Too much RAM?

I’ve been spec’ing out a new desktop and am intrigued by something I’m not sure I’ve seen before. It’s actually possible to get a computer with too much RAM now. 32GB is not really high-end, or expensive, and yet I can’t really think of any consumer/business application that would use that. Programs like photoshop or video editing or scientific engineering software have pretty much infinite appetites, so those programs would really be a question of diminishing returns.

As for me, I could literally put an an entire Windows 7 virtual machine on a RAM disk* with a ton of code, some decent-sized databases, and give that VM 4-8GB of RAM, and still have physical memory to spare. That said, I’m certainly going to get (at least) 32 because it’s a cheap upgrade from 8 or 16, so if I find a use for it, I’ll report back.

Making claims about the future can haunt you forever, even if you didn’t actually say it, so I’m not saying that we’ll never need 32GB, of there will ever actually be such a thing as “too much RAM” but I’m curious how long it will be until we do.

*You might think that the RAM disk is dead with the availability of SSD, but RAM is still dramatically (50-100x) faster than even high-end SSDs like Fusion-io, thanks to the limitations of the SATA or PCI bus.

The Where and When of Music

The idea that music can bring you back to a time and place is not a novel idea. There are songs you hear that make you remember the first time you heard them, or a specific event like a wedding, but I think there’s an even more powerful level. When I’m addicted to a song, it can get tied to a place as well as date, and when I’ve moved on from that place, I basically put that song back in its box, and file it away. It will come up in shuffle again someday, but it loses its primacy. Here are some of mine:

  • I Love a Rainy Night – Eddit Rabbit: Listening to the 45 in the playroom at my house when I was 5 or 6 years old.
  • Now That We Found Love – Heavy D and the Boyz: Involuntarily being subjected to this song every day on the bus to school. I think my blood pressure jumps 20 points just from hearing this.
  • Dig Your Own Hole – Chemical Brothers: Playing Starcraft in the basement of our hell-hole apartment on Tremont Street, wondering if I’d ever be able to find a programming job with no experience
  • Aenima – Tool: My friend/roommate at that same apartment Andy had a fancy stereo and a huge CD changer, but I think he only had 1 disc, so he pretty much played this album 24/7. I still can’t bring myself to buy a Tool album despite otherwise liking the band
  • Remixes – Ratatat: The second StyleFeeder office in it’s vacant, magenta glory.
  • A Thousand Suns – Linkin Park: The fourth (and current) StyleFeeder office. I seem to have no interest in listening to this album at home or in the car, but put it in a few times a week here