2gb vs 4gb RAM


byakko

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Hi there! So I'm thinking of preordering a Pyra, but I'm still torn whether to choose the 2gb or the 4gb version.
I know there are a few threads floating around already discussing this, but I'd like to hear some more opinions.

From what I gather 4gb is working now, but 2gb seems more stable (less battery consumption, apperently less heat?)?
Nevertheless most people have preordered 4gb and there is the question whether the 2gb units will be produced at all.

Would choosing 2gb extend the device's lifetime significantly because of less stress on the components?
Ideally I'd be able to use the Pyra instead of my notebook with 4gb RAM, plug it into a monitor or keyboard when at home and use it for university stuff, coding (C, Python) and occasional gaming on the go.
My notebook runs Linux Mint and the 4gb seem like a minimum for web browsing...I don't expect to run a heavy Java IDE (already slow enough there), but I'd like to use QEMU or Exagear if the performance is any good.
 

Silent-Hunter

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The 2 GB version seems to run almost anything you could possibly want to run on the Pyra. Web browsing seems to work fine on it even with lots of tabs open. I'm not sure about the heat thing, but if you don't want to run Minecraft with a lot of mods or anything heavy like that, 2 GB should be fine.
 

pimaster

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There is an expected higher battery life out of the 2GB version since more parts just means more power draw. There haven't been any comparisons though. Difference could 10 minutes to 60 minutes (wild guess). We thought it was a power issue but it seems mostly just a software issue (although, extra detail to power should be worth while in the long run). There is speculation that ram could be slightly quicker in the 4GB version since it could be dual channel access.
I think most people just want the extra wiggle room that 4GB offers. There have been videos of the 2GB version many games/browsers/applications at once and ram wasn't the bottleneck.
Virtual machine emulation can definitely eat some ram. People like to talk about ram disks for certain tasks.
30 Euro isn't much on a 600 Euro device, so it wasn't a big jump for me.
 

Silent-Hunter

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I'm still torn on which one I want. I preordered the 4GB version, but I'm definitely worried about the power draw problem. I'll have to wait for a comparison test.
 

Hellfleck

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If you are actually using the Pyra e.g. screen is on and processor running then the difference between 2GB and 4GB in power consumption will be tiny and probably unnoticeable BUT if the Pyra sleeps and almost everything else is turned of the difference between having to power and refresh 2GB and 4GB could be a big thing ... people are worried about standby time mostly

Ram thats not used does not generate much heat (only the refresh cycle) and if you regularly charge the Pyra go with the 4GB version, it has a big battery after all ;)
 

comradekingu

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Sounds like you are worried about bloat, swapping is way worse. Calculating it draws from various numbers for different scenarios, but I seem to remember the RAM-spec docs had some comparable numbers in them same for same.
 

levi

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The only use I can see for 4GB of RAM is if some demanding apps (or more likely, games) get released in a few years for the machine. For those purporses you could use a 2GB swap file, and swap it on while you're using it and swap it off when you're done.

People are discussing running alternate OSen in VMs, and that will use some more RAM for the kernels alone, but as far as I understand it even if you allocate 2GB of RAM for a VM it won't actually allocate that until it needs it. I doubt you're going to be running RAM hungry apps in both OSes at the same time because those that use a lot of RAM also tend to need a lot of CPU time, and you're unlikely to want to run two of those at the same time if you're expecting any kind of performance.

The only time I regularly run out of RAM on my machine personally is if I'm diffing two big files, such as videos or game isos. That tends to be IO limited and basically needs slightly more than the size of both files concurrently to be loaded into RAM. 720p50 mp4s tend to clock in at about 1GB for every half hour, so maybe you could diff two 45 minute videos in 4GB of RAM. Personally on my machines when I'm diffing them I've had to resort to xxding them to ASCIIfy them, then chop them into diffable chunks using head and tail. When you xxd binaries the result is about 10 times bigger, so even with 4GB of RAM you'd still need to chop them up, although at least you could use bigger chunks and get it done more quickly.

But that's something I only ever typically need to do the once, and something I'm more likely to do on my media server rather than locally on my Pyra.
 

elvissteinjr

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The only use I can see for 4GB of RAM is if some demanding apps (or more likely, games) get released in a few years for the machine. For those purporses you could use a 2GB swap file, and swap it on while you're using it and swap it off when you're done.
I don't disagree that you'll probably be fine with 2 GB, but my experiences on Pandora with swap memory that actually ended up being used (not just some idle memory being moved to make space) were not usable for interactive applications at all. Swap is slow in comparison even if you put it on a reasonably fast media.
 

levi

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True, swap is always slower. The pandora was even slower than it needed to be thanks to its slow SD card interface. I don't offhand know if the Pyra is going to be significantly better in this respect (though as I recall it should support UHS-1 but not UHS-2), but however fast it's going I would put good money on the memory bus having better bandwidth than the SD card bus.

