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The Pit BLOG

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Free Software Rules (11/07)
The Gateway Blues (09/07)
Summer Fire Season (07/07)
Planned Obsolescence (02/07)
Sony Busted Again (01/07)
1 Video = 100 blogs (12/06)
Playing with Fire III (11/06)
Playing with Fire II (10/06)
Playing with Fire (10/06)
Vista: XP Replacement? (09/06)
The Need for Speed (08/06)
G-Boomers (07/06)
Vista - RAM Guzzler (06/06)
The Outlook for Outlook (05/06)
Fixing Windows Security (04/06)
Vista's Dilemma (03/06)
The Wild Wild West (01/06)

The Pit BLOG

June 2006

Vista - RAM Guzzler

In 1985, I remember fondly opening the box to my first PC. It had 768K of memory, a 6 Mhz processor, and a 10 MB hard drive. It was a state of the art, technological marvel. I wrote my master's thesis in a program called EZ Writer, and I planned my life and balanced my books in Lotus 123. It did everything I wanted it and more. I never thought it was slow, except when I saved to the 5.25 inch floppy.

Today, over 20 years later, I am writing this article on my new Winbook portable. It has 512MB of memory, a 1.6 Ghz CPU, and an 80 GB hard drive. I still pretty much do the same things - word processing, email, spreadsheets, and the occasional PowerPoint presentation. The funny thing is that my computer is not noticeably faster than my first PC, and in some ways it seems a little pokey.

So what's the deal? I have 200 times the processor, 600 times as much memory, and 8000 times the hard drive space. Is it unreasonable to think that we should be getting our work done faster? And if not, why the heck not?

Of course, I am over simplifying. My PC today can do things that I could never have imagined 20 years ago. From manipulating digital photos, to wireless networking; it is a vastly more powerful device. But all other things being equal, I still feel short changed in all of these advances in hardware technology. It's like there's a black hole that eats up hard drive space, free memory and cpu cycles.

If I were to give the black hole a name, I would name it Microsoft. Even more frightening is that there is a Super Nova on the horizon called Vista. In one swoop, it will eat up all the disk space, free memory, and cpu cycles in our PC's.

Over 70% of PC's tested at Pitstop in April do not meet Vista's recommended specs. Learn more in our research section.

Last week, Microsoft announced their recommended specifications for Vista PC's, and frankly I was floored. A Vista PC should have a DVD-ROM, 1 GB of memory, a 1 GHZ CPU, and a 40GB hard drive with 15GB of available space. Of the PC's that tested at PC Pitstop in April, over 70% do not meet Vista's bloated specification. Worse yet, over 80% of portables and 80% of business PC's do not meet the spec. Note: our analysis does not include Vista's video memory requirement of 256MB. So our statistics are best case.

Is your system ready for Microsoft Vista? Find out in our all new Vista Readiness Test.

Why in the world does Vista make such strenuous demands on the hardware? There is one simple answer - Eye Candy. Before the introduction of XP, one was hard pressed to tell if someone was running Windows ME, Windows 98, or Windows 2000. Though the internals were different, the user experience was the same. This all changed with XP. Microsoft created a whole new look and feel for XP, with new rounded corners and visual effects.

Microsoft hopes to continue this tradition with Vista. Vista will change the way that Windows are displayed on our screens. In particular, Vista will incorporate smooth transitional effects when we change from one window to another. Despite the wow factor, this approach is extremely memory intensive. Worse yet, is what happens when Vista runs out of memory. The computer will start thrashing.

Let's suppose Vista has enough memory to open five windows, and you open a sixth one. Since your memory is full, the computer will start thrashing. (Your system is thrashing if your hard drive light is illuminated for extended periods of time.) Windows will attempt to move things that it thinks it does not need out of memory in order to make room for the new window. If you have not experienced this problem, it is not pretty. Depending on the size of your windows, you could leave the room, take a shower, and it might still have not changed windows.

What's Microsoft's solution to this mess since so many systems might simultaneously start thrashing? Vista has a special feature that allows you to expand memory using a thumb drive - those little flash hard drives that plug into a USB port. I have a better solution. Don't upgrade to Vista.

Do you have two monitors connected to your computer? Are you running at 1280 or higher resolution? Or do you like to have 50 windows open at the same time? These problems just get worse for you guys.

