Although operating systems like Linux or FreeBSD show better performance having 64 MB of RAM, Windows XP is able to run on the same hardware.
Laskin (n.d.) writes that 128Mb was simply not enough to allow Windows XP to operate efficiently. He observed an average increase in speed of 25% between 128Mb and 256Mb. The next step up in his investigation was 512Mb. Here the increase was less dramatic but still quite noticeable, about a 5% increase in speed depending on the test.
Whilst extra memory can affect the overall speed, Lackey (n.d.) writes, it can also make for smoother operation depending on the task in hand. Basic word processing and Internet access usually require no more then 128-256Mb of RAM. More demanding tasks can soon show the inadequacy of low amounts of RAM.
Graphics and Sound are the two memory consumers. Complex documents containing graphics or embedded charts and especially more sophisticated PowerPoint presentations are much easier to handle with between 256and 512Mb. Databases start to benefit too at this level. In fact, the more RAM the better when it comes to these as they can keep their temporary tables in memory speeding up performance immensely.
The real memory consuming tasks include 3D work, both CAD (Computer Aided Design) and more ge ...