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First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?
  
 
ZhanMing12
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


CanadaMark wrote:
There is some misinformation in here.

It's way easier to hit 16GB than you think - just because your personal usage does not take you to 16GB, it doesn't mean other people don't regularly take advantage of it. Even on my crappy work PC I am using 12GB of RAM with just two browsers w/tabs open, Outlook, and some big Excel sheets. How so many people in this thread seem to know the details of other people's PC usage is a mystery to me. In fact the base PC spec in our office calls for 16GB because even MS application usage
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Okay - lots of misinformation here. Full disclaimer: my day job involves a ton of scientific computing on my own cluster. Between various workstations and my home server I have >600Gb of RAM and ~120 CPU cores.

16Gb is perfectly fine for 99% of the stuff that happens under the sky. Even if you're stitching >150mb RAW files, the bottleneck is generally Adobe's terrible optimization and poor threading and not the amount or speed of RAM or how powerful your CPU is.

The real problem is that RAM prices are sky-high right now. Waiting for six months might save the OP close to $100 judging by current DDR4 prices. I wouldn't recommend buying any more than the bare minimum of necessary RAM right now, and we're not talking about 4Gb vs. 8Gb here.

CanadaMark wrote:
Even upgrading RAM in the future has it's own problems. That CPU cannot handle more than dual channel RAM. The fastest way to configure 16GB of RAM on the Z720 platform is 2X8GB. When you upgrade to 32GB, you need to buy a 2X16GB kit instead of another 2X8GB kit if you want optimal speeds. Even if you do decide to just add another 2X8GB kit, there is no guarantee the exact same RAM will be sold that you bought many years ago. Just another reason to get 2X16GB from the start.


Not exactly. Mixing RAM sticks is not a big deal if you match the frequency and CAS latency. Also, both Dual vs. Quad channel and RAM frequency matters very, very little outside of synthetic tests. I've run tests on one of my boards that takes Xeon's but only has two physical RAM slots. Even fairly RAM-bandwidth heavy tasks like file compression show no penalties. Now, when you have 40 CPU cores all inverting matrices RAM speed is a problem. But that isn't a problem for OP.


CanadaMark wrote:
An aging quad core CPU isn't doing much to future proof anyone, especially these days. In about a month it will be replaced by the Coffee Lake i7-8700K where Intel will move to a 6c/12t layout for their mainstream Z370 platform to replace the popular 7700K (Z270). If you want to future proof yourself, you should look at 6+ core setups either in the Skylake-X line or upcoming Coffee Lake line. More and more software, and even lots of games now, are being written to harness a lot more than 4c/8t. I have 8c/16t on my i7-7820X (basically two 7700K's)
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IMO 4c/8t is also perfectly fine for photo editing for the foreseeable future. Photoshop and LR scales so poorly across >5-6 cores that it's hardly worth the extra money. In this case my suggestion is the exactly opposite - take the quad core CPU and get a bit of OC with an AIO or a beefy air cooler.

Your use case might benefit from more threads if your HDR workflow is well-threaded. That unfortunately just isn't the case for most things Adobe. LR doesn't really scale beyond 4 cores, and when it does so the marginal returns are so small that it hardly matters. A classic case of Amdahl's law at work.




Sep 03, 2017 at 04:39 AM
ZhanMing12
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


spooky action wrote:
Thanks to everyone for their comments and recommendations. Just to clarify the dilemma a bit: The cost difference at issue is $182.00, or $287 for the 32gb of RAM vs. $105.00 for the 16gb (2x8gb) of Ram, with all else being equal.

At a $100 difference, I would definitely go with the 32gb and wouldn't have posed the question. At $180, it's a more difficult decision, since I would use the savings on an EVGA 1070 gtx GPU to drive a 1440p monitor (way overkill and unnecessary for photography, I know), or a better monitor than the BenQ SW2700pt
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If you're not certain that you need the full 32Gb, I would wait a little and see. RAM prices are at near-historic highs for DDR4. I spent roughly 80% more per stick on recent purchases compare to the same time last year.

As monitors go, my preferences is 4K or go home. But to each his own. Once you get used to 4k @ 27' it's definitely hard to go back to 1440p, though.

For gaming the 1070 is a massive step up from the 1060. That said, GPU prices are also inflated because of the mining craze. Being something of a cheapskate with PC components I would get a 1060 3gb and wait for the world to return to sanity, but that means fiddling with drivers down the road.






Sep 03, 2017 at 04:46 AM
15Bit
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


rico wrote:
My company in 1993 purchased a basic DEC Alpha for $13K. Most of the cost was the excessive amount of RAM: 96MB! In the last decade or so, DRAM has become more reliable, partly due to reduced radioactivity from the IC package. I still insist on ECC which obligates Xeon usage—thanks Intel.


