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4GB or 8GB RAM really make a difference?

jfadriqu

New Member
Now that the reviews of SP2 are in, it seems that the overall consensus is that the performance of the PC is great and it seems like most of the review units have been with the 64GB/4G RAM unit! I do not own a SP1 or have yet to preorder/order the SP2. I've played with one at BestBuy but its kind of pointless with no internet or apps to trial. I am currently stuck between the area of choosing 128/4 or 256/8.

Obviously better specs are a better investment, but the additional $300 (while not counting the covers) is alarming. Especially if next year's possible SP3 yields a better design and not just a refresh!

Some of my considerations have been:

Storage Workarounds
  • I've managed with laptops containing 160GB HDD and never had an issue (especially with cloud computing)
  • I'm also a heavy SkyDrive user so the 200GB bonus is tempting
  • I also live off high capacity SD cards and perform storage of movies/music/photos on my SSD terabyte drives
  • I plan to remove whatever extra space is taken up via the Recovery image and transfer to a USB (is this true for a SP or only for Surface RT?)

Hesitations
  • $1299 is EXPENSIVE for my tastes (and my fiancee will kill me)
  • I'm likely to upgrade tablet PCs every two/three years (but my last personal laptop was 2007! loaded with Vista and still running, albeit slowly, with Win8.1 Preview)
  • Maybe one more year of waiting won't be so bad (coming from someone who returned the Surface RT to wait for SP1, but did not invest due to Haswell expectations)
  • Company might be moving towards CYOD (choose your device), but likely to flash system with corporate Win 7 images.

Use case
I expect to use PCs primarily for Windows Store apps, Office, Spotify, Picasa, company software (specs are tolerable XP), Steam (Portal 2 / Fez; nothing crazy like Arkham), emulators (SNES, N64, DS), and Bluestacks (BTW, how is the latest version running on this?).

Based on your experience with SP1, have you wished it was an 8GB RAM device? Is 128 not enough if your use case is similar to mine? I appeciate your thoughts and comments!
 

souldier

Active Member
In terms of the ram, 8gb will not make any difference unless you have a lot of programs running at the same time and use programs that use a lot of resources. If I were you, I would get a RAM monitor to monitor how much ram you are currently using and see if you ever even hit anything close to 100%. Then you'll know if you can really utilize the extra ram
 

oion

Well-Known Member
A recommendation chart from Crucial: Memory upgrades from Crucial.com - How much memory do you need

Generally speaking, the best consumer advice is to buy into your use case. But keep in mind that higher spec devices do have better resale value and give growing space; my desktop is 8GB and I do more than you (Photoshop, more gaming, multitasking like a mofo), but it's easy to upgrade desktops in piecemeal, something you cannot do with a Surface. Practically speaking, price is probably more important for your situation. Souldier's advice about a RAM monitor for your current usage is good too.
 

Name Taken

Active Member
4GB is not enough for me. I have used 8GB just by running Google Chrome and will definitely need that much for multitasking with virtual machine. Money is not as a big of a concern for me as in I'm not dependent on it for food and shelter. I've learned there is always something greater next year and it's better to get what you want now as you only live a finite amount of years.
 
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oion

Well-Known Member
4GB is not enough for me. I have used 8GB just by running Google Chrome and will definitely need that much for multitasking with virtual machine. Money is not as a big of a concern for me as in I'm not dependent on it for food and shelter. I've learned there is always something greater next year and it's better to get what you want now as you only live a finite amount of years.
I'm curious, just what are you doing in Chrome that uses 8GB? I have over 20 tabs open in Opera at all times and it hasn't been restarted since 10/5 this month, and it only takes a bit over 500MB. :eek:
 

Name Taken

Active Member
I'm curious, just what are you doing in Chrome that uses 8GB? I have over 20 tabs open in Opera at all times and it hasn't been restarted since 10/5 this month, and it only takes a bit over 500MB. :eek:
When I have 40+ tabs with 10 720p Youtube videos open for doing research such as for Wikipedia, building watercooled PCs, firearms, etc. Plus running a single Windows virtual machine in VirtualBox takes atleast 2.5GB.
 
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oion

Well-Known Member
When I have 40+ tabs with 10 720p Youtube videos open for doing research such as for Wikipedia, building watercooled PCs, firearms, etc.
Since I'm not expecting OP to even come near the 20-tab mark as an average user (and it depends on how resource-efficient the applications he runs are), 4GB is probably fine for him, but it really comes down to just how critical the "$$$$" checkbox is. I'd squeeze out for a higher spec as well for resale value, but $$$$ is nothing to sneeze at if there are other bills and everything to consider. It's impossible to think about the Surface Pro 3 right now, too.
 

CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
When I have 40+ tabs with 10 720p Youtube videos open for doing research such as for Wikipedia, building watercooled PCs, firearms, etc. Plus running a single Windows virtual machine in VirtualBox takes atleast 2.5GB.
Why do you need all these open at the same time? I'll often have 10 tabs open at the same time but I'm only ever using one... which gets shut down before I move on to the next one. I'm not having a go, I'm just genuinely interested in your usage.

As for the memory, I've never felt 4Gb wasn't enough... but more is always nice. I filled up my 128Gb SSD quite quickly, but then chucked in a SDXC and it's been okay.
 

Ruffles

Active Member
I just picked up a 4/128. I debated long and hard about it but in the last 8 months of owning it, I've never once felt my Surface was slow or needed more horse power. I've got 30 GB free so I don't need more space.
 
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Tgrey

New Member
I don't think so, but I feel better if I get 256/8G version, so I will stop continously thinking of if 4G one is enough...
 

HoHo

New Member
On the MS Surface Pro 2, 8GB is MUCH FASTER than 4GB whether you need the extra RAM or not. 4GB configuration is using SINGLE channel only. 8GB is using DOUBLE channel. It is like putting in 1 stick of 4GB RAM onto a desktop computer, you get single channel only. In fact, most of the ultrabooks and tablets on the market with 4GB RAM are only running SINGLE channel on their memory bus. There are free utilities out there to display whether your computer is running single channel or double channel. Check it out yourself. I think CPU-Z gives you the memory channel info.
 
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