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    Default Single core or 512meg RAM - Which is more limiting?

    There is a lot of excitement about the Bionic, and for some good reasons... dual core, qHD display, 4G, etc. I know most of the people reading this forum section are Bionic fans, so please dont shoot me for mentioning the tradeoffs with regard to the Bionic specs.

    Most experts seem to be really excited about the Bionic dual core phone, even though it has 512meg memory, so certainly it's got the potential to be a great phone.

    But for someone that is holding on to their phone for two years or more, what will be more limiting - 512meg ram on the Bionic dual core phone, or single core processor on the Samsung Stealth/Charge the Thunderbolt, etc?

    Please don't turn this into a discussion about all the weaknesses of specific phones. I know the Thunderbolt has some battery issues. I know that people don't like Samsung. There are rumors that Bionic may have some problems also. But all that gets hashed out over and over in the other threads.

    So let's focus on the questions at hand...
    1) Which would you rather have in your next phone - 756meg RAM or Dual Core?
    2) Is the limited RAM a concern for you with the Bionic?

    My feeling, to be honest, is that in two years, RAM might be a bigger issue than processor speed. As long as it's fast enough to do video, at least you can use the phone. But lack of RAM seems to lead to crashes and slowdowns on all kinds of portable and desktop devices, and that would be really frustrating. In fact, on my PCs, adding RAM is usually the most important upgrade. It's probably not a problem in the near term for phones, but over the next two or three years as applications become memory hogs all the more, I suspect that RAM could be the limiting factor.

    Okay, I tried really hard to start off a legitimate discussion so I can hear what people think. We'll see if people can resist the temptation to slam devices, and stay on topic!

    What do you think?
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    Bionic is dual core with DDR2 Ram. In no way is it limited by the speed at the bus or random access. My guess it will be software that holds the bionic back for a bit after release, as it will trump all phones core wise and ram wise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnly View Post
    Bionic is dual core with DDR2 Ram. In no way is it limited by the speed at the bus or random access. My guess it will be software that holds the bionic back for a bit after release, as it will trump all phones core wise and ram wise.
    +1 Software will be the limiting factor on this phone.

    I'll make this comparison even though its totally unrelated. I have a "very nice" PC that is sluggish with Windows 7 but blazing fast with Ubuntu Linux.

    You could have the best spec'd phone on the market but crappy/unoptimized/bloated software will be its limiting factor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msfraser302 View Post
    +1 Software will be the limiting factor on this phone.

    I'll make this comparison even though its totally unrelated. I have a "very nice" PC that is sluggish with Windows 7 but blazing fast with Ubuntu Linux.

    You could have the best spec'd phone on the market but crappy/unoptimized/bloated software will be its limiting factor.
    I have seen people with Droid Eris's that blaze on hacked Gingerbread ROMs. Perfect example of crap software screwing over hardware is the LG Optimus 2X.
    Droid Incredible (4/29/10) -> TBolt (4/9/11) -> GNex (4/1/2012) > Droid Maxx (9/13/13)
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    Speaking as a longtime Linux/UNIX guru (but not all that up on smart phone tech), the amount of RAM is often the most important factor in system performance. Other things matter, of course, and to what degree depends on what you're doing with the system, but it has always been true with UNIX and Linux that more RAM is always a good thing.

    Having said that, I'm wondering to what degree the same thing applies these phones. I will be switching from BlackBerry to the ThunderBolt, Droid Bionic, or the new 4G Samsung (Verizon). I'm not sure which I want to get.
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    Well, seeing as the main problem with my D1 was the amount of RAM (256MiB), I'm going to say that more RAM will probably be better in the long run. Dual core isn't going to do anything until apps come out that take advantage of it. I'm willing to bet that by the time there's apps that come out that are multithreaded and really benefit from it, the amount of RAM they take up will end up being too much for phones with "only" 512MiB. Now obviously, Android is good about cleaning out unused apps and such from memory ... so you'll probably experience decent performance but with redraws/pop in when switching apps.

    But in any case, I got a TBolt with a 1 year contract so neither potential problem will bother me. I'll get a new phone early next year that's dual/quad core with 1GiB+ of DDR2 RAM.
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    Forgive my technological ignorance....

