I'm using Windows 7 Ultimate and need to free up some RAM and video RAM for some graphics intensive software.

How much RAM will I free up by disabling the Aero theme?

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    Not much, if any. You don't need to do anything : Let Windows handle the RAM. If really necessary, buy more RAM. – harrymc Jul 22 '18 at 13:30
  • The memory used was a factor in Vista with 512 MB RAM. But as you are using graphics intensive software we can assume you have far more RAM than that. With even 4 GB RAM the memory used by aero would be quite trivial. The exact amount would be difficult to determine in a meaningful way – LMiller7 Jul 22 '18 at 17:37
  • @LMiller7 Likewise with the video ram ? RAM itself is 8gb, wondered whether stuttering of a graphic image in Solidworks could be due to overload of vram by the aero theme. – Gaurav Jul 22 '18 at 17:44

Enabling Aero theme occupies mainly the size of video memory, it needs at least 128M video memory and it needs less 100M RAM. So if we disable the Aero theme, we can free up less 100M RAM.

We can see the size of RAM it occupies as below:

enter image description here

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    And that's an over-estimate. The DWM is more than just aero. I don't have Windows 7, can we see a comparison with aero on and aero off? – Baldrickk Jul 24 '18 at 14:22

This is probably a swings and roundabouts situation.

Graphics accelerated Aero will be using some RAM for graphics assets such as icons and window textures and primitives, but a large amount of the final windows that you see will be constructed completely by the GPU using smaller common parts stitched together. A lot of the processing to construct the window will also be offloaded to the GPU, freeing up the CPU for other tasks.

If you turn off Aero you are also turning off the GPU accelerated features, granted some of these features such as transparency might actually be using more RAM than would be used otherwise but the difference would not be particularly huge.

What the graphics acceleration means is that in theory if you have a graphics card with dedicated RAM then you might actually be using less system RAM by leaving Aero enabled.

On a system with integrated graphics then all the assets will also be using system RAM, which might mean that disabling the effects could save some memory, but it would also shift graphics processing from the faster GPU to the CPU. This could actually make things slower in general as the compositing of windows could mean several passes of CPU code copying from memory where the GPU might only make one pass.

You could be trading a small amount of extra memory for an overall less responsive system.

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  • So as per what you're saying 8 gb system ram is not a problem. The issue is that of stuttering when rotating a complex CAD assembly. Is it then a problem associated with low dedicated (1 gb) video ram ? dwm.exe takes minimum 200 mb of ram at any point of time, at least some of it is associated with aero (?). – Gaurav Jul 22 '18 at 18:58
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    Having problems with complex CAD is probably related to your (comparatively) low video RAM and an underpowered video card. Modern CAD packages use more memory and (now) also need better graphics cards as well. – Mokubai Jul 22 '18 at 20:52

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