01-25-2009 05:05 PM
I'm interested in upgrading my Lenovo T400 to have as much RAM memory as possible and affordable. I work with Genomics / bioinformatics and I have to manipulate huge data matrix (*.TXT with text and numbers up to 1gb of size) usually using SAS and JMP.
Therefore, having RAM memory is essential to me and I have the following questions:
1) I didn't buy my computer with Intel memory card. Can I still buy one and install? Would a 4gb one make a difference to work faster?
2) Is it possible to buy more than 4 gb of memory (total), or the price is too expensive.
3) Considering I upgrade to 4 gb of memory (2 x 2gb) and Intel memory card of 4gb, will I have to change the operational system to 64 bit? How better would this system be to manage big files?
Any help will be appreciated!
01-26-2009 10:05 AM
1) I assume you talk about the turbo memory? In that case the answer is yes you can buy the 4gb turbo memory and it's not that expensive, but i don't think you will notice much difference. I would rather buy more memory. I read that several people had issues because of instability with the turbo memory, but i had no such issues. Compared to my previous W500 which is almost identical to my current W500 except from the turbo memory and a CPU that is a bit faster i cannot say that i notice a difference with or without the turbo memory.
2) You can buy and install 2x4gb, but it's still pretty expensive. If you look at the price from Kingston i think the price is about 10 times higher for a 4gb module compared to the 2gb module. I think there are others that is pretty much cheaper then Kingston, but still pretty expensive. I do believe Micron is much cheaper then Kingston.
3) I'm not familiar with the applications you use and how you use the computer, but using 32bits OS you will not be able to use more then max 3gb of ram. If you have switchable graphics enabled it's only 2.5gb using 32bit Vista. If you disable the switchable graphics and use the ATI video adapter you should get 3gb. With a 64bit OS you should get 4gb of ram in either case. I don't think 64bit Vista will be able to handle big files any better except for the fact that you have more physical ram available. So unless you need more then 3gb or ram (or 2.5 using switchable graphics) the 32bit Vista should handle the big files just as good as 64bit. The 64bits version of Vista use more ram then the 32bit version as well.
So if you need more ram i would consider 64bit OS and then install 2x2gb (or 2x4gb if you really need it and think it's affordable). If 3gb of ram is enough i'm sure the 32bit OS will do the job just as good as 64bit. It's easy to monitor the ram usage using task manager and resource monitor. Also when there isn't enough ram it's usually easy to notice a slowdown and high disk activity of your system. Regarding the turbo memory i don't think there is much difference and pretty sure you won't notice a difference, but it's not that expensive so you have to decide if it's worth it or not.
01-26-2009 02:24 PM
Thanks for your message, Gan.
Indeed I was talking about the turbo memory. I realize that I need more memory, because either the computer takes a long time to open the file or it just can't open it at all, giving me a note saying "unable to allocate enough memory". This clearly indicates that memory RAM is my bottleneck.
Back to the subject, having more than 4 gb of RAM is really too expensive (2 x 4 gb ~ 600 US dollars), so I'll have to live with "only" 4 for now. I know that Lenovo sells computer with PC3-8500, but could I buy and install a PC-10666, which would be 1333 MHz versus 1066MHz of the former? The price is almost the same for both.
I agree with the OS and I'll probably upgrade to Vista 64bit, only to be able to allocate more memory. I just didn't know it would use more memory then the 32bit.
About turbo memory, my idea was that it would be used to store more data, working similarly to another memory RAM. Sometimes I program the computer to create big matrix files and I follow the memory usage using task manager, as you said. Then, I watch the memory being used, until the computer eventually runs out of memory and crashes. Therefore, I though the turbo memory could be used by this means. Any guess?
01-26-2009 07:23 PM - edited 01-26-2009 07:24 PM
Intel's "Turbo Memory" was obviously named by their marketing team, as its name has virtually nothing to do with its function. All it really is, is a large persistent solid state cache for the hard drive. But being flash based, it has the usual slow write/decently fast read characteristics. In my case I have 4GB ram with 2GB Turbo Memory (only 2GB was available when I got my system) -- the only real benefits I can see to having it on over having it off is that when it's off, Vista hammers the hard drive a *lot* more. Any actual overall speedup is very little to none (except for initial system startup, when it seems to help some -- not a lot, but some). So the benefits are more in overall power use and less wear and tear on your hard drive. You can customize it a bit and park specified programs on your Turbo Memory, but I haven't bothered (if I had 4GB of Turbo Memory, I might experiment a bit).
From my experience, I'd say it would be best to have your Turbo Memory at least as large as your ram for best efficiency. For the $50 I paid for it, I can't complain too much -- and I've had no problems so far. But when I initially ordered it on my system, my understanding of how it would help me and the degree of speedup was totally wrong. Think of Turbo Memory as being a hardware patch to try to make Vista less of a beast on notebooks and an attempt to reduce power use by short cutting some of Vista's hard drive use -- it succeeds in this to a modest degree.