    If the data is not presented to the device to process than the amount of ram is not going to be an issue. So i would think that the most important factor is the speed the carrier gets data to your device. Here i think Big Red wins.

    Then,,, at what speeds will the data transfer to the device overwhelm the ram in the device? i dont know.

    I would rather have a faster delivery of data to my device and worry about the ram handling it then having slower delivery of data to my device and knowing my ram wont be stressed.

    perhaps i am wrong,,, apologize in advance
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbermanmd View Post
    Forgive my technological ignorance....

    If the data is not presented to the device to process than the amount of ram is not going to be an issue. So i would think that the most important factor is the speed the carrier gets data to your device. Here i think Big Red wins.

    Then,,, at what speeds will the data transfer to the device overwhelm the ram in the device? i dont know.

    I would rather have a faster delivery of data to my device and worry about the ram handling it then having slower delivery of data to my device and knowing my ram wont be stressed.

    perhaps i am wrong,,, apologize in advance
    This is an important concern. With regards to computers, I've always said that you're only as fast as you're slowest component, which in effect is what you're saying. If the data stream can't keep up with the processor's speed or RAM's speed, then neither is the limiting factor in this case. But ... that's only one use case.

    There will be other use cases where the data exists solely on the phone itself such as using phone-based applications, playing games, etc. With these use cases, I think you're back to how the operating system handles the loading/offloading of data to and from memory, and how much it is trying to do. Thus, I could see the RAM being a limiting factor for use cases that require the movement of large amounts of data in and out of RAM or while multitasking with many different applications. And the constant movement of data has a considerable impact on performance.

    An analogy would be a high amount read/writes to the hard drive on a computer. The constant reading/writing of the hard drive to accommodate data movement amongst applications slows down a computer considerably. In this case, the performance hit is mainly because the hard drive is considerably slower than RAM, but the analogy is valid as far as the constant movement and management of data because the RAM is not large enough to hold it all.

    So, I think it comes down to two issues: (1) Is the operating system optimized for the paging/caching data in and out of RAM memory?; and (2) Are there applications that will require the movement of large amounts of data, thereby forcing the operating system to function optimally or possibly use other means of storage such as the media card (which falls more along the lines of the hard drive analogy -- considerable impact on performance should this happen)? I have no idea on how well Android manages RAM. But, I would anticipate that this memory management will improve as hardware improves and as updates to the operating system are released. As far as application's memory requirements, typically this goes up as applications get more and more advanced in features and capabilities. This would result in a greater strain on how well memory management is.

    To end my rant, my official answer to the OP's question is, "I have no idea". But that's mainly because I don't know how well Android's memory management is. However, as the future goes, there are two competing issues -- the memory management may get better with time, but the requirements from applications on memory management will get greater. A vicious cycle ... and why it's a general rule of thumb to just throw more RAM at the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DolfanCole View Post
    This is an important concern. With regards to computers, I've always said that you're only as fast as you're slowest component, which in effect is what you're saying. If the data stream can't keep up with the processor's speed or RAM's speed, then neither is the limiting factor in this case. But ... that's only one use case.

    There will be other use cases where the data exists solely on the phone itself such as using phone-based applications, playing games, etc. With these use cases, I think you're back to how the operating system handles the loading/offloading of data to and from memory, and how much it is trying to do. Thus, I could see the RAM being a limiting factor for use cases that require the movement of large amounts of data in and out of RAM or while multitasking with many different applications. And the constant movement of data has a considerable impact on performance.

    An analogy would be a high amount read/writes to the hard drive on a computer. The constant reading/writing of the hard drive to accommodate data movement amongst applications slows down a computer considerably. In this case, the performance hit is mainly because the hard drive is considerably slower than RAM, but the analogy is valid as far as the constant movement and management of data because the RAM is not large enough to hold it all.

