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virtual memory

 
 
nixbone
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:24 am
what exactly is virtual memory
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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 1,199 • Replies: 6
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rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:53 am
@nixbone,
nixbone wrote:

what exactly is virtual memory

See the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_memory

If you have specific questions after reading that, I can try to explain.
drillersmum au
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 06:50 pm
@rosborne979,
yikes, I went to that site and it was far way too over the top of my head. Is there an easier way of explaining exactly what Virtual Memory really is? Is it something that if you have enough of it, it helps you to have more things up and running on the screen at the one time without the computer crashing or freezing up or spitting the dummy? Is it true that the more Virtual Memory you have the better or faster the computer will run/perform, or is that a myth? Currently I am seeing new computers/laptops on the shop shelves (esp Windows 7) that have 4 GB of ram. Is that what Virtual Memory is? When I ask someone they tell me it is good for playing games. If a user isn't playing games then having 4GB of RAM isn't necessary. Is any of this true or false?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 07:34 pm
@drillersmum au,
Back in the late 80s, computers had relatively little Random Access Memory; in fact they had too little to complete certain operations. Someone, and I believe it was Borland Software, worked out a system by which the hard disk could act as Random Access Memory. It was definately not faster, as hard drives were, and still are slower than RAM. Nevertheless, memory intensive functions could at least be performed. This was called Virtual Memory, because it wasn't really RAM, but it looked and acted like it was.

Interestingly, at around the same time, there were hard disk functions that were simply too slow. Program and RAM permitting, they could be loaded into Volitile Memory (RAM) and worked much faster. The space allocated for this function was quite small, but sometimes very useful. This is what is meant by Virtual Disk, and I'm not sure it is even used today.

That 4GB RAM is not Virtual Memory. It is the real thing. If you are not playing games, 4gig should be adequate, even for VISTA. Windows 7 may be less of a memory hog than VISTA.

I skimmed the wilki article. Offhand, my impression was that it was sort of a Virtual Explanation. It looked and acted like a real explanation, but I too would have to spend a bit more time than I want to see if it were the real thing.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 09:30 pm
@drillersmum au,
drillersmum au wrote:

yikes, I went to that site and it was far way too over the top of my head. Is there an easier way of explaining exactly what Virtual Memory really is? Is it something that if you have enough of it, it helps you to have more things up and running on the screen at the one time without the computer crashing or freezing up or spitting the dummy? Is it true that the more Virtual Memory you have the better or faster the computer will run/perform, or is that a myth? Currently I am seeing new computers/laptops on the shop shelves (esp Windows 7) that have 4 GB of ram. Is that what Virtual Memory is? When I ask someone they tell me it is good for playing games. If a user isn't playing games then having 4GB of RAM isn't necessary. Is any of this true or false?

The questions you are asking don't have absolute answers because there are interactions between the various hardware elements and the particular OS's involved as well as the particular applications being run, which means that the answers are not "true/false" but more "sometimes and it depends".

To run games at top speed you need a powerful machine. Basically that means you need a fast CPU, a modern OS (or a special function OS, like XBox or something), a fast data bus, lots of real memory (RAM) and a hot graphics board (which are basically specialized computers on a board devoted to driving the video).

For gaming, you shouldn't have to worry about virtual memory. That would really only come into play if you didn't have enough RAM in the machine. 2Gigs of RAM is usually enough to make most things run well. 4Gigs of RAM should be plenty.

What game are you wanting to play? And how much money do you have to invest in a machine? If you told me you were trying to run a new game on an old Windows ME machine with 512Meg of RAM, then I would say you have some virtual memory challenges to deal with. But if you're using a modern machine with a modern OS, then virtual memory probably isn't a concern.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 11:00 pm
@drillersmum au,
drillersmum au wrote:
Is there an easier way of explaining exactly what Virtual Memory really is?

RAM is solid-state memory, and is very fast.

Hard drives are magnetic media storage and are relatively slow.

Virtual memory is a way of using the hard drive to simulate RAM, and rarely-used information can be "swapped out" to disk.

drillersmum au wrote:
Is it something that if you have enough of it, it helps you to have more things up and running on the screen at the one time without the computer crashing or freezing up or spitting the dummy?

Virtual memory frees up some RAM, but it will actually degrade performance if you rely too heavily on it. Swapping to disk is very slow.

drillersmum au wrote:
Is it true that the more Virtual Memory you have the better or faster the computer will run/perform, or is that a myth?

It helps only up to a point.

drillersmum au wrote:
Currently I am seeing new computers/laptops on the shop shelves (esp Windows 7) that have 4 GB of ram. Is that what Virtual Memory is?

No. RAM is solid-state memory.

drillersmum au wrote:
When I ask someone they tell me it is good for playing games.

Generally, more RAM is better. There is a practical limit because a casual user just doesn't run that much stuff that requires system resources such as RAM. People who use resource-intensive programs (such as games) will benefit more from more RAM.

drillersmum au wrote:
f a user isn't playing games then having 4GB of RAM isn't necessary.

It all depends on the user and what trade-offs they are willing to undergo. More RAM is generally better, but a casual user may not see a reasonable benefit for the additional cost.
0 Replies
 
ngoaita
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 04:10 am
@rosborne979,
Quote:
See the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_memory
If you have specific questions after reading that, I can try to explain.

Virtual Memory is a chunk of space on the hard drive (which can either be a fixed size, or dynamically adjusted by the operating system) that acts as sort of a 'fake RAM' when your memory is filled. It's slower than actual RAM, so the computer uses the RAM first, and the Virtual Memory second.

If you're using a lot of memory (using a memory-intensive program, or have too many programs open), and the RAM is full, and the Virtual Memory area is too small, or the hard drive is running out of free space, you can get that error.

Since this isn't your own computer, you won't be able to add more RAM (though that's a good solution if this were your private computer).

Empty the Recycle Bin and delete any temporary files, internet cache, etc. -- the more free space the computer has, the better.

You may also want to adjust the Virtual Memory settings (from the My Compuer Properties page) to allow Windows full control and dynamic resizing as needed.
View detail at http://msn.com/support/virtual/2342394?234/vir234.aspx[
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