My current system is: intel core i5-750 quad core 4gig ram 1600 600gb 7200rpm HDD running on windows 7

When I look at the performance monitor my memory rarely goes above 50% of total memory usage.

What is the preferred memory usage percentage at any given point in time for a system to run smoothly and stable?

  • Surely the answer is you need more RAM if you can afford more RAM! – Toby Allen Nov 12 '11 at 8:37

It doesn't really work like that on Vista or Windows 7, not anymore. Both aggressively cache stuff into RAM, and release it if more is needed for an application. I'd say you only need more RAM when you can imagine filling it up with day-to-day applications - similarly to hard drive space, you only have enough when you have more than you can fill up :)

  • 1
    I had 8 gb of ram, then I built up a ramdisk... It started loading from the HDD horribly when playing a few special games and minimizing them (background applications get loaded from swap)... This is where I bought another 8 and everything is smooth. So THE answer when you really need more is: As soon as it regularly starts crunching on the hard drive when you want to maximize a program you didn't use for a while from the task bar and the program takes 20 seconds to maximize. – sinni800 Nov 12 '11 at 10:11

That answer largely becomes based on your usage preferences. On a parallel note, it is possible to disable much eye-candy which can make the system much more responsive.

In your particular case, it seems that you have a sufficient amount of RAM, but are potentially limited by your bus width and transmission rate. This can mostly impact how fast new data can get into RAM. My suspicion is that your computer is very much usable and that you should have no concern unless you are using some heavy duty applications.


Strictly speaking, you need more RAM once the system starts swapping (using HDD memory because it has run out of RAM).

A non-technical way to get a clue is executing some software that you know needs a lot of RAM. Then after having used it for some time, you close it. If it takes more than a second to close it, you probably need more RAM. A good contestant are games.

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