How much RAM is “enough”?

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Monday, June 27th, 2011

RAM usage

I’m actually scared by the fact that even 24GB of RAM isn’t enough for a high-end workstation these days. And I’m talking about projects up to a maximum of full HD resolution! I don’t even consider 2K or, hell, 4K projects at the moment as I primarily work on TV commercials etc…

This is very interesting as I remember every time I upgraded the amount of RAM of my workstation, I was very pleased with the performance and the amounts of available memory every time I worked on something. But then, not long after, I started to reach the limits of the system’s resources.

The thing is, when you reach the cap of your CPU, or GPU for that matter, your renders just take a bit longer to finish. But as soon as you reach the RAM limit, your apps start crashing and the entire system becomes unstable! So, it is a bit of a problem.

I started reaching the limits not long ago when I had tons of apps open at the same time. Especially Nuke, Max, VMWare Workstation and Photoshop. But on recent projects I started reaching the cap with Nuke and Photoshop alone! It’s terrifying as it suggests that no matter how much RAM I put in the system, it will never be enough!

So, it seems that my next workstation upgrade will, indeed, be a RAM boost. Not sure I’ll be able to buy the full 96GB of ECC RAM at once, but, I’m certain I’ll get there very soon.


  1. YOU ARE MENTAL,……. and totally right

    Comment by Milan Kolar — July 4, 2011 @ 15:00

  2. don’t be silly! 24Gb usually are enough. in worst cases 32 do the shit.

    I worked with lots of different personalities lastly since people come and go;)
    and from what I see, the better the soft- and hardware becomes, the worse become the artists. this doesn’t count for everybody, and I know it also does not apply to you duber. but people get so spoiled and lazy.

    let’s have a look at the shading/lighting people. since there is vray with it’s fast nice standard GI setup, everybody is a good shading artist, because he gets out a nice image. well, guess what, I can do that shit too! and I am really not good at shading and lighting.
    suddenly images that are half as good looking as the stuff from 3 years ago, render longer and hit hardware limits on the new machines. (and I am not talking about transformers 70k pieces objects)
    simple shit like a cylinder shape in some GI environment render 8h a frame. common!!

    what I want to say, there is still hundreds of little buttons and checkboxes and methods that you can use to optimize your work. as far as I know nuke and photoshop have both a max memory usage limit. maybe I am wrong. but I came rarely across a render using more than 32GB (where it was really necessary :)

    Comment by Goran — July 17, 2011 @ 20:21

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