Edit: I do recall using it once or twice on Pandora for some of Ptitseb's more demanding games, and it made some things run that wouldn't otherwise. I have nothing to compare against, but they seemed to run okay to me, although I do recall effectively backing off Oolite settings until it was small enough to run without swap without realising that was what I was doing, so you may be right that on Pandora it's not a good combo for good games.
 
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second exodous

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I think for multitasking 4 gb will help out won't it? I also plan to try to run Blender for basic video editing and I think 4 GB will help there also so I think I'll go with 4 GB. Like mentioned above the price difference isn't huge and the battery is ginormous so I think I'm going for a 4 GB Pyra.
 

FBnil

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I'm still torn on which one I want. I preordered the 4GB version, but I'm definitely worried about the power draw problem. I'll have to wait for a comparison test.
You know, with the Pandora as experience: I've disabled the green light and that saves power, I've used only 1 SD card... and that saves an enormous amount of power (10% overnight). I've set the screen brightness a step lower.. and that uses less power. There are so many other things that use power. Even the phone module will need to be "permanently on" if you want to receive SMS messages.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_refresh

and almost everything else is turned of the difference between having to power and refresh 2GB and 4GB could be a big thing ... people are worried about standby time mostly
maybe a suspend to disk (pm-hibernate) can be achieved? *(The Pandora only has pm-suspend)
 

levi

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On my arch netbook and desktop server, I've never managed to get suspend to disk work, only suspend-to-ram (aka keep the RAM alive with all of its contents but power down almost everything else). Suspend-to-disc basically writes all of the RAM to disc then pretty much powers down the entire machine (actually the CPU enters a special state so that when you press the power button again it can repopulate the ram then pick up where it was before). Suspend to disc needs to understand the disc format I guess, so it may be the spectific way I've set up my partitions and formatted them that stops that working, but I've never spent the time finding out how I might correct that. Suspend to ram generally does everything I've ever needed for those machines.
 

pmprog

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True, swap is always slower. The pandora was even slower than it needed to be thanks to its slow SD card interface. I don't offhand know if the Pyra is going to be significantly better in this respect (though as I recall it should support UHS-1 but not UHS-2), but however fast it's going I would put good money on the memory bus having better bandwidth than the SD card bus.
Don't forget that SD cards have a level of wear - meaning you can't write to them indefinitely. Whilst I don't know exactly how much a swap file will write (I guess it depends on swap size and your memory usage), it will mean replacing the SD cards slightly sooner.
 

klapse

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Is there any reason to believe that debian-arm somehow consumes less RAM - with identical windowmanager and apps loaded - than the x86 version?

If not, my regualr debian / devuan memory usage will be a good estimate of what i will want for the pyra, which is usually under 2GB with firefox running, and maybe once or twice a week over 2GB.
 

Askarus

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I have a 2 GB Prototype.
For common usage I don't need more.

However I would not overestimate the power consumption of the RAM and buy 4 GB.
 

Elw3

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maybe a suspend to disk (pm-hibernate) can be achieved? *(The Pandora only has pm-suspend)
I think waking up is slower than booting these days so its rather pointless. Imagine having a fully used ram, then you would need to write 2gb to sd card and on wake up read 2gb from it.

Is there any reason to believe that debian-arm somehow consumes less RAM - with identical windowmanager and apps loaded - than the x86 version?

If not, my regualr debian / devuan memory usage will be a good estimate of what i will want for the pyra, which is usually under 2GB with firefox running, and maybe once or twice a week over 2GB.
It will most likely use way less ram. Depending on the programm and how it is compiled of course.
 

levi

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Don't forget that SD cards have a level of wear - meaning you can't write to them indefinitely. Whilst I don't know exactly how much a swap file will write (I guess it depends on swap size and your memory usage), it will mean replacing the SD cards slightly sooner.
Yes, but everything wears out in the end, even spinning hard discs. At least SD cards are easy to eject and plug in elsewhere for backup.

Edit: On Pyra there may well be enough space to suspend to the eMMC.
 

pmprog

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Yes, but everything wears out in the end, even spinning hard discs. At least SD cards are easy to eject and plug in elsewhere for backup.
Indeed, but we were comparing RAM to swap (at least I was), and a RAM chip I would expect to last significantly longer (given my c64 still works fine)
 

pmprog

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Not obsolete yet either is it? ;)
Well... I'd like to say no, but in reality, it's rarely turned on TBH. Most times I do want and get to play C64, I'm usually on a mobile device - laptop, gpd pocket, or Pandora; but I will still often boot up Vice/CCS64 on my desktop. I guess I'm a bit of a sucker for the perks of emulation to speed up loading times :)
 
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