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Due to space constraints, I need to purchase a laptop to replace my desktop computer. However I don't know whether I need a laptop with 8GB or 16GB of RAM. My desktop currently has 16GB.

What is the easiest way to run something in the background to determine my typical RAM usage over a period of, say, a month? My goal is to have enough data to base my RAM purchase on real-world usage of my desktop.

I've seen a few articles describing how to use Performance Monitor to do this, but they all seem to suggest different things to monitor. Several of them also talk about measuring my swap, which I don't believe I should be interested in.

  • If in doubt go for 8 GB. Thats the sweet spot. If you don't know whether you need 16 GB or not, than you most likely don't need it. Are you running any virtualization regularly? Or do you edit videos, music or pictures professionaly? – ap0 Dec 30 '15 at 12:20
  • I edit pictures in Lightroom regularly and use Visual Studio occasionally. Given that the memory is soldered into the (rather expensive) laptop, I'd like use a more data driven approach to determine my typical RAM usage. – Richard Dec 30 '15 at 12:25
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look at the commit charge value. ProcessHacker shows the peak value in the system information window:

enter image description here

This shows the largest amount of memory that you needed. Now look if 8GB are enough for your daily usage or not.

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It depends on how you use your laptop. Generally, any laptop has two RAM slots. So, you can expand the RAM of your laptop. A Processor with high clock speed and with turbo clock and with good graphics you need RAM of 4-8 GB.

Make sure the clock speed your laptop processor is greater than 2GHz.

For better clarifications on processors click here on graphic cards click here

Note: It purely depends on how you use.

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In windows, using the following command in command prompt, you will get the free amount of RAM in the file "RAMusage.txt" inside your C: drive.

systeminfo |find "Available Physical Memory" >> "C://RAMusage.txt"

sample output: Available Physical Memory: 1,757 MB (I have only 4 GB RAM)

So, write a batch file with the previous code and run it automatically every minute/every 5 minutes for some days with the help of task scheduler. If you run it every 5 min and use your computer 24 hours, you will get only 288 records in "RAMusage.txt".

So, check If your free RAM is always greater than 10,000 MB or not. If most of the records show >10,000 MB then you are safe to buy 8GB RAM. (as currently you have 16 GB RAM)

By writing some more lines of code in the batch file you can also drop the available physical memory part and record only the amount of free memory (eg: 1,757 MB) in each line. or, you can also log only the records which have less than certain amount of free RAM.

But you don't need to do so much coding, you can easily check about 200 records daily by opening the file in a text editor (I recommend notepad++, free software ) and delete them before shutting down. so that next day you can check only records for that day.

To know, "how to use task scheduler" to run batch files on windows, just google it. Hope this helps.

=SOME MORE INFORMATION=

  1. You need admin privilege to run the above mentioned command. So, run command prompt as administrator. right click the command prompt and select 'run as administrator'

  2. Run the task every 5 minutes after the computer starts and check run with height privilegeand uncheck start the task only if the computer on AC power, stop the task if computer runs on battery powers while creating the task in task scheduler.

====ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION==== (previous solution is not full proof as mention by @Xyon in comment)

Currently you have 16 GB RAM. Force windows to use only 8 GB RAM and check if all software runs smoothly. If you have smooth experience, buy 8 GB otherwise go for 16 GB.

= How to put cap to maximum RAM =

Click on Start and then on Run. If you don’t have the Run command on your Start menu, you can hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the R key. With the Run dialog box open, type in MSCONFIG and click the OK button.

This opens the System Configuration window. Click on the Boot tab and then click on the Advanced Options button.

This opens the BOOT Advanced Options window. Click on the Maximum Memory option and type in the maximum amount of memory you want to use. (In your case 8 GB). When finished, click the OK button, close all remaining windows that you have opened, and restart your computer.

  • Does this take into account Windows' feature of pre-caching RAM simply because it is there? I would think that may skew the results somewhat. – Xyon Dec 30 '15 at 14:31
  • @Xyon No. I was thinking about that. windows pre-caching will skew the result. Then only way is to check ram usage by top 5 programs (or 10) – Sourav Ghosh Dec 30 '15 at 14:35
  • @Xyon I have posted an alternative solution. – Sourav Ghosh Dec 30 '15 at 15:23
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Given the way software and OS RAM requirements continually expand, my method of sizing RAM in a new computer or motherboard is simple: look into your wallet, and buy as much RAM as you can afford. It won't spoil if you aren't using all of it immediately, but you will surely need it in a couple years (and as you noted, it's soldered into the laptop you're looking at, so you can't readily expand).

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