Certainly, there aren't a lot of people that will upgrade to Vista just for eye candy. Not much I am afraid. Most of the really useful features like improved security and intuitive search have already been pulled. Unbelievable as it sounds, Microsoft plans to include a calendar in Vista. Now that's worth upgrading to 1GB of memory!

I bought Microsoft stock in 1997 when I was still at Gateway at $10. I have ridden it up and I've ridden it down. I don't like to sell my stocks, but in this case, I have to make an exception. Vista is a pig that doesn't deliver the pork.

Enough Said,

Rob

Join the Discussion
badbinary: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Sun, 11 Feb 2007 16:32:29 GMT)


deja vu
Chris_UK333: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Fri, 09 Feb 2007 18:44:13 GMT)
QUOTE(aaronlewis89 @ 2:06pm Thu Feb 8 2007) [snapback]1325400[/snapback]




I don't think many people will get Vista for a while...Most people will have it in years to come since the specs requried are rediculous...An operating system doesn't need to take up so many resources
aaronlewis89: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Thu, 08 Feb 2007 20:06:11 GMT)
duanester: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Tue, 06 Feb 2007 02:17:27 GMT)
good point aaron, two gigs on xp will do far more than 2 gigs on vista

you need all that ram to run there DRM
aaronlewis89: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 20:19:02 GMT)
Yes but you can understand a game eh? 2 gigs.......ok when you are playing on it.........you cant do naff all else.......I wana have PS, ImageReady and all sorts of other goodies on with Vista behind............but no I cant...........


Plus when I'm playing a game with 2 gigs...........do I want Vista to be gobbling up my precious RAM............no I dont think so
Bruce: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 18:47:32 GMT)
BTW Clickme, I am not the first person to make the comparison, perhaps if you actually read the thread rather then just stabbing at people.
Bruce: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 18:43:44 GMT)
QUOTE(cL1cKm3.exe @ 10:44am Mon Feb 5 2007) [snapback]1323712[/snapback]



not sure why this thread is singling out vista for its hardware requirements...games and many applications also have higher requriements as new products emerge
many dells and hp's now come with 2 gigs of ddr2 standard


I was replying to this statement.

Because you use different software and applications then me does not make my or anyone else's opinions or comments any less valid.

Simple fact of the matter is there are many other operating systems and software applications that do need 2 gigs of ram to run decently.

Yes 20 fold is a pretty accurate number.

It is singling out Vista because nothing else anywhere has the kind of requirements that Vista has.
cL1cKm3.exe: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 18:34:06 GMT)
QUOTE(Bruce @ 12:00pm Mon Feb 5 2007) [snapback]1323735[/snapback]

Of course new OS's require better hardware.

The difference is Vista has requirements that have increased 20 fold over it's predecessor, that is the first time any Operating system has increased requirements that much.

I have used numerous new operating systems that run on hardware XP would have a tough time with.

I was playing MAC OSX Tiger on a G4 400mhz with 128 ram this weekend, it ran great, I was amazed. They also had it installed on a 333mhz MAC, it also ran great. All the great 3D effects worked

Any recent Linux distribution will also run on similar hardware.

Vista.............not a chance in hell it would even come close to running on similar hardware


20 fold? lets exaggerate shall we, but once again bruce you have managed to turn another vista thread into a linux vs vista case. however does the "not a chance" include what hardware users have put vista and xp on over at the vlite & nlite forums?
Bruce: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 17:00:35 GMT)
Of course new OS's require better hardware.

The difference is Vista has requirements that have increased 20 fold over it's predecessor, that is the first time any Operating system has increased requirements that much.

I have used numerous new operating systems that run on hardware XP would have a tough time with.

I was playing MAC OSX Tiger on a G4 400mhz with 128 ram this weekend, it ran great, I was amazed. They also had it installed on a 333mhz MAC, it also ran great. All the great 3D effects worked

Any recent Linux distribution will also run on similar hardware.