    So, I think it comes down to two issues: (1) Is the operating system optimized for the paging/caching data in and out of RAM memory?; and (2) Are there applications that will require the movement of large amounts of data, thereby forcing the operating system to function optimally or possibly use other means of storage such as the media card (which falls more along the lines of the hard drive analogy -- considerable impact on performance should this happen)? I have no idea on how well Android manages RAM. But, I would anticipate that this memory management will improve as hardware improves and as updates to the operating system are released. As far as application's memory requirements, typically this goes up as applications get more and more advanced in features and capabilities. This would result in a greater strain on how well memory management is.

    To end my rant, my official answer to the OP's question is, "I have no idea". But that's mainly because I don't know how well Android's memory management is. However, as the future goes, there are two competing issues -- the memory management may get better with time, but the requirements from applications on memory management will get greater. A vicious cycle ... and why it's a general rule of thumb to just throw more RAM at the problem.
    Thank you for the quick didactic. Do you think a device like the Bionic actually does significant multitasking - i think Verizon will limit the user to voice and some data transmission at the same time for the first time? And what do you think would be the most imposing task on the RAM - watching a move,,, listening to music?

    Again, thank you for your time,,, appreciate it

    david
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    Seeing how well programs can fly on the Xoom tablet (same processor, double the memory and the newer OS) even with over twice the screen resolution, I have high expectations for the Bionic.

    That said, both will likely bog down when too many apps are loaded into memory (the Xoom does even with twice the memory.) But a reboot fixes that. Worst case, youll have to reboot your phone periodically.

    That said, loading some of those TegraHD dedicated games, they are pretty impressive.

    -Suntan
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbermanmd View Post
    Thank you for the quick didactic. Do you think a device like the Bionic actually does significant multitasking - i think Verizon will limit the user to voice and some data transmission at the same time for the first time? And what do you think would be the most imposing task on the RAM - watching a move,,, listening to music?

    Again, thank you for your time,,, appreciate it

    david
    No problem. I hope it made sense.

    The amount of multitasking is really dependent on the user. Although I don't think a high amount is typical. For me, I will occasionally multitask on my BlackBerry, but it's typically only 2 applications at the same time (such as copying text in one application to another). So, I don't think the demand is significant for the typical user at this point. But again, as features improve, the user will be more out to push the device and take advantage of them.

    As far as the most demanding, I'd say videos/movies and gaming. Playback of videos requires a lot of movement of data. Not so much for music (you can look at it as video consists of video and audio whereas music is just audio; and video is much more data intensive). Gaming is (can be) CPU/GPU intensive, depending on the game. But, as far as the Bionic, I think this is where the Tegra2 shines with a really nice GPU. So, it's hard to tell if this will be limiting factor on the Bionic per se.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suntan View Post
    Seeing how well programs can fly on the Xoom tablet (same processor, double the memory and the newer OS) even with over twice the screen resolution, I have high expectations for the Bionic.

    That said, both will likely bog down when too many apps are loaded into memory (the Xoom does even with twice the memory.) But a reboot fixes that. Worst case, youll have to reboot your phone periodically.

    That said, loading some of those TegraHD dedicated games, they are pretty impressive.

    -Suntan
    I think this is telling in a few ways. First, the newer OS, I believe, gives a glimpse of how memory management and multi-core CPU management can be performed. I would guess that Honeycomb is only scraping the surface though on the full potential. But, either way, I think it's a good indicator. Second, the downside is that I think the "garbage collection" needs to be improved. As you state, having too many applications loaded bogs down the device, but a reboot fixes it. That's generally the fault of the operating system not freeing the space in memory of applications that no longer need it. Overall though, I think the Xoom (as well as the Atrix) can be a good indication of what the Bionic will be like.
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    Quick note.....DDR2 512 on bionic.....case people forget think 1GB ram if terms like DDR2 make no since, as that is computer grade ram the bionic has. Gingerbread flux in my measly 512 1ghz omap X. I am sure the engineering department at Motorola is going to make sure it cab handle the tegra zone app store. Don't take a X or TB to that market, unless you want to watch it choke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DolfanCole View Post
    No problem. I hope it made sense.

    The amount of multitasking is really dependent on the user. Although I don't think a high amount is typical. For me, I will occasionally multitask on my BlackBerry, but it's typically only 2 applications at the same time (such as copying text in one application to another). So, I don't think the demand is significant for the typical user at this point. But again, as features improve, the user will be more out to push the device and take advantage of them.

