RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

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RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby DannPM31 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:30 pm

I'm building my own system, motherboard has room for 32 gigs of RAM. Looking to install 16 gigs dual channel (leaving two slots for expansion later to 32GB)

Will be running Linux Mint 64bit Nadia exclusively (my favorite OS by leaps and bounds over anything else)

Is this ridiculous overkill to do 16 gigs with this RAM-efficient of an OS? I do not run multiple VMs (rarely run a VM at all.) and am not doing 3D modeling. Do you foresee a future where Mint will ever use even 16 gigs (much less approach 32GB) for any particular array of applications?
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby xenopeek on Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:45 pm

DannPM31 wrote:Do you foresee a future where Mint will ever use even 16 gigs (much less approach 32GB) for any particular array of applications?

Yes, of course. Not within a year though :) Perhaps you are young, but I recall my first home computer and that had just 32 KiB of RAM. My first PC had 640 KiB of ram. My second PC had 4 MiB of RAM. And it went up from there. So I wouldn't be surprised if some day 32 GiB of RAM will be the norm...

I made a mistake on my previous computer, and bought it with 2 GiB of RAM as that was the norm at the time. That wasn't running Linux comfortably for me, though I do usually need a virtual machine running. When I wanted to double my RAM, because the rest of the computer was still fine, I found I couldn't find a compatible memory module to place alongside my existing 2 GiB memory module :( Getting two new memory modules of 4 GiB total proved to be ridiculously expensive for the kind of memory my motherboard would take... So I ended up replacing my motherboard, CPU and RAM. That was back in 2011, and I installed 16 GiB RAM. I haven't regretted it for a moment, as it was just 60 euros more to get 16 GiB compared to getting 8 GiB. I often have many virtual machines running in parallel now, and I don't need swap ever. As operating systems and programs will increase further to need more memory (if only for graphics going to higher resolutions and more detail), I'm confident I can continue to use this computer for a good few years yet. I'm not making the mistake again of skimping on RAM. For me, it shortened the life-span of my computer...
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby Jamesc359 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:03 pm

I don't know if you'll ever need that much RAM. But having the ability to upgrade in the future is always nice. So yeah, if you can comfortably afford 16Gig, go for it. Just don't neglect other components (e.g. CPU, Video, etc.) to get that much ram. :-)
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby DrHu on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:15 pm

16GB RAM for the OS + some general applications = plenty of RAM even for a 64bit OS (which could be considered to double the RAM requirements/use of!)

Video and audio processing are also other applications that can make good use of lots of RAM; however for most normal operations such as word processing (even DTP-desk top publishing),or symbolic math programs (if you were in a school or had the interest MIT free courses etc..)

If you get into music recording or want to play with making your own DVD etc, then you would find that the extra RAM will keep the OS free to operate more speedily
--assuming that it is running nearer to the limits of its memory needs..

    Also if you wanted to get into a server based OS, or setup such..
    --and wanted to have many user/or virtual sessions running
    --and speeds up compiling (source files, building a system), since you could assign processing to RAM
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby Orbmiser on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:15 pm

Jamesc359 wrote:I don't know if you'll ever need that much RAM. But having the ability to upgrade in the future is always nice. So yeah, if you can comfortably afford 16Gig, go for it. Just don't neglect other components (e.g. CPU, Video, etc.) to get that much ram. :-)


+1 to James as most do for the most part 8gb for all their needs. 16gb for serious photo's raw editing and Video editing needs.
And would think that would fill 95% of users needs. I get buy editing raw Nikon images on 4gb just fine tho tend to hit the ceiling faster with the more applied adjustments and such. 8gb would eliminate that all together and 16gb would be for linear video editing needs.

As pointed out if $50 or $100 is significant to fit a budget then apply that difference to more capable video card or larger ssd drive kind of thing for me. As going to SSD will significantly give you a faster performing system then unused ram.
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby xenopeek on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:24 pm

Yes, second that. If the choice is between 8 GiB RAM or 16 GiB RAM, or getting a SSD instead of a hard disk--go for the SSD! It's a dramatic improvement in how you experience your computer :wink: I balanced my budget to be able to afford both the SSD and the RAM (I didn't buy a discrete graphics card), but if you need to choose then pick the SSD.
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby chiefjim on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:52 pm

Many systems these days have onboard video from either the processor or motherboard. Obviously whatever memory that uses reduces the amount remaining to run the rest of the systems.

