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I have a Lenovo X201s with i7 L620 @ Ghz and 4Gb Ram Windows 7 Professional 64bit is installed on it and all 4Gb is visible from task manager and all other system tools

Virtual memory is set manually for initial 4096Mb and max 8192Mb There is 22Gb free space on the one and only local disk where its configured.

When memory usage according to task manager reaches about 3.18 Gb (83%) the machine starts to swap heavily and becomes very unresponsive. Resource monitor says:

HW reserverd 205Mb In use 3262Mb Modified 6Mb Standby 606Mb Free: 17Mb

Available 627Mb Cached 623Mb Total 3891Mb Installed 4096Mb

After a clean boot I have 1.2Gb used memory according to Task Manager and 1.7Gb used after all memory hogs like skype and desktop gadgets are loaded.

I have checked through fully with nod32 virus scanner (nothing found), made sure that all the latest Updates are installed, ran memtest86+ overnight (no errors)

I know Im not really using the memory too sparingly, can get carried away with the number of browser tabs open and usually I have openoffice or some other application running as well with some other utilities, like calculator, notepad, winamp. However I just feel this is not really out of ordinary extreme usage and 4Gb seemingly insufficient to handle it surprises me.

My questions are the following:

  1. Does the above way of operation (starting to swap around 80% of usage) seem correct, or is something wrong with my system? If something is wrong how can I trace it down? What are the most common fixes for similar situations?

  2. If the system operates fine. Is there a way to improve the situation without changing my habits of using the machine (ie. avidly closing applications and browser tabs before I open new ones) or buying more RAM? I found http://www.koshyjohn.com/software/memclean/ to be useful. I tried to track down what windows service could I disable which I do not need and consumes memory (I disabled quite a few already)

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I use Chrome as my main browser. –  Feczo Aug 9 '11 at 1:18
    
Thanks for all respondents, looks like I need to invest into buying some ram to be comfortable. –  Feczo Aug 9 '11 at 1:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Yes this is normal.
  2. If you really want to you can 'fix' this by disabling the page file. There are no good reasons to do that in your situation (and some would argue in any situation), so just leave it alone.
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Disabling the swap is probably not a good idea, but it would be good to raise the limit when it starts happening. –  Feczo Aug 9 '11 at 1:23

With certain kind of usage patterns it's very much possible to just run out of memory if you have only 4G. Lots of tabs open in browsers, office applications, Photoshop etc use quite a lot of memory these days.

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You also never mentioned which browser you use. It varies greatly. Chrome, for example, spins up a new process for is tabs. This is expensive as far as resources is concerned. For example, on my machine, I won't see significant lag until I get to about 50 tabs on Chrome. But on Firefox and IE, I can regularly load up 100 to 200 tabs (this is what researching technet/msdn will do to ya.)

Also, applications aren't necessarily written to take advantage of all that memory in the first place. For example, you can give Visual Studios 8 GB of RAM, but as the process grows to 1.5GB, you'll start running into issues. Generally, vendors aren't going to optimize their consumer level products to consume more available memory, but less.

And this isn't changing anytime soon. As demand for mobile applications increases, more and more emphasis will be placed on using less and less resources.

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