    As far as the most demanding, I'd say videos/movies and gaming. Playback of videos requires a lot of movement of data. Not so much for music (you can look at it as video consists of video and audio whereas music is just audio; and video is much more data intensive). Gaming is (can be) CPU/GPU intensive, depending on the game. But, as far as the Bionic, I think this is where the Tegra2 shines with a really nice GPU. So, it's hard to tell if this will be limiting factor on the Bionic per se.
    Two things:
    1. in essence somebody like me who is what i would consider a routine user of the device (perhaps watch youtube or make a call,,, basically never do significant multitasking )will not have to worry about the RAM issue.

    2. is it analogous to memory cards like XD cards where you pay extra for quick read and write rates? I am assuming if you have two processors than the data the RAM has to handle will be handled quicker and more efficiently and that it "expands" the room available in the RAM?

    i like the education you are giving me here... i think you are also settling my mind in terms of the "ram issue" with this phone.

    thanks again

    david
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbermanmd View Post
    Two things:
    1. in essence somebody like me who is what i would consider a routine user of the device (perhaps watch youtube or make a call,,, basically never do significant multitasking )will not have to worry about the RAM issue.
    I think you're in the majority here. And with your anticipated use, my guess is that you shouldn't have any problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbermanmd View Post
    2. is it analogous to memory cards like XD cards where you pay extra for quick read and write rates? I am assuming if you have two processors than the data the RAM has to handle will be handled quicker and more efficiently and that it "expands" the room available in the RAM?
    Somewhat, yes. Theoretically, the faster the processor is, the faster it will need to page data in and out of RAM. And subsequently, the faster the RAM is, the better the overall performance is. The key here is really how well the operating system manages this process, which is a very complicated process of managing and scheduling processes on the individual CPU cores, allocation/deallocation of memory for each process, etc. If handled properly, there can be a significant increase in performance relative to single core devices that are coupled with DDR RAM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DolfanCole View Post
    I think you're in the majority here. And with your anticipated use, my guess is that you shouldn't have any problem.



    Somewhat, yes. Theoretically, the faster the processor is, the faster it will need to page data in and out of RAM. And subsequently, the faster the RAM is, the better the overall performance is. The key here is really how well the operating system manages this process, which is a very complicated process of managing and scheduling processes on the individual CPU cores, allocation/deallocation of memory for each process, etc. If handled properly, there can be a significant increase in performance relative to single core devices that are coupled with DDR RAM.
    Since you are obviously very knowledgeable about these things, do you think the battery issue will be as bad as with the TBolt?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbermanmd View Post
    Since you are obviously very knowledgeable about these things, do you think the battery issue will be as bad as with the TBolt?
    My general feeling is that it won't be. But, honestly, I don't have anything to go on firsthand as I've never owned an Android device (still looking for my first). All I have is what I've seen, read, and would anticipate based on hardware. And with that, everything seems to point in favor of the Bionic with the possible exception of the qHD display.

    I've read that historically Motorola devices have had better battery life than HTC devices. Having dual-core CPU and DDR2 RAM should also help with battery life. And of course having the much larger stock battery in the Bionic will also help. The catch is the display, as it may need more "juice" to power the higher resolution. However, that depends on what technology the Bionic has. If it's like the Atrix, it'll be a pentile display, which is not as much of a power drain, but is really inferior in quality to the RGB LCDs. I, for one, hope that they don't put a pentile display in the Bionic, even with the potential impact on battery life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DolfanCole View Post
    My general feeling is that it won't be. But, honestly, I don't have anything to go on firsthand as I've never owned an Android device (still looking for my first). All I have is what I've seen, read, and would anticipate based on hardware. And with that, everything seems to point in favor of the Bionic with the possible exception of the qHD display.

