Why is Having Your RAM Full is a Good thing

It sounds a bit strange – Why Does Having Your RAM Full is Good? Have you ever witnessed a lot of RAM being used, by your Operating System, be it Windows, Linux, or Android, or any other Operating System. If yes, then don’t think that something is wrong with your Operating System. The new Modern Operating Systems are designed in a way to use the RAM, to use it as file cache and speed up things a little bit. Till the moment your computer has a good performance, you have nothing to get worried about.

If you recall the old times, when the computer used to starve for more RAM memory, the usage of high RAM memory basically means that the RAM memory is being used in a good way. Remember one fact, empty bits of RAM memory are simply wasted RAM.

High Memory Usage – Bad and Good

A high memory usage is not always the best thing. It’s not a good thing, if the computer system is slow. If you observe that your RAM is full, and your computer is running slow, and if the hard disk light is blinking in a constant manner, then it means that your computer is performing a swapping to disk operation. It basically means that your computer is accessing the hard disk of the computer, which actually is a slower process to access. It means that there is an overflow for the memory.

If you are facing the above situation, then it seems that you need to feed your computer with more RAM chips, or you need to stop using memory hungry programs. It’s a bad thing, isn’t it?

But there are two very different cases. In one case the computer does not perform good, and the other case in which your computer works in a just fine manner, but with loads of RAM being used, even if there are only few programs running.

Disk Caching

With Windows XP on a machine, in the system idle period you will observe that it will be using several hundreds of megabytes of memory. If Windows 7 is installed on the same system, then you will observe something different. It will be using several GB’s of memory being used up, even if it is idle.

So what is the scene exactly? Is it that Windows XP is lighter and faster than Windows 7? Obviously not! Are the new Operating Systems not managing the memory properly? Not at all! It’s something else it seems.

With the present Operating Systems, the RAM is more than enough than it was earlier, when Windows XP was the main fuss. The present Operating Systems take the advantages of those plenty RAM’s. They use the RAM’s as a cache. It is used to cache the most frequently accessed program data and the files.

The above introduced feature is known as Super Fetch. It was introduced with the advance of Windows Vista. The feature of Super Fetch is that it keeps an eye on the applications which one uses, and all the commonly used libraries and the application files are pre-loaded into computer’s RAM, before one actually needs them. Once we launch an application, all the application’s data and the files are fetched form the RAM instead of accessing the disk to get them, which actually would have been a slower process. So, this is the reason the launching of application is sped up, and makes your contributes for a faster and more responsive computer system.

The same case is applicable to Linux as well. You will notice in Linux as well that the computer uses a lot of RAM memory just to cache the files from the disk. Sometimes, new Linux users really get concerned when they see such an activity. GNOME System Monitor is a resource usage monitoring program, which generally hides the memory being used by the caching of the disk data, and makes it invisible from the user, so that they may not create a concern regarding it.

The Browsers and the Other Software

There is a similar logic associated with the browsers and other software, having their own caches. Let’s take an example. If your browser, such as Mozilla Firefox, is taking up a lot of RAM memory, then it is not bad. If your system provides more RAM to the browser, it will be good that the browser in turn uses it. Firefox speeds its web page loading time by creating a cache of the visited pages, which fastens the operations of Forward and Backward options. This is the main reason; Firefox has the feature to automatically determine the best cache size according to the amount of RAM present in your computer system.

If we see the history, then we may notice that Firefox had many memory leaks in the past. But this won’t change any logic or concept. It won’t be much useful if Mozilla restricted the RAM usage by Firefox down to 60 or 70 MB’s. This is because the modern computers have loads of RAM’s, which can be effectively used to speed up the web browsing experience.

The above logic is again repeated for other software. If software is using high amount of RAM, then it doesn’t mean that it is wasting it, it might be utilizing it in a good manner.

Empty RAM is a Waste

So, till now the conclusion is that more RAM as a cache is awesome. In turn, then you might want to reserve these RAM’s by not letting the program files and other data to occupy the RAM. Instead, you might prefer to keep your RAM’s empty, so that you may like the programs which are best suited for you should use them, and get launched up immediately, instead of following the algorithm which your Operating System follows.

But it isn’t like that. All the RAM’s memory is available to all the programs; even if you RAM gets full of cached files or even if it is empty. When some other programs needs some memory from the RAM, then the cached data present in the RAM is marked as low priority, and will be discarded if more memory is required by the requesting application.

If the data can be discarded easily, then why not use the full RAM capacity, and make the programs faster.

Empty RAM is a simply waste. Writing data to empty RAM is not faster in any ways, and nor does there is any kind of less power consumption by the empty RAM. But instead, if you launch a program which is already in the RAM’s file cache memory, then that program will load much faster than the case when you RAM is empty.

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