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Phys Memory Runs Low Very Often


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Memory runs low very often, and most of the time only with minimum or "light" activities. Would like to quote a few examples : (1)Playing MP3 w/ Winamp while opening MS Words (2) Playing a classic simulation games "Theme Hospital" , alone.

Brief description of my desktop system as follow:

ASUS P3V133 MotherBoard

PIII 850Mhz



ATI 128MB AGP Graphic Card

Creative SB Live! Value Sound Card

D-Link Network Card

Windows XP SP2

AVG Antivirus


1) Phys Memory Available at 50% after reboot? Is this normal?

2) After closing some program or doc files, phys memory does not recover, and is this normal as well?

3) Just d/l "FreeRAM XP Pro", any idea will this help?

4) Any software or method to verify my SDRAM? Not sure if they are the culprits?

5) HDD will require longer read/write times when the memory is low ?

Pls advise b4 I try to work out any upgrade.



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I have found, after quite a lot of trying and testing, that the various RAM mangers like FreeRam give no tangible benefits at all. They've been around for a long, long time and while they don't hurt anything, they don't really help either except to make the developer a little better off from your shareware fee.

The idea of "defragging" RAM sounds like such a good idea. But it's not remotely related to fragmentation on a hard disk, where the issue really is physical - the movement of the drive head, waiting for the platter to spin round to the correct position, and all that. Memory is a completely different situation, and it's no faster to deal with two contiguous pages than it is to deal with two widely separated ones. The same programmatic method is used, and the main bottleneck is waiting for the data to stabilize on the bus. So defragging RAM does exactly nothing of any benefit to you, the OS, or the CPU.

You are running a minimum configuration -- that's the lowest amount of RAM I'd even try to run XP in and expect it to multitask at all. Having 50% of that little already used after reboot is normal. XP will run in 256M, but it's a nightmare. Your best option really is getting your RAM up to 1GB, more if you can, especially since RAM is really cheap these days.

That will make a much bigger difference than anything else you can do.

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You can use a freeware memory tester from memtest.org to check your RAM. Download a bootable image, burn it to a CD, boot that CD and let it churn for a few hours. But if you have RAM problems you generally know it from random but very frequent freezes, BSODS and spontaneous reboots.

Still the test is free and worth doing, and worth having in your toolkit.

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