General Question

marinelife's avatar

Will adding RAM to my machine solve my problem?

Asked by marinelife (62440points) May 14th, 2008

When I try to use Skype for video calls and when I try to watch full-length TV shows, I get hesitations. Would adding RAM fix this problem?

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14 Answers

FiRE_MaN's avatar

yes it probably will

KirillN's avatar

I believe there are 4 components in play here: speed of the processor in your computer, speed of the processor on your video card, RAM in your computer, and RAM on your video card. Improving any of the 4 will give a great boost to video but adding more RAM to your computer is the cheapest route.

xyzzy's avatar

Probably not. RAM helps only if you see your hard drive go crazy (swapping to VM) while using Skype, which is unlikely. Playing videos and Skype are CPU intensive applications, not necessarily RAM intensive. A faster processor may be in order. However, modern processors shouldn’t break a sweat decoding video (except for 1080p HD video). I suspect something else is wrong.

(assuming you’re running windows) Launch the Task Manager and go to the Performance tab. Keep that up while watching something that stutters. If the CPU usage graph is running high before you even start the video, then something else is running on your machine that is causing problems. Find it and kill it.

mirza's avatar

While adding more RAM will decrease solve some of the freeze-up issues, it could also be that your internet connection is at fault. Check to see if your internet service is fast enough to stream full tv shows

chaosrob's avatar

Video decompression is driven by several factors, including processor speed and sustained disk read speeds. Adding RAM will help if the drive is lagging, but if you’re dropping frames because the processor can’t keep up, more RAM probably won’t help much.

marinelife's avatar

Thanks to everyone for the help.

@chaosrob Not that adding RAM is that expensive, but any way I can know (as a pretty non-techie) which my problem is before buying the RAM?

@mirza this is what I have: 3 Mbps/384 Kbps

@xyzzy Windows XP I don’t think what you suggest is the problem, but I will recheck it. The reason I don’t think so is that I recently got rid of the ghastly CPU hog Windows Defender so I had been monitoring the processes, and I did not see any others that are issues.

mirza's avatar

I have never tried Skype, but i doubt if the processor on the video card matters for streaming tv-shows online. I have a standard video card on a 3yr-old dell laptop with 1gb ram and i have never had problems with online videos (even with hd videos).

How much ram do you have anyways ? Honestly, i think adding a RAM wouldn’t hurt your computer at all. RAM is pretty cheap and really easy to install. So even if it doesn’t fix this problem, it will increase your bootup speed and the overall performance of your computer

8lightminutesaway's avatar

if you give us the specs to your computer (your video card, cpu, ram or just tell me what model computer you have), I can fairly definitively tell you whats slowing you down. right now, i would guess your video card since your having low frame rates. could also be processor, but probably not your RAM.

chaosrob's avatar

What are your system specs?

marinelife's avatar

OK, please don’t mock me too hard for this, but is there an easy way to find out those specs on my machine? If so, I can check it and tell you.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

yeah, just tell me what model computer you have and I can find the specs for you with a quick google search :)

mirza's avatar

Right click on my computer and click on Properties. It should bring up a window that displays your processor speed and your RAM

marinelife's avatar

eMachines T3410

AMD Sempron processor

3400+

2.01 Ghz, 384 MB of RAM

8lightminutesaway's avatar

yeah, that RAM is kinda low, but to be honest it could be any one of those things… go to your task manager like xxyzy said (cntrl+alt+del) without running any programs. Go to the performance tab. If your cpu usage is high, there is a background application running that is slowing you down. If your memory usage is high (thats the second graph) its the same problem, but it could also be that you don’t have enough RAM. windows xp uses a bunch of that RAM for itself to begin with. You have slow RAM and not much of it.
Next go to your processes tab and sort by cpu. The task that is highest under cpu should be system idle process (can someone verify this? I havent used xp in awhile and i cant remember if thats the correct name) if its something else, thats the program causing problem. next, sort by memory usage. search the ones that are using the most and see which ones you can get rid of.
then start skype and see what happens to your performance graphs.

… or buy more RAM. you’ll need 400 Mhz RAM and a bunch of it. your system supports up to 2 Gb of RAM but you don’t need that much. I’d recommend 1 Gb.

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