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Hardware Thread, Basic question,what is RAM,CPU power? in Technical; Greetings people, I'm trying to understand the advantage of having more RAM and having a more GHz processor.I know that ...
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    Basic question,what is RAM,CPU power?

    Greetings people,

    I'm trying to understand the advantage of having more RAM and having a more GHz processor.I know that basically having more of them makes programs run smoothly,i just don't understand their basic working and effect on the computer's performance.I have a laptop with windows 7 and i'm always trying to keep the heat generation to a minimum.I normally watch the windows CPU meter for that:

    Image 1.png

    The circle on the left keeps fluctuating and the one on the right remains constant most of the time.I know that the one circle on the left shows us about the heat generation.I watch a lot of videos on my laptop,so to reduce heat generation,i was looking for a media player which keeps %CPU power on left circle to a minimum and offers same level of performance.I observed that the media players which used least %power on the left used relatively more %power on the right,not by much though(a few % more).

    So is there more advantage of having a more GHz processor than having more RAM or viceversa?I know that this is a very basic question,but i'm just not able to find the exact answer that i'm searching for.

    When i type in the same question on google,i get answers like the processor is the brain of the computer and stuff,but i just want to know how having more of it will affect the performance of my computer,when i play games or do other processes which require a lot of CPU power.

    Thanks
    Last edited by downloaderfan; 18th July 2013 at 02:34 PM.

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    Joanne's Avatar
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    RAM basically stores memory for programs to use. The more RAM you have, the more programs you can have open at any one time without the computer losing performance.

    The numbers on CPU's, or the speed represent how much data it can process, writing data to RAM, hard drive etcs.

    If you are worried about the operating temperature of your laptop, it might be worth getting a cooling mat, although don't know where you would get one from in India, they are available online. It is basically a mat with fans in it.

    Your laptop isn't a HP perchance?

  3. Thanks to Joanne from:

    downloaderfan (18th July 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    It's a basic question without a one size fits all basic answer! Easiest thing to do is cover off the basic functionality of each device and let you read into it what you will (or ask more questions).

    The CPU processes the instructions for every running program. The faster it goes - more Ghz - the quicker programs will run. Running quicker generates more heat. How much heat depends on the exact make and model. In most instance, unless you are overclocking, it shouldn't matter if the CPU is hitting 100% - that just means it's being very efficient. If you are having problems as it get's near 100% then you have a heatsink/fan cooling problem.

    The RAM stores the instructions the CPU is going to process. The more RAM you have the more instructions can be stored there without the CPU being made to wait for the slower Hard Drive. It doesn't matter how much RAM you have, the computer should never run any hotter.

    The advantage of more of one over the other depends largely on what you using the computer for. And for most people it's very easy to spend too much money buying more of either than they really need.

    Can't say either of those dials tell you very much anyway. Your better off taking a peek at the Resource Manager/Task Manager to see what the computer is actually doing.

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    downloaderfan (18th July 2013)

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Your processor is how quickly you can think. The faster the speed (higher the GHz), the faster it can think.

    Your RAM is how many things you can think of. The more RAM you have, the more things you can think of at once. Practically speaking computers will overrun the amount of RAM they have and start using the hard drive as pretend-RAM, but hard drives are much much slower and you will notice the computer going slowly as you switch between programs/load more up.

    The faster your processor the faster your computer, largely speaking. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer - until your computer has enough, at which point more RAM achieves nothing*. But RAM is much cheaper to buy and easier to add after the fact than a faster processor.

    That is all rough, but accurate enough without going into masses of detail.


    *(there are exceptions, but I don't want to muddy the waters with talk of ReadyBoost etc.)

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    Thanks for the quick reply guys.

    If you are worried about the operating temperature of your laptop, it might be worth getting a cooling mat, although don't know where you would get one from in India, they are available online. It is basically a mat with fans in it.
    Yeah i know about cooling mats,its not difficult to find one where i live,i'm just trying to increase my laptop's life overall either way.

    Your laptop isn't a HP perchance?
    Yes it is HP compaq,you can find its entire specifications below if u want to:
    Compaq Presario CQ56-206SA Notebook PC Product Specifications Compaq Presario CQ56-206SA Notebook PC | HP® Support

    Your better off taking a peek at the Resource Manager/Task Manager to see what the computer is actually doing.
    Yes,i do keep peeking at the resource manager to end process of a program if its abnormally using my CPU power.


    I do understand basically what you guys are saying,but i still have my question:

    As of my experience,games which keep my left %CPU in the CPU meter at about 50 run without any problems,but games which keep my %CPU at about 100 begin to cause lagging problems.

    In this case,having more of which is better?And my % power on the right circle of the CPU meter never goes above 65,why so?

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downloaderfan View Post
    As of my experience,games which keep my left %CPU in the CPU meter at about 50 run without any problems,but games which keep my %CPU at about 100 begin to cause lagging problems.

    In this case,having more of which is better?And my % power on the right circle of the CPU meter never goes above 65,why so?
    Sounds like the game just doesn't need to use all the RAM you have available. So adding more isn't going to do anything. If you're CPU is hitting 100% it's obviously being maxed out. So a faster CPU might help. Since you're running games though I'd hazard a guess that either a) the GPU isn't good enough for the game you want to play, or b) graphics settings are set too high (drop the resolution, reduce the colour palate, turn of AA, etc).

    Laptops aren't exactly known for being the best gaming rigs. The link to your laptop spec pretty much confirms this. 4Gb ram is plenty (thus 65% used) but the Pentium T4500 and Intel graphics chips don't make great gaming combinations. Unfortunately there's not a whole lot you can do as they are rarely easily (if at all) upgradable by the end user. You might be able to put a faster CPU in there but the GPU is still going to bottleneck the performance.