Speaking in very general terms since there are so many variables, how much memory should be reserved as a sweet spot for a home office? simple gaming? etc.
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby powerhouse on Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:50 pm

SSD will make applications start much faster. But then, extra RAM helps a lot too. But the best is to combine both.

8 GB should be more than enough for normal Linux use. If you do video editing, photo stitching of high-resolution TIFF files or similar, you can use more.

When using a SSD you will want to put the temp file systems to RAM, to improve lifetime. So it's even more important to have sufficient RAM when using a SSD.

In any case, you should reduce the "swappiness" to prevent Linux from freeing RAM to swap space - see here http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/299 for how to do it.

I have 32GB now (the board can take 64GB) and I'm running VMs, including a Windows VM for photo editing where I do have use for lots of RAM.
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby gollum17 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:54 pm

This gave me a chuckle. Sounds like you have a nice system :D

My pc runs mint 14 cinnamon just fine with 2gbs of ram (tried win 7... booooo it stink, i just got wine and can run mostly anything windows can + linux).

Dont look at me that way I am a cheapskate (first custom built pc of my own)
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby powerhouse on Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:41 am

gollum17 wrote:This gave me a chuckle. Sounds like you have a nice system :D

My pc runs mint 14 cinnamon just fine with 2gbs of ram (tried win 7... booooo it stink, i just got wine and can run mostly anything windows can + linux).

Dont look at me that way I am a cheapskate (first custom built pc of my own)


Whether you refer to the OP or my last post, the PC specs should match the needs. There is no such thing as a cheapskate in my opinion, it just means you got your senses. I got an old Dell laptop with 512MB RAM and a 40 Gig disk that's used as a small file server / ftp server as well as for occasional Internet browsing / reading the news. It runs 24/7 and uses next to no electricity nor does it require maintenance. My old PC running Linux Mint is still being used in the family and it works great with 3 Gig of memory. I like the fact that I can extend the hardware life using Linux, and with my latest PC (the one in the signature) I finally managed to overcome dual-boot as I run Windows 7 in a VM with full hardware acceleration for graphics and other tasks. Hope to be using this system for many years - right now it's certainly one of the better ones.
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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby catweazel on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:34 am

xenopeek wrote:
DannPM31 wrote:my first home computer and that had just 32 KiB of RAM.

Sheer luxury. My first Intel 4040 had a whopping 4k.

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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby catweazel on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:44 am

DannPM31 wrote:I'm building my own system, motherboard has room for 32 gigs of RAM. Looking to install 16 gigs dual channel (leaving two slots for expansion later to 32GB)

Will be running Linux Mint 64bit Nadia exclusively (my favorite OS by leaps and bounds over anything else)

Is this ridiculous overkill to do 16 gigs with this RAM-efficient of an OS?


No, it's not overkill, provided you make use of it. I run 16GB with room to spare for another 16GB if needed. I use SSDs instead of HDDs so the extra RAM comes in handy for extending the life of my SSDs. I mount /tmp and var/log into tmpfs, which is, to all intents and purposes, an expanding/contracting RAM disk. I also have Firefox's cache pointed at /tmp.

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Re: RAM - How much is too much for Mint?

Postby powerhouse on Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:20 am

DannPM31 wrote:... Looking to install 16 gigs dual channel (leaving two slots for expansion later to 32GB)


Make sure the memory kit you buy can be expanded. Modern memory kits are usually "matched" and often only guaranteed to work as is, with no other memory kit installed (even not the same brand/model). So, depending on which memory kit you buy, you may or may not be able to add additional memory, unless of course you replace the existing memory kit.

I've had a nightmare getting 32 Gig memory kits to work on my board, and my PC was an entire month at the lab testing different brands and types. It turns out that the more memory you got, the more likely you run into issues (in my case 8 Gig never posed a problem, 16 would often work). I also strongly advise on running extended memory tests (at least 24 hours for 16 Gig) before putting your PC to use. The effects of bad or incompatible or wrongly configured memory can be anything from segfaults, file permission issues (yes, I had those too) to program crashes or problems installing certain applications.

Samsung and Kingston are usually among the more compatible (and expandable) memory choices.
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