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Peak growths for DRAM memory have occured with major Windows launches - Courtesy SEC Marketing
How Vista will affect your next memory purchase...

With Windows Vista’s anticipated launch later this year, a concern on everyone’s mind is how Vista will tax existing PC platforms.  Although the new graphical user interface will require DirectX 9 support, and Intel G965 (or better) graphic accelerators, the real question mark in everyone’s minds is where DRAM requirements will head for Windows Vista.  Baseline Vista offerings will require 512MB of DRAM just to install, with a 1GB recommendation -- but is there more to this story?
Integrated graphics from ATI, Intel, and NVIDIA all use shared memory architectures. This means that even though the graphics core is on the motherboard Northbridge, the graphics controller accesses memory from the system main memory.  Low end, PCIe 3D accelerations from ATI, and NVIDIA also use shared memory support, using in excess of 256MB of system DRAM in exchange for a dirt cheap graphics accelerator.  On these systems the Vista recommendation for 512MB is not acceptable as a significant amount of main memory is consumed by the graphics accelerators.
Furthermore, Windows Vista will come with a new feature called Superfetch.  With Windows XP, Microsoft included a feature called Prefetch: a dynamic service that preemptively loads files into the pagefile in order to speed up application load time.  Superfetch advances further in two steps.  Step one is to build profiles of frequently used applications and store those profiles into the pagefile, and system memory.  Step two is to pool NAND and all other available memory to move as much of the pagefile as possible off the hard drive and onto the solid state memory.  As a result, anyone with a heavy usage profile will have a significant portion of their system memory dedicated to application data.  
At IDF we recently had the opportunity to talk to Tom Trill, Samsung Semiconductor's Director of DRAM Marketing.  An interesting point Trill mentioned to us is that system integrators generally spend 6-8% of the system cost on memory. Retail DDR2-667 crossed over into the $80 USD per gigabyte range a few months ago with the price for system integrators hovering around $60.  AMD and Intel both have new processors expected to utilize DDR2-800 before the Q4 launch of Windows Vista. By conservative estimates, we can expect to see the average system integrator bundle new computers with 1GB of DDR2-667 by the end of this year.
Samsung’s internal research recently published a figure claiming that the average PC system (including SI, OEM and home built computers) averages 871MB of DRAM in 2005, up from 620MB the year before.  The DRAM industry has traditionally seen large growth around the launches of Windows operating system such as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows XP.  With large growth come large economies of scale, and ultimately lower prices for DRAM are on the horizon.  Furthermore, with cheaper DRAM prices, system integrators are free to integrate more memory into the magic 6-8% budget. With such favorable trends, seeing 2GB of memory as a standard in every PC by the end of this year would be of no surprise to us at all.

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RE: vista & its quest for memory
By TomZ on 3/19/2006 11:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
Win2K worked fine, and Win98 also worked fine. But WinXP works better than Win2K, etc., and Vista will be probably better than WinXP. So that's the reason to upgrade, IMO.

Obviously each person will have a different view of if/when to upgrade, and it is up to Microsoft to prove the value to us all.

RE: vista & its quest for memory
By joust on 3/20/2006 12:45:31 AM , Rating: 2
I went from win2k to winXP. My system had 256MB RAM. Had terrible performance in games due to paging from the HDD. Dropping in another dimm fixed that!

If you're in the right range in terms of proc/video, you can go for the new OS and worry about memory later. It's cheap and easy to install.

RE: vista & its quest for memory
By Griswold on 3/20/2006 7:57:23 AM , Rating: 2
I liked w2k much better than XP which I started using a few months ago. There is much that speaks in favor of w2k - important things, not just eye candy. User rights restriction works much better and more flexible under w2k pro than it does under XP pro, for example.

Then again, since XP isnt really all that impressive, I have little doubt that Vista will be much better - so it might be the first time, since Windows95, that I become an early adopter.

RE: vista & its quest for memory
By TomZ on 3/20/2006 10:35:52 AM , Rating: 2
User rights restriction works much better and more flexible under w2k pro than it does under XP pro, for example.

No, that's not true. WinXP supports the same security capabilities as Win2K. This is by design since it is expected that companies will mix and match Win2K and WinXP computers on the same network.

RE: vista & its quest for memory
By crystal clear on 3/20/2006 8:34:51 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is building into the new operating system a tool that will rate a PC based on how well it is running and on how much it can take advantage of Vista's capabilities.

The rating appears in a large blue circle and can be seen in multiple places in the operating system, though Microsoft has said little about what exactly the rating signifies. The main rating is on a scale of 1 to 5, but individual components are also given a "sub rating" on some other, unspecified range.

"The idea behind the Windows Performance Rating is to help average consumers easily understand their Windows Vista PC's overall performance, and to simplify the process of determining whether certain software applications will run smoothly based on their system components," Microsoft said in a statement provided to CNET, ZDNet UK's sister site.

Computer makers and retailers would then be able to use that as a tool to help explain, in general terms, the capabilities of a particular machine. Software makers would also be able to specify the type of PC needed to run their software.

The above article appeared in CNET it for more information.

RE: vista & its quest for memory
By suryad on 3/20/2006 6:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
And that benchmark by Vista is bogus. If you read a bit more about it you will find out why I am holding that opinion.

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