I remember in the late 90's we inherited a pile of around 20 HP Unix workstations when an industry contact upgraded their number crunching and visualisation cluster. Manufactured in around 1993-94 they came with a range of RAM from 64-256MB. I had a PC magazine from the same era, and just taking PC RAM prices as a reference (not the inflated workstation vendor prices) the cluster must have cost more than £200k in RAM alone. The workstations also came with 21 inch 1280x1024 flat screen CRT's which were gorgeous (and probably also insanely expensive).




Sep 03, 2017 at 07:58 AM
Dragonfire
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


In 1997 SDRC began porting to Windows NT and the Dell Precision Pentium's was the biggest breakthrough and then prices began to fall. Video cards instead of Graphics Accelerators.

I installed 32gig just because...



Sep 03, 2017 at 11:13 AM
 

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rico
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


Comments about OP's goals to run LR/PS quickly, and be "futureproof".

LR in particular is notorious for underutilizing cores. With Moore's Law dead, multicore is the modern way to boost general processing, and that may require new tools. I'm exploring C1 which is claimed to be better in this regard. I also use batch-processing where Linux launches, for example, 14 ImageMagick instances for a throughput gain of 11x walltime.

Futureproofing is an empty promise in tech unless you mean cuniform tablets! Getting bang for the buck from the latest generation of equipment means a big upfront cost, then waiting years for the payoff. A better route is buying older generation (either new or used) and enjoying that low cost of entry right away. You also avoid being the guinea pig for latest generation ideas and implementations with latent screwups (buggy logic in CPUs and chipsets, thermal issues, mounting problems, new-fangled connectors, smart power supplies <<shudder>> ).

Yesterday, I swapped an Asus M5A97 mobo for a friend to fix a crashing problem. He regains use of an 8-core AMD FX-8320 (a fossil with fine performance) and 32GB installed. I took the Newegg price of $92 new; used prices are even lower. The price for used and old-stock computer components is simply amazing. DDR4 too expensive? Try DDR3. For pure fun or bragging rights, new gen is a win, but is often the wrong choice otherwise.



Sep 03, 2017 at 12:38 PM
Ho1972
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


As an anecdotal aside, I've been editing for about 4 hours. Capture One, Photoshop, Font Explorer Pro and Bridge have been open continuously with LR open sporadically. I also have a browser running to cruise the net during short breaks plus all the crap that runs in the background. Out of 32GB of RAM, I have about 6 free GB left.

Seems in my case 32 is surely not too much — some days it's not enough.




Sep 03, 2017 at 02:29 PM
15Bit
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


rico wrote:
Futureproofing is an empty promise in tech unless you mean cuniform tablets! Getting bang for the buck from the latest generation of equipment means a big upfront cost, then waiting years for the payoff.

I'm not sure i completely agree, though i do see your point. I think perhaps it would be more accurate to state that most people simply don't need (or even notice) the performance of a shiny new top of the line computer setup. And making the final steps on the performance ladder have always been disproportionally expensive, and i personally tend to avoid paying 50% more for 5% extra performance.

There is some value to future-proofing though. If i look back at my PC's since the first in 1996, i have added RAM to every single one of them during their lifetime. In some cases within a year of purchase. And i didn't add it because i thought the spec would look cool on a web forum - in all cases i added it because i was doing stuff that had me hitting the swap drive. OK, in the early days the prices fell rapidly and so i probably saved money by waiting. But in the last 5-7 years prices have been relatively stable and any saving has been more than offset by the loss incurred when selling the older RAM modules. Following that I now overspec my RAM capacity as a matter of course, though i don't pay through the nose for super high clockspeed, low latency modules.

I also now just buy the fastest CPU i can straight out, rather than looking to upgrade later. This is for the same reason as the RAM - CPU's don't drop all that much in cost even when new architectures get released, and swapping out leaves you with an old slower one that is essentially value-less. That's not to say i just throw money at the CPU - i still think the "K" model i5's are a more sensible buy than the i7's, as i've yet to find an application that benefits enough from hyperthreading that i would notice the difference. So i will be looking very closely at the new 6 core i5-8400K when it is released.

This approach does work for me - my current workstation is an overclocked i5-3570K. I paid extra for the K-series CPU, a decent motherboard, Samsung SSD and a Seasonic PSU. By paying a bit extra then, it is still in service now, more than 5 years later. A less capable system would probably have been upgraded a year ago, reducing the amortization period by a year or more and making it effectively more expensive.



Sep 03, 2017 at 02:35 PM
GOVA
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · First PC Build - Is 16gb RAM Enough?


Well, my take:

This pops up every now and then... is N RAM enough?

There is never enough RAM. Never. Buy as much as you can afford. Too much RAM will not hurt anyone.

When I was at 32GB, I was able to kill it with PS and focus stacking.

Now at 64GB, I've hit the limit too. When you deal with 35MP/50MPix files it is not that hard to do.

It all depends on usage scenarios. Try focus stacking of 80 50MPix files in PS with 16 GB of RAM and report back.

If you just browse and do LR, 16 GB will do for sure.



Sep 06, 2017 at 03:14 PM
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