Flunk, from our forums, has explained some of the differences between Vista and XP’s memory management, and I wanted to highlight his comments here.
I think you may be a bit confused by the way that Vista manages memory. The memory management system in Vista is completely new it is actually designed to fill almost all memory on any system all the time. It does this by caching data from the hard drive that you use frequently (Superfetch). This can speed up drive access because it is cached in RAM (especially if you have a lot of RAM).
You can’t use the free ram displayed in the task manager as a metric to the amount of RAM that is free for use. When more memory is requested windows pages off the cache to virtual memory (or a readyboost flash drive) to free physical memory.
The best way to judge subjective performance is to use the machine for about week to see how it works. I have used Vista on a Athlon XP 2500+ with 1GB of RAM and found it very responsive.
I am not saying Vista is not more resource intensive than XP (because it obviously is). Just that the metric you are useing to measure RAM useage does not mean anything. Even on systems with 4GB+ the memory usage will be constantly 90%+.
If you feel like reading about this.
Now this does make me feel a bit better. Vista is still of course a resource hog, but it’s a resource hog that I can respect a lot more. I only now want to know ad hoc how much memory that Vista cache is utilizing in real time. I’m sure there must be a feature in there to see that.
Mind you, I guess this wouldn’t change the views of the business customers who make up the majority of those asking to downgrade to XP. For them, XP SP2 is stable and reliable. Meanwhile, Vista has AeroGlass which business users don’t care for and view as a deterrent because of its intense graphics needs (even though AeroGlass can be disabled). And more importantly, business users will inherently have a huge number of initial bugs due to its relatively new status and inherent complexity. Thank goodness for SP1, huh?
And while it’s not enough for me to want to upgrade from XP, it does make me more open to having Vista pre-installed if I buy a new computer. Thanks for the info, Flunk.