Vista.............not a chance in hell it would even come close to running on similar hardware
cL1cKm3.exe: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 15:44:37 GMT)
using readyboost for usb flash ram will help and its cheap, staples has a 1gb vista ready for $15 on sale

not sure why this thread is singling out vista for its hardware requirements...games and many applications also have higher requriements as new products emerge
many dells and hp's now come with 2 gigs of ddr2 standard

on my core2duo/2gig/2gig usb readyboosted rig i cant tell the difference, its faster than xp, games run the same if not better as far as i can notice without benchmarking which i shouldve done before i switched just so i know exactly.

i cant think of any past software throughout my 21 years of computer usage that something very new didnt require more power...otherwise we all might as well still be using tandy 5000's, now the smart@55 part of me just wants to sum up all that with the word "duh" lol
jimfet: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 05 Feb 2007 15:22:06 GMT)
The bad thing is, I'm gonna have to buy copies of basic and premium, just to work on the new PC's that come out. I was looking at Sunday's best buy flyer. All the PC's they had for sale where about split down the middle as far as each operating system. Plus I'm ganna have to have a hot line to MS, when I do a repair that requies an install. Kinda got used to that. I noticed the last 6 months of XP I had to call MS on over half the installs I did for repairs. To bad PC makers don't include OS disc with their PC's anymore. This is going to be a hassel
theoldgardener: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Tue, 02 Jan 2007 18:04:28 GMT)
The advent of cheaper dvd burners has prompted the larger ram demands by older computers -- they burn dvd's at a good pace with a nice ram addition.

duanester: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Tue, 02 Jan 2007 18:01:37 GMT)
older systems will surely increased help in u2u, from now maby a few years in the feature u2u will get hammered with hardware related issues!

im already starting to see pc's not booting due to upgrades or failing memory and psu's.

there are also alot of questions about upgrades for older pc's, like memory and video cards, havnt seen anyone looking for a pci-e card yet
Cowboy3000: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Tue, 02 Jan 2007 03:32:48 GMT)
I would say that the majority of the people who use the pit test don't even know about the forums. It's used more as a diagnostic tool for work PCs than it's used for home PCs.
shogan191: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Tue, 02 Jan 2007 01:15:47 GMT)
I think it's a pretty good cross section of people testing here. Some of the more recent games really shine with more ram. I've moved up to 2 gigs. It's not because of benching, or microsoft it's because the programs and applications are requiring it. Most benchmarks don't benefit from more ram, just better ram.
As far as Microsoft getting away with it I'd have to say that it's their game and ball so what the heck. If I want to play with sticks and horseapples I can do that anytime I want. If I want to play baseball I gotta buy the equipment.

One thing that I think is of interest is that I see people with 3 to 4 year old machines wanting to add more memory to their machines. Somehow it's trickeled down to them to ask for more memory and not a new operating system or machine. Wonder where that's coming from.
tito: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Mon, 01 Jan 2007 12:28:37 GMT)
The pit gets tests from mainly Windows XP, a non-flexible OS. People have already been forced into RAM upgrades and Microsoft will get away with it again.
duanester: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Sun, 31 Dec 2006 23:32:33 GMT)
i will be fair and say 512, only because the pit gets that info from peeps who test here for performance reasons, that has to be only a fraction of computers used
duanester: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Sun, 31 Dec 2006 21:13:40 GMT)
i would say the average is about 256, alot are upgrading to 512, lets face it, these pc's had 98 or mellenium on them, the current state of the economy wont allow them to get a new computer and they will be forced to upgrade there current pc's to the max as it will be alot cheaper than buying a new computer, but older model pc's will hold a up to a gig, it will surely be slower overall system performance compared to today's models !

a dual core setup with atleast a gig of ram for vista will be sufficient enough to get the best performance, just my opinion.

onboard graphics, well umm, thats going to blow big time
Cowboy3000: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Sun, 31 Dec 2006 18:31:18 GMT)
Yeah, other than people I know who are gamers. Everyone else has less. The reason is they buy the cheap $300 packages from Wal-Mart or Sams or Costco. Those things have just enough to barely work.
duanester: Vista - RAM Guzzler (Sun, 31 Dec 2006 04:35:33 GMT)
QUOTE(Cacogen @ 1:19pm Sat Dec 30 2006) [snapback]1307952[/snapback]

Who doesn't have 1 gb of RAM these days?

well lets see, half the people i know

you dont really think alot of peeps have a gig of ram, do ya
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