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    downloaderfan (18th July 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    So a faster CPU might help.
    That is exactly what i thought of,which brings me back to my original question.Why is it that some games,softwares use more CPU than RAM,while some,the other way?Is it how the programmer wanted them to be based on some convention?If the software used more RAM than CPU,i wouldn't be facing this problem at all.Is it just possible for games to use a lot more of one and a very less of another?

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    I think you're looking for a link that doesn't exist. The CPU usage simply depends on the number of calculations the running program (plus any background programs, including the OS) needs to make. The RAM usage is down to how much memory the program needs to run. There is no need to worry that some programs use lots of RAM and very little CPU or vice versa, it doesn't mean there is anything wrong (it might in some circumstances but at the most basic level - don't worry about it).

    Now, in terms of what you can do to improve performance: if your RAM rarely makes it to 100%, great, it means you have plenty of RAM for the tasks you perform so you can stop worrying about it. If your CPU regularly hits 100%, then whatever you're trying to do is simply putting high demand on the CPU. Whilst not a problem, a faster CPU may help matters (although note that 100% CPU usage isn't a problem in and of itself, however if it regularly reaches 100% and sits there, you'll start to experience lag as the CPU is being devoted to one task). As @tmcd35 said, it's your GPU that's going to be the biggest problem as regards to gaming. Unfortunately, in a laptop, there's not a lot you can do about that. Again, as @tmcd35 said, try turning down the resolution on the game and reducing the various graphics settings in-game until it runs acceptably.

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    downloaderfan (18th July 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I think you're looking for a link that doesn't exist. The CPU usage simply depends on the number of calculations the running program (plus any background programs, including the OS) needs to make. The RAM usage is down to how much memory the program needs to run. There is no need to worry that some programs use lots of RAM and very little CPU or vice versa, it doesn't mean there is anything wrong (it might in some circumstances but at the most basic level - don't worry about it).

    Now, in terms of what you can do to improve performance: if your RAM rarely makes it to 100%, great, it means you have plenty of RAM for the tasks you perform so you can stop worrying about it. If your CPU regularly hits 100%, then whatever you're trying to do is simply putting high demand on the CPU. Whilst not a problem, a faster CPU may help matters (although note that 100% CPU usage isn't a problem in and of itself, however if it regularly reaches 100% and sits there, you'll start to experience lag as the CPU is being devoted to one task). As @tmcd35 said, it's your GPU that's going to be the biggest problem as regards to gaming. Unfortunately, in a laptop, there's not a lot you can do about that. Again, as @tmcd35 said, try turning down the resolution on the game and reducing the various graphics settings in-game until it runs acceptably.
    Thanks for your reply,my whole point of starting this thread was to understand the distribution of CPU and RAM usage to reduce heat generation with or without a cooling pad.It was because,as i said,some video media players used less CPU heating to provide the same level of performance,this increasing my laptop's life.I know that if i use programs which keep my laptop's CPU usage at 100,my laptop will overtime have cooling problems and would begin to auto shut down after at low levels of heating.I know that cuz i have lost a laptop like that before.I'm not really a gamer,but i use softwares which use high CPU power to do their function,i used the gaming part just as an example to understand better.So GPU isn't really a problem,whatsoever,i got to learn more.Thanks for the optimmizing tips.I didn't really consider programs which use more RAM but less CPU a problem,its just that i often encounter more softwares which use very less of my RAM and a lot of my CPU,so i thought "WHY IS IT SO?Does CPU power have more priority over RAM".
    So i started a thread here.

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    Joanne's Avatar
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    Just a quick FYI - HP's are poor design for heat. My husband spent a fortune on a HP laptop and it gets too hot to actually have on your lap because the location of vents etcs.

    In a few years when you come to buy another laptop, avoid HP!!!

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    downloaderfan (19th July 2013)

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    CPU and RAM do different jobs, so it's not a case of how an application has been programmed or one having priority over the other, it's just the nature of the task you are trying to do that decdes the balance of the resource usage.

    Say you are building a shed, with a handsaw (slow CPU) and an electric drill (lots of RAM). Cutting the wood is a slow task, because it relies on the saw, but building the shed is faster because you have the electric drill. There's no way of approaching the job that would let you use the electric drill to cut the wood faster, though. If you had an electric saw (fast CPU) and a screwdriver (insufficient RAM) you would still be limited, because you can't screw a shed together with an electric saw. The only way to really speed the task up is to have the fastest tool for each task - an electric saw (fast CPU) and an electric drill (lots of RAM). Neither of the tools has priority over the other, because you need them both.

    Some video players may use less CPU than other video players, because they are programmed more efficiently and not trying to perform other tasks in the background (like cataloguing your media library), but you couldn't compare a video player to (say) Photoshop because they are doing inherently different jobs and therefore have different requirements.

  18. 4 Thanks to sonofsanta:

    downloaderfan (19th July 2013), LosOjos (19th July 2013), tmcd35 (19th July 2013), VeryPC_Tom_M (19th July 2013)

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    @sonofsanta - Kudos for the most imaginative RAM/CPU analogy I've read yet - love it! It appears my saw doesn't have access to enough screwdriver

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    Just a quick FYI - HP's are poor design for heat. My husband spent a fortune on a HP laptop and it gets too hot to actually have on your lap because the location of vents etcs.

    In a few years when you come to buy another laptop, avoid HP!!!

    Thanks for the info,i'll be sure next time not to buy an HP laptop.

    @sonofsanta Thanks for that detailed information,this confusion has been bugging me for a long while since it was so basic.Now finally i've got rid of it.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Excellent analogy - have you considered teaching?

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Excellent analogy - have you considered teaching?
    I haven't the patience to deal with children, unfortunately I don't think the GTC consider "but he was really annoying" a mitigating factor for throttling a child.

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