you are working on at once, then making the desk bigger doesn't really do much good. On the computer there are some incremental benefits as Windows will allocate unused ram for hard drive caching, but even that has a limit. If you stick a TB of ram in your computer windows isn't just going to cache your entire hard drive. So at a certain point adding more ram becomes moot.
From what I've seen most typical HTPC applications don't need a great deal of RAM. 8GB is usually enough for most things. The biggest memory hog I can think of is WMC Extender sessions. Those can chew up a decent chunk of memory and if you have several connected at once, 8GB might not be enough.