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technology

The real reason to have a lot of RAM

I had considered 12GB of RAM a silly luxury. I certainly never thought I’d use anywhere close to that. Imagine my surprise when I looked at my RAM usage and saw I was pretty much maxed out. I was using almost all of it! What is going on? Looking more closely, I see that I had less than 100MB of free memory, a Gig of “wired” memory, a little under 2GB of active memory, and a whopping 9GB of inactive memory.

 

What’s inactive memory? The computer loads up whatever program you are running into memory. It turns out that it keeps it in memory after you quit the program too. Why? It cuts down on the time it takes to launch the program if it’s already in memory. Programs are pretty much instantly available when I launch them again. Of course, if you launch something else, it will re-allocate that inactive memory to the new task.

 

The really cool thing about this is that I had wondered if I should get a solid state drive instead of, or in addition to, a regular hard drive. Solid state drives don’t move, and they are much faster than regular hard drives. They are much more expensive too. Since I am not a power user by any stretch of the imagination, the biggest bonus to having a SSD would be really fast launch times. So I ended up getting the effect I was looking for with an SSD for a lot less money by having a silly amount of RAM in my machine. That extra $100 I spent on RAM is looking better and better…

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