    I've read that historically Motorola devices have had better battery life than HTC devices. Having dual-core CPU and DDR2 RAM should also help with battery life. And of course having the much larger stock battery in the Bionic will also help. The catch is the display, as it may need more "juice" to power the higher resolution. However, that depends on what technology the Bionic has. If it's like the Atrix, it'll be a pentile display, which is not as much of a power drain, but is really inferior in quality to the RGB LCDs. I, for one, hope that they don't put a pentile display in the Bionic, even with the potential impact on battery life.
    Thanks,,,, you dont happen to know when its going to hit the marketplace too :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbermanmd View Post
    Thanks,,,, you dont happen to know when its going to hit the marketplace too :-)
    I wish. I've been going on April 28th based on BMX's poems. But, it may be delayed, depending on which device he is referring to both in his poems and his post.

    http://forum.androidcentral.com/819099-post28.html
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    It should be fine, for even though the TB has more RAM, it is only DDR1 and not the DDR2 in the Bionic. DDR2 is considerably faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DolfanCole View Post
    I wish. I've been going on April 28th based on BMX's poems. But, it may be delayed, depending on which device he is referring to both in his poems and his post.

    http://forum.androidcentral.com/819099-post28.html
    I don't believe that he was talking about the Bionic because he said both have been delayed and may end up skinned like the rest. This excludes it for the Bionic is already known to be running the MotoBlur skin, so I think he was referring to the stock android devices that should be coming.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rdearth53 View Post
    I don't believe that he was talking about the Bionic because he said both have been delayed in may and spend like the rest. This excludes it for the Bionic is already known to be running the MotoBlur skin, so I think he was referring to the stock android devices that should be coming.


    Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
    I hope you're right. For my own benefit, I'll take your interpretation.
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    Ok, edited that last post. Hope it makes more sense......darn you tiny virtual keyboard!
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    Quote Originally Posted by zshazz View Post
    Well, seeing as the main problem with my D1 was the amount of RAM (256MiB), I'm going to say that more RAM will probably be better in the long run. Dual core isn't going to do anything until apps come out that take advantage of it. I'm willing to bet that by the time there's apps that come out that are multithreaded and really benefit from it, the amount of RAM they take up will end up being too much for phones with "only" 512MiB. Now obviously, Android is good about cleaning out unused apps and such from memory ... so you'll probably experience decent performance but with redraws/pop in when switching apps.
    Very well said. I don't really mind that after two years my D1 is 20-50% slower overall than current phones, but what I do mind is when there are 5+ second pauses when it's completely out of available RAM and needs to swap out some apps just to switch back to another running one. If you interrupt a browsing session to respond to an email, it should never have to reload the page upon return.

    The just-released Firefox 4 needs 512MB to install. If you have that running at the same time as an audio player and news reader and email app, it's going to start having the same swapping problems.

    Lack of enough CPU power gives a somewhat degraded experience, but running out of RAM can be like hitting a brick wall. Thrashing is when a resource-starved system grinds to a halt because it spends all of its time swapping things in and out instead of accomplishing useful work.

    FWIW, there are diminishing returns. A year from now 768MB would probably be a dramatic boost from 512MB, 1GB would be slightly better, and a hypothetical 2GB probably wouldn't offer much at all to average users.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnly View Post
    Quick note.....DDR2 512 on bionic.....case people forget think 1GB ram if terms like DDR2 make no since, as that is computer grade ram the bionic has. Gingerbread flux in my measly 512 1ghz omap X. I am sure the engineering department at Motorola is going to make sure it cab handle the tegra zone app store. Don't take a X or TB to that market, unless you want to watch it choke.
    You are way, way off on that one, bud.

    512MB of DDR2 is nowhere near the equivalent of 1GB of DDR.
    512MB is 512MB... through and through. The Droid Bionic will only hold 512MB of temporary RAM storage space. The difference is that DDR2 reads and (mainly) writes much faster than DDR.
    What remains to be seen is just how much of an impact that improved r/w speed actually is. Most apps won't benefit from it much at all. It's going to take the larger, expensive gaming apps and such that actually need to constantly read and write large chunks of data in order for DDR2 to actually be beneficial.
    One of the downfalls of the Android OS is how many differing hardware pieces there are in the different devices. Creating an app that's only capable of running on DDR2 isn't really worthwhile because you're limiting your market.

    DDR2 is great, but I don't foresee if being nearly as impactful as most people hope it will be. At least, that is, not until the majority of phones begin housing the tech.
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