My second post in the series from my class at Autodesk University (CI3200-P Improving Performance with AutoCAD Civil 3D) is going to be dealing with memory and will put to bed a few myths and misconceptions.
As usual, follow the link for the full article!
Many users move to a 64 bit operating system and load up on RAM thinking “WOW! My machine is going to be incredibly fast now!” Now – moving to a 64 bit platform itself will result in improved performance because of memory management (refer to part I of this series for more information.) But as we add more and more RAM we experience the law of diminishing returns. For those of you unfamiliar with this law, it can be defined as such:
The law of diminishing returns states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower per-unit returns.
To do my best imitation of Forrest Gump’s mother, I’m going to say this in a way that you can understand it – in the earlier days of PC’s, doubling the system memory was an easy (and costly!) process. Going from 1MB of RAM to 2MB of RAM showed a perceived drastic performance increase. Going from 2MB to 4MB showed an even greater perceived performance increase. However – as we get into higher and higher amounts, the perceived performance increase gets lower and lower, and RAM acts less like nitrous oxide in an engine and acts more like regular gasoline – which leads me to one of my famous analogies:
DOES NOT EQUAL!
That’s right – consider added RAM like the gas tank in your car – adding more system memory in the era of memory capacities that we are working with does not let you drive your computer faster, but it does allow you to drive your computer further! That’s right – it gives you more fuel to get where you need to go without running out!
So, with all the analogies aside – here is the official suggestion for how much memory you need: 8GB is the current sweet spot! That’s right, jumping up to massive amounts of RAM (I had a guy in one of my classes last year who had 256GB of system memory – seriously!) does not give you a great ROI. 8GB is sufficient for most people – of course, some users may need or want more – but we’re making suggestions here, not cover every single scenario.