Faster processor vs. RAM?

jmt356
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Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by jmt356 »

What will help my laptop run faster - a faster processor or more RAM?
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JMT

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Rudi
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by Rudi »

My layman's guess is RAM. Traditionally, RAM is the bottleneck between the user and the processor. So even if you had a faster processor, the bottleneck between this and you would still slow things down. First increase RAM (which is easier and cheaper), then if necessary, upgrade the processor (which in older models could be fused to the motherboard meaning you'll need to replace the whole board, :groan: )

Anyways, don't just take my word for it! Wait for others to respond to either confirm or deny my claim. :grin:
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Rudi

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jolas
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by jolas »

Not a direct answer to the question. If you are still using magnetic drive on your computer but your system support solid state drive then is upgrade produce a more noticeable speed up on your system. RAM at least 8GB would then be the next upgrade option.

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John Gray
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by John Gray »

Extra RAM and an SSD will be considerably easier to fit than a new processor.
Have you checked the benchmarks for your current CPU against your intended new CPU?
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StuartR
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by StuartR »

What are your current specs for RAM, CPU and disk drive?
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BobH
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by BobH »

If those are your choices, I'd definitely add RAM. I've done this in the past and it seemed to speed my system up tremendously; however, adding RAM has a diminishing benefit as the amount of RAM reaches a certain level that depends on CPU speed and bus bandwidth. The single most amazing improvement I've ever made to a computer was to add a solid state drive (SSD) and using it for the OS and programs library.
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jmt356
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by jmt356 »

I currently have a AMD Dual-Core A6-4400M (1,027 is the CPU mark) with 16 GB of RAM.

I am looking for a new computer. I have noted that the price of computers correlates with the CPU mark of the processor. The higher the mark, the more expensive the computer. So I am trying to determine whether it is worth spending a lot more money for a faster processor or whether I can achieve the same effect by getting a computer with more RAM (or upgrading the RAM after I purchase it).
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JMT

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StuartR
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by StuartR »

16GB of RAM is sufficient for most purposes. Unless you are doing very memory intensive graphics work, or running lots of virtual machines, you will not need more.

That CPU is fairly slow, but even if you can find a faster processor that will fit your motherboard it is unlikely to make a huge difference to perceived speed, as the memory bandwidth and other features of the motherboard will still limit this system.

Do you already have an SSD drive? If not then the best investment you can make to speed up this system is to replace the hard drive with an SSD.
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jmt356
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by jmt356 »

I have a SSD and my laptop is relatively fast. I am in the market for a newer computer and want to know whether it is worth putting the money towards a processor or towards memory. It seems the processor is more critical to speed than the memory, and a faster processor will get you more speed regardless of the memory, whereas performance will not increase past a certain point by upgrading memory if the processor is slow.
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JMT

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HansV
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by HansV »

16 GB RAM should be sufficient for all practical purposes, as Stuart mentioned. More is overkill unless you're high-end graphics designer.
So if you're going to buy a new computer, look for a relatively fast CPU (Intel i5 or higher, or one of the new AMD Ryzen CPUs), and a sufficiently large SSD.
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Hans

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Argus
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Re: Faster processor vs. RAM?

Post by Argus »

jmt356 wrote:
28 Jun 2020, 19:52
I have a SSD and my laptop is relatively fast. I am in the market for a newer computer and want to know whether it is worth putting the money towards a processor or towards memory. It seems the processor is more critical to speed than the memory, and a faster processor will get you more speed regardless of the memory, whereas performance will not increase past a certain point by upgrading memory if the processor is slow.
Well if you are looking for a newer laptop, and wonder whether it is worth putting the money towards processor or towards memory (when having 16 GB together with a 2012 dual-core), I'd say it's all about the CPU, the rest you can add or change later, in my opinion. As I see it, nowadays, the amount of RAM won't change much in speed per se, but what can be done in say CAD, photo, video, music etc. So, look for something with more cores, and you'll probably get not only better performance but also lower TDP (thermal design power), and a decent amount of RAM to begin with, checking that it's possible to add more either via an empty slot or by removing what's there etc. If you have a SSD (SATA speed), and 16 GB RAM then you'll probably know what the limits are.
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